There’s No Place like Carolina: Homecoming 2015

After the historic flooding that occurred in South Carolina this past month, Homecoming took on a new meaning the week of October 11-17th as our University came together to showcase not only the pride in our University but the resilience of our city and state after a tragedy hit home for all of us. Some events were tailored to provide additional aid to flood victims and to allow essential personnel and first responders to work where they were needed more.  Nevertheless, our University took the changes in stride and showed that there’s no place like Carolina and there’s no event that brings together the University of South Carolina students and organizations quite like Homecoming Week!

Homecoming_2

This year’s theme was the Wizard of Oz with a USC twist of “There’s No Place Like Carolina” and included some of our favorite events such as Spurs and Struts dance competition, Float building parade, Showcase, and the Homecoming football game against Vanderbilt to cap off the week. Our sisters loved being paired with the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha and attending all of the events that our University’s Homecoming Committee put on for us!

Homecoming_1

Dance Marathon 2015

DZDM

Dance Marathon is a nationally recognized philanthropy event where students come together regardless of their organization or background and dance together to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. Here in Columbia, SC, we are lucky enough to have the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital serving as a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital right down the road! This means that all of the money raised is able to benefit a hospital so close to home.

As a junior at the University of South Carolina, I have danced on Delta Zeta’s DM team with my sistersDM_Gamecocks for the past two years, and together, we have raised thousands of dollars for the children of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. This year alone, 46 Delta Zeta sisters participate and raised $9,107.20! This year I was a morale leader for the event, and as such, I danced on the One Team One Dream team with all the other morale leaders and the Dance Marathon Executive Board. This meant that I went to weekly meetings leading up to the main event and learned the line dance so that I could help teach it to the 900+ participants signed up (a new record!). It meant the world to have the support of my sisters and Delta Zeta throughout the 14-hour event, especially when it came down to the last few hours.

Dance Marathon’s slogan this year was “Half a Million, Half the Time” and by hour 12, we were cutting it really close to our $500,000 goal! In our last big fundraising push, it was highly encouraged for participants to reach out to any last contacts for even a small donation. Even though it came down to the wire, USCDM was able to surpass the $500,000 goal and raise a total of $501,528, all for the kids! Seeing all my sisters smiling and energetic throughout the event made me proud to be a Delta Zeta and proud to know they were dancing FTK.

 DZ(and DM)LAM, Holly Ingram

DM_TKHD

DZDM

DM_MB

DZDM2

Region Weekend 2015

RW_vanWritten by Mary Hruska, Vice President of New Member Education
Once a year, each region meets to discuss events happening in our sorority, as well as make connections with sisters in other chapters. This year, our Executive Board and five emerging leaders headed to Region Weekend in a 14-passenger van to Lake Blackshear in Cordele, GA – that’s a 5 hour drive! It turns out, riding in a large van full of sorority women can prompt stares from other drivers on the highway. We had our fair share of noteworthy interactions on our drive to Georgia but it made the ride very entertaining!

Saturday morning started with several speakers, including Rachael Simmons, a former Beta Delta chapter president. Rachael is now working as the Senior Communications Specialist at FedEx and she spoke about involvement in Delta Zeta after college. It was so inspiring to hear Rachael’s story of her time in our chapter and how it has enabled her to achieve her current level of success after college.

RW_shirtAfter the speakers, we met in small groups based on our current positions. I met with New Member Educators from the other chapters in our region and talked with them about their ideas for the new member period. It was exciting to meet with other women in the same position and share our ideas for the upcoming year!

At the awards ceremony, our chapter was humbled to receive 20 awards for our hard work over the past year, including Pride of the Region! Our chapter was recognized for our high chapter GPA, philanthropic efforts, and new member education programming. We were also thrilled to see our academic advisor, Twyla Wofford, and Collegiate Chapter Director, Sara Warren, recognized for going above-and-beyond for our chapter.

Overall, Region Weekend was an amazing experience and I’ve been able to take back fun new memories and countless friendships from our time in Georgia. Building new relationships with women across the region and learning from fellow Delta Zeta’s revitalized my passion for this sorority and reminded me why I love it so much.

