A Letter to Delta Phi Epsilon, on our 100th Founder’s Day

Dear Delta Phi Epsilon,

I know that I missed the day for the cliché founder’s day “what my sorority means to me” post, but seeing that my chapter is celebrating our Centennial this weekend, I still see myself as being on time.

Now, Delta Phi Epsilon honestly wasn’t something that I saw myself becoming a part of during college. I didn’t want to be a sorority girl. I didn’t fit the mold that society sets for sororities—the thin, blond, popular girls who have their parents buy them everything and only wanted to party. That wasn’t me. It still isn’t. I only went through with it because I met a Gamma Chi (a recruitment counselor) in one of my classes, and she convinced me in the weeks leading up to it that it would be worth it. I wasn’t expecting to find much.

What I found in you, DPhiE, was so much more than parties, formals, and philanthropies—even before I was an initiated sister.

The first night I walked into formal sorority recruitment, I came to DPhiE’s room last. I had been passed from girl to girl in the other rooms, being asked the same things, and it was like no one really wanted to know Kortney. They just wanted to know my high school GPA, my drinking habits, and getting information about the sorority shoved in my face. In DPhiE’s room, it felt so much more comfortable. The first girl I talked to actually asked me how I was feeling going through recruitment, and asked if she could answer any questions that I had, and when she did, she took me to one of the reasons I joined Delta Phi Epsilon.

The second sister I talked to on the first night made me want to be part of this sisterhood. Kelsi made me laugh—we traded stories about traveling, eating chocolate chip cookies, and what kind of mac and cheese we like. It wasn’t a forced conversation, and I felt like I actually got to know the sisters, not just the necessary information about philanthropies and dues. The rest of the week continued in that manner—the second night I met one of my best friends, Gina, who I’m probably the most excited to see during this Centennial weekend. The last night of recruitment—preference night—was what clinched it for me. I was only invited back to DPhiE, and I knew that if I didn’t get a bid from them, I would be crushed. I went into the room and ended up crying my eyes out—I can’t give the details, as it’s a sorority ritual that I went through multiple times over the years, but I can say this—there was never a preference ceremony that I didn’t cry in. It’s emotional in the best way.

After the ceremony was over, I went back to the home base for the potential new members, signed my preference card saying I chose DPhiE, and went home to wait and see if I would get a bid. I didn’t get a call during the night informing me I didn’t have a bid, and I was worried, but I figured that no news was good news. I was right.

When I got to campus on that Saturday morning, I went to the Gamma Chi’s to get my bid, and I was so excited to sign my name on that paper that said I accepted my bid to become a member of Delta Phi Epsilon. Then came the waiting to run to my sorority for the first time, when I would really be a sister.

As an individual with a last name that starts with W, it took forever—that year, there were over 150 girls who went through the recruitment process. I got to see all of those girls get run to by their sisters, and I couldn’t wait for my turn. I finally got to the line, told the person with the megaphone who I was running to, and when it was announced, I took two steps and felt a body crash into mine. I grabbed the person who had literally wrapped their body around mine, felt a kiss on my cheek, and heard “I’m so happy you’re here, welcome to DPhiE!”

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It was Kelsi, the girl I talked to on my first night of recruitment, and then again for like 2.5 seconds on the last night. She’s the reason you can barely see me in the picture above. he body is literally wrapped around mine. the easiest way to see this is to find the leg in the capris (that’s my leg) and look up–the white shorts and purple shirt above that leg are Kelsi holding onto me.

I never realized until years later how she must have felt—you find one person you just fall in love with (platonically), and hope that they run to you, but you don’t know until it’s announced. You have no clue if this person you really want to have this sisterhood bond with is actually going to be your sister.

I can never put into words exactly how happy I am to have been able to be that person for Kelsi. I can never put into words how amazing it felt to find that acceptance, that home, in Delta Phi Epsilon.

But I do know that any time I’ve gone back to see my sisters since I became an alumnae member, I’ve been attacked with hugs and nothing but love from the girls I’ve seen.

Now, I know that putting over a hundred women in a room is a breeding ground for drama—and yes, drama happens (quite) frequently—but at the end of the day, I know that my sisters will have my back through anything, just as I will for them.

I will never be anything but grateful for the DIMES for creating this incredible sisterhood, or for my sisters, there for me through everything.

D Phi E till I D-I-E.

YITS, Kortney

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