By: Liza Pugliese Hallsten (Alpha Omega, Birmingham-Southern College)
Before I begin, I should be honest about who I am as a person – I am a Type A organizer and planner. So you can imagine my family’s surprise when I told them that I wanted to marry a soldier in the US Army and that we’d be moving every two to three years, that Luke would deploy often, and that each new set of orders would mean that I would be home alone for long periods of time while Luke attended schools or trainings across the country.
I knew planning for the unexpected was all that I could do. What I couldn’t plan for was how hard all of this could have been without Alpha Chi Omega. After living in six different states in eight years, supporting Luke through two deployments and countless temporary duty assignments, I’ve learned that I am far stronger and more capable than I ever could have imagined. I made it through -40-degree winters in upstate New York and 115-degree summers in southern Louisiana. Everywhere we have lived, I’ve made connections – social and professional – thanks to Alpha Chi Omega.
As much as I adored my four years as an undergraduate student, my time as an alumna of Alpha Chi Omega has been meaningful in a way that I could not have anticipated. I’ve been very fortunate to have a wide range of experiences with our sisterhood as an alumna. I advise our Gamma Xi chapter at Western Michigan University – a place I have come to call home. No matter where we move, I know that I have family to visit anytime. Our house director has become another grandmother to our baby, Asher, and the chapter women love and spoil him when we go up to visit.
In addition to being a chapter advisor, I am the president of the Pi Sigma Pi virtual alumnae chapter. I am honored to be one of the chapter founders and cannot begin to describe how much this chapter has meant to me over the last six and a half years. This chapter is for sisters who are active duty service members, sisters who are married to service members or any sisters who wish to support our troops. We have sisters across the globe, and a great feature of the chapter is that we connect sisters who are assigned to the same duty station. It has been an incredible experience to connect with Alpha Chi Omegas who live nearby, and I have remained close friends with those I met years ago.
Our sisterhood truly offers something special – we are sisters who offer comfort in the difficult times, encouragement during the unknown and fun when you can relax. I will cherish the sisters I have met along the way and miss those who I have lost touch with.
Wherever you live and whatever your interests are, there is something you can get involved with in Alpha Chi Omega. I guarantee that it will enrich your life, and you will enrich the lives of other sisters.