This summer ended so quickly, but there are many memories I can hold onto forever. This summer’s success was made possible by the encouragement and advice of many of my sisters. Set sail Phi Beta Chi and they can do the same for you.
By: Vanessa Watson
One April day in the Phi Beta Chi house as I sat in the parlor trying to figure out how I was going to survive the rest of the semester, I received a call from NASCAR's informing me of an internship opportunity. A few weeks later, surrounded by sisters, I received the call that I would be working with NASCAR and Octagon, the marketing agency for its title sponsor. NASCAR being one of the sports that this sports fanatic wasn’t familiar with made me hesitant, but with the encouragement of sisters I happily accepted and was swept into the summer of a lifetime.
So much excitement was jammed into this seemingly short period of time. Watching the All Star race and the Coca-Cola 600 turned me into a fan who tunes into races every weekend. Riding in the pace car at the Coca-Cola 600 was just icing on top of the cake. Following Miss Sprint Cup around and riding around in the Sprint golf cart with the activation team gave me a greater appreciation for marketing in the sport. Seeing Martin Truex Jr. in Victory Lane with confetti raining down on me led me to believe I was hooked. All of this happened in only two weeks. The weeks ahead were even better.
I spent three months with this internship program. In this time I got to attend a Lunch & Learn series with some of NASCAR’s distinguished employees. I had the opportunity to enjoy agency life with Octagon and work with the best in sports marketing. Somehow this girl participated in Office Olympics (spoiler: I am not good at eating donuts that are hanging from the ceiling) and an Octagon outing to Escape Room (somehow I survived.) I got advice from the best in the business. I was constantly pushed outside of my comfort zone and by the end of the summer I completed a presentation of my ideas. My time in this internship definitely made me a better professional and student.
This summer ended so quickly, but there are many memories I can hold onto forever. This summer’s success was made possible by the encouragement and advice of many of my sisters. Set sail Phi Beta Chi and they can do the same for you.
By: Courtney Hoffmeister
When I chose to participate in Phi Beta Chi recruitment two years ago, I was astounded by the diverse and inspirational group of sisters that welcomed me. So many of them were adventurous enough to study abroad, and by hearing about their experiences (and living vicariously through their Instagram posts), I was encouraged to study abroad this past summer.
I spent six weeks in Copenhagen, Denmark. It seems random, right? But I quickly learned to adore this city, with its 18 hours of daylight and abundance of bicycles. I developed tight-knit relationships with my flatmates through music festivals, grocery shopping, and a mutual love for beautiful buildings. I met students from all over the US through my program and classes, as well. Nothing turns strangers into friends like biking 70 miles in two days on an island in the Baltic Sea. My American friends and I did our best to embrace Danish culture during our short six weeks in Copenhagen; we wore plenty of black (and no t-shirts), rode bikes, and learned how to say “thank you!” I even had the opportunity to visit two Phi Beta Chi alumnae in Madrid for a weekend, where they graciously hosted me and showed me the city.
Tears were shed on my final day in Copenhagen, but my summer of adventure wasn’t over yet. I set off on a month-long tour of Europe with one of my best friends, who is also involved in Greek Life at UNC. 20 cities later, I had 4 new kinds of currency in my wallet and 8,000 pictures on my phone. We travelled through Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. I treasured not only the breath-taking views we saw, but also the interesting friends we made. By encountering people from so many countries, I developed a new appreciation for cultures and cities different from my own. It was definitely the summer of a lifetime.
As a senior in high school, I never imagined that I would be brave enough to spend 10 weeks on another continent. Two years later, however, I boarded my flight at RDU with feelings of excitement rather than fear. I’d like to thank Phi Beta Chi, where I found not only my home at UNC but also the encouragement to pursue my dreams. My sisters inspired me to “Set Sail with Phi Beta Chi” by being bold and studying abroad. Phi Beta Chi and Copenhagen will both always hold special places in my heart.
