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Kaylee Kaigler

Courtney Wetzel

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If someone had told me three years ago that I would be “a sorority girl,” I honestly would have been offended- womp. I had an idea, a label, in my head about what being in a sorority meant, and thought I was far above labels, stereotypes, silly dramatic girl things, etc. Can we tell I had some growing to do ‘:)

Now I am looking at my last year as an active “sorority girl” in ChiO, and truly am so proud to have worn that label and those letters for the last three years. So what changed?

What changed was that I saw ChiO in terms of her people instead of her organization. What changed was seeing ChiO, yes as a sorority, but ultimately as friendships and conversations facilitated by meetings, families, date parties, ritual, etc. And those people, friendships, and conversations have been such a huge contributor to my fun and my growth in college- wow yep.

To any readers, in talking about ChiO I would have to share my favorite lesson ChiO has taught me- what it means to be part of a body. I came into ChiO freshman year with giant question marks radiating off of me- Who am I? Where do I fit? How do I do social things without anyone from back home? What’s my pace? What are my strengths? You get the picture… insecurity and “seeking” out the wazoo. Coming into ChiO was a lot like going into a Black Friday rush at the mall- so much was going on, and different personality traits and strengths were being ‘sold’ all around me. I was seeing loud personalities celebrated here; artsiness there, depth over there, etc. And I was slightly freaking out because I wanted this, that, her, other her, etc. and had no idea how to determine what was good for others vs. what was good for me.  

ChiO has been the main setting where I’ve gotten to start really figuring that out. It’s been a three-year, every day journey... going on four. Honestly I’m still amazed at how I’ve been loved along the way- because its hard to love insecurity. But the gals in ChiO have listened to countless word vomits as I verbal processed, spoken truth into my journey, and extended tons of grace to me as I’ve floundered through repeated trial and error trying to find the strengths, weaknesses, personality, etc. that the Lord wired into Kaylee Kaigler. He knew I would attend Texas A&M and choose to run among ChiO’s circles for my time here. And He wanted the Kaylee He created in those circles, not a Kaylee dictated by the circles themselves. He used ChiO to bring me to 1 Corinthians 12 where it talks about the body of Christ-

“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body…

… that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

Honestly I think the Lord got a kick out of having Paul use “members” language in that passage, knowing that one day the analogy would have special significance for sorority gals and club membership in general- dope! But truly, He brought 1 Cor 12 to life for me through ChiO. Its where I have gotten to see girls jump in, suffer, and bear with their friends; see girls give celebration and honor to other girls who have strengths that they themselves do not; and see girls come together and use our variety of strengths to pull off things that move mountains and make differences. So you can call me a sorority gal anytime, bc this^^^^ is what that label has meant for me ;)

P.S. Food for thought on the idea of labels, txt me if you want to talk more!

“When I label people, I no longer have to deal with them thoughtfully. I no longer have to feel overwhelmed by their complexity, the lives they live, the dreams they have. I know exactly where they are inside- or forever outside- my field of care, because they’ve been taken care of. The mystery of their existence has been solved and filed away before I’ve had a chance to be moved by them or even begun to catch a glimpse of who they might be. They’ve been neutralized. There’s hardly any action quite so undemanding, so utterly unimaginative, as the affixing of a label. It’s the costliest of mental shortcuts.” –David Dark


 

Maggie Stone

Courtney Wetzel

Growing up my mom taught me the same lessons most moms teach their daughters but she had some additional advice for me like “strive to be womanly always” and “be lovable rather than popular.” My mom was a Chi Omega at UT years ago and long before I entered college I had heard the crazy, funny, beautiful stories of Chi O sisterhood a million times from the women who are to this day my mom’s closest friends.

So no wonder, during the blur that was recruitment week, each time I stepped into the Chi O house I felt a peace and a rest from the chaos. I appreciated feeling sincerely welcomed, like the girls really wanted to get to know me. I continue to thank God for my preconceptions about Chi O because he was only giving me a glimpse of how special the girls really are.

