Tag: Family

Loyola’s Multicultural Greek Council

Loyola’s Multicultural Greek Council


It seems like every American knows about sororities and fraternities, and the not-always-positive image of them that exists because of movies like Neighbors and Legally Blonde. People see them as white, full of, well, the type of people whose appropriate adjectives I can’t type in my position as an employee for my school. Of course, most of it is untrue and illogical. There are always exceptions, but Greek life as a whole has been changing over the past twenty years for the better and better.


So, you might be aware of those sort of stereotypical sororities and fraternities, but did you know there is also many, many Greek-letter organizations that are not historically white? Alpha Phi Alpha was created in 1906, the first black fraternity in America. From then on, Greek organizations have been created and oriented more multi-culturally. They’re all similar to Panhellenic groups, but with a few differences that span across them all.

Multicultural Greek Organizations have traditions like stepping, strolling, calls, and reveal shows of new members that all contribute to the community of multiculturalism and pride in the organization. The Try Guys of Buzzfeed recently learned Stepping with UC’s Alpha Phi Alpha Chapter, and you can check it out right here. They also don’t have a combined Recruitment Weekend like Panhellenic and IFC organizations do, but rather usually hold free events over a course of two weeks.


Loyola has it’s own Multicultural Greek Council. None of them are exclusively for members of one race or ethnicity or another, but rather reflect why they were founded and seek to continue those values. And usually, they’re a lot smaller than the 150+ members in other sororities and fraternities.

We have Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc, as well as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, and Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. Delta Phi Lambda is the only Asian-interest sorority on campus, while Lambda Theta Alpha is predominantly Latina. Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta are both historically African-American, but that doesn’t mean that if you aren’t, you can’t join!

As for fraternities, we’ve got Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Alpha Psi Lambda National, Inc., which is a co-ed Latinx fraternity. Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi are historically African-American as well.


I know what you’re thinking – that’s a lot of words and groups that mean nothing to you right now. Loyola has a policy that means you can’t join a sorority or fraternity your first semester freshman year, no matter which, so there’s no need to go comparing everyone on campus right now.

But this is my advice to you: keep your eyes open and your mind even more so. Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself ‘multi-cultural,’ you’re not excluded. You might just find a something new – whether it’s a whole new family, a changing experience, or a new favorite food.

(that’s something I love a lot about Loyola. All the groups are selling food 24/7. score for me, the churro-lover.)


Being an Out-of-State Student at LUC

Being an Out-of-State Student at LUC

In looking at colleges, you might have considered a public school what with reciprocal or in-state tuition, compared to a private school like Loyola. That was definitely the pull for me away from Loyola, but all the other things brought me back!


I’m from Minnesota. But here at Loyola, I have friends from California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and all the states in-between. We came here not because it was cheapest but because it’s where we belong, and where we’re happy. (Also, going to private school is interesting when you’ve been a public-school kid all your life.)

Of course, I do have friends from the Chicago area, or from nearer states like Wisconsin and Michigan. And though I’m not as far away as, say, New Jersey, the distance does present some obstacles- and some opportunities. If you’re hesitant about a school because of its distance, let me tell you: it will be okay.


First off, your experience is what you make of it. I call my parents once a week (and/or if something really exciting happens), but I have friends that call twice a week, three times a week, or only once in a while when they remember. Some take the train back home for breaks, or don’t go back at all. Me, I take the plane – it might not seem so, but you can definitely find cheap flights at my distance. And the school provides a U-PASS allowing for unrestricted transport on the L, so I don’t have to be shelling out for an uber each time. And there’s plenty of opportunity to go home or have people come here, whatever suits you – from Parent’s Weekend to Easter Break, it’s pretty nice.

Second, they’re well aware of travel costs. If you’re a really far-away student, over the summer you can ask to be assigned to the very last Orientation with the Honors and International students that takes place right before the rest of the school moves-in, so you don’t have to make two trips. You might not know this, but you can also request extended stay (though not infinite) in the dorms over summer break, or stay here over winter break should you please as well.