By: Faith Kidd
Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to work at this place called Fort Caswell. My church youth group went there every summer for summer camp. Since my dad was the youth pastor, I had the pleasure of going for several years. There was no doubt in my mind that one day I would work on Summer Staff at Fort Caswell, so when I turned 16 I filled out an application and applied. Now, here I am getting ready to complete my third summer as part of Summer Staff.
Fort Caswell is no ordinary place. Found on the tip of Oak Island, North Carolina the North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell is a former Civil War fort. Every summer, thousands of people come through the gates and experience God’s magnificence like never before. Fort Caswell is home to Youth Weeks hosted by Be.Do.Tell., Camp Seabreeze, Coastal Explorers, an Environmental Stewardship Program, and several other visitors who like to vacation at the Fort. Throughout the school year, Caswell also hosts several groups for retreats, conferences, and special events.
Caswell holds a special place in my heart. Being on Summer Staff isn’t just a job; you become family with those you work with. Being on Summer Staff you learn several valuable lessons, like always be on time for everything. Nothing beats the beauty of a Caswell sunset; our God is an outstanding artist. I met my best friend my first summer, along with some other wonderful people I continue to talk to every week, even though we are hundreds of miles apart. The Fourth of July is a huge celebration since the Fort is located right across from Southport. You won’t find a firework show any better! Christmas in July is a huge deal. We put up a Christmas tree, have a big family dinner, and give gifts. But I have to say one of my favorite parts is being able to join with my fellow staffers and worship our Savior. I’ll never forget the nights I stayed up late, worn out from a days worth of work, but sang my heart out because God is so good. You loose yourself in the glory of God’s grace and realize what a wonderful opportunity you have to serve His kingdom.
During my first two summers on staff I was a part of the lifeguard team. The team was responsible for watching patrons at the pool and designated beach area, as well as teaching swim lessons. Some of my most memorable moments as a lifeguard include what is known as the lighthouse swim, in-service with our boss Amy Southerland, and a time when I was stung six times by a jellyfish.
This summer I am taking on a new responsibility as retail supervisor. At Fort Caswell we have two retail locations: the Drift Inn and the PX. The PX is where you can shop for all of your Caswell attire and memorabilia. The Drift Inn is the Fort’s coffee shop. The Drift Inn is the perfect place to stop for a milkshake, coffee, ice-cream, or smoothie—especially on those hot summer days. I love to interact with and serve those who come into the Drift Inn. This summer, I’m looking forward to serving with this year’s retail crew and our fearless leader, Kevin “Yam” Cruise.
My time at Caswell has been well spent, and I’m looking forward to dedicating more time there. I have learned from several great mentors— David Lloyd, Brian Hemphill, Amy Southerland, and Yam. My relationship with Jesus Christ has grown stronger, along with my love for serving people. I wouldn’t trade the memories I have made at Caswell for anything. So with that being said… here’s to round three.
By: Julia Meder
“My coach said I run like a girl, and I said if he ran a little faster he could too.”
– Mia Hamm
In my 17 years as a dancer I’ve never been as proud of a dance as I was on March 23. March 23 was a warm, spring Wednesday, but more importantly it was Greek Groove 2016.
On that warm, spring Wednesday, after months and months of preparation, it was time for our group of 16 dancers to dance our hearts out and represent Phi Beta Chi in front of the Panhellenic and UNC-CH community in a quite unique way.
Dressed as Rosie the Riveter with our jean tops tied, red bandanas placed and combat boots laced, we took the stage. We’d heard our sisters screaming through the intercom in our dressing room before we even got on stage.
All 130 of our biggest fans and closest friends sat in the front row of the right section. They were so loud I thought I would miss the first snap of “BO$$ “by Fifth Harmony. I was so excited and determined for the dance and my dancers. But mostly, as I already said, I was just so proud.
