My official report to the Standards Chair after our last sorority formal was dry and clinical: “At the venue, she was caught running down the sidewalk trying to leave and get into an uber,” I wrote. “She was sent home on the first bus.”
What really happened went down a little differently. On one cold Wednesday night, I was the sober one surrounded by about three hundred drunk college kids trying to keep everyone safe. This meant that I had to do things like rip off my heels and chase a freshman around the corner on some random street in San Jose just to make sure she didn’t leave an official event too early. I have to know where all girls and their dates are at all times just in case something happens at an official event. You see, in my sorority I can be called many names: the bad guy, the alcohol police, the sober one, or the Risk Management Chair.
I got nominated for my job on a Sunday morning last year. It was about eleven o’clock when I was promptly woken up from my hungover haze to what I would later call the “Risk call.” When I saw who was calling, I perked up as best as I could because I thought I was going to be nominated for something fun, like Recruitment Chair, or New Member Educator. When the words ‘Risk Management Chair’ rolled of off my sorority sister’s tongue, by heart dropped into my stomach.
After that phone call, I did what any 19 year old girl would do, and I immediately called my mom. About point five seconds after hearing her voice, I broke down in tears. I didn’t know what I was going to do and I thought that my life had just been ruined (yes, I believed every melodramatic word in that last sentence). I was terrified that I would have to become the stiff and boring girl who was a major buzzkill at all of my sorority’s events. At the end of that talk, I decided that I was going to do my best at being Risk, using it as an opportunity to build skills and write down something pretty impressive on my resume.
One might ask why someone would want to become a sorority Risk Management Chair and the answer is that nobody wants my job. Other members of the chapter Executive Board use words like “hard,” “difficult,” “important,” and “authoritative” to describe the job. It is a job that, according to the girls who voted me into my position, a “responsible, resilient, approachable and dedicated” person gets put into. Well, in the last six months I have been forced to be all of these things and more.
We all know what responsibility is, you know, like with great power comes great responsibility and all that crap. But I have learned what real responsibility is. Real responsibility is having to not let a girl on a bus to a formal because if she does, you just know that she will only embarrass herself more, or worse throw up and leave it for you to clean. People drink excessively for these kinds of events, I guess it makes them fun. I try my best to stop people from making drunken mistakes and fools of themselves. I am responsible for making sure that someone is looking out for them even when they are not in any state to do so.
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly. This was really put to the test when I went to go help a girl’s date who was barely standing and grasping onto the bar to support himself. When I went over to him, he just turned straight towards me and projectile vomited all over my dress. In shock and disbelief, I was whisked away to the bathroom to clean off my dress. Without any recovery time, I had to march outside and send both the girl and her date home from the event. The girl was in tears and I was doing everything I could not to let mine fall.
One of the reasons that I was slated for this position because I am approachable. I was out one night and this girl came up to me and introduced me to her friend, saying “This is the Risk Chair, she’s super chill. She kicked me out of a dance once, but like we’re totally chill, it’s like I was supposed to say I’m sorry but like you’re just like super chill so I didn’t.” Now, I don’t know that being ‘chill’ equates to being approachable, buy hey, I’ll take what I can get! This honestly came as a shock to me because I have never been told that I am an approachable person before. Now I don’t know if is the resting look on my face or what, but being unapproachable is something that I am used to. Funny enough, being Risk has apparently made me more approachable.
Dedication has really been the key to my job. I have lost hours of sleep over filling out planning forms and incident reports, not to mention the hours I’ve lost actually dealing with the members of my chapter. I have stayed in on the weekends in the event that someone needs to go to the hospital, needs some water, or needs someone to talk to. I have to be sober at every event. Let me repeat that, EVERY event. Yet, for some reason, my dedication not my sorority keeps me committed. At the end of the day, I am only here to help. If that makes me the bad guy, I guess I’ll have to live with that for the next six months.
By Olivia Bentley
Photos via Google Images