Third, being from a distance makes Chicago all the more fun to explore! Going into this year, I knew very few things about this fair city. Navy Pier, yeah, and Chinatown, the Mag Mile, and like, there are some cool towers and cool zoos. Not that I didn’t absolutely adore it regardless, but now I feel really accomplished when I can picture where the neighborhoods are on the Red Line or estimate how far away something is, or even be walking downtown and actually know where to go instead of just consulting the skies.


Of course I’ll advise taking everything into account when you’re picking a college, but this is just to say that distance, at Loyola, is not the biggest or most important factor. The deadline to decide is May 1, so think carefully!

Holy Week, The Family, The Eternal City

Holy Week, The Family, The Eternal City

This year during Holy Week, my family has been blessed beyond belief with one incredible week together in the Eternal City. I’ve been awfully spoiled this semester by not only having my grandparents come to visit in February, but now my parents and brother as well. …And don’t worry our family selfie skills are improving.

SUNDAY. My family arrived to the Zone Hotel a little before noon on Sunday. I was greeted with big hugs, a bit of a jet-lagged haze, and some home-made chocolate chip cookies. After a quick campus tour and some pizza, I dragged the 3 of them downtown for what turned into a bigger adventure than it should have been. Rome was hosting a street food truck festival that I figured would be a lot of fun–and I’m sure it would have been if your company wasn’t running on no sleep after an overseas flight. I couldn’t have been happier to be with my family again, but let’s just say it was a relief to get them off to bed early so they’d be able to enjoy Rome a little better on Monday.

MONDAY. Because my family came to visit the city that doubles as the capital of Catholicism during Holy Week we strategized our tourist-ing to avoid the crowds as best we could. We planned our trip to the Vatican early in the week in hopes of avoiding the masses that would be around that weekend and we actually pulled it off quite well. Thanks to an early start that morning the line for St. Peter’s Basilica was the shortest I’d ever seen it, this left us enough time to see the cathedral and climb the dome. To avoid even more tourist lines we booked tickets for the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel online and were able to walk right in and take our time seeing everything we wanted to. Though the Vatican City is the smallest country in the world it certainly houses some of the most incredible art and architecture I’ve ever seen.

TUESDAY. To make sure they saw all of the Roman essentials, Tuesday became Palatine Hill/Roman Forum/Colosseum/Trevi Fountain Day and it actually worked out pretty well. With guidebook in hand we tackled Palatine Hill first and since that’s usually everyone’s last stop we were just about the only people there. The Roman Forum was a little more crowded, but definitely still enjoyable. I had to come back to campus for class that afternoon, but my family managed to tour the Colosseum, eat gelato, find the Trevi Fountain, and successfully take Roman buses back to the hotel before I came to meet them that evening. Pretty impressive for a bunch of tourists.

WEDNESDAY. We slowed down our fast-paced week a bit on Wednesday with a picnic in Villa Borghese, preceded by a wander through the park of course. I had to set them loose again that afternoon while I went to class and they checked out the Spanish Steps. That evening my family came to the JFRC’s calcio games to be Forza Giallo’s biggest fans–they managed to cheer us on to our 1st victory of the season!

THURSDAY. Thursday evening we did a little exploring in some of my favorite Roman neighborhoods. After getting off the bus at Piazza Cavour we made our way across the Tiber to the Pantheon–I’d seen this at night before, but we were able to go inside and the architecture of the dome blew me away. Just down the street from there is Piazza Navona, which was buzzing with a really fun atmosphere at that time in the evening. We made our way over to Campo de’ Fiori (after stopping for some gelato) then wandered the streets before dinner. We ate at the infamous “Pear Pasta” restaurant, a perfect way to end our night out on the town.

FRIDAY. We spent our last day in the city visiting a few other Roman classics. We saw the Baths of Diocletian, which is now actually a basilica designed by Michelangelo that stands where these Roman baths would have been. Then made our way outside of the old city walls to tour the Catacombs of Priscilla. Catacombs were high on my list of things to see before I leave Rome and I’m glad we all got to see them together–pretty creepy, but very interesting.

I am beyond thrilled I had the opportunity to show my family around the city I’ve been calling home for the last few months. I’ve definitely missed them, but before they know it I’ll be home with them in The States again!

A Weekend in the Homeland, Ja!