You know the moves; you’ve practiced them every Sunday since October and gone to office hours to perfect them. You know the songs; you may struggle to sing them but the beats and lyrics tell your body what to do. You know the dancers; your sisters on that stage with you are going to bring their all so you better match their level with your own sass and poise.
Knowing that, all that is required is that you perform, and I’ll be the first to tell you performing is the most exhilarating experience you’ll ever get to be a part of. I’ll also be the first to tell you that WE PERFORMED!
By performed what I really mean to say is WE KILLED IT! Phi Beta Chi went onto that stage and SLAYED. We were FIRE. We were LIT. We were simply AMAZING. And that is why I’m so proud. We could not have possibly done it better, because it was perfect. It was the best we’d ever done it, and it was so fun.
By Elizabeth Moore
On February 22nd, we hosted our annual major philanthropy event, Breakfast for Bethesda. Almost 400 sisters and their friends and family members came together at the Phi Beta Chi House to enjoy a delicious breakfast dinner that evening. Each of the sisters contributed to ticket sales and other public relations events, and many volunteered in various positions during the dinner.
We were able to serve not only our community and national philanthropy through this event, but also our fellow sisters. Many went above and beyond their service, including Taylor Newsome and Hannah Crater, who spent hours painting our banner. Anna Jacks, Adelaide Zhao, and Taylor Newsome, the Philanthropy Sub-Chairs, came early to help set up and stayed late to clean. They maintained the fine standards and attained excellence that the women of Phi Beta Chi strive to uphold in all their endeavors.
Not only did the women of Phi Beta Chi work with each other, but we worked with other leaders in our community. Tri Sigma and Delta Upislon both cancelled their dinners to attend. Both Rameses and Rameses Junior made appearances, and Rameses wore a Breakfast for Bethesda shirt. Six A capella groups sang throughout the night, including the Achordants, the Walk Ons, Cadence, the Tarpeggios, Psalm 100, and the Tar Heel Voices. Be the Match set up a table in our house during the event, and over 40 people signed up with them for the National Bone Marrow Registry.
We also kept costs down. The Bigelow Tea Representative brought 32 boxes of free tea to our event. A DJ came for free and played music when A capella groups weren’t singing. Three chefs who work closely with the sorority donated their time and cooked all the food. Our local charity, The Arc of the Triangle, donated beautiful flowers for every table.
This was our 7th annual fundraiser, and we raised more money than ever before: $3,900 for our national philanthropy, Bethesda Lutheran Communities. It is an organization that seeks to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Bethesda provides short-term care, residential facilities, summer camps, employment assistance, assistance locating religious facilities, and more. You can find more information at bethesdalutherancommunities.org.
By Lillian Dillard
Colossians 3:14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
This spring break I journeyed to a little town outside of Santo Domingo called Cielo (Spanish for “heaven”). I came in to spring break knowing that the people of Cielo were going to help save me, and bypassed the notion that it might be the other way around.
The people of Cielo are loving. From old to young they will wrap you in unconditional love before even knowing your first name. At church they kiss you on the cheek and wish God’s blessing upon you.
In the playground at school the four year olds explain the rules of tag in painfully slow Spanish because they know you won’t understand any other way. Walking in the streets children run up and take your sweaty palms to drag you to their home just so you can have broken “Spanglish” conversations about hopes, dreams, favorite colors, and pop songs.
In Cielo, I helped build houses and paint buildings. I played “caballo”, held hands, and danced. I also got to meet my sponsor child, Engely. I will help Engely financially to receive an education and health care. Engely’s favorite color is white and she loves to study. Engely wants to save the world from climate change. She is probably going to win a noble prize, but that’s just my opinion.
Cielo, to me, is singing “Our God” in a crowded room, sweating from the humidity, at the leprosarium, fighting back tears, as a man lays crippled and blinded in bed. A man named Edwin who has been abandoned by his family and society had the faith of a mustard seed. But the greatest thing about Cielo is that in that place, I got to see a glimpse of heaven.
