To My Sorority's New Pledge Class From An Outgoing Senior

An Open Letter To My Sorority's Newest Pledge Class From A Graduating Senior

Get ready for the best adventure of your life.

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Welcome, ladies!

I'm sure you've heard it again and again, but we really are so incredibly excited to have you! Trust me. We put in a lot of work during spirit week and recruitment, and without a doubt, it was all worth it.

There is something truly special about looking at your new members and being genuinely excited for what the future of your chapter holds. For me, as the new member chairman of my chapter, my heart is bursting with joy over what our new girls are going to accomplish, over the leadership opportunities they're going to take, and over how much they will grow over their years here. And I know my other sisters feel the same way.

I would give anything to be able to go back, to do it all again. College years are some of the best. It's the last bit of childhood before reality sets in and you actually have to be an adult. But most importantly, college is about making memories; about discovering who you are and what your value is. The person I was when I joined my chapter just over two years ago as a sophomore is not the person I am today. Sure I'm still me, but I have found myself. I found my people. And most importantly, I believe in myself, which wouldn't have happened without my sorority.

You all are just starting out on your journey. My biggest piece of advice is to soak up every moment because trust me, it goes by entirely too fast. Being in a sorority is unlike anything else. It's hard to explain this instant bond you now have with not just the girls in your chapter, but all over the country, with thousands of girls, past, present and future. It's so special when you run into a sister in a random place and instantly feel at home. You'll have many of these moments, so enjoy them.

What I've found throughout my time in my chapter is you get what you give. If you don't try, if you don't come to events, and if you don't reach out to girls, you will not get as much out of the organization. Like with everything and anything in life, it doesn't come to you without trying; it works 50-50. So even if it pushes you out of your comfort zone to come to the house and not be sure someone you know will be there or to go to an event your closest friends might not be at, do it. These girls are all your sisters and love you. But you have to try and you have to put in the effort back. It will make the entire experience worth so much more.

I know it can be overwhelming and you probably are still finding yourself and your people, but don't worry, it happens. It might happen next week or next semester. But it will happen. Don't forget that you are in your chapter for a reason; your sisters wanted you, and they fought for you. These years will be the best of your life and will give you people and memories that will last well beyond your college years.

Soak it in. Make the most of every moment. Because as I start my senior year, I wish more than anything I could go back and do it all again.

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge-drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100% real" and that incoming freshmen should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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To My Big, As She Graduates

My sorority big is so special to me.

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Biggie Big,

I have known you for less than a year, and yet somehow you are already a vital part of my heart and family. Your love of others is infectious, your hard work and determination are astounding. I thought I took on a large workload, yet you outshine me in so many ways. You take 23 credit hours, work (sometimes two jobs), are a 24/7 dog mom, and manage friends and a boyfriend all while making it look easy.

I am so incredibly blessed to have been graced with you as my Big. Thank goodness for whatever stars have aligned that led me to you, because I can not think of a Big that would have fit me better. We are both very busy, busy girls and we understand that. We are there for each other when we need it most and when we just need to let loose a bit. You are the person I turn to when I need someone to listen to my venting, someone who understands my boy problems, and when I need someone to tell me that taking me-time is OK and I will succeed in whatever I do.

Anyone who has the pleasure to meet you will be greeted with the biggest smile and the most contagious laugh. You seem to find light in every situation and show everyone respect and interest. There is never a dull moment with you, that can be guaranteed. You change everyone's lives for the better.

Biggie, you are going to go far, I have no doubt about that. I hope you are never too far from me, but I want you to do whatever is best for your future. I am ecstatic to see where life takes you. It's incredible that life has given me someone who I see standing by me at the altar or holding my babies in the future. This bond of sisterhood is real and I'm glad it was formed between us.

Good luck Biggie, know I am always here cheering you on!

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