Honored and humbled: Past, present fraternity sweethearts share their stories

By Julianne Fullerton | Copy Editor

The tradition of fraternity sweethearts and little sisses has been passed down for decades, as many women have served in the role and still do today at Baylor. From baking cookies to serving as homecoming queen nominees, they do so much to serve and represent their fraternities well, and the love and care fraternities show them can last a lifetime.

Gina Carter became a Phi Kappa Chi little sis in the fall of 1989 and served as one until she graduated in 1992. Two members came to her dorm in Memorial Hall with flowers and an invitation to be the little sis, and Carter said it came as a surprise to her.

“Just from the members I knew and their character, I was all in,” Carter said. “I was treated with nothing but respect and lots of freedom to choose how I would engage with the fraternity. My understanding was that I would show up in a supportive role with this group of guys.”

When reflecting on her experience as little sis, Carter said the first word that comes to mind is honored.

“Serving is a privilege, and we were invited to support and serve and enjoyed the heck out of that,” Carter said. “One of the things that I can speak to from my experience with Phi Kappa Chi is these guys have such character and respect for me. I couldn’t help but feel honored.”

Carter emphasized how strong their faith-focused character was back then and how she still sees it in the men of the fraternity today.

“They were respectful. They were kind. They were encouraging. They had high moral standards, and I really got to know some of them personally, and just from a spiritual point of view, [they] really put their faith as a top priority,” Carter said. “I was able to go back this year and watch Sing [and] watch the Phi Chis perform their act that was about sharing the good news. And I was so proud that they continued just to focus on their mission and do it boldly.”

Staci Strickland served as a little sis for Phi Kappa Chi starting in the spring of her freshman year until she graduated in 1991. Although she attended meetings and functions as a little sis, there was one part of their chapter meeting that meant the most to her.

“At the beginning of those meetings, they would have prayer time, so we would pray with them, [and] they would pray for us,” Strickland said. “And that was just a real memorable moment for me to carry through college — just to have men in college like that, looking out for you and praying for you and praying with you.”

Janna Kate Baker served as a little sis for Phi Kappa Chi from 2022 to 2023. From her freshman year until graduation, Baker cultivated deep friendships with the members of Phi Kappa Chi and said her role as little sis was one of the best parts of her college experience.

During her time with them, Baker noted the members loved her and one another so well. She said the number of times they gave her flowers was “too many to count.”

“I really just want to speak to the way that they love people so well,” Baker said. “Both the way that I experienced that but also the way that they exhibit brotherhood with each other is just really awesome. They would constantly be celebrating with me in the good moments and then also weeping with me in the bad moments.”

Beyond this, Baker said their character was exemplified in everything they did on a daily basis.

“I feel like people have this expectation of what it looks like to be in a fraternity, but I just saw the way that they would rally around each other during meetings or even when they were outside of Phi Chi events,” Baker said. “If one of them was going through tough times, they would consistently be praying over them and always be a shoulder that they could lean on.”

Grapevine senior Meredith Henry currently serves as the sweetheart for Kappa Omega Tau. Having found close friends in the members of KOT since her freshman year, Henry was asked to be their sweetheart in the spring of her junior year.

“Basically, they just picked me up, and they were like, ‘Do you want to be our sweetheart?’ And I was like, ‘Absolutely,’” Henry said.

Describing it as one of her favorite things that she has gotten to do at Baylor, Henry does everything from baking treats and attending rush events to supporting them in intramurals and making Christmas ornaments. Although the big moments are fun, Henry said some of her favorite memories have been the in-between moments, which make her feel loved and included.

“Honestly, I really just get to participate in everything, almost as if I were a KOT,” Henry said. “They just make me feel like I’m actually a part of it, which is really cool and really special.”

Coming off the victory of a first-place Sing act, Henry said Sing has been one of her favorite parts of being a sweetheart. Henry noted that the guys mean “business” when practicing for the act.

“They were super serious about it but also would have so much fun at practice,” Henry said. “They just worked so hard, and so I was wanting to work hard too, like with them and for them and for the Sing chairs. And so doing that was an absolute blast.”

Henry said the guys are some of the best at Baylor.

“They just exude such honor, and they honor the Lord with everything they do, and they honor each other really well,” Henry said. “They’re super loyal to each other. I’ve just never seen a group of guys support one another the way they do.”

Just around 50 years ago, Edith Reitmeier served as a sweetheart for Kappa Omega Tau from 1973 to 1974, before she graduated from Baylor in 1975. She had two sisters growing up, and Reitmeier said she had always wanted a big brother to look out for her, and becoming a sweetheart gave her the opportunity to have 100 of them.

“They were like my brothers. I mean, they had been my boyfriend’s friends, and I’d been around them from freshman year all the way through, and I just loved them so much,” Reitmeier said. “To this day, when I see them, we always give each other a hug and want to catch up and all that.”

Out of all her memories as a sweetheart, Reitmeier said her favorite one was the night she found out she was a sweetheart. After an elaborate plan consisting of her roommate being allegedly sick and her boyfriend asking her to come outside to get medicine, Reitmeier was greeted by the whole fraternity in their suits, ties and KOT sashes.

“They handed me a dozen roses, and they started singing ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart’ to me,” Reitmeier said.

Reitmeier said she felt both honored and humbled to have served in the role of sweetheart.

“You’re very humbled that you get to be that person and represent that body of men,” Reitmeier said. “I just wish that every woman would get to have that kind of experience because it really is one of a kind.”

Although much time has passed, Reitmeier is still married to the KOT she was dating in college and reflects fondly on her time as a sweetheart and the close connections she made with the brothers of Kappa Omega Tau.

“Those are my brothers, and they will be to my grave and beyond,” Reitmeier said.