From An Intern's Eyes: Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (U.I.F.I.)

From An Intern's Eyes: Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (U.I.F.I.)

U.I.F.I. is truly a once in a lifetime experience and I got to experience it twice.
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After a whirlwind week following my return from Indiana, I finally had the chance to sit down and reflect on my experience at Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (U.I.F.I.). In a nutshell, U.I.F.I. is an intense five-day learning experience for fraternity and sorority leaders across the nation to come together to ask those tough questions about the Greek community and share their experiences, ideas, and perspectives. But the best way that I’ve heard U.I.F.I. described is as “a much needed slap in the face with reality” because sometimes you need to take a step back to look at the big picture and confront the truth before you can move forward.

Every week throughout the summer, a new session of nearly one hundred student participants and a team of Greek life and campus professionals will descend into a sorority house at Indiana University in a flurry of overpacked bags and nervous energy. That initial momentum only builds throughout the week. We start the week as strangers but part five short days later as a supportive, close-knit community with a shared purpose. How? U.I.F.I. has the unique capability to unite people from all different places, backgrounds, and ideologies through challenge and action. U.I.F.I. leaves a big impact on participants but—more importantly—empowers students to make their own impact so they can be a part of the working solution.

U.I.F.I. is truly a once in a lifetime experience and I got to experience it twice. After attending as a participant during the summer of 2015, I returned this past week as an intern for Session 2. When I accepted the position, I faced questions from my friends and family of “You’re okay with taking an entire week off for this volunteer position?” and my answer was a confident “Yes.” I am a strong believer in the cyclical nature of service and I so very much wanted to give back to the experience that had given me the tools to success a year ago and to the institute that had challenged my perception of what Fraternity and Sorority Life could be and should be. Following my U.I.F.I., I knew that I wanted the opportunity to be a contributing part of someone else’s experience and to continue building the program and its purpose.

I got a lot of questions of what I actually did as an intern. The easy answer is that interns help with the logistical aspect of the program. We set up for different sessions and make sure the the entire day runs smoothly. We assist the lead facilitators and get to coordinate the service activities for Into the Streets. But there’s so much more than that.

As an intern, I had the honor of working with the most incredible U.I.F.I. leadership team and facilitator team. These are the people that do not get near enough credit for dedicating their careers to fighting for our Greek communities, mentoring and encouraging growth, and challenging students like me every day. The work that the facilitators do within their own campus communities or within their national organizations is truly the most inspiring thing.

As an intern, I connected with students like me from across the nation. Students with different stories that led them to U.I.F.I. Students who cared and who were there to be a part of the change that needs to happen on a local and national level. U.I.F.I. participants may all wear different Greek letters on their chests but they are united under similar values, purposes, and goals. At U.I.F.I., it doesn’t matter whether you’re a member of Alpha Alpha Alpha chapter or Beta Beta fraternity or sorority. It doesn’t matter if your chapter is the best or the biggest or the smartest on your campus. All that matters is that, at one time, you decided to pledge yourself to becoming a better version of yourself and joined a brotherhood or a sisterhood. U.I.F.I. tackles problems that the entire Greek community faces and that takes a kind of selflessness to look beyond the borders of your own organization.

As an intern, I was given the opportunity to share my own story. To draw on my own week at U.I.F.I. as a participant and how I shaped action and change on my own campus from that experience. To share the struggles and the victories that I encountered in the year following U.I.F.I. My personality is a shy and reserved one, so being honest and sharing those personal stories was a small act of courage for me. The kind words of thanks, encouragement, and support that I received after sharing my intern testimonial may have just been quick passing remarks from the people who gave them. But for me, those words were golden threads of hope after a rough semester. A small comfort and an affirmation that I was doing good. They served as a reinvigorating response to help me back on feet as I prepare for my final semester as Panhellenic president and as an undergraduate student.

