While we all try to stay active in campus affairs, some people truly dive in and run for leadership positions. Sammie Schools is president of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity for women. Through Sigma Alpha Iota, her excellence and passion shines as she takes charge of the sisterhood.
College LifestylesTM:What’s it like to be a campus organization president?
Sammie Schools: It is a lot of work! Balancing school with leadership positions can be tough, but overall it is very rewarding.
CL: What are some of your responsibilities as president?
SS: I am the main contact between any outside sources and our organization. I sort through tons of emails every day. A lot of it is spam, but some of it is useful for us, such as service and performance opportunities.
CL: What is the most rewarding part of being president of Sigma Alpha Iota?
SS: The most rewarding thing for me is seeing how things have changed since I was initiated. I think that positive change has made the organization blossom even more than we could have ever imagined. I love watching the younger sisters grow into leaders who will hopefully fill the executive board shoes someday.
CL: What is the most challenging part of being president of Sigma Alpha Iota?
SS: The hardest thing is dealing with conflict. Whether it’s personal, professional or logistical, you will always run into some sort of conflict. It’s hard to find that fine line between being a leader and being a sister to the rest of the members. I think that I have done a pretty good job with this, but I have run into some issues. It is important to think about how others perceive you based on the way you address the group. You need to gain respect and encourage the group to succeed without being a dictator.
CL: What were some of your goals this year as president? Did you succeed?
SS: My biggest goal was getting the sisters more involved. I took every opportunity to get our sisters involved! I gave gift cards to the two sisters who attended the most events last semester, and I will be doing that again this semester.
I also really wanted us to grow as a chapter. We generally do the same types of events, but I wanted us to move past that and work on bigger projects. This year we are doing a fundraiser called “Mr. SAI” to raise money for a music-related cause. With some pushing and hard work, we were able to start organizing it and break expectations.
On a larger scale, we are making a very large donation to our charitable arms, SAI Philanthropies Inc., to benefit failing music programs. This is due to our chapter’s hard work with fundraising and service events.
I absolutely think our chapter is moving in a different direction (in a good way!). It’s easy to get stuck in the same routine, but switching things up is very good for growth and overall morale.
CL: What would you like to see future presidents accomplish?
SS: I would love to see our chapter do more things outside of the music building. It is hard to organize large events because of low interest, but I think if future leaders worked with the borough and surrounding areas, they could accomplish many great things.
CL: How has taking on this leadership role helped you grow as an individual?
SS: I have grown leaps and bounds since I first joined this organization! I was Vice President of Membership last year, and holding that office along with President this year has made my confidence shoot through the roof. I was a very shy person, never believing I could achieve anything. My anxiety held me back from doing great things in the world. After I joined SAI and was encouraged to run for these positions, I learned so much. I have had a lot of issues; I’ve cried from stress [and] I’ve spent late nights going through paperwork for the organization, but it was all worth it. I am very thankful for what this organization has given me.
CL: What is some advice you would give to future presidents?
SS: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! At first I was hesitant to ask for help, and I thought that I was supposed to deal with all the problems by myself. You can’t do it all alone. Asking for help doesn’t make you look weak, but makes you manage your organization better. There are ALWAYS people willing to help you out!
As hectic as it may be, Schools is truly passionate about her role in Sigma Alpha Iota. It is extremely commendable to see her devotion and professionalism exemplified through her presidency. Keep up the great work, Schools!
Images courtesy of Sammie Schools.