Laura Eckel Hullings is creating a sense of belonging in her role as lead advisor for the Delta Kappa chapter at The University of Florida. As an alumna member of Alpha Chi Omega, Laura volunteers for an organization that is not her own but finds value in the experience. “I think about my sisters and the special parts of my sorority experience in Alpha Chi Omega. Being able to volunteer with DPhiE brings me back to those moments of joy when I was in college.” Bringing her own unique experiences to the table; Laura showcased compassion, sincerity, and integrity through tragedy this year. 

Having to navigate advising in a remote world, she shared that this year has been challenging. “One word to describe my year advising has been independence. I had to let them learn on their own to figure out what’s best for the chapter; while always being one phone call away when they needed it. It’s not holding their hand, it’s leading them from behind so that they grow.” They had to learn how to have virtual chapter meetings, philanthropy events, and sisterhood events through trial and error. “No one has the best answers to anything because no one has experienced this before.” She encouraged the chapter to not be afraid to just try it; it’s ok to fail and try something new. 

Even though she is working remotely, she has developed a close relationship with chapter president Drew McNally. This year they grew together through the tragic loss of a Delta Kappa sister. Laura shared, “Four days into being president, the unimaginable happened and it automatically created a special bond between us. We had to be close, open, and vulnerable together. Seeing each other’s sadness created a space to talk about things more than just chapter operations.” 

They developed a close bond this year and Laura is grateful to be supporting a chapter president that cares so deeply about her chapter and Delta Phi Epsilon. Chapter advisors are often seen as mentors to the leadership team members, giving support and guidance from their life experiences. Laura shared that she often sees Drew as a mentor to her. “In moments where she had to be incredibly strong, I was amazed by her strength, resiliency, and tenacity. She’s handled this year with grace and I look up to her.” 

Creating a space for the Delta Kappa chapter to thrive this year, Laura has been an integral part of their growth. By developing close relationships with the chapter this year, she created a sense of belonging for them remotely through the unthinkable. Reflecting on this year, she shared “It brings me joy when I see growth from the chapter and know that I had a small part in that.”