As an intern, the week of U.I.F.I. was a long one. Late night conversations and phone calls were normal. Second-hand anxiety from students traveling into Indiana who had a few bumps in the road or— more accurately—a few delays at the airport. The pressure of using a rationed amount of flip chart paper throughout the week. The added stress of creating eight, 5-by-7 grids out of tape on the floor when I’m a perfectionist (the uneven lines and unequal spacing is something that still haunts me). So it was undoubtedly the little victories throughout the week that were celebrated with overwhelming enthusiasm. Things like completing an efficient store run ten minutes before Target closed or having all the buses on schedule for Into the Streets. The fact that no one was seriously injured during the Potato Head activity while going up and down a cramped stairwell and fighting for the best plastic arms or eyeballs was a victory in itself.

All kidding aside, I cannot express my thanks enough to every person who made this intern experience an incredibly rewarding one. For those considering returning to U.I.F.I. as an intern, I can not recommend it enough. But for now, go be a hero on your campus and “OYS.”

Cover Image Credit: Sapphire Andersen

Popular Right Now

44 Lyrics For When You Need An Instagram Caption

Your caption is just as important as the filter.
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Choosing the caption for your Instagram can be almost as challenging as deciding on a filter. So, if you’re ready to post that Insta, but don’t know what to say, here are 44 lyrics for when you need an Instagram caption.

1. “Be young, be dope, be proud.” - Lana Del Rey, "American"

2. “I can’t really see another squad tryna cross us.” - Drake, "No Tellin’"

3. “Darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” - Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"

4. “I’m throwin' shade like it’s sunny.” - Nicki Minaj, "Want Some More"

5. “I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn't exist.” - Sia, "Chandelier"

6. “Find me where the wild things are.” - Alessia Cara, "Wild Things"

7. “If I was you, I'd wanna be me too.” - Meghan Trainor, "Me Too"

8. “Sweet like candy to my soul, sweet you rock and sweet you roll.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Crash Into Me"

9. “I swear this life is like the sweetest thing I’ve ever known.” - Drake, "Over"

10. “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.” - Lee Ann Womack, "I Hope You Dance"

11. “But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all? - Bastille, "Pompeii"

12. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” - John Lennon, "Imagine"

13. “You can’t choose what stays and what fades away.” - Florence + The Machine, "No Light, No Light"

14. “She acts like summer and walks like rain.” - Train, "Drops of Jupiter

15. “She’s a good girl, loves her mama. Loves Jesus, and America too.” - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Free Fallin’"

16. “Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones.” - Coldplay, "Fix You"

17. “Say you’ll remember me.” - Taylor Swift, "Wildest Dreams"

18. I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.” - Sia, "Elastic Heart"

19. “Give me the beat boys and free my soul.” - Uncle Kracker, "Drift Away"

20. “One of these days the clocks will stop, and time won’t mean a thing.” - Foo Fighters, "These Days"

21. “Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.” - Brad Paisley, Perfect Storm

22. “You are the piece of me I wish I didn’t need.” Zedd feat. The Foxes, "Clarity"

23. “Her mind is Tiffany twisted, she’s got the Mercedes bends.” - The Eagles, "Hotel California"

24. “Life imitates art.” - Lana Del Rey, "Gods And Monsters"

25. “Nobody said it was easy, no one said it would be this hard.” - Coldplay, "The Scientist"

26. “You’re gonna keep my soul, it was yours to have long ago.” - State Radio, "Keepsake"

27. “Celebrate we will ‘cause life is short but sweet for certain.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Two Step"

28. “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” - Florence + The Machine, "Shake it Out"

29. “There are many things I’d like to say to you but I don’t know how.” - Oasis, "Wonderwall"

30. “You say you want a revolution, well you know we all wanna change the world.” - The Beatles, "Revolution"

31. “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.” Billy Currington, "People Are Crazy"

32. “Well my heart is gold, and my hands are cold.” - Halsey, "Gasoline"

33. “I don’t want to be heard, I want to be listened to.” - Twenty One Pilots, "Forest"