A Weekend in the Homeland, Ja!

My Swedish heritage has always been a big part of my life thanks to my grandparents, who are both proud of where their ancestors came from. I’ve eaten plenty of Swedish meatballs (and Swedish Fish), taken many visits to a local Swedish settlement, and have always wanted to visit “the Homeland”. Over the years my family has done some extensive genealogy research. Extensive enough to find relatives who still live in Sweden. I got really excited when my grandma talked about our Swedish cousins–which is definitely great–I just didn’t realize that our relation goes back about 5 generations. But family is family! Over the last 10 years my family has been getting to know our cousins on the other side of the pond and have both visited in our respective countries. I planned to visit them at some point during my time abroad and when my grandparents  planned a trip to Rome they went ahead and added a weekend trip to Sweden for us and one of my friends.

Friday morning we set out for Sweden. As soon as we landed I could tell how relieved my grandpa was to be out of the city and back in a country he understood a little better. After we finally found our hotel just south of Stockhom, we went to visit my grandpa’s cousins Rolf, Brigitta, and Elizabeth. Even though we were nearly 2 hours late thanks to traffic, they welcomed us in for coffee and desserts. The dessert was delicious and I really enjoyed their company–especially Elizabeth’s who at 96 baked us a cake, still lives on her own, and said her English was no good, but she actually spoke quite well and is leagues ahead of my Swedish.

Dinner that evening was hosted by my grandma’s cousin Martin and his wife Anna. They prepared a Swedish feast for us. And after eating huge amounts of pizza and pasta this semester the meat and potatoes on the stove were an enormously welcome sight. Before serving us, Martin joked with us that we weren’t eating Rudolph, but one of his relatives…as in reindeer stew. I was a little hesitant, but Rudolph was absolutely delicious. We enjoyed a traditional Swedish dessert of ostakaka, which you might compare to cheesecake or custard, but you’ve got to eat it with lingonberries of course.

Saturday morning we left for my Grandpa’s cousins’ farm near Vastervik. We spent the afternoon visiting and relaxing (and of course eating more good food). My cousin Tonja took Jordan and I on walk around the farm, we got to pet her horses and enjoy some fresh (cold) air. That evening a few more of my Grandpa’s cousins joined us for dinner. To keep in our theme of not-so-typical meat, moose was on the menu and it was really tasty. Elsie (another Swedish cousin) made a cake for dessert and even though she didn’t speak English she talked my friend and I into at least 3 pieces. We talked and ate for hours, and even had a little concert partway through performed by cousin Peter and Jordan.

Sunday the girls went into the bayside town of Vastervik to do a little shopping and the boys went to the forest. I really enjoyed wandering through the town and getting to touch the Baltic Sea, even on this chilly day. I couldn’t have asked for a better or more relaxing weekend, which was the perfect mid-terms week prep. I loved seeing my grandparents so happy to be with family and in country that is their home away from home. Sverigie has a way of making you feel extra valkommen, ja?


Grandma and Grandpa Swanson do Roma

Grandma and Grandpa Swanson do Roma

For the past week I’ve been playing the part of “Roman Tour Guide”. I think I’ve done a fair job, but my grandparents are convinced that they’ve got the best tour guide in the Eternal City—let’s just say I’ve got the best people following me around.

Seeing the two of them at the Zone Hotel last Friday has been one of my favorite sights I’ve seen in Rome so far—along with the chocolate chip cookies my mom sent from home. Our 1st Roman sight was the John Felice Rome Center Campus, I introduced Grandpa and Grandma to a few friends, let them take some embarrassing pictures and then we went on our way to Villa Borghese. I hadn’t realized how huge this garden were, so after a short walk we sat and soaked up the sun–which they had been sorely missing in the mid-western winter. Dinner that evening was at a restaurant on the other side of this neighborhood where my grandparents enjoyed some authentic Italian cuisine. Bruschetta and pasta all around made for some happy and quite exhausted travelers.

Saturday morning we made our way to the Vatican. Our plan was to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel first, but the line was miles long, so we decided we would come back a different day after purchasing tickets ahead of time. The line for St. Peter’s Basilica was almost as long, this line though is unavoidable so we went ahead and waited. The church was absolutely stunning and incredibly ornate, so we took our time taking it all in.

