The following was written by Nikki Bussey, the 2009-2010 sweetheart at the University of Memphis.
My experience as Sweetheart:
I wasn’t the typical Sweetheart. In fact, when I got the call I asked, “Are you sure?” I’m the girl who was more like one of the boys than the girls. I immediately embraced my role, even though I was very worried about the baking… As Carrie Bradshaw would say the only thing I have managed to successfully create in the kitchen is a mess…or a few small fires.
Baking aside, my time spent as the Sweetheart of the Epsilon Kappa Chapter of Sigma Chi included some of the best moments in my life. It was always easy to love my guys. From the time I was a freshman on campus, the Sigma Chi men were my favorite. They were the leaders on campus, they stood up when women were in their presence, they worked hard and sometimes played hard. They were always the men that all the girls wanted to be with, and many of my friends and my best friend joined Sigma Chi. The more time I spent with them, the more I loved being around them. I know every chapter will say they have the best guys, but we really do. So of course I was more than happy to represent these amazing men.
Last summer began my time as Sweetheart. The summer was filled with sunshine, karaoke, barbeque, festivals, and more. Every Wednesday I would leave my internship at a local news station to drive to their house to help them with summer recruitment. When I worked at my other job, the guys would all come into the restaurant and ask to sit in my section. That honestly meant the world to me. I HATED waiting tables, but having a large group of my guys made the night so much better.
When I actually attempted to cook or bake something, they ate it up and I would receive phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages thanking me for the food moments after leaving it at the house. (They could have been lying because I’m a terrible cook, but it still made me happy.) Another important factor with my guys is their endless support of my career aspirations. Any time I was able to write a story for the newscast or read a breaking news alert text message out loud, they listened to my excited babble and beamed with pride to tell others what I had done.
I could never forget Valentine’s Day. I was picked up and driven to a restaurant where a large portion of the guys had reserved a table for us. They also bestowed me with red roses (because they are my sorority’s signature flower), a box of candy, and a HUGE teddy bear. Easily, it was the best Valentine’s Day of my life. Who needs a boyfriend when you can have a group of 60 plus men who treat you better and love you just as much?
The spring Academic Banquet was filled with a room full of my smart Sigs. Then I was surprised to see a slide with my picture information on their slideshow. They listed everything they were proud off that I had accomplished in college. They supported me all the way to graduation where I received around a million congratulatory text messages, Twitter and Facebook posts. I was more than happy when I was finally able to attend the Spring Sweetheart Formal in New Orleans. I had been asked the past year but was unable to attend. So, this year the guys gave me one final present in singing The Sweetheart song to me. It brought me to tears, and you can ask anyone, I DO NOT cry. I hated to give away my title, of course, but I wish luck to the next girl, and to all future Sweethearts. It is truly a wonderful experience.
How the fraternity could make things better/easier for sweethearts:
I think there should be a Sigma Chi Sweetheart Boot camp: you know, welcoming her to the chapter so all the guys can meet her at one time. This should be done very quickly after she is invited to be Sweetheart. She should be given a copy of the Norman Shield or something similar since she needs to know some things about the chapter. Other than that, I cannot think of anything else.
To further discuss Nikki’s time as a Sigma Chi Sweetheart you can contact her in the following ways: