Periodically we would like to spotlight various sisters to hear a little about those we may not yet know... we thought it only appropriate to start our interviews with the person who brought us all together!
FOCUS ON: THERESA LEVENDUSKI COTTRILL
I am pleased to introduce one of our founding sisters, Theresa Levenduski Cottrill. . . She is currently one of the Alumnae Advisers for Tau Lambda, serving as Alumnae Relations Advisor and Chapter Relations Advisor. I am sure we would all love to hear a little more about her!
Please share with us a little bit about yourself: My hometown is St. Marys, PA, but I know reside in Dallastown, PA. I am a single mother of two. My son Steven is a freshman at Ship and has a full scholarship through the Army ROTC Program on Campus. My daughter Nicole is 15. She cheers both for the High School team, as well as on a competitive cheerleading squad, which I am the coach. Aside from spending most of my time at the gym coaching the cheer squad, I have a full time job as an Account Rep for a Printing and Publishing Firm in Harrisburg, PA. I also serve as Membership Chair for the Wildcat Football Booster Club, and as a Board Member for Dallastown Area Dollars for Scholars.
Since graduation, I was part of the Founders of the Alumnae Chapter of AOII in York (which has disbanded). Helped out only in a limited capacity with Tau Lambda over the years, first as Chapter Advisor and then Chapter Relations Advisor and on the Corp Board. I had the opportunity to Visit Headquarters last summer, which was so totally awesome!
What was your vision for AOII? My vision for Tau Lambda was to start a Sorority at Shippensburg that offered the alternative to Hazing and Pledging, but provided a means to develop honest and true friendships. It seemed to me that the Sororities at the time were only interested in numbers and not the inner person. "Beating" a person into liking you wasn't my idea of friendship.
What is your favorite AOII memory? My initiation.
What is your Most meaningful AOII memory? My initiation.
What were your favorite AOII Activities? I loved the "Tiger Retreat," where the Big Sisters took the Littles away for a sleep-over for bonding time.
What do you remember most about your SHIP days? The friendships that I developed, how much fun we had, and how my roommate still calls me every time she hears a song on the radio that reminds her of something we did, or where we were at the time we heard that song.
What funny story can you share with us? I was roller skating on the sidewalk from McCune Hall (which used to be a boy's dorm) towards the library. I was coming down the hill quite fast, and wiped out on a broken piece of concrete at the bottom. I was only shaken up a bit, and a little embarrassed. I looked around, shook myself, thinking that no one had seen me. But as I started to skate on my merry way, I heard a round of applause and whistles coming from McCune. As I turned around to look, there were guys cheering and clapping for me from just about every window! OMG!
What were you main challenges starting AOII? My hardest challenge was standing up to the "Inter-Sorority" Council. The Inter-Sorority Council was the governing body over all the sororities on campus. Since there were only 2 national sororities at the time, there was no Pan-Hel, which meant No Real Rules. The 2 national sororities did not want a third national on campus, because that would mean no more Public Hazing. You see, Public Hazing was very much a part of Sisterhood at Shippensburg in the early 80's.
What is it like going back to the AOII house, knowing that this was all possible because of you? The first time I walked into the AOII House, I was so totally "Blown Away!" I never dreamt that a meeting between a handful of friends at Seavers Apartments back in the 80's, would have turned into something as big as it has become. I was truly humbled by the experience, and speechless.
What is your most proud accomplishment since college? I have had several career accomplishments, as in top Account Rep for the firm I work for. And in the community: Building a strong recreational cheerleading program that started with 40 girls and blossomed into 170 in just two years, and then taking another small group from that and putting together powerful All Star Team. However, my proudest accomplishment is simply my two children, and everything they do!
What advice could you give our graduating sisters? My advice to graduating sisters:"It's the experience in life that counts!" No matter what you do, which direction you go, enjoy the experience, embrace it, and take the energy and always use it for something meaningful and positive. Keep all the negatives behind you. You never know what one small experience for you can turn out to be for those you touch.
AHHAH MOMENT When I was at the AOII house this past fall, and saw all the Paddles upstairs in the hallway, I only wished that I actually would have been able to have my own Family Tree. I was the only Founding Sister that didn't get to have a Line. But then I realized, the entire Chapter is my line! That was kind of my "Ah hah! Moment"
I am also amazed at how the Original Story of the Origination of Tau Lambda has been preserved over the years! Wow!
Thanks, Theresa ~ it has been fun to hear about the person behind the Tau Lambda!