As generations pass, many women spend their college years immersed in the Greek Life experience. Often, those generations are mothers who have daughters who have grown up listening to them tell the enchanting stories of their college years spent with sisters.
“Growing up, (my mom) always talked about her sorority sisters and she still meets with them,” Janie Finnelly, legacy of Gamma Phi Beta said. “They’ll all get together and have dinner once a month just to keep in contact. I’ve heard a lot of fun stories.”
Janie’s mother, Laurie Finnelly, is a University of Washington alum. She inspired Janie to rush a sorority from the very beginning. The real question was whether or not she would follow in her mother’s footsteps and be a part of Gamma Phi Beta, or to find her own path.
“Coming into college I knew that I wanted to join a sorority. My mom told me to keep an open mind, don’t worry about Gamma Phi or hurting her feelings,” Janie said.
It was important to Laurie that her daughter find her own path, whatever that may be.
“(Rushing) is a pretty stressful process, so I told her to trust your own feelings as far as what’s going to work for you and where you’re going to be happy in the end,” Laurie said.
After going through the recruitment process, Janie ended up in Gamma Phi Beta.
“I didn’t take into consideration that I was a legacy when deciding which house fit me best, but in the end it was Gamma Phi,” Janie said.
The reaction from both women was more than they expected.
“I was more excited than I thought I would be. I told myself it made no difference, but when she actually showed me pictures next to the Gamma Phi letters, it was pretty emotional,” Laurie said.
This is a connection that a mother and daughter share that is different than any other.
“I don’t think either of us realized how awesome it is but it’s made us a lot closer and I’m so happy that we share that and that I did end up in Gamma Phi,” Janie said. “It’s had a really positive impact on our relationship. Even though she’s my mom, she’s my sister too and we’re a part of a bigger community.”
The Finnelly’s are a small part of a large community of legacies. Haley Burns, member of Alpha Phi, is also a legacy. Her mother, Sharon Burns, was president of the UO chapter of Alpha Phi in 1982 and her father, Andy Burns, was Alpha Phi’s house boy.
“When I found out I was going to be a part of Alpha Phi, it was just an added bonus that my mom was in it too,” Burns said.
Burn’s mother attends philanthropy events and alumni gatherings that now they can both be a part of together.
“I think it’s made us closer. She’s come to Red Dress Gala in Portland both years and gets really excited about it,” Burns said. “We have more in common and it’s cool that we can talk about things that I wouldn’t normally have those conversations with my mom.”