Serious Sisterhood

Photo by Erin Shildmyer

Living the Greek Life at Webster.

written by Allison Klinghammer

While lanterns illuminated campus on September 19th to kick-off Webster’s Centennial celebration, a small group of students celebrated a lesser-known milestone in the H. Sam Priest Center. A collection of girls gathered for Bid Day, which marks the beginning of the fifth year for the Delta Phi Epsilon (DPhiE) sorority at Webster University. 

The ceremony, complete with bright “Alice in Wonderland” treats and decorations, oversaw 23 new additions to DPhiE. This is the largest pledge class the sorority has seen since its foundation in 2009. 

DEVELOPING WELL-ROUNDED SISTERS

Sorority life at Webster differs from Greek life on other campuses, according to sophomore Mallory Engelhardt, who joined the sorority in fall 2013. Not only is there just one sorority on campus, but it’s also a relatively small chapter. Engelhardt said the limited size of the chapter allows for more opportunity to bond with sisters.

“I have friends in sororities at Mizzou that don’t even know all of the girls in their pledge class,” Engelhardt said. “It’s a nice 

feeling to know all the people in your sorority and actually feel like a family.”

Engelhardt said that because the Webster chapter of DPhiE is smaller than a chapter at a larger state school, they can focus more on their philanthropy. It’s not about parties at DPhiE — it’s about developing well-rounded women.

“They’re great girls,” sorority President Katherine Young said. “They’re committed and they’re passionate about the organization. It makes me proud.”

GOING THE EXTRA 30.1 MILES

DPhiE actively fundraises for multiple causes, but the Webster chapter has a special tie to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). Eight-year-old Luke Price is afflicted with the condition. He and his father, Mike, often speak to DPhiE about how the sorority helps him and those suffering from the same condition. 

Webster graduate and DPhiE alumna Brianna Nadler was immediately drawn to the cystic fibrosis cause after hearing Mike Price speak at a DPhiE event at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville chapter. Through the Prices, Nadler met Kenedy Maze, another cystic fibrosis sufferer who was turning 14 while living in the Ronald McDonald house, waiting for new lungs. Nadler and a few other DPhiE sisters brought Maze cupcakes and presents, pleasantly surprised by how excited the sick little girl in a huge oxygen mask was to receive such gifts.

“That was the moment it became everything to me,” Nadler said.

After meeting Maze, Nadler researched cystic fibrosis in depth and stayed in touchwith the Mazes. The two keep in contact almost every day.

“She’s part of my family—she’s a sister to me,” Nadler said.

In spring 2014, Nadler had an internship with the CFF. While there, she signed up for an extreme hike to raise money for the foundation. After raising over $3,000, Nadler hiked 30.1 miles on the Ozark Trail in under 15 hours. Though it was one of the hardest things she had ever done, Nadler said she drew inspiration from Maze and her mother, who left encouraging messages for her the night before. Nadler credits the sorority for not only helping her discover her passion for the cystic fibrosis cause, but also for leading her to accomplish the incredible hike.

THE FUTURE OF DPHIE

Fall 2014 saw a large increase in the number of new members. Now the sorority is working even harder to grow and build its

legacy at Webster. Young and her sorority sisters encourage people to look past the party-girl stereotype associated with Greek letters. Engelhardt stressed that DPhiE isn’t about partying, nor is it simply something to list on a resume. Being a part of DPhiE is a commitment to sisterhood.

“Being around this group of women just encourages you,” Engelhardt said. “No one is negative. It makes you realize if they can do it, you can do it. It’s just really inspirational.”

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