The art of getting involved in college life

Kaylee Peterson

Kaylee Peterson

Brittney Prather

Singing, guitar playing and standing at about six feet tall, Kent State junior public relations major Kaylee Peterson is not your average student.

Peterson has been involved in many clubs and activities during her time at Kent State, including — but not limited to — participating in the provost’s leadership academy, being in the honors college, training and leading student success programs, being a tour guide and hosting on Black Squirrel Radio.

On top of all that, she’s not only taken leadership positions within her sorority, Chi Omega, but the whole Greek community as whole, as she is the new Panhellenic president.

Being involved in so much, Peterson is dependent on her calendars, along with scheduling everything and anything.

“I schedule every second of every day to the point where I know when I’m eating, and I know when I’m sleeping,” Peterson said. “I am very Type A. It helps that I am just 100 percent Type A because I have every second of every day planned, but I think I’ve also learned in the last semester when to take a step back from myself.”

Friends and peers describe Peterson as one of the hardest working individuals and not one to give up when times get rough.

“She’s just one of a kind,” said Marissa Pillitteri, a junior nursing major and Chi Omega member. “I would say her persistence is definitely the most interesting thing about her because no matter what, even when something is getting her down, she will just keep fighting and fighting and going for her goals … she just never gives up, which is one of her best characteristics.”

Peterson said that she did not do a lot in high school because she danced competitively. This did not leave her too much time for other activities, which is why she decided to get involved in college.

“My friends have always been in leadership opportunities, and I knew it was something that I could do,” Peterson said. “So, in college I decided to try and do everything I could get my hands on … it keeps me busy enough to not be homesick.”

All the way from Nashville, Tennessee, and with a relatively new move to Colorado, Peterson decided to get involved in as many things to avoid being homesick.

“I grew up in a small conservative town and I did not like it, so I really wanted to get out of Tennessee,” Peterson said. “I primarily wanted to be a fashion major, so Kent just wind(ed) up being the natural choice for me.”

Peterson said she had only lasted about a month in the fashion program and since then she has changed her major five different times. Her five majors were far from the same: fashion, exploratory, international studies with African studies and French minor and political science.

As of last spring, she has changed her major — for what she believes is the last time —to public relations.

“I really like it. I think it’s been the best fit that I have found so far,” Peterson said.

From the many majors she has tackled, Peterson said she feels as though it has made her a more well-rounded person. It wasn’t until she was made the social chair of her sorority, however, that she had a better idea of what she wanted to do.

“I was like ‘I am going to hate this, I don’t care about social media at all,’” Peterson said. “Sorority social media is not my thing, but they kind of just gave me free reign and said ‘Do what you want to do with it,’ and I found out that I really liked doing that.”

After working with Peterson for the last year, Aaron Berger, assistant director of admissions and head of the campus visit program, spoke about her in high regard. He believes one of the best qualities about Peterson is her openness and her ability to bring various experiences to the job.

“I feel like sometimes you have this description of what a college student looks like, and they come in with that one major and they stick with that one major for that entire experience,” Berger said. “She has dabbled in not only just changing her major, but (has) dabbled in so many different things that it makes her a great tour guide because she can talk to a lot of different things, so it’s cool.”

However, Peterson said her majors are not what has kept her here at Kent State; She believes her sorority and her involvement within the Greek community has. Although she was not originally interested, she is grateful that she decided to give it a try.

“I got really involved off the bat first semester and moved into the house second semester freshman year,” she said. “I just said ‘yes’ to everything I could, and I didn’t necessarily have a major so I didn’t have anything to do but Greek Life for a little while, so I just got really involved.”

From being the philanthropy co-chair to being the social media chair, Peterson has made it her goal to focus on the importance of making the Greek community as great as it can be.

“Being able to be in charge of social media and focus our message on the types of women that we had in our chapter, rather than the look of the women we have in our chapter, was really important to me, and also just being able to get a lot of really great experience for my career path.”

Peterson’s involvement in Greek life has ultimately lead her to becoming the Panhellenic president. She had felt as though she was at a stand still within her own chapter and could do something beyond Chi Omega.

“I kind of applied on a whim. It was one of those things where I think applications were closing that night and I was just like, ‘Ah, let’s just see what happens,’” she said. “I was not expecting it honestly. I was pretty surprised, but I’m really appreciative of the experience already.”

Women empowerment and representing the importance of values within Greek life plays a large role in her position as Panhellenic president.

“It should be a space for women to grow and to find their potential and to find other women to encourage that potential. It is important in any young woman’s life to have a group of women who support her and push her on and encourage her because I think that sometimes that’s really hard to find,” Peterson said.

At the end of the day, Peterson believes that is exactly what the Greek community at Kent State is promoting and is so glad to have the opportunity to be the voice for the entire community as a whole.

“To be able the represent that entire community and to be the voice and ideas is really important to me and I’m really grateful to get to do it,” she said.

Respectively, Berger complimented on Peterson’s work ethic and dependency.

“When I think of Kaylee, I think of someone who is always going to be there.” Berger said. “And if she is not there, she has somebody pinching for her and is not going to leave you in the large.”

Brittney Prather is the Greek life reporter, contact her at [email protected]