Meet Vanderbilt's Little Ray of Sunshine, Haley Walker!

If you've seen Haley Walker around campus, you've probably been taken aback by her perpetually sunny appearance. Even on my worst days, Haley can make me smile, which is pretty rare. One of my friends, Alex Rigl, probably put it best: "Whenever I hang out with Haley, I always feel like I've just done yoga!" 
The really crazy thing is that Haley, my super positive, constantly happy friend, is also probably the most involved person I know. Read on, because we can all learn a lot about life from this girl!!! 
 
 
1) I know you're involved in a lot on campus. Tell us about the organizations you're a part of!
Let's see, I'm part of Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), an on-campus Christian ministry aimed at exploring the Gospel with Vandy students from any and all walks of life.  It's an incredible group of goofballs, and I can't tell you how much it's helped me grow in the past couple of years!  I'm also a member of Greek Life, which this semester involves helping freshman girls navigate the Recruitment process as a Gamma Chi.  My girls are SO cool!!  I'm a local initiatives coordinator with Manna for Siloam Family Health Center, a faith-based health clinic in the 12th South area devoted to serving the underserved in Nashville and the surrounding community.  Then there's the Swingin' Dores- Vanderbilt's premier all-female a cappella group, and the coolest group of singing ladies I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.
 
2) What is your favorite part about being a Swingin' Dore? 
The chemistry in the group, definitely.  We have such fun together!  At performances, in rehearsal, at our bonding events- wherever we go together, I feel like I'm always laughing.
 
3) What song do you most want to perform with the Swingin' Dores? Which song has been your favorite to sing? 
Hmmm... I think I'm most looking forward to Claire Mesrobian's killer rendition of Stars by Florence and the Machine, arranged by the one and only Lena Stein, at our concert in November.  I wouldn't be surprised if people cry during that song, because it will be so beautiful.
 
4) Why did you want to become a Gamma Chi? 
I've always loved being able to encourage younger friends.  Maybe it's the product of having a younger sister, but I really wanted to help freshman girls through Panhellenic Recruitment.  It can be intimidating to experience alone, yet so fun to experience knowing you're not alone.  I wanted to be able to remind them gently that they're not alone. 
 
5) Tell us a little bit more about RUF, and why do you love being a part of it?
I came to college with a lot of questions about Christianity, and religion in general.  A friend invited me to RUF large group one Wednesday night, and I found a community that welcomes questions, and even invites them.  With love.  It's incredible.  I love being a part of it so much because it reminds me of what is true in a world that wants me to chase and seek peace in achievements and money and renown and perfection.
 
6) What has been your most amazing moment at Vanderbilt thus far? 
One moment of amazing?  Oh boy.  It would have to be the moment of chaos that broke out in my friends' section of the stadium when our boy Carey Spear scored at touchdown at the UGA game.  I thought we were going to break the bleachers, we were jumping up and down and hugging and high-fiving and throwing things and cheering so much.  It might not seem that amazing, but I don't think I'll ever forget it.  There was just so much crazy joy, and I think those moments break us out of the hamster wheel of schoolwork and business that I know can be so hard to step out of at Vandy.
 
7) What are your plans for after college?
Right now, the plan is a gap year of travel and service, then start medical school.  Preferably somewhere back in Texas.  Once a Texan, always a Texan :)
 
8) Finally, what is your secret for staying so positive? I know I'm not the only one who thinks you're the happiest person on campus! 
I'm so flattered, haha!  Staying positive to me is about knowing who you are.  It's not what this person thinks of you, how many officer positions you can hold, a number on a scale, a job offer from this company, or a grade in that class. If you know who you are, then you can recognize and live free from the things in your life that don't really matter.  If you don't know who you are yet, or are still figuring it out, I'd encourage you to make it a priority.  That's what college is for!