—By Guest Blogger Georgia Petrides, Colorado
As an active member of Beta Mu Chapter, Colorado, I had the opportunity to serve as my chapter’s New Member Chairman in 2012 and then as Panhellenic President in 2013. While Panhellenic President, I had the privilege of representing the University of Colorado at the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) in Indianapolis, Ind. Since I had no idea what to expect at UIFI, I was apprehensive. The women who had attended before me assured me that it was going to “change my life.” Part optimistic, part skeptical and very curious, I packed my bag and traveled to the Alpha Xi Delta chapter house at the University of Indiana-Bloomington, host of the 2013 UIFI.
UIFI was life changing. I was enriched by the experience of living in the chapter house at UIFI with other leaders. It was an honest experience and forced me to step up as a leader for my Greek-life community. Exposing and confronting serious issues within the Greek-life culture made me grow as a woman and inspired me to strive to be a better human being. I was already so grateful and proud to represent the blue and blue, but attending UIFI was the next step.
UIFI gave me the confidence, knowledge, strength and support to stand up for what I know is right. I was given the perspective of the greater good and learned the potential of my community. In the end, a spark was ignited, a spark to continue the legacy of my community: a legacy of friendship, service and integrity.
UIFI’s purpose, as I came to find out, is to inspire and educate participants to become builders of the future. According to their website , 98 percent of participants felt they were better leaders because of UIFI, and 99 percent agreed that UIFI deepened their commitment to Greek life. I couldn’t agree more. It was by far one of the most amazing and enriching experiences I have ever had in my leadership and collegiate career.
In five days, I grew as a leader. I grew as a woman. UIFI was a step up from being in the small world that was my chapter and my campus. It broadened my horizons, making the fraternity experience greater than I imagined. Coming together with other chapters and groups was an eye-opening experience and I learned more than I ever could have anticipated. I attribute all my successes since returning to campus to UIFI.
Editor's Note: If you are interested in attending UIFI 2014, please complete the application by March 1. Applications should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Recipients will be notified by March 15.