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ZTA is Where it All Begins

By Caroline Villarreal, ZTA Leadership Consultant

I remember walking nervously into the banquet hall for my ZTA Bid Day celebration. At that moment, I still wasn’t completely sure what I had joined. “What’s it called again?” I thought to myself. “Oh, that’s right— a ‘colony.’”

I stifled a grin as I imagined a bunch of sorority women sailing across the Atlantic to discover a new world. But in a sense, “sorority life” was a whole new world for me. Little did I know, there was much to discover.


Someone called my name and bounded up to me. It was Katelyn, one of the ZTA Consultants I had met in the weeks prior to Bid Day. She immediately greeted me with a hug and an “I’m so happy you’re here!” As I filled out an info sheet, she told me “This is where it all begins! The lifelong friendships, building your own traditions, leadership opportunities, the fun …”

It all seemed so abstract to me. I had best friends. I was a leader on campus. I know how to have fun. How was ZTA going to be any different?

But as she continued talking, I began to see her vision.

Little did I know, my sisters and I would begin our own traditions — waking up early to volunteer at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, going to pasta night at our favorite local restaurant every Wednesday, and decorating our graduation caps with ZTA memories.

I never would have guessed we’d grow so much as leaders as we made our way through all of “the firsts.” I still remember our first time handing out breast cancer awareness ribbons and hosting our first Pink Out game.

In that moment on Bid Day, how could I possibly know that I’d feel such a strong sense of support and empowerment from my new sisters? That they would surprise me at the opening night of a play I’d produced? That they would celebrate my senior thesis with me at a chapter meeting?

Up until that point, I’d felt so independent in my collegiate career. I was confident in my ability as a leader, and I felt like all I needed was myself. But suddenly, there was a whole chapter of driven, motivated women who wanted to lift me up and see me succeed, and I wanted the same for them. 

I finished filling out the information sheet, and Katelyn finished talking. I looked up at her, and she traded me the information sheet for a T-shirt and a future of memories.

Learn more about ZTA’s colonization process at Boise State by visiting


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