Allison Helsinger on Leadership and Greek Life

HelsingerAllison Helsinger is a recent alumna from EKU who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2007. As a student at Eastern, she was involved in campus leadership as a member of the Student Alumni Ambassadors, Student Government Association, specifically the Student Senate, the Honors Program, Chi Omega, and several Honors Societies. Since graduating from EKU, Allison has earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law, and she now practices at Ward, Hocker & Thornton, PLLC, specializing in insurance defense and civil litigation. Though she was active in the leadership of several campus organizations at Eastern, Allison interviewed with us specifically about her leadership in Chi Omega, and her continued connection with the sorority.

Can you tell us, briefly, about your affiliation with Chi Omega?

I joined Chi Omega in the spring of my freshman year and have never regretted the decision to “Go Greek”. As a member of Chi Omega I was the New Member Educator and President. Since graduating and becoming part of our alumnae sisterhood, I have been both the New Member Advisor and the Personnel Advisor for the Chi Omega’s at Eastern. I was previously the President of the Richmond Area Alumnae Chapter and am currently the Vice President of the Lexington Area Alumnae Chapter.

Do you think that the leadership opportunities offered through Greek Life differ from those offered in other organizations on campus?

Having been involved in leadership roles in both Greek and non-Greek organizations, I believe there are a lot of similarities between them. Any leadership opportunity gives you the chance to grow and develop your skill set, meet new people and make an impact on those you’re leading and the organization you’re working with. Regardless if its SGA or Chi Omega, the leadership roles I held challenged me to be a better person, work hard and make a difference. The benefits of being a leader do not come from whether the organization is Greek or non-Greek. They come from within you, the leader, and what you chose to make of the opportunity.

What type of impact do you think that the mentorship aspect of the sorority experience has for students?

It goes without saying that every young woman needs someone to look up to and help them navigate this crazy world we live in, both personally and professionally. I’ve found the mentorship aspect of a sorority to be something you don’t necessarily notice, until you sit down and think about it. Not because it isn’t happening or that it doesn’t exist, but because its so intertwined and embedded in the sisterhood you don’t even think about it. In my experience, the mentoring began from the moment I joined in the way of older collegiate women and advisors. As I transitioned into an advisory role, I’ve found that I play the role of mentor to many of the collegiate women. Also, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a professional situation where there isn’t a Chi Omega or other sorority woman available as a mentor. For example, in my office one of the partners is a Chi Omega and she has offered continual professional mentoring throughout my time with this firm. I’ve also found I continue to receive personal mentorship from my alumnae sisters. Long story short, the mentorship aspect of ANY sorority, not just Chi Omega, begins when you sign your bid card and continues throughout the rest of your life one way or another. The impact is simply too much to even describe.

What lasting benefits did you receive from participating in Chi Omega?

It’s difficult to put into words what the lasting benefits of participating in Chi Omega truly are. I think any sorority woman would have trouble with this task. Chi Omegas six purposes are friendship, sincere learning and credible scholarship, community service, campus involvement, career development, and high standards of personnel. Throughout my time as a collegian I spent my days working with my sisters to uphold those six purposes for both the benefit of the entire chapter and myself as a woman. As I have transitioned into my adult life, I’m not so worried about my grades, but I find those purposes translate into the professional world. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits is the foundation for success Chi Omega provides its members. We are empowered through our ritual and our purposes to be strong, confident and caring women who contribute to those around them and have a positive impact on their communities. Oh, and of course, I have the best sisters a girl could ever ask for! =)

Have you stayed connected to your sorority as an alumni? What effect do you feel that continued alumni involvement has for students? For alumni?

I’m not sure there has ever been a period of time when I have not been “connected” to Chi Omega. As I mentioned, I’m currently involved in leadership positions with the Lexington Alumnae Chapter and as an advisor for the Chi Omegas at EKU.  When you become a part of the sisterhood of any sorority, you are making a lifelong commitment the organization through your loyalty, support and dedication. Think about it? You spend only four years as a collegiate member and the rest of your life an alumnus. Involvement after graduation can take on many roles. It may mean something as small as annual donations to the chapter’s foundation or scholarship or it may mean something as involved as being an advisor, working for National Headquarters or as a sorority volunteer. Regardless of how a sister chooses to stay connected, a benefit of continued involvement is the opportunity to extend and develop your sisterhood beyond just those women with whom you went to college. You have the chance to interact with Chi Omegas across the country from all walks of life. You meet new mentors, develop new relationships and continue to grow in the sisterhood that you connected with as a young adult.

Looking back on your time as a student at Eastern, what have you come to value the most?

As a student you always think you’ll only remember that great weekend or that awesome Spring Break trip, or that time the students brought down the goal post after we won the football game. While I had a number of great weekends, fun Spring Breaks and I really will never forget the goal post coming down, I think what I value the most about my time at EKU is the sense of “home” it offers its students and what that means. The sense of “home” or the feeling of comfort comes from the faculty who are so much more than professors. They’re friends and mentors. They build relationships that last long after your final exam. The sense of “home” comes from the tight-knit community of Colonel Country. We may be small in comparison to other college campuses, but we’re mighty and we bring to the table more than most. I value the people I met and the experiences EKU fostered because the bottom line is, those four years of my life served a launching pad for all I have achieved since graduation. Much like Chi Omega, EKU has contributed to the person that I am and I will be forever grateful to The Campus Beautiful for all that it has given me.

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Categories: Alumni Spotlight


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