MHCM

RW_groupshot

MSKCSS

RW_IHeartDZ

Delta Zeta Presidents’ Academy 2015

Presidents Academy1Written by President Katie Clemens

Over Valentine’s Day weekend 2015, I had the pleasure of attending Delta Zeta’s Presidents’ Academy in Dallas, Texas. Chapter Presidents from 165 Delta Zeta chapters, both nationally and internationally, gathered together to learn, collaborate and share in our collective sisterhood.

During my time in Dallas, I heard from a multitude of speakers both within the Delta Zeta community and outside, who join us in our common mission of friendship and service.

Circle of Sisterhood Founder Ginny Carroll spoke on the importance of empowering women, a mission which has defined the foundation that funds and builds educational facilities for women in underprivileged countries. She also shared how her own sorority experience enabled her to cultivate the leader within.

Tani Austin, Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Co-Founder, shared her experience from a recent trip abroad with her foundation bringing life to Starkey’s mission statement, “So the World May Hear.” As one of Delta Zeta’s national beneficiaries, Ms. Austin helped announce Delta Zeta’s national pledge of $5 million to the Starkey Hearing Foundation over the next five years to a room full of hopeful and inspired leaders.

PresidentsAcademy 2Derrick Coleman, fullback for the Seattle Seahawks, also stopped by to provide a personal touch to Delta Zeta’s philanthropic focus of speech and hearing. As one of the first deaf offensive players in the NFL, the awareness and support Delta Zeta brings to the speech and hearing impaired is one that is especially important to Derrick.

I walked away with many new skills and knowledge from the weekend on a variety of chapter topics including risk management protocols, philanthropic initiatives, and recruitment programming. What touched me the most though, were the new friendships I left with.

Over the course of a single weekend I was able to bond with sisters from states and schools away, brought together by a common position and sisterhood. I was reminded once again that Delta Zeta is not just one chapter, four years, or one state – Delta Zeta is a lifetime.

Sweet Caroline 2015

SC_bannerOn February 17th, 2015 the sisters of Delta Zeta successfully held our 11th annual Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow and Blood Drive! With the help from Be The Match National Bone Marrow Registry, Blood Connection, and the American Red Cross, the drive added 415 potential donors to the National Bone Marrow registry and donated over 200 pints of blood. Beta Delta sisters also raised additional donations to help defer the cost of adding potential donors to the registry.

The Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow Drive is held each year in memory of our Beta Delta sister Caroline Terry who passed away in 2005 after being diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) in 2004. Each year, Caroline’s family and friends continue to attend and show their support of the drive and to honor their loved ones.

Throughout thIMG_7008e day, students, faculty, and community members were invited to come to the Russell House Ballroom or to visit one of the many American Red Cross and Blood Connection blood mobiles around campus to sign up for the bone marrow registry and donate blood. After registering, potential donors were given the opportunity to add a purple ribbon to a banner signifying their addition to the registry. At the end of the event, over 400 ribbons showcased the incredible significance of the Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow Drive!

Thank you to our two Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow Drive co-chairs, Devin Sullivan and Chelsea McKinney, for giving so graciously of their time and effort to put on such a successful and important event! Also, a big THANK YOU to all those that came out to join the registry and donate blood. Taking the time out of your day to come and support this event can mean a lifetime to those in need. We hope to see everyone at Sweet Caroline 2016!

10995070_713242862125508_585018456_n

Banner

Cotton_pic

A Little Crush Never Hurt Nobody

IMG_7065

On Friday, February 20th, the sisters of Delta Zeta went back in time to the Roaring 20’s for our first social function of the semester – our annual Delta Zeta Crush Party. With a theme of “A Little Crush Never Hurt Nobody,” sisters and their dates came out to Jillian’s dressed in their best Gatsby attire. With pearls, boas and flapper dresses all around, the night was a great success! Thank you to our Social Chair, Maddie Keane, for planning such an exciting function!

