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From the Director – Welcome to Fall


Welcome to Fall!  


Do you remember your first day on campus? For some that was just last week. For others, it was a few years ago.  But walking into a new world on a new campus can be pretty overwhelming. As a college student many, MANY years ago, I still remember how it felt coming to UT, swimming in quiet isolation with crowds of strangers everywhere.  While I was lucky to have many friends join me at Tennessee and I was excited about this new campus, in those first few weeks, I was not feeling altogether comfortable in all of these large new spaces. Then I met Stacy.


Stacy was much wiser older student… a sophomore from Chattanooga who was the suitemate of my high school friend.  Stacy was in a word, cool. She was seemingly everything I was not. Stacy was in my sorority and everyone’s first pick for a big sister.  In those first few days of class, she pulled few of us into her room in South Carrick and gave us some special wisdom… some guidelines… “How to not look like a freshman.” According to Stacy, there were some things to help you navigate what she described as the challenge of looking like a freshman. First rule…. Wear your new greek letters. If it just a button on your backpack, when you wear them, that is cool,  Just remember to look nice and have a sense of pride. She also suggested that we should wear said backpack slung only on one shoulder “because two shoulders would be very uncool…” Advice that would later prove to match the ridiculous choices we made in the 80s like the definition of good hair. Stacy’s third rule of how not to look like a freshman was to skip Presidential Cafeteria and eat in Morrill because the food was better, and the cute upperclassmen ate there. So following her advice, I put my sorority button on my backpack (check) and wore my backpack on one shoulder (check) and gathered my tray of yummy cafeteria food in Morrill Hall (check). Then I saw an open table next to some really cute older students who were actually smiling at me (check). Yes, I was winning this how not to look like a freshman business. Then going to put my tray down, my backpack fell into the crook of my arm causing the food on my tray to fly across the table. Mortified at the scene I had just made, the cute upperclassmen at the next table were laughing and one softly whispered to the other “freshman.” True story.


But the reality so many years later is that as much I would have liked to skip over the awkwardness of my new beginnings, there are some things in life that you cannot skip over or race through.  Someone shared a quote with me many years ago that “life is a series of freshman year experiences.” We have all had them in some form or fashion and the reality is, you will have them again. Whether your first year at college or first year in new leadership role. First year to be in a relationship or in a new job. Your first year in a new marriage, or a new town. The first year as a new parent or the first year after the kids leave home. I have even heard older friends talk about how couples manage not to lose it with one another through their the freshman year of retirement. Life will bring you to those places where all that you once thought you knew, may all seem to be new again. Certainly, I have seen my fair share of freshman years. While the challenges are no less difficult, the cumulative effect allows us to see the reality that you will get through them and find yourself in a better place down the road. We tend to want to live life with an easy button and to speed through change, but real sustained growth takes time.


Give yourself grace to get to that place where all of this is comfortable.  Know that you are surrounded by people who want to see you succeed. That is one of the greatest gifts of fraternity and sorority… people to walk beside you through all of the journeys you will take.  Remember high school: the transition from freshman to senior year took a little time. Hopefully, you will get to a better place or maybe even as my daughters say, “glow-up,” but allow yourself the space to learn, to stumble and be there for one another when you need someone to help clean up your messes. (Even in front of the cute upperclassmen.) It’s going to be ok. We are so glad you are here. And we are here for you.


Welcome to Sorority and Fraternity Life,



Kelly Phillips serves as the Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life and can be reached at or 865-974-2236

Panhellenic President appointed to NPC Student Advisory Committee


This summer Elizabeth Longmire (middle row, second from right), who currently serves as the President of the Panhellenic Council was one of 10 women across the country selected to serve on the National Panhellenic Conference’s inaugural Student Advisory Committee. Selected through an application and referral process, Elizabeth and the other members of the committee will routinely meet with the NPC Executive Committee and provide feedback and suggestions as well as work together to promote the work of NPC to advance the sorority experience on our college campuses. See the official press release here.

We are so proud of you Elizabeth! Thank you for representing our UTK sorority and fraternity community in such a prestigious role!

Sigma Alpha Epsilon President receives two national awards

Over the course of the summer, both Sigma Alpa Epsilon and its members received several awards. The chapter received a Chapter Achievement Award from the National Office, which was last received in 1991. Spencer Shelton, SAE’s President, received the Outstanding Eminent Archon Award from SAE in recognition of his efforts. Shelton also received the Bradley M. Cohen Eminent Archon of the Year Award and Scholarship, which recognizes the president who demonstrates service to the chapter and Sigma Alpha Epsilon above and beyond the call of duty, having made measurable improvements in the welfare, culture, and spirit of the chapter. Additionally, Andrew Mosteller, the chapter’s treasurer, received the Outstanding Eminent Treasurer Award. Congratulations!

