By: Sarah Grace Smith
Last November, 976 students went out in a raging thunderstorm to attend the Order of Athena chapter’s 4.0 Drop-In. The event was open to all students who received a 4.0 in at least one semester at Clemson University the previous year.
At a school often recognized for its athletics, this 20-year tradition continues to honor students dedicated to scholarship. To show support, President James P. Clements addressed the group over snacks. He also met with the students afterwards, rescheduling his flight that night so he could stay later than planned to give every student a chance to talk with him.
The Drop-in was a huge success, with the attendance doubling from the previous year. The university’s office even asked the chapter to host the event twice a year, rather than once!
When contacted the chapter’s advisor, Dr. Andrew Tyminski, he told us that all credit was due to Hailey Conner, vice president. Chapter President Jess Llyod said the same.
Hailey is a nursing major from Greenville, SC. Along with Mortar Board, she is also involved in Alpha Chi Omega and serves as an ambassador for Med Ex Academy while holding a part time job at the Clemson School of Nursing.
When Hailey was put in charge of the Drop-in, she wasted no time in preparation. Having attended last year, Hailey was determined to give every student with a 4.0 the ability to attend. She went above and beyond to get in contact with each student to invite them.
Whenever Hailey was feeling overwhelmed, her all-female executive board was right there to help. She loved being able to give back with her chapter to her university.
In addition, the Order of Athena chapter partnered with a food drive for the event. To attend, each honoree was asked to bring a can. By the end of the night, two whole trucks could not hold all the cans they had collected!
When asked Hailey and Jess what contributed most to their success, Jess immediately replied, “Hailey.” She continued to say that their success in comparison to previous years was due to Hailey’s readiness to tackle the job, and that Hailey taught her to take initiative.
By the end of my interview with the two young women, they were beaming over their chapter’s success and their “Clemson family.”
I asked them what lessons they learned from the event. Jess, referencing Hailey, said,
“When you have passionate people, anything can happen.”