Sanja Milic on frat life and living the American dream

For this week, Her Campus caught up with Sanja Milic, the president of Phi Sigma Pi, which is the only honor gender-inclusive fraternity on campus. Before she joined the organization, and before her time at Kent, she escaped from her war-torn country of Bosnia to start a new life here in America. After 14 years of being a permanent resident with a green card, Sanja went through the exhausting process to become a U.S. citizen. As if her college career hasn't already been eventful enough with her newly gained citizenship and her term as president for her organization, Sanja added a prestigious internship in Florence to her resume last summer.

Age: 21

Class standing: Senior

Major/minor: Hospitality Management with a minor in Event Planning

Organizations: Phi Sigma Pi (president), Club Managers Association of America and Eta Sigma Delta

Her Campus: So being part of your organization for a few years now, tell me some of the objectives of your fraternity.

Sanja Milic: Our objective is to get brothers involved in our community through leadership, fellowship and scholarship. When I was the initiate advisor, my role was to make sure the new members knew the qualifications and expectations of the fraternity. I was their teacher and friend through the process. As president, I am the face of the fraternity. I am required to be a liaison to the national office about our operations at Kent State. I act as a risk-management chair and make sure no one is making a fool of themselves or making the fraternity look bad.

HC: What made you want to get involved and join?

SM: I barely did anything freshman year. I worked a little and just went to class. I had my friends, but I wanted to find a "place" on campus. I just felt disconnected from the other students on campus who were involved. One of my friends was already in Phi Sigma Pi, and she convinced me to go to an info night session. At first, I treated PSP as a resume-builder, but that quickly changed.

HC: How has it changed your life—negatively and/or positively?

SM: It's definitely positive overall, but there have been negative times as well. You learn how to manage a group of college students that are not being paid to do the work they are required to do. They have to WANT to do this work to better the fraternity and their experience. Some people join thinking that no effort is required, but it's what you put into it. It can be frustrating at times, but at the end of the day, I wouldn't change anything about it. I feel like it has prepared me for my future when I have to manage multiple employees in the hospitality industry.

HC: As the president, what are a few things you would like to get accomplished?

SM: I want to expand our chapter. Eight years ago, our fraternity had a much bigger presence on campus and that's not really the case anymore. We had a very successful rush this semester and the group of initiates who joined are a great group. I have really high hopes for them. We will continue to recruit aggressively and selectively so I can leave this fraternity knowing we have a good foundation for the next few years.

HC: You recently obtained your citizenship after living in America for 14 years. How do you think this has impacted your college career? Has it helped you push yourself more in terms of school and your future career?

SM: I love the idea of voting. Kids in high school would tell me that my opinion didn't matter because I couldn't vote. They would tease me about being foreign. It wasn't until recently that I truly saw how being foreign was such a positive thing. I tend to see a different perspective from most people because of the two worlds I'm caught in between. There are a few issues I am very passionate about like climate change, affordable healthcare and, of course, immigration and voting for these issues is very important to me.

HC: What was the hardest part of the process?

SM: I don't think people realize how expensive going through this process is. It's 700 dollars to apply for citizenship and take the test and that is hard on a college student. The test was easy for me because I spent so much time learning American history in school. People think that it's so simple becoming a citizen, but there are extensive applications, background checks and a lot of waiting, too. It took six months all together to become a citzen.

HC: Tell me about your internship this past summer in Florence.

SM: It was an unbelievable experience. I interned at a gelateria. It was a family-owned business and super authentic. My job was to scoop gelato, translate their social media and work the catered events they had planned. I catered weddings in Italian castles and villas. I also got to work a fashion event for men's fashion week in Florence. In all honesty, I really enjoyed every second of being in Italy.

HC: How do you think your traveling when you were younger helped prepare you for your time in Italy?

SM: My sister and I traveled around the motherland, Bosnia, a lot two summers ago. If you can travel in an Eastern European country that's super disorganized, you can travel in Western Europe. If I survived a six-hour bus ride with no A/C in 96 degree weather, I think I can do anything now.

HC: What skills do you think you gained in your internship that could help you in not only your future career, but also leading your fraternity?

SM: Communication is key. Trying to communicate with people that only spoke Italian was very difficult and this made me appreicate good communication even more. Good commnuication changes everything and helps an organization run smoother. Italians are blunt; if they don't like something that you do, they'll tell you immediately. It's very different at first, but something I think Americans should do more instead of beating around the bush.

HC:  What advice would you give for those looking to join your fraternity in the future?

SM: Have an open mind. The world is a very diverse place. This applies to everything in life--listen to other people's experiences and their backgrounds. You can learn so much from people that had different upbringings than you, something I learned at my internship and through my fraternity. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and you might as well take this.

Follow Sanja on social media:

Instagram: @ssanjamilicc

Twitter: @sanjayamilic