Panhellenic Council receives the National Panhellenic Conference College Panhellenic Excellence Award

This summer, the Panhellenic Council was one of 25 College Panhellenics to receive the NPC Excellence Award, which recognizes College Panhellenics that demonstrate success in the areas of academics, communication, community impact and relations, judicial procedures, operation and administration, recruitment, and programming. This is the second time that the UTK Panhellenic Council has received this highest honor from the National Panhellenic Conference. Official press release can be found here.

Panhellenic members travel to Senegal for school build

This summer, 12 members of the Panhellenic Community traveled to Mboyene, Senegal where they broke ground on a school build which was funded completely by the philanthropic efforts of the Panhellenic community. This was the second school build within 3 years that the Panhellenic community has funded, working in collaboration with the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation and BuildOn. See the press release about the trek.

Members from the Senegal Trek team will join Ginny Carroll, the founder of Circle of Sisterhood, for a presentation on September 20th at 6pm to share their stories and speak with attendees about the importance of women’s access to education worldwide. Make sure to mark your calendars and join us for this empowering event!

Alpha Kappa Alpha

Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. attended the organization’s 68th Boule in Houston, Texas where the Zeta Delta chapter was featured in an exhibit called the AKA Travel Guide. The exhibit highlighted the Alpha Kappa Alpha marker on the University of Tennessee’s Pedestrian Walkway timeline that notes that they were the first African American sorority on campus. This exhibit also included other outstanding women from Zeta Delta.

Lambda Theta Alpha

Members of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc. stayed busy this summer through studying abroad, internships, and attending conferences. Read about some of their experiences below.


Stefanie Macedo

Crossed Spring 2018

In May, Stefanie Macedo studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain and took classes in International Business and Marketing. While in Europe, she also visited Morocco, Italy, and Greece.


Ellie Decker

Crossed Spring 2018

During the summer, Ellie Decker worked with Dr. Bernard Issa on his research into the effects of instructional interventions in second language processing. She attended the McNair SAEOPP Research Conference in Atlanta. Upon the completion of her program, she received second place presentation for her research with Dr. Bernard Issa with the Summer Research Institute at the University of Tennessee.


Stephanie Bellozo

Crossed Spring 2018

During the summer, Stephanie Bellozo interned at Studio Bank, a de novo bank in Nashville, TN. They are a startup bank that specializes in the artistic and creative community of Middle Tennessee. Along with interning, she participated in the Lambda Theta Alpha National Convention that took place in Miami, Florida at the beginning of July. It was an amazing experience to meet sisters from all over the country and grow professionally. Additionally, she volunteered once a week at Project C.U.R.E in Nashville, which is an organization that collects medical supplies from hospitals and companies and donates them to developing countries.


Jordan Gibson

Crossed Spring 2018

In July, Jordan Gibson had the opportunity to travel to Miami, Florida for the National Convention of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated where she attended workshops and even got the chance to sit with some of the founding mothers of the organization.


Allison Garcia

Crossed Spring 2018

This past summer, Allison Garcia studied abroad in Florianopolis, Brazil where she took an intermediate Portuguese class along with a class about race, ethnicity, and society in Brazil. She also had the opportunity to travel to Rio de Janeiro.


Vanessa Marin

Crossed Spring 2018

During the months of June and July, Vanessa Marin participated as a summer assistant and resident assistant for the high school students in the Math and Science Center Upward Bound Program. She also accompanied the students on the cultural trip to Washington, D.C. At the end of the program, she received the “Most Outstanding Summer Assistant” Award.

Delta Gamma









Nationally, Delta Gamma offers Hope Serving programs that encourages learning and critical thinking through hands-on service, community involvement, civic and social justice education. Two women from Gamma Alpha were selected for Hope Serving experiences. Paige Osterfeld (back row, second from left) is a sophomore and had the opportunity to serve as a volunteer for the USABA National Goalball Tournament. Goalball is a sport designed for athletes with visual impairments. Paige and other members from around the country served as judges, timers, stat keepers, food servers, and guides during the tournament. Paige’s favorite part about her experience was building personal relationships with the athletes.


Maggie Webb is a junior member and had the opportunity to serve as a counselor at OWL Camp, which is a free summer camp offered to children who are blind or visually impaired. Maggie and other DGs spent a week at YMCA Camp Classen where kids were given the opportunity to go horse back riding, shoot archery, rock climb, kayak, and more. “We are so proud of our women for believing so passionately in our philanthropy and the idea that independence is possible or everyone. Paige and Maggie continue to inspire our chapter with their servant hearts.”

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