Thursday, March 29, 2018

Leadership lived: Student helps to shape the future of Greek Life at UIS

Colleen McMahon came to the University of Illinois Springfield as a freshman with no plans of joining a Greek Life organization. However, that all changed when she and fifteen friends founded the Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc. Captivating Chi Chapter.

“I love Gamma Phi Omega because it’s the support network that I didn’t necessarily think I needed at first,” she said. “It wasn’t something that I saw myself being a part of, but once I got interested and became a member, I realized it was a network beyond my undergraduate career.”

Now a senior business administration and communication major, McMahon is president of Gamma Phi Omega’s Chi Chapter and is helping to shape the future of Greek Life at UIS as the president of the UIS Greek Life Council.

“As the president of the Greek Life Council, I’m in charge of making sure that the different Greek organizations here work together and they get along and they follow the rules that the university has set for Greek Life,” she said.

McMahon also plays a role in advising the university about the expansion of Greek Life on campus. She recently led a talk on the “Dos and Don’ts of Greek Life” where she advised prospective groups of students who wanted to start their own Greek organization.

“We wanted to make sure they understood what goes into being a member of Greek Life on this campus and what it’s like to be member of a Greek Organization in general,” she said.

As a founding member of the UIS Gamma Phi Omega Chapter, McMahon knows how much work it takes to start a new sorority or fraternity chapter.

“My role as a founder was to really bring together our sisters and to get this organization ready for when we would start recruiting other people,” she said. “We had to create governing documents, create events and the things that would create a legacy that other people would want to be a part of in the future.”

McMahon, a native of Flora, Illinois, is also a peer mentor for the Capital Scholars Honors Program on campus, a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma National Business Honor Society and the Organization of Latin American Students at UIS.

Following graduation from UIS, McMahon plans to earn a master’s degree in multicultural communication and later hopes to work in higher education. She says she’s learned many lessons about leadership during her time at UIS.

“At UIS, I’ve had all these experiences in leadership and I’ve grown as an individual in ways that I never would have guessed before I came to college,” she said.

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