34. “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.” - Mumford and Sons, "Awake My Soul"

35. “I think I need a sunrise, I’m tired of the sunset.” - Augustana, "Boston"

36. “All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am.” - Brandi Carlile, "The Story"

37. ‘Ready or not, here I come. Where you at? The night is young.” - Bridgit Mendler, "Ready or Not"

38. “In the land of Gods and Monsters, I was an angel.” - Lana Del Rey, "Gods And Monsters"

39. “Turns out not where, but who you’re with that really matters.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Best Of What’s Around"

40. “Know yourself, know your worth.” - Drake, "0 to 100"

41. “I’m little but I’m coming for the crown.” - Lorde, "Still Sane"

42. “Didn’t they tell you I was a savage?” - Rihanna, "Needed Me"

43. “Hands in the air like we don’t care.” - Miley Cyrus, "We Can’t Stop"

44. “I’ma keep running because a winner don’t quit on themselves.” - Beyonce, "Freedom"

Cover Image Credit: https://pixabay.com

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ABCs of the world cup

"The biggest stage creates the biggest drama"

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As I did with Hurricane Irma, March Madness and other important events, some things are just so big, so exciting, and so important, that each letter of the alphabet can be dedicated to a facet of one specific event. The World Cup is going on right now, and it is my favorite sporting event on the planet. So it would be silly for me not to adress it.

A is for Americas

The Copa America trophy is given to the best team in the Americas. Chile won it in 2016 in New York.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCBJD_2vn8e/?taken-by=copaamericacentenario

The Americas, not the United States of America. Unfortunately, the USA is not in Russia this year (more on that later) but the American continent has put together some drama. Brazil looks really good so far, with their samba style of attack behind superstars galore. Lionel Messi continues to chase Maradona's ghost. Mexico shocked Germany. And upstarts Panama and Peru provided some intriguing storylines in Eastern Europe.

B is for Brazil

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkjC-ZHHbcr/?taken-by=cbf_futebol

The five-time champions are through to the knockout stage. After a pair of scares in games against Switzerland and Costa Rica, O Selecao have shown their samba spirit. Unfortunately, the luck ran out in the Quarterfinals, losing 2-1 to upstart Belgium.

C is for Curse

Coming into 2018, the past two defending champions and three of the past four, have failed to advanced out of their group. France 2002, Italy in 2010, and then Spain in 2014. Germany came into 2018 as the defending champs and one of the favorites to win it all again. I don't know if former title holders fall to the pressure, they stubbornly stick with aging stars, or anything else, but Die Mannschaft were victims of the unthinkable, bowing out after a 2-0 loss to South Korea in group E.

D is for Daylight

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkkfCNrnQsN/?tagged=sunset

It is the middle of the summer, and Russia is quite far north. So it may not surprise anyone that it stays light quite late in the day in Russia right now, with Moscow sunsets not occurring until around 9:30 PM. In St. Petersburg, it's another hour until the sun goes down. With the games happening in the morning/early afternoon US time, it's easy to forget that games are even played in "primetime" hours.

E is for Elimination

Germany's 2-0 loss eliminated them from the competition

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkiM3q5hPBQ/?taken-by=dfb_team

Of the 32 teams in Russia this summer, 31 will be eliminated. They bring great joy to their motherlands, but for almost everyone, this journey sadly ends. But one good result can change the emotional outcome of any nation, even in eventual defeat because they got to experience the World Cup.

F is for France

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bjcxb6_ntuE/?taken-by=fff

Another perennial power, France entered to contest as one of the favorites to life the final trophy. Les Blues have a history of blowing out of tournaments very early, such as Korea/Japan 2002 or South Africa 2010, where they left without a win. But so far, so good for the French, who as this is being written will be playing Croatia in the World Cup Final.

