For those that have met Chickie Lowenstein, you know how her bubbly personality brings a smile to your face and how passionate she is about the sorority experience. For those of you who haven’t met her, let me tell you a little bit about Chickie. She is a mother of three, grandmother of seven, wife, former employee of the CIA, volunteer and proud sorority woman.
Over the past 55 years, Chickie has been a dedicated volunteer for her sorority, Sigma Delta Tau (SDT). For 44 of those years, she also volunteered with the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). In her 55 years of service to the sorority community, Chickie has grown quite the resume. You can see just a handful of her roles and accomplishments below.
Sigma Delta Tau
House Corporation Office
National Awards Chairman
National Convention Volunteer
National Vice President
National Recruitment Chairman
National Panhellenic Conference
Alumnae Panhellenics Committee
This year, Chickie is retiring as an NPC volunteer. Her commitment and dedication to the sorority community is an inspiration as all sorority women who strive to advance the sorority experience.
So, what does 55 years of service to the sorority community get you?
For Chickie, she has strong stories of sisterhood to share. Like the time she broke her leg and had to miss her first NPC meeting. “You know I never missed a meeting in those 44 years until I broke my leg,” Chickie said.
She is very proud of her attendance record, and rightfully so. When she was unable to attend that meeting, her sorority sisters made a plan to have Chickie be there in a unique way. Her sisters had little images of Chickie printed out and placed on sticks to be held during the meeting. “They called them chicks on a stick,” Chickie said.
In addition to her fond memories of sisterhood, Chickie was also able to share the sorority experience with women all over the country through her role with extension. “I loved doing extension, it was just so fun,” she said. Extension is the process of opening a new chapter of a sorority on campus. Chickie began opening new chapters of SDT during the 1970s when not many chapters were opening across the country. “When we got the first call to open a new chapter of SDT, I couldn’t get on a plane fast enough,” Chickie said.
While she loved opening a new chapter and expanding her sisterhood, Chickie admits extension is a lot of work. It requires travel to different universities (often multiple times) to take the new members through the education process, initiate them and ensuring they have the tools and education they need to run smoothly. In her time in the extension role, Chickie went through this process many times as she helped establish 40 new chapters of SDT. This is an incredible way to leave an impact, by allowing more women to have access to your sisterhood and the sorority experience.
Where Did It All Start?
As a collegian herself, Chickie was very involved with her chapter serving chapter president. “I guess I’ve always been president,” Chickie laughs. But, it wasn’t until she met the national president of Sigma Delta Tau that Chickie had even thought about serving her organization beyond her chapter. “I met her at the end of the year and she asked me to serve on the SDT recruitment committee. I guess that was the start of everything.”
Without that encouragement from someone Chickie looked up to, she may have never gone down the path she did.
The Life Impact of Volunteering
Chickie’s volunteering didn’t stop within the sorority community. For many years, she did a lot of volunteer work in her community. One role she loved was working with a substance use and abuse educational program for elementary and middle school students. “When the teachers thanked us, it felt like we had really made a difference,” Chickie said.
Volunteering has had a huge impact on Chickie’s life. “You gain so much insight into yourself,” she said. “You think about what is important to you and your family.” Her volunteerism made an impact on her entire family. Her daughters who are sorority women, both volunteer in some capacity.
No matter how you give your time, you see the impact you make in the lives of others. For Chickie, that was extension, the way she voted at all those NPC meetings she attended and how she served as the national president of Sigma Delta Tau. But, you also see an impact on your life. In the way that you see the world and learn what values really matter to you. While many of us won’t obtain the resume that Chickie has, she is an inspiration that we can make an impact and leave the sorority community better than we found it.