A senior at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 21-year-old Kaeley Marzano balances a full academic, philanthropic, and fun schedule. Majoring in marketing with a minor in communications, Kaeley is heavily involved in various organizations across her campus. While serving as the Vice President of Recruitment and Membership for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, she has had the opportunity to raise money and awareness for breast cancer, build long-lasting friendships, and meet new people – her main motivations for joining Greek life.
Although Kaeley was initially skeptical about Greek life, especially as a freshman, joining Zeta Tau Alpha surprisingly made her feel at home on campus. Seeing familiar faces around campus and meeting lifelong friends prevented her from suffering the homesickness that many college students face when they move out of their family homes for the first time. Kaeley encourages anyone on the fence about joining a sorority or fraternity to keep an open mind and give it a shot. While there are many misconceptions about Greek life, Kaeley has had nothing but positive experiences thus far.
“Women who want to join Greek life are looking for connections, and we all value each other for who we are and are all seen as equal,” explains Kaeley. “Greek women have been the most accepting people I have met on UNC-Charlotte’s campus.”
Zeta Tau Alpha serves the community with the help of the Pink House, a respite center in Charlotte for breast cancer survivors, as well as breast cancer patients currently undergoing treatment. Kaeley has provided and served food for Pink House patients at the Pink House’s annual Thanksgiving feast. She also aided in coming up with interactive table games for patients to play at the dinner, which allowed her to bond with Pink House staff members and patients. Hearing the stories of individuals she met during her volunteer experiences at the Pink House had a profound impact on Kaeley, and has inspired her to remain involved in supporting those affected by breast cancer. According to Kaeley, “Breast cancer affects one in eight women, and I felt as though joining Zeta would give me the opportunity to make a difference and get involved within the community. I have always had a passionate and loving heart, so being able to touch the lives of these women really has made joining Greek life worth it.”
In addition to Zeta’s involvement with the Pink House, Kaeley and her Zeta Tau Alpha sisters have hosted numerous events throughout the year to raise money for breast cancer awareness and education. Zeta’s biggest event, Big Man on Campus (BMOC), takes place in October and is a collegiate, all-male talent competition where contestants from different campus organizations compete to raise funds for breast cancer awareness. The event is so popular that it receives more attendees than any other Greek life event held on UNC-Charlotte’s campus. In fact, Kaeley and her sorority sisters have raised over $90,000 in three years by collecting donations, offering sponsorship opportunities for the event, recruiting contestants to perform, and advertising the event on campus. Although COVID-19 affected the chapter’s ability to hold its usual in-person events over the last year, Kaeley and her sisters worked diligently to reach out to the community and volunteer in every safe way possible. The challenges of the pandemic presented obstacles for raising as much money as Zeta has raised in the past, but the awareness raised for breast cancer throughout the community remains unscathed.
When Kaeley is not busy organizing events and giving back to her community with Zeta Tau Alpha, she maintains her membership in other campus organizations such as the American Marketing Association, the American Red Cross, Sigma Alpha Lambda, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Coloring for Chemo, and Delight Ministries. As she nears the end of her college career, Kaeley is excited to begin her upcoming internship at Charlotte Radiology. Kaeley hopes to obtain a full-time position utilizing her marketing and communication skills in the Charlotte area after college and plans to continue volunteering to raise awareness for breast cancer after graduation day.
A Lewisville native, Kaeley spends her school breaks with friends, family, and her puppy Cooper – one of her biggest supporters. While visiting the Triad from Charlotte, Kaeley enjoys supporting local by dining at Tavern 2520 in Clemmons or shopping at Hip Chics Boutique. Follow Kaeley and her journey on Instagram at @kaeleymarzano, and check out @uncc_zta to stay up to date on the latest news from Zeta Tau Alpha.