By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–Three IU Southeast students have won scholarship awards from the Greater Louisville Alumnae Panhellenic (GLAP) in a competition among outstanding collegiates.
Justice Burda from Sigma Kappa, Madison Reed from Alpha Phi and Kendra Stevens from Sigma Kappa received $1,000 each at the annual GLAP Luncheon on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Big Springs Country Club in Louisville, Ky.
GLAP is a nonprofit organization of women delegates living in the Kentuckiana area who are alumnae of National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sororities. The primary goal of the organization is to raise revenues for NPOC women at Bellarmine University, IU Southeast and the University of Louisville, and the organization is also actively involved in other philanthropic endeavors.
Applicants for the scholarships must be an active member of a sorority at one of these schools, have completed at least 60 hours of academic work and maintained a high academic standard.
In the past, GLAP members have gathered hygiene and beauty items to send to female U.S. troops stationed in combat zones, and collected pet food and cleaning supplies for the Kentucky Humane Society. Most recently, they collected over 500 puzzles for the Home of the Innocents in Louisville, Ky.
GLAP received 39 scholarship applications, more than the organization has ever received in a single year.
“The competition was steep, to say the least,” said Lauren Beck, GLAP scholarship chairman.
Burda is a senior from Louisville, Ky., majoring in psychology with a minor in communication. She has been involved in Greek life since arriving on campus in 2014, and has served Sigma Kappa as executive vice president, vice president of new member education, and public relations chairperson. She was IU Southeast’s first Greek Woman of the Year in 2017.
She credits Greek life with helping her gain the confidence and determination to be a strong, motivated leader.
“The skills and experiences I’ve gained from Greek life will benefit me far beyond my collegiate years,” Burda said.
Beyond that, Burda is keen to apply the character-shaping experiences of Greek life to the world around her. She has personally demonstrated this through volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Association, Dads Appreciating Downs Syndrome and campus events.
“Greek life has so much potential for positively impacting our communities through our commitment to values-based living,” Burda said.
Reed is a senior from Oldham County, Ky., majoring in psychology. She has been involved in Alpha Phi since fall 2014, her freshman year. She has served as director of philanthropy, director of community service, Gamma Chi recruitment counselor and panhellenic president over all three sororities. In addition, she has worked in university administration as a clerical assistant for Chancellor Dr. Ray Wallace, has been a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions, and worked in Conferences and Catering.
Reed found in Greek life an avenue for her commitment to helping people in need, and like Burda, to improving the community.
“I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself,” Reed said. “I love that I am connected with women who have the same ideals and vision.”
Stevens is a junior from Oldham County, Ky., majoring in secondary education with a focus on mathematics, her minor. Within Sigma Kappa she has served as vice president of new member education and chapter president. She has also volunteered widely, including as assistant softball coach for the Special Olympics of Kentucky and a tutor for the Gate of Hope organization., where she helped African refugee high school students improve their academic outcomes.
These and other involvements on and off campus are expressions of a leadership ethos that Greek life has helped to nurture, according to Stevens.
“Sigma Kappa has given me the strength and courage I never knew I needed, to be the best person I am capable of being,” Stevens said. “I have had more opportunities to do things I never thought I would have the chance to do, or knew I wanted to do.”
All three attest to the transformative value of Greek life, which has helped them focus on personal improvement while gaining the confidence to lead others in making the world a better place.
“As a member of Greek life, I strive for excellence in all areas of my life and hold myself to a higher standard in everything I do,” Burda said. “I am constantly working to inspire that same motivation in everyone I work with—I think having these interests has guided me in discovering the person I want to be, and what I want to do with my future.”
For Beck, as for the scholarship recipients, sorority life helps to make a large academic community feel more manageable through building connections that can last a lifetime.
“Being part of a Panhellenic sorority allows women to explore and develop leadership skills which can directly contribute to their future careers,” Beck said. “It also provides them with social and philanthropic opporunites that ultimately teach women how to have a work/life balance, and instills goodwill in them.”
Homepage photo: Madison Reed (l), Kendra Stevens (m) and Justice Burda (r) have won scholarships from Greater Louisville Alumnae Panhellenic.