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The Greek Experience & Identity Series
This series is meant to highlight individuals in the Greek community whose identies have been impacted and molded by Greek Life at CWRU. For people in the community, these stories serve as reminder to why they joined Greek Life and what they have gotten from it. For people thinking of joining, these stories serve as possible opportunities that they can expect if they joined the Greek community.

10/28/2019

Next in our Greek Experience & Identity Series is Holly Sirk. Holly is a Senior in Sigma Sigma Sigma studying Materials Science and Engineering. Here is Holly's story:

I joined Tri Sigma in the Spring of 2017 and a few months later was elected as the Chapter President for 2018. As a newer member to the chapter, I learned a lot by being a chapter officer and really developed my sense of connection to the mission of my chapter and the role of Greek Life in the development of better citizens to serve the world. Being a chapter officer taught me how to be an effective communicator, act responsibility in a professional environment, and decide on a future career path. As the 2019 Panhellenic President, I've had so many opportunity to expand my horizons by connecting with various chapter presidents, administration, and Greek Life officers at other campuses. My college experience has entirely been shaped by my experiences in Greek Life and I wouldn't change it at all!

10/14/2019

Next in our Greek Experience & Identity Series is Brian Eckert. Brian is a Fifth Year in Sigma Chi studying English/Creative Writing. Here is Brian's story:

I didn't have a traditional Greek Life or Recruitment Experience, but I wouldn't trade my personal path through college and Greek Life for anything. After pledging and dropping during Fall of my First Year (2015), I struggled with my mental health and ended up transferring to a school closer to home for my sophomore year where I joined Sigma Chi in Fall 2016. At the time, I planned on finishing my degree at Valparaiso University, but with the support of my brothers I was able to overcome a lot of the personal obstacles keeping me from coming back to CWRU. Luckily, CWRU also has a Sigma Chi Chapter and I was able to transfer my active-brother status when I returned to Cleveland for my third year. Having met brothers from all over the world now, I know I made the right decision in joining Greek Life as it has provided me with personal support, professional connections, and most importantly a sense of belonging. The transition from Valparaiso to CWRU was nearly seamless and I was even able to earn a position on our executive board that year. College is a busy and chaotic time for most students, but the support of your brothers/sisters who are interested and committed to similar values and aspirations is invaluable.
In more recent events, I was diagnosed with Leukemia this summer and the amount of support from not only my brothers here at CWRU or those from Valparaiso, but the Cleveland Area and around the country has been even further testament to my love for Sigma Chi. Brothers have sent care packages, hand-written notes, personal gifts and notes of encouragement when our only connection is our Brotherhood in Sigma Chi. Everyday is a constant reminder for me that joining Sigma Chi was one of, if not the best decision, I made in my four, and counting, years of college.
10/07/2019

Next in our Greek Experience & Identity Series is Allie Jordan. Allie is a Senior in Phi Mu studying Psychology with Social Work and Spanish minors. Here is Allie's story:

My first year at Case was a pretty tough one. It was the first time I lived away from my family and friends that I had had for my whole life. When I left my comfort zone at home, I realized that I had completely placed my identity in that space. I identified myself in terms of my relationships to other people or the activities I was involved in. I was a varsity athlete, a musician, a good student, a sister, a daughter, etc. But when I left things like my high school, church, and family behind, I realized that I wasn't totally sure who I was as an individual. I started questioning my self-worth and had a hard time forming relationships with people at Case because I didn't have a solid relationship with myself. When I went through recruitment, I was amazed at all the incredible women of the panhellenic community. The experience gave me an opportunity to evaluate what I valued most and who I wanted to be. I ended up joining Phi Mu and started to get a look at what the next few years would hold. My sisters taught me what it meant to find your passion and #breathefire. The older members shared about their own journeys in self-love and knowing your worth while still being vulnerable with one another. Since joining Phi Mu, I have grown to love and appreciate myself in a way I never understood before and I have developed into a much better leader because of it. Greek Life has taught me so much about myself in addition to community and for that I will forever be grateful.

9/23/2019
Next up in our Greek Experience & Identity Series is Julian Narvaez. Julian is a Junior in Sigma Nu studying Electrical Engineering. Here is Julian's story:
 
To provide context to how greek life has changed my life I am providing context to my personal life.
 
