Gamma Iota Wins Crown Chapter Award at ZTA National Leadership Conference

ZTA National Leadership Conference is held every other year to help develop leadership in collegiate members.

This year, our chapter was able to send three members – Megan, our president; Sami, our vice president 1; and Lauren, our corresponding secretary. The theme was “Strive for Greatness,” and our delegates were really put to the test to make plans to further how our chapter will strive for greatness this school year.

The weekend started with a tour of the International Offices in Indianapolis and ended with our chapter once again winning the Crown Chapter Award, which recognizes that our chapter attained outlined standards of excellence, as well as the Quota/Total Award for pledging quota during formal recruitment periods and maintaining maximum chapter total each semester. Thanks to all our Executive Officers, Program Council members, and sisters who made this possible!

Hear from the three of them about their favorite experiences from the weekend:

Megan Kelly – President

“My favorite part of NLC was meeting and working with my GREAT group. We were all broken out into different groups based on our positions, and my group had ZTA presidents from FSU, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Penn State University and more! It was so helpful to hear from sisters going through similar experiences and learn from them. I have so many new ideas to take back to Gamma Iota this fall and I can’t wait to get started! I also loved being able to spend time and work with Sami and Lauren, as I am constantly inspired by the leaders in our chapter.”

Sami Blatz – VP1

“A highlight of NLC was being able to represent our chapter, along with Megan and Lauren, when we won the Crown Chapter Award. On Saturday night, we sat with our province Beta Gamma (Florida State University) and Theta Iota (University of North Florida) and enjoyed a fun dinner party while the awards were announced. When Gamma Iota was called, it was amazing to have such support from our Zeta sisters at other Florida schools! It was so great to receive this award and know all the hard work that Gamma Iota is putting into Zeta is being recognized! It was also awesome to see every Florida school receive this award; it truly was great to be a Florida Zeta at NLC!”

Lauren Peterson – Corresponding Secretary

“Attending NLC as a rising leader was an absolutely incredible experience. Going in, I was extremely nervous knowing that I would be around so many accomplished ZTA leaders from all over the country. Once I got there, I was quickly put at ease by how kind and outgoing everyone was. It was so cool to talk to girls from all kinds of chapters and see what things their chapter does and how we can implement new things into our chapter. NLC made me view our chapter as just a small part of a much bigger organization; sometimes we forget about that when just focusing on our own chapter. I am so inspired by Megan and Sami and I can’t wait for fall when we can show everyone what we learned at NLC!”

“To find satisfaction in being, rather than seeming”

The Zeta Tau Alpha creed reads, “to find satisfaction in being, rather than seeming”. In Gamma Iota, we strive to live out this statement by providing our members with opportunities to further develop their leadership skills in order to better our chapter, the Greek community and the University of Florida campus as a whole.

This summer, sophomore Isabelle Hadley had the opportunity to attend a conference that equipped her with new skills and challenged her leadership ability. Here’s what Isabelle had to say about her experience:

This past June, I was lucky enough to represent the UF Zeta Tau Alpha chapter at the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) held at Indiana University. UIFI is a week-long leadership program that brings together about 80 sorority and fraternity leaders from across the country.

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I was one among a group of strangers thrown onto a bus at the airport, and we had no idea what was in store for us. Once we arrived, we were immersed into group sessions and discussions that really opened my mind. I was asked tough questions that made me reflect on my values, the values of my organization and the values of my council. I also had to be able to defend my values and explain them when another challenged them.

It wasn’t all serious deep conversations, though. We engaged in activities that allowed us to release our silly sides. We found a piece of chalk and a ball, and from then on, you could catch a group of twenty year olds playing foursquare outside. The group of strangers that was thrown together became so much more. In only five days, we became a family. We weren’t afraid to open up to one another and push each other to reflect deeper. We wrote silly letters to one another, pulled pranks and tried to pull an all-nighter on the last night because we didn’t want to say goodbye.

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UIFI gave me the opportunity to see how I can live out ZTA’s ritual meanings in my daily life, gave me leadership skills that I can take back to my chapter and allowed me to collaborate with other Greek life students about how their chapters and councils run. I learned that leadership is what you do and knowing why you do it. I am a better person and better leader because I attended UIFI, and I was able to make friendships that will last a very long time. I am forever grateful that Zeta Tau Alpha gave me the opportunity to participate in this life-changing experience.

We are so proud of you, Isabelle, and we can’t wait to see what you do for our chapter!

Claudia Davis Lands Internship with ProspectWire

As a sports management junior, our sister Claudia could not love her internship more. This summer, she has been interning with ProspectWire – a company that hosts baseball tournaments and events to help high school baseball players get recruited to college and major league teams.

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“As an intern, I get to help plan and manage the tournaments,” Claudia said. “The company is based in Tampa, but I get to travel all summer because tournaments are held at different major league spring training complexes throughout the state of Florida.”

What is the most exciting part about your internship?

The most exciting part about my internship is that I get to be around the sport that I’ve grown up with. I was going to Marlins games and had season tickets before I could even speak words.

What have you learned from your internship so far?

I’ve learned how to properly function without sleep, considering that there are times when I have 14-hour work days in the hot sun. I’ve also learned the importance of teamwork and patience. There are in between 50 to 100 people involved in working the tournaments, so learning to communicate clearly and make sure everything runs smoothly is incredibly important to the success of the tournaments and the business.

I also love my internship because I’ve made so many friends from it. In the little down time we have, we get to explore the cities we intern at. I’ve visited Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Jensen Beach in Port St. Lucie and I got to go to the Single A Home Run Derby and All Star game at the Mets complex in Port St. Lucie. I love working at all the different complexes because it brings back memories of all the spring training games I’ve been to in my life. This started as an unpaid internship, but after all the hard work I’ve put in, my boss offered to pay me.

Bienvenido a Madrid!

Our sister Eden has spent her entire summer working as an au pair in Madrid. She is watching four children and having a blast! This opportunity has allowed Eden to receive an authentic experience of Spanish culture.

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Eden hopes to gain more independence, since she is in a foreign country all by herself. Not only has she been taking care of children, but Eden has also been able to go sightseeing all over the wonderful city. When asked if she adjusted to living in Madrid easily, Eden answered, “The city, yes, but it took some adjusting to live with another family. I have been in Europe before, so it wasn’t a complete culture shock.”

Eden has had a blast but cannot wait to come home and eat a pub sub and sweet tea. We’re excited to see Eden and hear all of the wonderful stories she has to tell!

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Katelin McDilda Becomes Overall Director for Camp Kesem

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In less than a month, our sister Katelin McDilda will be heading to Camp Kesem, and she couldn’t be more excited.

Camp Kesem is a week-long camp for children whose parents have cancer. Camp activities include rock climbing, capture the flag and campfires, but there’s more to this exciting week than fun, outdoorsy activities.

“We also work to provide a safe and comfortable environment for our campers to open up in,” Katelin said. “Their home lives often provide stress, and we try to give a week of their carefree childhood back because many of them had to grow up too early.”

This past year, Katelin served as Camp Kesem’s fundraising chair. Together, the Camp Kesem team raised $52,000, which helped make the camp happen for yet another year.

Katelin is extremely passionate about these 91 children. So passionate that she has been named Camp Kesem’s overall director and is currently transitioning into her new position. Katelin has also helped three other members of our chapter become camp counselors.

“We are all so excited for this year’s camp!” Katelin said.

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