I can hardly believe it’s only been a year since I pledged Chi O. In my life, I’ve never laughed so hard; so honestly shared who I am; cared so deeply for the hearts of my friends; and felt so entirely accepted. Chi Omega is its own brand. It cannot be labelled or identified by a few tidy characteristics or traits. The energy, authenticity, humor and sense of fun resonated by these girls can only come from women who are comfortable in their own skin. But what really stirs the hearts of these women is using that energy to serve others. There are girls who have spent countless hours mentoring younger girls at Still Creek Ranch; who have worked at special needs summer camps, traveled the world on mission trips, worked as fish camp counselors, served as YoungLife leaders, church worship leaders, and Pine Cove, Kanakuk, and Sky Ranch Counselors. My twelve year old twin cousins came home from a week at Sky Ranch this summer raving that they loved their counselor more than any other in summers past and it turns out she was, of course, in my pledge class.

How in the world did I randomly find a roommate on Roomsurf who then also went Chi O and is now one of my best friends?! And now we are roommates AGAIN in the Chi Omega house with our other best friends? I am dreaming! Coming from a close knit family, I’ve found a great deal of comfort being surrounded by a diverse group of women who value inclusivity. I am amazed by the grace and love I feel living in the house. Girls come in and out of each other’s rooms night and day, laughing, talking, sharing, everyone feeling known, accepted and supported. The sense of belonging is what makes the whole experience so beyond words. Thank you Lord and thank you Chi Omega for giving me what I have longed for.

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Ellie Tuchaai

Courtney Wetzel

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I honestly never thought that the community and friendships I have experienced in Chi Omega could even exist, yet here I am, undeserving and way too lucky to have such empowering women by my side and experience relationships that are truly mind blowing.  What sets these friendships apart from most is a commonality in values and a constant pursuit of refinement; to be better than one was prior whilst still remaining true to each unique spirit. These values and pursuits are best displayed in the Chi Omega symphony: a poetic and graceful passage that details all that I hope to live up to.

"To live constantly above snobbery of word or deed; to place scholarship before social obligations and character before appearances; to be in the best sense, democratic rather than “exclusive”, and lovable rather than “popular”; to work earnestly, to speak kindly, to act sincerely, to choose thoughtfully that course which occasion and conscience demand; to be womanly always; to be discouraged never; in a word, to be loyal under any and all circumstances to my Fraternity and her highest teachings and to have her welfare ever at heart that she may be a symphony of high purpose and helpfulness in which there is no discordant note."

Ethel Switzer Howard

One part of the symphony that resonates with me most me is “(to be) democratic rather than “exclusive”, and lovable rather than “popular.”” Being accepted in social settings is often a desire of many, myself included. Everyone wants to feel known – it is a natural call of human nature. However, a desire for acceptance can at times come at the cost of finding fulfillment in earthly notions; to stray from a path that was once guided towards that “high purpose.” In times where my mind tugs me away from that guided path, I remind myself of these words in the Chi Omega symphony and remember the grace, acceptance and comfort the women in Chi Omega have given me, and that in itself has made a vast difference in a life of constant refinement – one that is equipped for that high purpose.

The best part about the symphony is that it can be seen in the flesh. The women in the pledge classes above me truly embody all that it means to be a Chi Omega. I look up in awe at their poise and powerful elegance, their humility and zeal of passion, and I realize that these are the type of women I hope to be when I graduate. Moreover, those in the pledge classes above me are not just distant idolized figures, they are present and real and ready to invest in those younger than themselves; they “act sincerely” and always have our “welfare ever at heart.” These women are first to open their doors and treat new friends like family. Likewise, I see the same eager investment in the women in my pledge class and am proud and honored to be a close witness of their own pursuit of refinement and embodiment of being “womanly always.”

This mindset is why Chi Omega holds such a special place in our hearts. Although different in interests, we are similar in values. We are bound by the meaningful words of the symphony. And to that note I will forever be grateful for the pure friendships and finer details Chi Omega has so kindly etched in my heart.

 

Allison Riffe

Courtney Wetzel

We always say that you only choose once. It’s a slogan that Chi Omegas recognize nationally. It seems to sum up the recruitment process in a catchy phrase.

As I’ve had the privilege of being a Chi Omega at Texas A&M, I’ve been inspired by the culture of this sorority. The girls around me choose to serve each other. I’ve seen it consistently, across the board. It’s an overwhelming desire to make each other feel important. It’s not always the easiest choice.