I remember coming into college with the sole purpose of purchasing my aunt a house in the U.S. and bringing my extended family up from Mexico City. My first year was completely dedicated to setting myself up to provide for my family financially so that I could give them what they had given me. This meant anything at all unrelated to professional development would be tossed aside. Greek life and other values-based organizations had fallen to the wayside as opportunities that I did not deem useful enough to participate in. These practices lead to intensifying self-isolation as the year progressed and I felt saddled with the guilt that my attending college was taking resources away from my family. Needless to say I was not in a terrific place.
 
A week or two before spring semester finals were happening I was walking down Adelbert Rd and had been on the phone with my aunt and mother. During that call, it was mentioned that my aunt had found someone in Mexico City that could support her financially and emotionally. She had met a wonderful person who had the connections to bring my aunt and my cousin out of the country. I was overjoyed upon hearing the news. This piece of news has also meant that the sole purpose for me attending college was wiped away. Doors and opportunities I had previously closed off for myself were now opening and I felt massively overwhelmed. I gave myself the summer to figure things out and move forward.
 
I had spent the summer of my first year living in Sigma Nu as an unaffiliated member thanks to the recommendation of a few brothers in the chapter. I had a few closer ties to kind and generous members such as Andrew Jimenez and Hiripan Olivieros but by and large I was still unsure of what to expect from living in a fraternity house. During that summer I also had the opportunity to work alongside the then president and wonderful human, David Lituchy. Working with David and spending my time after work interacting with chapter members did wonders for my mental health. I felt truly understood for the first time at CWRU during my time living in the house surrounded by chapter members and their friends. Seeing an organization dedicated to the support and wellbeing of their members and local community was a game changer and I decided to rush during the fall. I accepted my bid on the spot when it was extended and that marked the beginning of my time in Greek life.
 
Spending time in Sigma Nu has offered more of the same positive experiences. Chapter members supporting chapter members. Family created through shared values. I felt supported during my turbulent time and now I see the chapter as a means to support members going through other turbulent experiences. Being part of Sigma Nu has allowed me to gain a new purpose in life and for that I am grateful. I would not trade it for anything.

9/17/2019

Next up in our Greek Experience & Identity Series is Anel Mattar. Anel is a Senior in Delta Gamma studying Business Management and Marketing. Here is Anel's story:

Joining Greek Life was something I never pictured myself doing. I only knew the stereotypes and I did not want to be associated with that. That was until I met people in the Greek community. My perspective quickly changed. I joined Delta Gamma fall of my sophomore year and when I say it has changed my life, I truly mean that. I studied abroad the spring right after I joined and coming back, I didn't know who I was anymore. I changed so much during my study abroad that I felt like I almost lost part of myself. Coming back to Delta Gamma, I was quickly reminded. Some of my older sisters saw something in me that I did not see in myself. They encouraged me to seek leadership and consider running for president. Being president of my chapter has been one of the richest learning and growing experiences in my life. It has challenged me and made me a better friend, sister, and leader. My sisters remind me everyday why I choose to invest so much time and energy into my chapter and organization. The Greek community at CWRU has empowered me and motivated me in ways I never thought possible. I am so lucky I get to work with the people I do to make our community an inclusive and welcoming place.

9/9/2019

Kicking off our Greek Experience & Identity Series is Chris Shorter. Chris is a Senior in Sigma Chi studying Computer Science and Business Management. Here is Chris' story:

Before I came to Case, I had no interest whatsoever in joining a fraternity. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what fraternities are about, and I did not want any part of it. When I got here, my perspective totally changed. I started talking to the guys in Sigma Chi and realized that they were nothing like the stereotypical ‘frat boys’ I had seen in movies and TV. These were guys who knew where they wanted to go in life and had everything together to get there. I immediately began to look up to them a role models. I decided to join Sigma Chi in my first semester, and they welcomed me with open arms. Because of that decision, I have grown immeasurably. Jumping into leadership roles here has shown me that even as an introverted guy, I have what it takes to lead. While doing this has helped improve my ability to speak, especially in large groups, it has also taught me the value of my ability to listen. More importantly though, Sigma Chi has been my support system throughout college. Whenever I am struggling, I turn to the guys in my chapter, my brothers, for help and they give me the encouragement I need to get back to being my best. Ultimately, joining Greek Life has helped me discover my true strengths and has given me a group of lifelong friends I can turn to. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.