We had a pretty relaxing Sunday, so Monday we took on the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Purchasing tickets ahead of time helped us skip the lines at the Colosseum and gave us lots of time to explore. This ancient amphitheater will never cease to amaze me, especially when imagining it covered in marble–this was one of my grandma’s favorite sights. We also really loved exploring the Roman Forum, which also has too many ruins to take in.

Although we ate well all week, our best meal was on Tuesday when we ate at Osteria dell’Anima. Infamously named “Pear Pasta” by the folks at JFRC, this restaurant is famous for it’s stuffed pear and cheese pasta that is served with a carrot cream sauce–benissimo. Wednesday my grandparents got more of an on-campus experience by attending my monologue performance and then going to the calcio games. Team Giallo couldn’t manage a win, but it was quite the game and my grandparents were great cheerleaders.

We ended our Roman week with a trip to Sweden, which definitely helped my grandparents unwind after their hectic week. I am beyond grateful to have spent the week with two of my favorite people. And even though I made them walk “1,000 miles” I think they still had a good trip.


Chapel Hill Memoir

Chapel Hill Memoir

On the night of February 10th, I remember being home relaxing after a long day of class and internship work.  Usually, I get home about 7 in the afternoon and that day was nothing new.  I was debating whether or not to go to the gym or finish my Biochemistry laboratory paper.  Well, I ended up doing both.  I have usually been going to bed around 12 at night, since I spend a good amount of time cooking and prepping my food for the next day.  That Tuesday was not any different and neither was my “check every social media ritual.”  I went on Facebook, but I did not read anything interest.  Instagram? nothing.  Pinterest?  I didn’t even try because I get too hungry.  Snapchat?  I didn’t feel like looking at so many pictures and videos.

When I went on Twitter, I read the first retweet about the #ChapelHillShooting.  At first, I figured it was an old incident, but when I clicked on the attached link, I noticed that it had happened that same night.  Honestly, I was expecting there to be a bigger hype about it.  There are so many discussions that can arise from this tragic.  However, this is not the purpose of this blog because all I want is there to be a mutual understanding that: this was and is important.  Additionally, I am writing this blog because I want to share with you how the Loyola community dealt with it.

There are times in which we get so carried away with all the daily activities of our lives.  This happens to me constantly, especially when I am walking around campus.  I have to rush to class.  I need to print this.  The line is so long.  I need coffee.  I forgot the moonlighting enzyme in the paper.  I knew the answer to that last question.  Did I eat today?  All of these thoughts go on in our heads and sometimes we do not stop to look around us and appreciate what is around us.  I get it.  It happens and this is fine.  However, there are situation, like this one, that make me realize how amazing the Loyola community is.   Unfortunately, in this case it had to be a tragic event, but nonetheless, it made me proud of all of these people who took the time to gather around and pay their respects to the victims.

There were people of other religions around the small and empowering memoir.  There were so many people who passed it and just stared in silence.  I believe that these are incidents that bring people closer.  Many people did not know what had happened and this memoir led them to research on their own.  I just want to put in my two cents about this incident.  I want those to know that the Loyola community is free of bigotry and we support each other like if we were our own.  If you didn’t know, now you know.  Take the time to free your mind and take a look around campus.  There is always something to be proud of, big or small.


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When My Grandma Comes to Visit

When My Grandma Comes to Visit

My grandma lived in Chicago for part of her childhood before moving to rural Illinois. The phrase, “You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl,” describes her perfectly. So when she comes to visit me in Chicago you better bet that means we do as many city activities as we can.

Right before Thanksgiving break, my grandma and my cousin Claire hopped on the Amtrak train to squeeze in some Chicago fun before the end of the semester.

I met them a little before 5 o’clock at our hotel downtown. Grandma spoiled us a little bit–we stayed at The Allerton Hotel on Michigan Avenue. After checking in, we wandered down Michigan Ave toward the river in search of a dinner spot. We settled on The Purple Pig, a restaurant I’ve walked past several times, but never had the chance to try. A Mediterranean style restaurant, with a cozy atmosphere and dishes meant to share, I would definitely recommend it. The three of us enjoyed butternut squash, fried asparagus, Italian sausage, a chocolate mousse tart, and gelato with espresso poured over top. Not a bad trade-off from the dining halls.

