From the moment that Sarah Manning joined Alpha Chi Omega, she was determined to become the sorority’s president. Over two years later, Manning’s dream has become a reality.
During sorority recruitment her freshman year, Manning was excited to talk to the girls in Alpha Chi Omega, having felt like she had been friends with those girls for a while. Clemson’s sorority recruitment consists of numerous rounds where potential new members attend parties hosted by different sororities. “From the second I went through rounds during recruitment, Alpha Chi Omega was a place where I wasn’t thinking ‘Will they like me?’” said Manning.
Manning, originally from Fairfax, Virginia, is a junior with a double major in secondary education and history. Manning moved to Charleston, South Carolina when she was a junior in high school, which led her to come to Clemson University for college. She has applied for a teacher residency program through Clemson, which will allow her to be in the classroom full-time after her senior year through a fifth-year master’s program. In both the classroom and as a leader for her sorority, Manning strives to be someone who is both approachable and respected.
According to her sisters in Alpha Chi Omega, Manning has achieved this goal. “Her character is recognized by the chapter, and she has earned the respect of her sisters,” said Alex McNair, an Alpha Chi Omega member and junior nutrition major with an emphasis in dietetics.
Manning had to learn how to become the extroverted and approachable leader she is now. Growing up, Manning was very quiet and kept to herself a lot. When she was in 7th grade, Manning moved schools. Moving to a new school helped Manning realize that she needed to put herself out there and make the most of the opportunities put in front of her. Moving forward, she joined as many clubs as possible in high school and pursued various leadership positions.
This past fall, Alpha Chi Omega held elections for their new executive board. With elections looming ahead, Manning thought to herself, “Am I going to be ready to lead a chapter during COVID times?”
After learning about Manning’s doubts about running for president, several of her sorority sisters said to her, “Sarah, we could run for president, but we know that you’ve been preparing for this role for a while. You’re well suited for this role. You need to step up.” Looking back, Manning is mad at herself for ever having doubts.
The life of a sorority president is a busy one. Manning’s double major makes for a hectic class schedule. Her schedule consists of multiple classes over Zoom, two in-person classes and two classes Manning must take as a member of TakeNote, Clemson’s women’s acapella group.
On top of her busy academic schedule, Manning has to be intentional about devoting time to her presidential duties. Manning stays organized by devoting approximately three hours during one day of the week to Alpha Chi Omega-related tasks. Throughout the rest of the week, Manning typically has between one to three meetings for her sorority. These meetings are usually with her chapter advisor, the assistant director of fraternity and sorority life, Alpha Chi Omega’s chapter relations and standards board, new members or the chapter as a whole during Alpha Chi Omega’s weekly chapter meetings.
Outside of Alpha Chi Omega, Manning enjoys being outdoors. Her love for being outside played a role in her decision to come to Clemson. The mountains and lakes that surround Clemson remind Manning of many positive memories. Manning’s love for the outdoors has also led her to be a camp counselor for the past three years, and she was recently promoted to camp supervisor. Working at camp allows Manning to work with children, which is something she loves.
Last year, Manning served as Alpha Chi Omega’s vice president of chapter relations and standards. Manning feels that serving in that position set her up well to be a good president for her chapter. “Without last year, I wouldn’t have learned as much about time management,” Manning said. Manning’s involvement on Alpha Chi Omega’s executive board last year and the year prior as the vice president of new member education played a big role in her natural progression to the role of president.
Manning’s leadership abilities are very evident to those around her. Many of her sisters see her as a natural leader. “I have no doubt that she will far exceed the expectations of her role to better our chapter,” said McNair. “Not because she is required to, but because she loves her sisters,”
With the honor and positive experiences that come with being president also come pressure and stress. Manning explained that there is a lot about leading Alpha Chi Omega that remains unseen, such as being a liaison and delegating roles between members of the executive board and the chapter.
Manning radiates positive energy both in her daily life and as president of Alpha Chi Omega. She takes time to listen to the chapter’s many members in order to make informed decisions for the sorority. “She is an easy person to connect with, always energetic and bubbly,” said Hannah Burns, an Alpha Chi Omega member and junior English major.
In order to devote all of that positive energy towards her chapter, Manning must take time to herself. Manning can often be found doing self-care with her friends, reading or going on walks with friends in the botanical garden. She enjoys simple moments with her friends like sitting and talking for hours or jamming out to music.
Manning’s time as president has just begun, and she has many goals for Alpha Chi Omega moving forward. One of these goals revolves around Alpha Chi Omega’s philanthropy. The chapter’s philanthropy advocates for domestic violence awareness and supports domestic violence shelters like Safe Harbor in Greenville.
Last year, the amount of money Alpha Chi Omega raised for its philanthropy was one of the highest it has ever achieved. Manning wants to make that amount the minimum goal for Alpha Chi Omega’s fundraising this year. She noted how impressive raising that amount was last year considering that half of the fundraising period took place during a pandemic. Manning is hopeful for what her chapter can do this year.
Another goal Manning has is to look out for the mental and physical health of her sisters in Alpha Chi Omega. She wants her sisters to be happy with and enjoying Alpha Chi Omega because she wants the time and energy they put into their chapter to be worth it.
Manning mentioned one more goal she has for her chapter. She wants to lead by example and inspire her sisters to run for the executive board. She wants Alpha Chi Omega’s members to see how well the current executive board does its job and how much fun board members have while doing it. Manning was inspired by Alpha Chi Omega’s executive board her freshman year, so she hopes she can do the same for her sisters this year.