IMG_7057

IMG_7060

IMG_7068

IMG_7061

tumblr_nk4wbfns1z1ts99a7o1_500

tumblr_nk4wa3erCJ1ts99a7o1_1280

Donor Story: Meredith Davis

I joined the National Bone Marrow registry during the Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow Drive my freshmen year. At the time, I did not put much thought into what joining the registry could mean for me. In late January of last year, I received an email that I may be a potential match. After giving a small blood sample it was determined that I was indeed a match for donation. Over the following month leading up to my donation I was coached through what my entire experience would entail. However what I failed to fully understand was how my experience with Be the Match would affect me, not only for my donation, but my entire life.

hollie_meredith
Meredith and her DZ Little Sister Hollie at Sweet Caroline 2014

My donation coach Tristanna was so helpful and encouraging throughout my entire experience. She scheduled each step of the donation process and really worked around my schedule as a student. I think a big misconception, that at least I had before donating, was that I wouldn’t have time or that I had too much going on. I could not have been more wrong. Be the Match does a phenomenal job of making each step of the process as convenient as possible for the donor. Throughout my entire experience I only missed one day of class (and that was my donation day!). Joining the registry and donating has been one of the most positive experiences that I have ever been a part of.

Be the Match has a very strict confidentiality agreement. And as a donor I was only able to know my recipient’s gender, age and illness. This coming March will mark one year since my donation. At this time, I will be eligible to release my name and contact information to my recipient. I am looking forward to potentially meeting the man and his family who has so positively affected my life.

Through my donation I was able to gain a better understanding of what Be the Match means for those on the transplant list. For me Be the Match was swabbing my cheek with a Q-tip but for someone on the registry it can mean the chance to live a longer, healthier life.

meredith_donate

 

Donor Story: Catherine Chatillon

cat_lee
Catherine and Lee, her donor mentor

I first became involved with Be the Match after attending the Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow and Blood Drive my freshman year. After going through the simple process of having my cheeks swabbed to be added to the registry and considering the odds of being a match, I never thought it would happen.

Turns out the odds were in my favor. Within a few months, I was matched twice for two different people. The first match, I was only considered a partial match for a patient and did not end up donating. The second time, I was chosen and made arrangements to begin the process to donate my stem cells to a woman with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I was assigned a donor mentor, Lee, who would call me about my appointments and made the whole process run smoothly.

At the one year mark after my donation, I was given the option to learn my recipient’s name,  to meet her and some of her family, to which I immediately said yes. Before meeting Linda (my donor recipient), I didn’t understand how big of an impact I was making on not only her life, but everyone else around her as well. Her two youngest sons had put their lives on hold to be her caregivers and knowing that they can now live the childhood they put on hold during their mother’s sickness was heartwarming. Linda is the sweetest, most loving woman I have ever met and her positive outlook on life is so infectious.

Cat_donation
During the donation

A couple of weeks ago, Linda had her “2nd Birthday,” meaning that it has been two years since the infusion of my donated stem cells. I call her my “blood sister” because after my stem cells were infused, she took over my blood type, O negative. Donating my stem cells to help save Linda’s life will forever be the greatest moment in my life. I am still struggling to believe that I was even able to make such an immense difference for someone else. I will never forget her face, crying with joy, when I first walked into the room to meet her. I highly recommend anyone who wants to make a difference in the world to join Be the Match. It is a simple and short process compared to all of the agony these sick patients are going through when fighting for their lives.

 

 

Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow Drive 2015 Is Almost Here!

Did you know that every four minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia? Join Delta Zeta on February 17, 2015 at the Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow and Blood Drive to add your name to the registry and maybe one day help save a life.

Caroline_BDThe Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow and Blood Drive is held annually in memory of sister Caroline Terry, Beta Delta Fall 2003, who was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) in 2004 during her time as a USC student. That year, Beta Delta sisters held two drives to help in finding potential matches for Caroline and others that were in their search. Sadly, Caroline passed away in 2005, but the sisters of Delta Zeta still come together each spring to host the Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow and Blood Drive in her honor and to continue to help support the fight against cancer.

