Across the nation, and across generations, individual Phi Mu chapters have impacted the lives of women, particularly during their college years. My own chapter has introduced me to my lifelong best friends and given me opportunities to be a leader within our group as well as on campus. Beyond this support system that I found in Phi Mu at the University of Tennessee, I have also experienced the support of our national fraternity by working with Phi Mu Foundation.
This past school year, I served on the Foundation’s Collegiate Leadership Council. Alongside Phi Mu women from different chapters, I learned more about Phi Mu Foundation’s mission and history as the philanthropic branch of the fraternity. Serving on this board granted me the opportunity to work with the Foundation staff during the 2018 National Convention in Las Vegas. Here, I met women from a variety of stages in life: fellow collegians, newly graduated alumnae, and even a woman honored as the Phi Mu who has attended the most national conventions over the past four or so decades. Regardless of age, these women had so much to share about their lives and experience through Phi Mu.
My mentor through the Collegiate Leadership Council, Delicia Arnold, serves on the Foundation Board of Trustees. Delicia is a passionate, hard-working, and dedicated wife, mother, and attorney. She shows a commitment to excellence by devoting her time to an organization that has done so much for its members on top of these demanding roles. Her passion for giving back to Phi Mu is clearly evident through her generous support as a compassionate and inspiring mentor.
At this point in my life, I have personally benefitted from receiving a scholarship from Phi Mu Foundation. It has contributed to me graduating debt-free, which will allow me to have a great deal more financial freedom once I start working after college without the burden of student loans. A significant percentage of college graduates do not enter the real world with such fortunate circumstances; the average student graduates with $37,172 in loans. Just as generous donors have supported my education, I hope to contribute to the education of future Phi Mu women.
Besides the monetary support of my education, the mentorship and leadership opportunities have allowed me to grow and develop a useful interpersonal skill set. My Phi Mu experience has truly set me up for success as I pursue my goal of obtaining a Master’s of Accountancy degree and becoming a Certified Public Accountant. More than this, I plan to show my appreciation for the women before me by continuing to support the Foundation as best I can just as they have for me and for so many other Phi Mu women, across the nation and across generations.
Tori Heavey is a member of the Kappa Chapter at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a member of the 2018-19 Collegiate Leadership Council.