Koren Phillips, Phi Chi (U of Chicago), International Vice President
In my non-AOII life, I’m often asked why I continue to volunteer for an organization or activity that many perceive to be limited to a college-based experience. My answer to that is straightforward: I want to give back to an organization that gave so much to me. One of the most amazing things about the AOII experience is that it means different things to different sisters in different points of life – the same is true for my own experiences. While AOII’s organizational values hold true for all of us, AOII’s value to us as an individual may vary greatly. I’m happy to reflect on AOII’s value to me over the course of my membership since my initiation in December 2001.
Phi Chi Chapter at the University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is on the quarter system, so I did not depart for my first year of college until after 9/11/2001. It was a strange, scary feeling to leave for college during a time of so much unrest and violence. Like many of my peers, I was anxious to find a group of close friends and to establish relationships that would be a safe haven in these unsettled times so far away from home. I decided to go through Formal Recruitment with my best friend from my dorm floor (still one of my best friends to this day!) and we both joined AOII during our third week of school. There were only three weeks of college where I wasn’t a proud AOII. AOII’s value to me as a college woman was a home away from home.
Moving to Boston
A year after graduating from college, I unexpectedly relocated to Boston as my father was profoundly ill. As I navigated a serious terminal illness within my family, I was wanted to find friendships and connections to alleviate stress and to recenter myself. I joined Delta Chapter at Tufts University’s AAC and became involved with the reestablishment of the Boston Alumnae Chapter. It was an incredibly meaningful experience to find a cohort of like-minded women with a common bond through AOII. These women that I met during this period of my life are still some of my closest friends. AOII’s value to me as a young alumna was a resource for building new relationships and finding new connections.
International Volunteer Service
I’ve been fortunate to continue to grow in my AOII service since my initiation. I am honored to serve as an international volunteer for the Fraternity. My AOII volunteer experiences have allowed me to connect with our collegiate members and to have a greater understanding of what matters to the next generation. In addition, my AOII volunteer service has allowed me to try new things and to learn more about myself as a leader in a safe, nurturing space. AOII’s value to me as an international volunteer is the opportunity to be a role model to younger generations of sisters and to be a servant leader.