The women of Kappa Kappa Gamma have not gone a day without seeing the face of Debra Reister. The house director of the Kappa residence is always present and has been throughout her time at the house.
Reister’s stint as house director, however, comes to an end as the spring semester begins to draw to a close. Reister has decided to retire after five years in the position.
“Being a house director is just running the house, supervising the housekeeper and the cook,” Reister said. “I make sure that everything is in the house that is needed for any of the programming, formal dinners, that sort of thing. I’m just supportive.”
The lack of flexibility that comes with the position was a factor in Reister’s decision.
“What’s hard for me is having to be in the house 24/7,” Reister said. “You don’t have flexibility in your schedule too much during school time. I have a lot of outside interests with volunteering and so forth. I want to be doing that.”
Reister will surely be missed by her residents. Junior and Kappa Kappa Gamma President Andie Chandler said Reister always has a smile and a kind word for the girls.
“She always has the best interest of the house in mind,” Chandler said. “From her nightly walks around the house to make sure all the lights are turned off and wishing us good luck with our studies to making sure we have enough snacks downstairs to keep us occupied for the night, she just understands about being student and balancing that with sorority life and all the other activities. Her understanding will definitely be missed.”
Reister brings out the best in her residents and helps maintain a healthy sisterhood.
“So much of Greek life is done outside of the home but so much happens inside of the home as well,” Chandler said. “The house director does play an important role in ensuring that we are able to have a strong sisterhood, execute effective events, and open up our home to guests. It’s such an important role.”
Junior and Kappa Kappa Gamma House Chairman Laurel Armes explained that Reister has also been instrumental with making changes in the house.
“This past semester has been really cool,” Armes said. “We’ve gotten some upgrades to our meal plan which Debbie helped up figure out. Now we have Checker Records coffee, which is really exciting. We also now have open kitchen on the weekdays. Now we can go and cook and get what we want. It’s been especially helpful for girls who are athletes.”
The college has started searching for Reister’s replacement. Chandler says the college has been listening to feedback from the Kappa residents.
“Communication is super important to us,” she said. “We’re looking for someone who can communicate openly with the house chairman and also with the girls in the house. It’s so unique in comparison to any other dorm because you’re dealing with not just the girls who are living in the house but the sorority as a whole. We just would like someone who is understanding of what we need as a house and how we function.”
Reister’s understanding and advice will be hard to replace. In her time at Hillsdale, Reister has reminded the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma of the bigger picture.
“I try to tell the girls that today is not such a crisis,” Reister said. “Just think about what your path is to go forward. I’m not far away from this to know what the impact has been, but I do enjoy hearing that the girls that have graduated are having children or are married and that the seniors are engaged. It has been a pleasure to be around that youth at this point and to know that they are going to be activists in whatever they do.”