Sunday, December 18, 2011


Trust.  It’s what happens when twenty-two students who don’t know each other, from different schools, and different chapter organizations find their way to Tuscaloosa, AL for an immersion trip with little insight into the adventure they are about to take.  We weren’t really sure where exactly we were staying, or what exactly we were doing for the next week, but we packed our bags and kept our eyes peeled for Greek letters at the airport. 

Trust.  It’s what happens when you immediately open up to the stranger next to you just because you know they understand what it is like to be Greek, the stereotypes we face, and the fact that they took the same risk you did giving up a week of winter break to volunteer your time, your mind, and your values. 

I trust the people I have met today, and I am excited to learn each of their stories and to understand the common values which have brought us all here together.  And I am well on my way.

I am so appreciative of all that I have, and all that I have the opportunity to experience.  Being surrounded by such a fantastic group of students who have accomplished, and who have the potential to accomplish, so much in our community is always such an inspiring environment. 

As Greeks, we take pledges to core values that we are asked to live daily.  Discussing these values and realizing just how many of them impact our lives and who we see are to our community seems a bit daunting.  But we don’t have to take on every single value, because as Greek chapters we dedicate ourselves to a select group of core values that exemplify what we hold most important to us.  Between all of our values based organizations, we make up a Greek community that stands for excellence, that stands for compassion, that stands for service, and that represents the best of what we are capable of. 

I trust that this next week is going to challenge me, and that I am going to be asked to leave my comfort zone, but most importantly I trust that the leaders who surround me today are going to make an impact in this place. 

There is no perfect formula of values to live by, but the values that bring a group of strangers together for a week, a group of Greeks who believe in something better, is the perfect formula for creating positive change.

Madeleine Stroth is a senior at the University of Iowa and a member of Pi Beta Phi.

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