G is for Germany

The German team walks off the field in disappointment after their 2-0 loss to South Korea knocked them out of the World Cup

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bkkk60KFh9L/?tagged=diemannschaft

Well, what do I say. The defending champions fell victim to the curse, as I said earlier. This team really struggled in the pre-compitition exhibition games, but we shrugged our shoulders and said, "they'll get it together." They fell to Mexico in their opening match, but we shrugged our shoulders and said, "they'll get it together." Toni Kroos gave the Germans a miracle win over Sweden in stoppage time in their second game and we said, "they got it together." But then, needing a win over South Korea, they fell flat on their face 2-0, and were left stunned as they exited Russia in shocking fashion.

H is for Haves

Luckily for this man, he can watch soccer.

Unlike many "American" sports, soccer uses two haves of 45 minutes, with one break in between. That's it. No commercials between quarters, no timeouts, no stoppage in play to sing about going to the ball game, no advertisement because Timmy's arm hurts, nothing. Two haves and one break in between.

I is for International

My time in Brazil during spring break inspired me to support O Selecao in the World Cup

The World Cup is the largest and most international sporting event in the world. As someone who has traveled to so many foreign countries my two hands can't even count them (and enjoyed every minute) I love being able to cheer on countries that have given me great experiences and memories.

J is for Jackpot

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkPNeV4Fk_K/?tagged=fifamoney

Yes FIFA is not without controversy. But the head of world football is going to rake in $6 billion from the tournament. Much of that money is invested in the development of the sport in the third world.

K is for Knockout Stage

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkghTuxlh6s/?tagged=knockoutstage

The group stage is simple. 4 teams, one game against against each opponent, 1 point for a tie and 3 for a win. The top two teams advance to the knockout stage. This is where things get interesting, as contenders separate from the field, Cinderella stories develop, and entire nations go toe-to-toe for glory. There a no more ties-- there will be a winner. Even if that means slapping another half-hour on the already long game played, or even penalty kicks on top of that. When the margin between two teams is so slim, sometimes one kick is the difference.

L is for Lionel

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkknytVBYn0/?tagged=messi

Ah, Lionel Messi. Is the greatest player of all time? Is he even the greatest right now? Well, he is chasing history and Diego Maradona to win the hearts and minds of Argentineans, and the rest of the world. Can he deliver? The world is on his shoulders. UPDATE: No, he could not. France was too much, and the Sky Blues fell to the Frech 4-3 in the Round of 16. Warning: The next photo is NSFW

M is for Maradona

https://twitter.com/search?q=Maradona&src=tyah

This man was the star on Argentina's 1986 championship team in Mexico. Despite all of Messi's accomplishments with his club, FC Barcelona, Maradona delivered a World Cup title to his nation, something Messi has come close to-- but never done before. As a result, most Argentinians still put Maradona ahead of Messi... for now. However, Maradona is not without controversy, as the former cocaine-addict was caught flipping the bird to cameras in celebration of the game winning goal against Nigeria.

N is for No Repeat Champion

​I know I had a similar picture earlier, but perhaps repetition will get the idea through your head :)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkiNVL5hrLx/?tagged=curse

In American pro sports, the same team often win the championship the year after...winning the championship. The same happens quite often in European soccer leagues as well. Not in the World Cup. Over a half century has passed since Brazil won in both 1958 and 1962, behind Pele. With Germany now out, this streak lives on.

O is for Offside

All the white shirts close the the goal are offside. Even if the pass recipient moved behind the blue shirts, they would still be offside.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bkak_rCFJcE/?tagged=offside

Soccer is the beautiful game, and a very easy-to-understand game too. However, there is one rule that baffles people who are trying to learn: offside (not offsides, as it's commonly called). When the pass is SENT to another player, that player cannot be ahead of the other team's last defender RIGHT AS the pass is made. It does not matter what the position of the players is when the pass is received. When offside is called, the ref blows the whistle and the other team is given possession.

