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Words from our Alumni

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I never thought I would join a sorority until my friend was “rushing” so I figured I’d tag along. After going through recruitment, I can confidently say that in August 1988, I found my “home”, and some truly awesome forever- friends, at KKG. Living in the Kappa house taught me so many people skills! With all the personalities, different ideas, stress that being a college student brings - living in a house with 60ish similar girls will teach you a lot about how to work through differences with people and build stronger friendships from it. You take crazy road trips, experience unforgettable events, hold each other up through heartbreaks that you don’t think you’ll survive and share epic all-nighters that you’ll still talk about 30 years later. I would say my experience in KKG taught me an incredible amount about interpersonal dynamics and problem solving. Those skills helped me land a job in project management, then manager of the project management team before taking on my most rewarding job - mom of three boys. While being fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom, I didn’t let that stop me from taking on numerous other responsibilities and giving back to my community after experiencing all of the philanthropic opportunities while being a KKG on campus. I became involved in my kids’ school, joined (and then ran) the school’s PTA. I chaired our elementary school’s monthly Food Drive committee. We doubled and then tripled the amount of food collected. We started a program at Thanksgiving where we worked with the school social workers to help families from within our school by targeting the November food drives to create Holiday care packages for food insecure families that were full of essential needs as well as full Thanksgiving dinners. Feeding people became my mission. I have partnered with Northern Illinois Food Bank since 2014 to bring mobile food pantries to our community each month. With each new adventure - job, promotion, babies, new mission - my Kappa friends have been there to cheer me on, talk me through struggles or join me in an impromptu karaoke version of our favorite Proclaimers song. Being a part of Greek life helped me thrive at U of I and my Kappa sisters help me continue to thrive today.

Terese ‘T’ Silvestri Janik

Kappa Kappa Gamma Alum

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Hi! My name is Laura Durkin and am a Chi Omega alumna that graduated in May of 2023 and I am now living and working in Chicago. I work at CCIndustries, and in my free time I love to run, snowboard, and teach Corepower yoga sculpt classes. Being involved in a sorority during my college years was instrumental in my professional growth. It provided me with mentors in the business school who offered guidance on courses, professors, resume editing, and internship opportunities. But arguably even more importantly, it broadened my perspective. Before joining a sorority, I felt confined to a narrow range of career paths within the business school. However, interacting with my sisters exposed me to a diverse array of passions, interests, and career trajectories. This expanded my understanding of post-grad life and allowed me to explore avenues I hadn't previously considered. Through my sorority connections, I built a professional network that extended far beyond the confines of my major. This network not only provided me with additional support and resources but also opened doors to new opportunities and collaborations. Despite the demands of coursework and extracurricular activities, my sorority sisters were always there to provide support, encouragement, and a much-needed dose of laughter. They understood the importance of striking a balance between academic pursuits and personal well-being, and they helped me prioritize self-care and downtime amidst the rigors of college life. In addition to the professional benefits, being involved in a sorority also led me to find lifelong friends. These friendships not only enriched my social life but also played a crucial role in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I am immensely grateful for the friendships made during my time in the sorority. Not only did they enhance my college experience, but they also continue to enrich my life to this day, serving as a constant reminder of the power of genuine connections and the value of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Laura Durkin

Chi Omega Alum

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I loved being a part of a group of women who inspired me. The women in my pledge class were not only amazing friends, but they were also girls I looked up to! Today they are doctors, lawyers, and leaders in business and higher education. Living in the house gave us the opportunity to develop friendships to last a lifetime; our time in college went quickly, but our bonds have remained. Being a part of the Greek system presented an opportunity to develop my leadership skills that are still used today. I learned to navigate different personalities and opinions, to facilitate meetings, and represent our chapter. I use these skills almost daily, working to understand how to best satisfy the needs of my clients. Being a part of a sisterhood is about building relationships and having a sense of belonging; you take away friendships built around honesty, integrity, and fun. This doesn’t happen by accident. Being able to connect and build trust in professional relationships is equally as important, and I can confidently say it is what makes me great at my job. I will always be grateful for the experience I had by “going Greek,” and the connections I made in the house. Elise is the Assistant Director for Real Estate Services at the University of Illinois System Office. In her role she supports large capital construction projects delivered through Public Private Partnerships. She has extensive experience in construction, 20 years, beginning with the US Army Corps of Engineers. She has served as the executive sponsor for a number of high-profile projects in Champaign-Urbana, and is proud to give back to the community she grew up in.

Elise Riehle

Gamma Phi Beta Alum

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