Delta Zeta co-hosts this philanthropy with the help of Be The Match, the leading nonprofit organization focused on saving lives through bone marrow donation. Adding your name to the national bone marrow registry is as simple as a swab of your cheek. With the help of Be The Match, you will have four cotton swabs of your cheeks taken and tested. A couple minutes of your time could mean a lifetime to somebody else.

Meredith_donateLast fall, the sisters of Beta Delta received a Leadership Award from the Be The Match program in recognition of our chapter’s contributions and continued support to the organization through our Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow and Blood Drive. Since the drive’s inaugural event ten years ago, we have added over 3,000 names to the registry – with the potential to save over 3,000 lives! Some of our own sisters have donated their own bone marrow to help save another person’s life!

Karlyn_donateWe all have the power to help save lives.

We hope you are all able to come out to the Sweet Caroline Bone Marrow and Blood Drive on February 17, 2015 in the Russell House Ballroom on USC’s campus to add your name to the registry and donate blood!

More information about the drive and donations can be made here.

We hope to see you there!

BD_article

The 116th Day

Happy Holidays, everyone! I’m Natalie Hobson and I’m a junior in Delta Zeta.

Gosh, Christmas came so soon! I can’t believe it. The holiday season is my absolute favorite. Everything is so cozy and cheery, every house on the street puts up lights, and calories don’t count – right? (Considering I have quite the sweet tooth.)

However, for me, this Christmas was a little bit different. I’m over 4,000 miles away from home. It will be my first Christmas not spent in North Carolina with my family. This year I’m in Sevilla, Spain, where I’ve been studying for the past four months. It will be my 116th day abroad. I’ll be here for the Spring semester, too – yup, a whole year – but more on that later.

In the past 116 days, I’ve been to twelve cities in five different countries. I’ve tasted a bunch of new foods, spoken a ton of Spanish, and learned a bit about la cultura Sevillana. I’ve also created a modge-podge of a new family; my host family and my new friends. It’s been the busiest, most adventurous 116 days of my life, by far. Everyone thought I was a little crazy for going abroad for an entire year, especially the ones who know me well. I must admit, I’m a bit of a homebody, so I’ve experience my share of challenges at times. I miss my favorite American foods (biscuits and sweet tea come to mind) and my family. I think about my friends at USC every day and I daydream about Delta Zeta’s famous Friday brunch way too often.

But at the same time, in the past 116 days, I saw the Spanish Royal Palace, visited the oldest European synagogue still standing, spent a day on a Portuguese beach, toured the Alhambra, looked out over the Cliffs of Moher, became friends with Irish ponies, read the Book of Kells, hiked the Spanish countryside, explored Prague Castle with one of my best friends from home, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and walked the grounds of Versailles. I’ve figured out how to book flights, buy train tickets and navigate bus systems. I’ve learned how to say “Good day!”, “Thank you!”, and “Where’s the bathroom?” in at least three languages. The list could go on and on.

Studying abroad is such a blessing. As corny as it sounds, I am truly amazed every day by the experiences and incredible opportunities that await me. I’ve come to love Spain and its people, who are full of life, character and kindness. It’s been an unbelievable journey so far and I’m not even halfway through.

One aspect of Delta Zeta that I’ll always be thankful for is the sisterhood I know I can always depend on. This year, that’s meant being able to text my sisters for some encouragement or to tell them a funny story about my day from afar. I love knowing that they’re always there, even if they are thousands of miles away. In the spring, a bunch of our sisters will be abroad, and I absolutely cannot wait to visit all of them in their different cities! As for me, I just found out that one of my sisters will be my new roommate next semester here in Sevilla. What are the chances?! I am seriously so lucky. Delta Zeta has always been my home away from home, and that still holds true, whether I’m in Columbia or exploring Europe.

So, once again, Happy Holidays to all of my lovely sisters and their beautiful families – I miss you all so, so much! Thank you for your sweet messages while I’ve been here – I don’t know what I’d do without you guys. ¡Les extraño mucho!

In the Flame,
Natalie Hobson

IMG_5403

IMG_6961

IMG_6868

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 7.27.58 PM