We then, of course, had time for a little shopping because you basically have to when you stay on the Magnificent Mile. Luckily for Claire and I, Grandma played Santa–we’ll see our purchases again underneath the Christmas tree. After our shopping trip we made our way back to the hotel and called it a night.

Luckily my classes on Tuesday are on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus, so my commute to class was much shorter than usual. So after joining Claire and my grandma for breakfast, I only had to walk a few blocks to my first two classes. On my lunch break I met them at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is just across Michigan Ave from the Water Tower Campus. One of my cousins works there and was able to get us tickets for the David Bowie exhibit. Before going to the museum I knew of David Bowie, but not much else. Now I could tell you quite a bit about him. The short version? He is one interesting guy.

After a quick lunch at the museum, I went to my last class of the day. When class was over Claire and my grandma met me in a cab headed for Union Station, to hop back on the train and head home for Thanksgiving break. In about 24 hours we managed to pack in quite a bit, but that’s just how it goes when my grandma comes to visit.

Thankful Loyolans

Thankful Loyolans

In order to show their gratitude and thankfulness this year, Ramblers took hundreds of post-it notes to a chalkboard on-campus to share what they were thankful for:

thanks 1



Easy Mac


Friendly Students


Loyola Community


My Students

Opportunity Loyola





Happy Thanksgiving from our Loyola family to yours!


Care Package

Care Package

I received the greatest care package the other day from my family.  It was a bunch of random items, but strangely enough, it was all I ever wanted for Valentines day! Here’s a few of the things I received.

1.  Yum Yum Sauce.- Ok, if you’ve never had yum yum sauce, I insist you try it.  Unfortunately, I could not find any at Chicago grocery stores, hence why my mom sent me some from Cleveland.  Yum Yum Sauce is the sauce for steak, chicken and shrimp that the Hibachi restaurants use.  It’s sweet and tangy and the perfect condiment for all meats.  Try it!!!

2. Gossip magazines- I am a pop culture fanatic.  Lately, I’ve been getting all my pop culture news from stations such as E! or social media sites such as Twitter, so it was nice to get some nice, old fashioned (haha) magazines. (Don’t worry.. I read real books too!)

3. A huuuuge bag of chocolate chips- I’m definitely the chocolate chip culprit of my family.  When my mom wants to make chocolate chip cookies, the chocolate chips are almost always gone.. thanks to me.  Hopefully I’ll have a chance to make chocolate chip cookies.. if I don’t eat them all first!

I also got a few random things, such as ritz crackers and coffee cups.  This was definitely one of my best care packages yet… all the necessities!  My family is the best.



Valentine’s Day ’13

Valentine’s Day ’13

It’s Valentine’s Day 2013, and the love is in the air…metaphorically speaking. Couples are probably going to be going out tonight to celebrate one another, but what about those of us without a significant other? Well, for us, we have other “significants”- our friends and families.

For example, tonight after my Operations Management exam, I’ll be heading over to my cousin’s place to hang out with her, and throughout the day, I hope to spread some love to my mom, my grandmother, and the other important people in my life.

They say that Valentine’s Day is about celebrating romantic love for someone, but I’m changing the rules this year: I’m celebrating my endless love for all my significant others because celebrating that love is just as important, if not more.

Many people have a picture painted in their head that when they come to college, they are going to meet their soulmate. For some, this happens; for others, the time comes later. But it’d be a shame for those who haven’t had that happen yet to hide in their rooms with a box of chocolates and an anti-Valentine’s Day movie.

Instead, people should remember all the other great people that they have met. I’ve made important friends during my time here, and I’ve been acquainted with so many interesting people. For me personally, not only did I make new friends, but I also strengthened my bond with old friends and family. That’s definitely something worth celebrating.

So to all the couples out there, to the parents, the children, friends, cousins, siblings, grandparents, future people we all have yet to meet and love…Happy Valentine’s Day.