By: Hannah Crater
I’ve always wanted to travel. Growing up, I loved going on vacations and was always curious about other people and places. This curiosity is something that has only grown as I’ve gotten older, which is why I decided to study abroad at the University of Essex in England. Was I scared of spending 12 weeks in another country by myself? Yes. Was I so excited to finally have the chance to see and experience so many new things? Absolutely! So I packed my things, hopped on a flight (okay, more like sat on a plane for eight hours, but you get my point), and began my journey.
I’m not going to lie, the first few days were tough. I was homesick, I missed my friends, I missed Chapel Hill, and I was terrified. What if I didn’t make any friends who wanted to travel with me? What if I forgot to pack something that was super important? What if, what if, what if was all that ran through my mind. But eventually I did make friends and I didn’t forget anything crucial and after I got settled in I felt okay. I definitely found comfort in talking to my sorority sisters, especially my fam. They always gave me so much encouragement when I was homesick and always listened to my never-ending stories about my adventures even though I’m sure they got tired of hearing about them.
Classes were fine and pretty easy, but I’m not going to talk about classes in this post because nobody really wants to hear about that. Traveling was by far the best part of my time abroad. Traveling within Europe is cheap, like REALLY CHEAP. I never paid more than $100 (roughly £66) for a round trip flight, and hostels were so cheap and pretty nice. When traveling is that cheap I’m not really sure why you wouldn’t take random weekend trips to wherever you wanted to go. I ended up getting to go to Edinburgh, Rome, and Amsterdam. Each one of these places was so different from the others that I could write pages and pages about my experiences, but I’ll try to capture my trips in small little blurbs so that I keep it brief.
Edinburgh: This is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated cities in the world. It is the perfect mixture of historic and modern. While in Edinburgh I climbed up to Arthur’s Seat (supposedly the location of Camelot), toured Edinburgh Castle, and had brunch at the Elephant House Café where J.K. Rowling started writing the Harry Potter books. I walked the Royal Mile about six times a day and loved every second of it.
Rome: Where in the world do I begin? Rome was by far my favorite city. Although I was in the Eternal City for just over 36 hours, I fell completely and utterly in love. Of course I did the touristy things like go to the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Trevi Fountain (obviously I had my Lizzie McGuire moment when I threw my coin into the fountain), but I really fell in love with Rome because of the charming little side streets and the cobblestone roads and, if you know me at all, the coffee. Everything was so historic and so much better than I could have ever imagined.
Amsterdam: I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this city. I was in a bad mood one night so I impulsively bought a plane ticket and a few weeks later I was on my flight to Amsterdam. I was not disappointed at all! This was my most relaxing trip, which was perfect because I was in Amsterdam only four days before I came back to the US. I went to the Anne Frank House, climbed up on the iamsterdam sign, and ate the unbelievable desserts that Amsterdam is known for. The people were just about the nicest people I had ever met. One man even asked about Tar Heel basketball when I told him I was from North Carolina! This trip was one of, if not the best impulse purchases I have ever made.
While I was in England, my family also did one of the most typical things for families to do while a student is studying abroad. They came to visit me in London for a week right before Thanksgiving, but my mom told me that she had had the plane tickets booked since before I even left for England. We did just about everything you can do in London in that week and it was such an awesome experience to be able to share with my family. My parents made sure that everybody got the chance to do something that they absolutely could not leave London without doing, which made the trip so much fun for everyone. I had two things that I refused to leave London without doing: going to Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station and having tea at Harrods. My whole family had such a great time and I will always be so grateful that they took the time to come visit me.
