On Wednesday night, I attended a dinner with alumni, sweethearts, and former Grand Consuls. The event was hosted by current Grand Consul, Mike Ursillo and his lovely wife, Diane. The dinner was lovely and I even sat at a table with Mike Church, the Executive Director of the Sigma Chi Fraternity! I enjoyed networking with the alumni and hearing stories of their undergraduate years.
On Thursday morning, I spent most of my time mingling with undergraduate brothers as they arrived and checked in to Grand Chapter. It was very cool to meet so many different brothers from all over the US and Canada. Their unique stories and experiences really impressed me... I also couldn't help but take notes on all the cute t-shirts! In the afternoon, the other Sweethearts and I did a photoshoot so that HQ could put our photos in the new Norman Shield edition. How cool is that?!
Afterwards, we attended a Welcome Reception where we enjoyed delicious food and mingled with delegates and alumni all evening. I had many alumni come up to me and compliment me on my speech and I had never felt so flattered in my 20 years! Don Hester, the Grand Praetor of Northern Indiana, even invited me to speak at Indiana State Day in February 2018 and I gladly accepted.
At the reception, Kelsey Maggard gave her final speech to the Fraternity and then former Grand Consul, Dennis Santoli, read my bio as John escorted me to the stage. I had never felt so happy and proud to represent AOII, Ball State University, and the Epsilon Omega chapter. When Allie Hagemeyer was announced the next International Sweetheart, I couldn't have been any happier. She is so deserving and I can't wait to see everything that she will accomplish these next two years. I look forward to following her adventures and hopefully reuniting with her at Ball State sometime this year!
That evening, many brothers and alumni talked with me about how proud they were and how much it meant to them that I came out to Providence for this adventure. I cried several times after realizing my journey as a finalist was over, but mostly because i had never felt so much love and happiness towards Sigma Chi. This Fraternity has given me more than I ever imagined and it's taught me more about myself and others. I feel so lucky to have gone on this journey and I've loved meeting the many brothers and Sweethearts.
One of the best parts of the evening was when John surprised me with a Sweetheart badge. He and my boyfriend, Jake, pitched in to purchase one for me as a gift. I also received countless texts from Epsilon Omega brothers who congratulated me on being a finalist. I felt so special and loved by my chapter and am more determined than ever to be their best Chapter Sweetheart!
When dinner ended, the other Sweethearts and I attended Tommy Geddings' party. Tommy is now the 70th Grand Consul of the Fraternity and he is going to do great things throughout his term. I spent most of the party talking with brothers from Texas and Arkansas about their chapters and events. It couldn't have been a more perfect night to celebrate the past few days!
Thank you everyone who has supported me throughout this endeavor. Especially my Epsilon Omega men, Julia Frazier, the International Sweetheart Committee, the Santoli's, Hannah and Allie, Kelsey Maggard, the Hester's, my parents, and many more.
I can't wait to see what my next adventure is!