P is for Penalty Kick

Victor Moses takes a penalty kick against Argentina. Moses scored, but the South Americans would still go on to win 2-1, advising at the Super Eagle's expense.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkgKVYQjsZD/?tagged=penaltykick

Another confusing rule is how a team gets a free kick to shoot at the opponent's net. Usually, a free kick is awarded where a foul took place, the team that is fouled as allowed to shoot freely, but with a human wall of players meant to block the shot. If a foul happens inside the penalty area, a 18X18 years box closest to the goal, a penalty kick takes place, where it's just the striker and the goalkeeper. Because these kicks usealy result in goals, they are a big deal. If a knockout stage match (where there must be a winner) match remains tied after two hours, each team is given five penalty kicks, with the team scoring the most being declared the winner. It's a controversial, but very entertaining way to end a must-win match.

R is for Russia

The Red Square is a Russian symbol, which is also a key World Cup landmark this year

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkhwU3hDW4b/?tagged=redsquare

Mother Russia. The hosts of this tournament. Yes, this nation is in the news a lot, and can be very controversial. However, they have done more than a good job as hosts so far, and their team advanced out of the group stage, so I'd say they are doing well so far.

S is for Spain

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkcVSxhH-CR/?tagged=spainnationalteam

Another one of the favorites this summer, who will play hosts Russia in the round of 16 at the time this is being written. Spain has always been talented, but they sort of trotted through the "almost champions" wilderness until 2008, when they won the European Championship. La Roja followed this up with an epic World Cup win in 2010, using an original tactic known as "tiki taka." This strategy balanced offense and defense by completing short, high-percentage passes that were designed for long periods of time with the ball. In theory with this tactic, one team always has the ball, Spain was effectively both attacking and defending the entire match. Therefore, they almost always won. After another Euro crown in 2012, they went into Brazil 2014 on what many believed was the greatest run in the history of the sport and looked to prove that point to absolute in South America. But they fell to the defending champions curse and left early. 2018 was not much better, falling in penalties to host nation Russia immediately after the group stage.

T is for Twenty Twenty-Six (Or just 2026)

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj94ZkrjdgJ/?tagged=2026

The day before the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off in Russia, the hosts of the 2026 contest was announced in Moscow by FIFA officials. Having been snubbed by Qatar while bidding for the event in 2022, the United States this time teamed up with Mexico and Canada in a "united bid" to host in eight years. The result will see the world's biggest sporting event come back to North America for the first time since 1994, and will be held in three different nations for the very first time. This will provide an opportunity for the Americas (especially the US) to showcase the growth that soccer has achieved and will continue to achieve. The fact that America is the most national diverse country also helps.

V is for VAR

A referee makes sure his original call was correct

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkkpNk3hNnG/?tagged=var

Officials miss important calls sometimes. In 2010, England scored against Germany in the round of 16. Or so we thought. The ref missed it, thinking the ball didn't cross the goal line. Germany went on to win. Bummer for England. But FIFA has now brought in Video Assistant Referee, known as VAR. The idea is to correct clear and obvious officiating errors through video replay. So far, several wrong calls have been reversed, adding drama and controversy. But it's working, and that's all that matters.

W is for the World Cup

The Rose Bowl in Southern California hosted the World Cup Final in 1994, where Brazil beat Italy on penalties to win their 4th world title. The '94 tournament still stands to this day as the highest attended ever, even as the competition has since expanded.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiKV84EhNQO/?taken-by=fifaworldcup

Because I can't think of anything x, y, or z, I'll wrap it up here. The World Cup is amazing. It is the greatest sporting event, or just single greatest event at all on the planet. When you combine 32 teams, 32 cultures, and 32 nations, and have them duel it out to be the very best, it becomes a show of pure sport, passion and patriotism. While many knock the sport for its lack of scoring, I rebuff this by pointing out that each goal truly, truly means something special. One goal is enough for a country, a people, a team, a nation to stop, celebrate, and man-make a literal earthquake, as Mexico did in their win over Germany. This is why the FIFA World Cup is just so special.

Cover Image Credit:

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