Meet the Greeks: Ashley Carpenter

The third spotlight in my Meet the Greeks series shines on the current president of the Rhodes College chapter of Chi Omega! Chi Omega is a sorority filled with wonderful, involved women who brighten our campus. You may recognize them for their philanthropy events for Make-A-Wish Foundation! 

Without further ado, meet Ashley Carpenter! 

MP: What inspired you/encouraged you to join this organization?

AC: As a first-year, I remember feeling like I hadn't quite found my place at Rhodes yet. During that time the upperclassmen that were the most intentional and caring towards me, yet bold and fun, were Chi O's. Friendships with those girls were a huge part of my decision to join Chi O, but what caused me to stay was the uplifting and motivating energy that pervades our chapter! Being constantly surrounded by kicka$$ women has driven me to become a much stronger version of myself. 

MP: What has been the most rewarding part of being a member of this organization? 

AC: I have loved getting to grow in my leadership and communication skills through the various positions I've had within Chi O throughout my three years. Also, it's just a ton of fun. We have so many engaging and creative sisterhood, social, and philanthropy events that have made my experience worthwhile. 

MP: Has being in a sorority been anything like you expected it to be? 

AC: It actually has been pretty consistent with my expectations. I'm from Little Rock, AR where most of my friends rushed at huge state schools, so hearing that side definitely made me more apprehensive. However, the older Chi O's gave me a really realistic picture of both rush and sorority life to help me decide whether it was for me or not. 

MP: What has been the most challenging part of being a member of this organization? or, What has been the biggest challenge for your organization as a whole? 

AC: Personally, I'm heavily involved in numerous organizations outside of Chi O (I can confidently say this is true for most of my sisters as well), which makes balancing commitments more difficult. I think that the presence of so many distinct women is one of our greatest strengths, but I would also say that our main challenge comes from uniting the plethora of different personalities in our chapter. Thankfully, we were all drawn to Chi O because we saw various values reflected in the chapter that we all can identify with, regardless of our backgrounds or interests. At our best, the different voices and experiences merge to form a unique, collective symphony. 

MP: In what ways do you hope this chapter benefits Rhodes? In what ways (if any) does Rhodes benefit this chapter? 

AC: I see Chi Omegas pushing for inclusivity and diversity in Greek Life, accessibility to our Lodge and the wider campus (we fundraised in order to make our Lodge more handicap accessible over the past year), and overall trying to fight the negative culture that unfortunately can accompany Greek Life at times. I'm a firm believer in leaving everything better than you found it, and I know that my sisters share that motivation. As for Rhodes benefitting our chapter – the administration is often very supportive of any of our initiatives and is always willing to sit down with chapter leaders to hear our thoughts. 

MP: In what ways would you say your organization stands out on campus?

AC: I think that all of the Greek organizations on campus are incredible, so I have a hard time picking a particular area, but I do believe that Chi O's are very passionate and driven as a rule. As such, it's rare that there would be any non-Greek organization on campus in which Chi O's are not only represented, but also leading and pushing for progress. 

MP: Are there any stereotypes about greek life that you think are correct/incorrect? Are there any stereotypes about your organization that you think are correct/incorrect?

AC: In general, Greek Life can have the stereotype of being self-centered and exclusionary. I cannot deny that there are aspects of those factors that have been part of the history of sororities and fraternities, but I do think that at Rhodes specifically we have worked with determination to separate ourselves from this lineage and give back to our various communities. 

MP: Overall, would you recommend joining Greek life to new students at Rhodes? What would they gain from this experience?

AC: While I know that Greek Life is not realistic for or desired by everyone, I know that it was 100% the right choice for myself. If you are looking for a way to get more involved on campus, meet women who can push you to pursue your passions and make a change everywhere you go, gain leadership opportunities and life skills, and make so many inexplicable memories, then I highly recommend going through recruitment to see if it is for you! 

And a few questions just for fun...

MP: What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it?

AC: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison! 100%. It covers really difficult and important subject matter with an "unflinching gaze" and in beautiful prose. 

MP: What song are you listening to on repeat right now?

AC: I unashamedly admit that I have not listened to a single other artist since Taylor Swift's new album, Lover, came out. My favorite off of it is "The Man" – such a girl-power bop! 

MP:Other clubs/extracurriculars you're involved with on campus?

AC: Rhodes Activities Board (Treasurer/Secretary), Diplomat, Rhodes Singers, Tuesday Fellowship (Leadership Team), Senior Gift Committee Delegate! It's a good thing I like being busy!

MP: Majors/Minors? Career plans? What year are you?

English major, Political Science and Religious Studies minors.

I'm currently applying to English Literature PhD programs and would love to teach at a collegiate level! Shoutout to Professor Boswell for giving me that vision!

I'm a senior :( Not quite ready to leave this place yet!