Emily chose to carry my heavy luggage for 10 minutes to the parking lot in the middle of the summer. Brooke chose to make me dinner when freshman year was overwhelming. Ellie and Olivia chose to plan a trip for everyone in our pledge class who wanted to come. The 6 other girls in my Chi O family have chosen to get up at 7 am on Friday mornings so that we can have breakfast. Girls have chosen to drive me to interviews, to bring me food when I was sick, and to boldly say what I needed to hear when I didn’t want to listen.

The reality of Chi O is that we celebrate each other. We cheer each other on through successes; you can hear that at every meeting. You walk into the house, and you feel like you’re on a team of people who sincerely want the best for you. I’ve also seen girls rally around each other through times of loss and heartbreak. That’s when this culture matters most.

Authenticity makes room for unity among our pledge classes and among our chapter. Women in our chapter will tell you over and over again how thankful they are for the unity within their pledge class. It pushes us to walk with character, grace, and humility.

Chi O itself is not the thing that is transforming us. Rather, we are transformed by the women around us. They are choosing to serve and to give and to celebrate each other. It’s an overflow of their hearts that are being transformed by the power of community and a parade of other Chi O’s who have been served in the same way.  

It’s fun here. We love each other and laugh a lot. That comes pretty naturally. Women choose to serve each other. Yes, you only choose Chi O once. But then I’ve seen a thousand other little choices to serve each other quietly and faithfully. I can picture them in my mind, a million ways of saying, “I’m on your team.”

Empowered women empower women. To see that in action is really powerful.

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Kate Rimer

Courtney Wetzel

Three years ago, I had no clue what house I’d be in, what amazing friends, and great memories I would make from simply joining a sorority. I never thought I was a “sorority girl type”, but oh how I was wrong. I am a sorority woman.  I am a Chi Omega. Saying that simple sentence I am honored to get to associate myself with some of the strongest, studious, most faithful, goofy, adventurous, kind hearted and fun women I have ever met. So, here’s a letter to the incoming pnm’s, younger pledge classes, my girls, and the women who came before me in which I learned so much and admire.

To the girl’s going through recruitment (pnm):

Breathe. God already knows in which house you will be, and I promise it will all work out. The system does work , if you are yourself, seek out your interest, your likes and dislikes and find the house where the girls could be your best friends. In other words, go to the house where while entering the doors on pref night, you sweat off your sticky boobs and they fall at the doorstep of the house, you could pick it up, laugh, smile, and know you would still be accepted. They would laugh with you and show you a bush to go behind and put them back on. I talk from experience, because this was the moment I knew the ChiO house was not just another house I was walking into, it was going to be my home. So, be yourself cause YOU are amazing, have FUN, enjoy it, trust God, laugh a lot… and again breathe.

To the younger girls in ChiO:

Don’t blink. It goes by faster than you can imagine. When debating froyo with your sorority sisters or working out cause you want that perfect spring break bod or doing homework cause you have to get ahead… pick froyo you’ll remember it later. When debating on sending a message in the dreaded groupmes, go for it! You never know who will respond, might just be the most unlikely person you expected and they might just end up being your best friend. Invest in people and relationships, they are worth soooo much more than a night with Netflix. And lastly again, I say don’t blink it flies by way too fast.

To my pledge class(my girls):

Thank you for making me love ChiO. You girls have made college. We are a diverse group, but unified at the same time. When I think of our pledge class I think how  each and everyone of you are amazing. I see each of your unique and special gifts. There are so many of you I wish I had reached out to more, or tried to get closer to earlier on. Just know, I cant wait to see what God has in store for each of us.  Lastly, thank you for always being there. There are specific times in college, I have been brought to tears by the love you ladies have shown me or another sister who was hurting or just needed a friend.  Love yall<3

To the women who have graduated in the past few years:

Thanks for being wonderful role models. I remember seeing some of you specifically while I was going through recruitment and thinking, “Wow, I want to be like her.” Thank you for also being vulnerable and telling us it’s okay to not have it all together.  You led our bible studies, encouraged us when you knew we were nervous about the future, poured your wisdom into us and held us to a higher standard. You didn’t have to love and care in this way, but you did. I hope our pledge class has invested in our younger girls like you did with us. You are our Bigs and Grandbigs and you’ve helped to mold us in to the ChiO women we are today. Thank you.

In starting my senior year I have thought back on the many sisters that I can’t imagine doing college without. Here’s to one last year, more unforgettable amazing adventures, memories to cherish, and laughs to last a lifetime.  Much love sistas!