‘Obsessed with Phi Sig – and Better for It!’
Sassy sister and successful leader from the University of West Florida
sets her sights high – and sees a long future in our sorority.
December 18, 2010
CALL HER THE PERENNIAL PHI SIG LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE QUEEN. Or the collegiate sister most likely to aspire to become Grand Archon one day. Or the sorority president on campus with the most spirit – or at least the most spunk. (She prefers the word “sass” or “sassy” the way most young people use it today: to fight hard for what you believe in. And she does.)
Whatever you call her, Christina Padron (known affectionately as “Padron” to her sisters at the Delta Psi Chapter at University of West Florida) is already making a name for herself in Phi Sig and interfraternal circles. Small wonder for this young woman who claims she’s got a great big (big, big, BIG) love for sorority life in general, and for Phi Sigma Sigma specifically.
Snapshot of success
“Phi Sig has definitely been an amazing experience for me – so, yes, you could say I’m obsessed with it,” Christina says with a laugh.
A quick snapshot of her accomplishments tells the story:
- Archon who was so committed to leading her chapter, despite making preparations to enter grad school for a demanding exercise-science program this past fall, that she requested special permission from HQ to run in the 2010 elections. (She just completed her year-long term – and is now focusing entirely on grad studies and her goal to become an orthopedic surgeon.)
- Vice President, then President, of the University’s College Panhellenic Council – working closely, at times, with former Grand Archon and current Phi Sigma Sigma NPC Delegate Josette George Kaufman (whom Christina views as a role model).
- Three-time attendee to our sorority’s annual Leadership Conference while serving as her chapter’s Sister Development Chair, Membership Recruitment Chair and Archon, respectively. (Note: Few collegians from medium to large chapters attend three or more LCs – suggesting a special commitment to excel in Christina’s case.)
- Phi Sig representative attending the prestigious Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute, an intensive 5-day program that promotes values-based excellence among Greek leaders.
- And if all that weren’t enough: Member of last year’s Homecoming Court.
“You have to understand, this is normal for me – this is who I am, as my sisters know,” Christina explains. “And I’ll tell you something else: If it weren’t for Phi Sig, I probably would have left University of West Florida to seek the kinds of challenges I wanted and needed. … I found them here, in my chapter.”
Christina began her college career at UWF on an Army ROTC scholarship. For two years (and even during Phi Sig’s new-member process), she pushed herself past normal limits: waking up at 5 a.m. to run, staying involved in multiple campus activities and earning leadership roles outside the Greek community.
Her ROTC days ended with a knee injury serious enough to require surgery. For a while, in good-natured fun as she recovered, her sisters called her “Pegleg Padron” to raise her spirits – knowing, from that point on, she’d have to fund her own education through loans.
Undeterred, Christina focused on new ways to invest her time and talents on campus and, particularly, in Phi Sig.
“Things happen for a reason,” she says. “I believe I’ve contributed to a lot of really great changes in our chapter since joining as the only Hispanic sister at the time.”
For example, since 2007, Christina says the chapter roll jumped an incredible 240% – from 15 members to 51 – and has been successful in retaining new members longer than at any recent time in Delta Psi’s history.
Also: The chapter is drawing even more of its first-choice women during recruitment – a result, Christina believes, of the high-profile roles she and another Phi Sig sister held on the Panhellenic Council, especially as they lobbied for greater cooperation among sororities, a more tight-knit Greek community and stronger emphasis on valued-based programming.
Finally, more Delta Psi sisters are viewing their membership in Phi Sig as a long-term investment: in themselves, their careers, the women around them, and more. “We can’t just ‘check out’ as seniors in Phi Sig,” Christina explains. So constitutional changes were voted on and approved to help bolster participation through graduation, among other things. This, too, has contributed to Delta Psi’s continuing success.
As you might expect, it hasn’t always been easy. The first time Christina ran for Archon (just after being MRC and before becoming Panhellenic President), she lost. “Oh, it was a big stab in the heart for me, but I relied on that belief I told you about: that things do happen for a reason.” Looking back, she says her sisters weren’t confident she could make the transition from MRC (a demanding role fraught with rigid expectations and obligations) to Archon.
“I was determined to work harder and show them everything I had to offer,” Christina adds.
Her Panhellenic presidency gave her a new, broader perspective that earned even greater respect on campus and in Delta Psi. She grew as a person – and sisters could clearly see that when they asked her to run for Archon this past year. “They felt I was ready, that I could help take us to the next level – and I think, working together, we did that,” she says.
What’s next for Christina – besides medical school and continuing to enhance her wardrobe, especially shoes, with Phi Sig-themed fashions? (She openly admits to having several pairs of king blue and gold pumps and wearing them proudly.)
“I absolutely see myself as an active alumna sister – and I’ve already contacted HQ about being a volunteer,” Christina says. “I’ll also remain a role model to my 15-year-old sister, Rebecca – one of our future legacies who is so excited about joining our sorority she steals my shirts and wears them!”
Outgoing, determined, fun and gung-ho about Phi Sig, it’s clear no matter where she goes or what she ultimately achieves, Christina will continue to Aim High – and be a credit to our sisterhood.
“Phi Sigma Sigma challenges me every day to be a better person, to do more, to expect more of myself and my life,” she says. “That’s the sorority for me. That’s the sorority I love.”
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