Ashley Christ is the Housefellow for Carnegie Mellon’s six Panhellenic sororities – Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Kappa Kappa Gamma. She advises and supports each chapter individually and also advises the Panhellenic Council, which acts as the governing body of those six chapters. As Senior Student Programs Coordinator, Ashley coordinates community-wide programs and initiatives, including the Greek Awards and Almost Midnight Breakfast in the spring semester. Ashley is also the advisor to the Greek Advisory Board, which is the recognized student organization that plans and implements Greek Sing every spring.
Ashley completed her undergraduate studies in liberal studies at Clarion University. She also minored in 3D art, with a focus in ceramics. She earned her Master of Arts in student affairs of higher education at Slippery Rock University.
In the above photograph, Ashley (center) poses with a record-breaking donation check for Camp Kesem, at Greek Sing 2017.
How did you come to join CMU?
For my first four years post graduate school, I worked at Penn State Behrend in Erie, Pennsylvania, from 2012 to 2016. For three years I worked in student activities as the fraternity and sorority advisor. Then, for my last year there I was a residence life coordinator. When I saw the posting for my current job, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to challenge myself and put the skills I gained at Behrend to the test with a new campus and culture. I also interned for student activities at CMU back in 2011 and really enjoyed learning and working with so many of the people who I now get to work with on a regular basis!
Being a member of a Greek community can mean a lot of things: being a mentor, taking on leadership roles, organizing community service opportunities, creating lifelong friendships, and carrying legacies and traditions forward, etc. What inspires you most about Greek Life at CMU?
I continue to be amazed by the level of leadership and accountability our students have for themselves and for others. They aren’t always perfect or behave perfectly — who does? That’s a pretty impossible label for anyone to adhere to, but they always work with us to get back to where they need to be. They have high standards rooted in their values and often challenge each other to meet them, while also creating a support network for each individual member in their chapters.
When I see our students tackling tough challenges or talking about topics that some other Greek communities would shy away from, my heart just soars. Whenever I hear my colleagues talk about the challenges they have while working at other institutions, I take a moment to feel grateful that I work with the students I do. They make work awesome for me every day, and I do the best I can to help make their experience as awesome as possible.
Share an example or story of a time or times when a Greek Life event or initiative made a tangible and positive impact on campus or the broader community.
Greek Sing 2017 was literally my favorite day of work ever. A week from the show, we had around $12,000 to show for our collective fundraising efforts toward our $75,000 goal to benefit Camp Kesem, a free summer camp for children who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer. This goal was part of a two-year $150,000 pledge. I was nervous we may not make our goal and instead focused on working with my team to create the best show we could. Money kept coming in from our chapters and the night before the show we met our goal, which was incredibly exciting!
As we put on an AWESOME show, we continued to count our final totals of donations taken at the door, made online, and via ticket sales. At the end of the night, we had BROKEN A GREEK SING RECORD and raised $100,522.53! I couldn’t help but cry backstage after reading that number on our tracking sheet and I couldn’t have been more proud of our Greek Sing Chairs and chapter members who worked hard to make that difference. Greek Sing will always be special to me and being that that was my first CMU Greek Sing, it will remain special to me that we made that big of an impact for Camp Kesem.
What is an important life lesson you have learned from working with students, Greeks in particular?
Everything we do, everything we think and say, should be rooted in our values, not just as fraternity men or sorority women, but in the values that we hold close to us personally. It’s important that we do things with purpose.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?
I have a dog named Rocko, a 7-year-old rat terrier who I love coming home to everyday! I also started bullet journaling this year, which keeps me organized and often gives me a quick creative outlet in my world. I love to paint for fun as well. Cooking and baking are also things I love to do, and I’m often finding excuses to share what I make with my friends and family. A Pittsburgh native, the Pittsburgh Penguins are my go-to team. Let’s go, Pens!
All-time favorite book: Too many to name!
I recently read Milk and Honey, a collection of poems by Rupi Kaur that was incredibly moving. And I’d probably have to say that anything that Eve Ensler wrote has pretty much made the biggest impact on my life since college.
You could travel anywhere in the world for free and stay for a month. Where would you go and why?
I’d just start at one end of Europe and work my way to the end of it. I’ve had two chances to go to Paris and one chance to go to Rome and all three fell through. I will get to Europe one day, mark my words!
What advice would you give to someone considering to live, or living in, Greek Housing?
This is an experience where you get to choose what to make of it. Come in with the most positive attitude you can and be as involved as you can. You won’t be disappointed. With that being said, it’s your living space. Never be afraid to speak up or challenge something if it’s bothering you or if you need to address something with a room or floor mate. In the last couple of years of overseeing housing, I’ve seen far more issues come from trying to sweep things under the rug than from having a direct and honest conversation about what might be bothering someone. Feel empowered and trust your cohabitants to hear you and your concerns! If all else fails, trust me and everyone who works to support campus housing to help pick up the pieces – that’s what we are here for!