Rachel M. Berkey ’08, on her way to bake some cookies.
Most people who know Rachel M. Berkey ’08 think of her as a sweet girl. But it wasn’t until last June that she gained global recognition for her sweetness when she was crowned the 31st Sigma Chi International Sweetheart.
Each chapter of Sigma Chi, one of the nation’s largest and oldest male fraternities, chooses its official sweetheart.
“The sweetheart is a close friend, a spokesperson, and an inspiration to the fraternity; she offers a female perspective and represents the ideals of the fraternity,” said Alex R. Mersereau ’10, a brother of Sigma Chi.
Berkey, a John Harvard scholar whose GPA as a junior placed her in the top 5 percent of her class, approaches her role with seriousness and the kind of ambition that would drive her to seek the title and responsibilities of International Sweetheart.
“One of them is just being a part of the frat almost in that she comes to the events and helps with organization and helps us become better brothers,” said Robert Cecot ’08, another brother of Sigma Chi.
After flying to California as one of three finalists and delivering her speech, Berkey became the only International Sweetheart to not be a member of a sorority since John Wayne crowned the first back in 1948.
“She is someone who is close to a frat but not member for obvious reasons but is one of us in character and personality traits,” Cecot said. “We place a lot of value on community involvement and we are a character based organization.”
Since her crowning in June, Berkey has traveled across the continent speaking at Sigma Chi events on topics ranging from etiquette to campus involvement to her passion: community service.
“When you’re the only girl in the room, they listen,” Berkey said. Girl power.