Staff: Katie Lesperance
Title: Coordinator for Sorority & Fraternity Life Development
Office: Student Activities & Greek Affairs, Damen 127
Years with Loyola: 0.75
Alma Mater: University of Wisconsin La Crosse and Marquette University
I am coming to Loyola University Chicago from Milwaukee, WI where I spent 2 years in graduate school at Marquette University. While I only spent a couple years in Milwaukee, I definitely consider it one of my “home towns.” It is a great “little city” (as one of my colleagues from Chicago referred to it), but for me it was the biggest city I had ever lived in. If you haven’t been to Wisconsin, you really need to take a visit—Milwaukee, Door County, Lambeau Field, any one of the 60+ State Parks or Forests, WI State Fair—any and all of it. Marquette was an amazing experience for me as well. As a fellow Catholic, Jesuit Institution, Marquette captured my heart and mind. While it doesn’t have as beautiful of a location as Loyola Lakeshore Campus, it was home for 2 great years of my life.
I lend students a helping hand by asking questions. I found that as an undergraduate, the most intriguing conversations were when faculty and staff asked me questions that challenged my way of seeing the world and myself. Those were the best gifts I could have been given and I try to use that approach when working with students. I believe the students that I work with have most of the answers to their own questions, and when they can see their own strength and knowledge, when they can see an alternative perspective, that’s when they grow.
Specifically thinking from the Sorority & Fraternity Life perspective, our area strives to: 1) make Sorority & Fraternity Life relevant to our current lives and 2) advance values-based organizations that contribute to the development of individuals who understand what it means to “Live their Ritual”—in other words, lead lives of integrity. The end goal is to graduate sorority and fraternity members who want to contribute positively to the world around them, lead lives of good character, and continue their life-long commitment to their organizations. When I think about the work that Student Activities & Greek Affairs seeks to accomplish, many qualities overlap. Programs and initiatives that come from SAGA seek to build community on campus, support skill development, and add value to the greater Loyola University Chicago community.
The aesthetics of the campus are beautiful and make me smile. When I visited for my interview, I gravitated toward the lake. The historical buildings have interesting architectural features. The green spaces are so full of life (well, at least during the summer months). The people at Loyola also make me smile. Especially the staff in SAGA. Every day I come to work looking forward to my interactions with the SAGA staff.
It’s hard for me to say how I impact Loyola students but I suppose I can share how I hope to impact Loyola students. Similar to how I lend a helping hand, I hope to impact the way our students see themselves and the world around them. I hope that through our sorority and fraternity experience, students are impacted by the leadership opportunities that they have and their experiences running organizational functions and events. I also hope that through my work, students are impacted by the sorority and fraternity community as they work toward their missions and visions.
I wrote a paper on my social justice philosophy in graduate school and remember it being very difficult to write. Since then, I’ve been able to develop my thoughts a little more on social justice, thanks to the amazing people that work around me here at Loyola. For me, social justice means working to affect change on our society to become a world that values and respects human dignity and the right/ability of individuals to be contributing members of society.
I definitely drank the Jesuit education cool-aid at Marquette University. All of my life I have been a part of values based organizations. I was am a 4-H alumna: our motto in 4-H is “To Make the Best Better,” which I connect to the Jesuit ideal of Magis. I am a member of Alpha Phi: two of our Ritual values are Character Development and Sisterhood, which reminds me of cura personalis. Both of these experiences and memberships have focused on education of the whole person and I truly appreciate the connection that my past experiences had on my education at a Jesuit institution. The nuanced connections I had from my experiences allowed me to better embrace the Jesuit education I received at Marquette. Because of my experience at Marquette, I was drawn to Loyola University Chicago. Jesuit education has influenced my life by allowing me to reflect on my past and giving me words to describe how I want to live my adult life.
My favorite spot on campus is wherever I am engulfed in intellectual conversation with students or other faculty and staff. If that happens by the lake, then even better!
My favorite Loyola story takes place at LUREC on a mild August night. A new employee (me) is getting acclimated to the institution. She isn’t sure yet how she feels about living in the Windy City, surrounded by Bears fans (GO PACK GO). What she does know is that she loves the work that she is doing. At LUREC, she is given the opportunity to be her casual, ringleader, self. After an evening of good conversation around a well-lit fire, the new employee feels like one of the team.
For future Rambler students, take advantage of all that Loyola and Chicago have to offer. The Jesuit education you’ll receive is unique, relevant, and applicable to your life. Seek out opportunities to connect with faculty and staff that can further support your professional and academic endeavors. And of course, check out Sorority & Fraternity Life! For future Rambler employees, Loyola is a one of a kind experience. If you haven’t had Jesuit education in your life before, this is a great place to start. For my fellow Jesuit educated friends, Loyola has some amazing connections and initiatives to bring Jesuit education to life in Chicago. Do what you can to be a part of it, take it all in, and continue to set the world on fire.