Greek Of The Week: Michelle Russell From Zeta Tau Alpha

This week's Greek of the Week is Michelle Russell from Zeta Tau Alpha! Michelle is a Public Relations major with a passion for event planning and loves engaging in anything outdoors.


Michelle Russell

Sorority: Zeta Tau Alpha

Symbol: Five-point crown and a strawberry

Motto: Seek the Nobelest

Colors: Steel Grey and Turquoise Blue

Quick Facts about Michelle:

Age: 20

Major: Public Relations major and Business minor

Year: Junior

Hometown: Haymarket, Virginia

Relationship Status: Single

Sorority Position: External Social chair

Michelle's Favorites:

Color: Deep purple

Animal: Tiger

Designer: Lauren Conrad

Season: Summer

Food: Frozen dark chocolate covered bananas

Store: Forever 21

Book: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Why did you choose to come to VCU?

I chose to come to VCU because I loved the city atmosphere; it was pretty different from my hometown. I love that there is always something to do!

Why did you choose to join Zeta Tau Alpha?

I went through formal recruitment my fall semester freshman year not knowing anything about Greek life, but when I visited ZTA it wasn't long until I knew that's where I belonged. All of the girls I met were down to earth and super friendly, making me feel welcomed and comfortable. I felt like they wanted me to be there and wanted to get to know me on a personal level. I couldn't see myself anywhere else.

What is something unique to Zeta Tau Alpha?

I think that ZTA is very diverse. When I look at my sisters I think we are all unique in our own way but we all have a common love for ZTA that brings us together. Another thing I think is unique about us is that we have only been on campus for three years but we have grown so much as a chapter that a lot of people forget we are so new because of how much we have accomplished!

Describe a time when your sisters were really there for you.

Last semester I was going through a really rough time for about a month or two and my sisters were there to support me 100 percent. They really helped me get my mind off of the situation by spending time with me and giving me advice. I knew that all of them cared for me and would do anything to make me feel better. I wouldn't be able to have overcome it as quickly without my second family being there for me.

How do you respond to people who are afraid to join a sorority due to rumors of hazing?

ZTA has a national no hazing policy, so that is something girls shouldn't be afraid of when thinking of going through recruitment. Joining a sorority should be an exciting experience. Your sisters should love you and not make you do anything that you don't want to do.

How do you respond to people who think that you are paying for your friends?

People have joked to me about "paying for my friends" by being in a sorority, and I always tell them it's not like that. Yes we pay dues, but that money doesn't go toward forcing ourselves to be friends with one another, that money is used for our philanthropy, social, alumni, fundraising and sisterhood events. The money we pay is the money we are putting back into ZTA.

What do you feel is a common misconception about sorority women?

I think a common misconception about sorority women is that you have to be a certain stereotype to "fit in." I know from being in ZTA that my sisters are so different from each other that there isn't a certain way to have to be, you can just be yourself. We love women who want to be a part of our chapter who bring something new.

How has being in a sorority changed your life?

Being in a sorority has defined my college experience and has created memories that I will remember for the rest of my life. ZTA has introduced me to some of my life long friends. I can honestly say that I have met girls who I will never forget and and will be in my wedding! I've also become more confident by putting myself out there and taking on leadership positions. It has certainly given me so many opportunities and has kept me a well-rounded person.

Are you involved in any organizations outside of Zeta Tau Alpha?

I am in involed in StartUp VCU which provides networking opportunities and Where is the Line? which mainly tries to restore joy in those that have been abused.

Which celebrity do you look up to and why?

One celebrity I look up to is Audrey Hepburn. She was seen as a fashion icon and remembered for her beauty, poise and grace. One of my favorite quotes from her is, "For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."

What is your favorite spot in Richmond?

There is this spot in Richmond that my sisters took me to one time and it overlooks the entire Richmond skyline! We've been there at dusk and and at night seeing all of the buildings light up with the setting sun! It is definitely one of the most beautiful things.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to hang out with friends, dance, workout and I love doing anything outside!

What do you hope to accomplish with your degree?

With my degree my dream job would be to become a wedding planner/event planner. I love the event party atmosphere and design. There is nothing more I would rather do than to create one of the most important days of someone's life and for them to be happy!