So I’ve talked a lot about my adventures and memories, but here some things I learned while I was gallivanting through Europe:
Right now, I am preparing. I am working day and night to paint canvases, write letters, and figure out how to monogram a cooler. I’m writing with chalk over and over again trying to get my handwriting just right. I am buying your favorite candy and finding recipes for your favorite dessert. It is a blissful preparation and, while it is stressful, it is the most wonderful form of stress. As Big/Little Week approaches, I am preparing for the week of giving and spoiling that I so wonderfully enjoyed this time last year.
My big always told me how wonderful it was to give gifts, but I thought she just forgot how great it felt to receive gifts as a little. But now that I see the preparation process myself, I see how right she was. There is something so sweet about loving someone so much that you can’t seem to give them enough gifts in the world to actually quantify that love, even if you certainly try.
Little, I love you so much already. While I may have to keep that love at bay for a week, it will certainly manifest itself the second we meet for the first time as Big and Little. This week of anonymity is almost as hard for you as it is for me, but it will be oh so sweet by Friday.
It is in that revelation that we realize how Big/Little isn’t about the gifts, the time spent crafting, or the boys we choose to deliver our gifts. It is all about the love we have for each other.
So here’s to you, here’s to me. Big & Little we’ll always be.
Reveal cannot come quick enough. You know exactly who I am, but I have no clue who you are. I pass by every sister who is getting a big and think to myself, could she be the one? This week is actually quite stressful for me, as I am sure it is for you. I am anxiously trying to figure out who you are. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will love you and look up to you more than anyone else.
I am sure that you are quickly preparing whatever gifts and surprises that are coming my way, and I can’t thank you enough for all the time and effort you have already put in to our friendship. But you have already spoiled me enough just by being my Big. Even though I don’t know who you are right now, I’m already infatuated by you. I am excited about all of the time we will get to spend together in the near future as Big and Little. Not only will you be my Big, but you will also be a mentor, a friend, and a confidante.
Reveal is only a week away, but it feels like forever. I know this upcoming week will be a lot of fun for the both of us, but I am ready to find out who you are. You amaze me already, Big. I love you so much, and I will be so relieved when I finally get to show my love for you at reveal and in the years that follow. I cannot wait for the journey we are about to embark on together.
She is half my soul and half my heart. Without my Big, I’d fall apart.
By Andie Fitzgerald
A lot of people give up their time to give back to others, but Phi Beta Chi’s service is different. This service is done with heart and love. From flipping pancakes for Breakfast for Bethesda to raising money to sitting around a table with the residents of the Ronald McDonald House and talking about life, Phi Beta Chi girls use the hands the Lord has given us, love instilled in our hearts, and dedication to building community.
As we make Valentine’s goodies for the UNC students or write inspirational and positive notes on Susan’s Day of Service, we try to make each person feel special on the very best days and the very worst. One thing that I hold close to my heart when I serve is that I do not know the shoes that people have walked in, but I always pray God will give me His eyes when serving, and when I am serving alongside my sisters, I know He is working through us. We have sisters who travel the globe giving their time and talents to underprivileged children, and those who stay close to home and build houses over Spring Break.
I believe that service flows from our hearts, and when we are working alongside each other something special happens. A feeling of love and hope fills the soul, and we realize how good our God is. But most importantly, the people who we help, whether it is giving toys to children or food to the homeless, are the ones who are receiving so many gifts from the Lord. Service is something that our sorority takes very seriously and holds very close to our hearts. Our hands and our feet are the Lord’s and we are going to use our talents for whatever and whomever God places in our lives. Service not only warms our hearts, but also puts smiles and lasting impacts on the people around us in community. God calls us to be stewards to all and to take care of all of our brothers and sisters, and through service, we are able to spread the love.
By Marin Herold
Hi there!! My name is Marin and I am OFFICIALLY a second semester Phi Beta Chi member. I could not be more thrilled that I had the opportunity to join my first semester of my freshman year. SO much has happened in such a short amount of time and my heart is so full of love and thankfulness for my sisters.
A blog written by active sisters for sisters, alumni, parents, and anyone else interested in Phi Beta Chi!