It’s not every day someone comes back from Christmas to be told they’re president.
Marissa Quintanilla walked into her first day of classes this semester with 18 hours, two jobs, and the expectation of being vice president of her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta.
She left classes that day learning she’d been appointed president of Alpha Xi Delta.
“It was just kind of an overwhelming, but a happy overwhelming moment,” said Quintanilla, a sophomore criminal justice major. “Like I knew I could do it. It was just wrapping my head around it.”
Quintanilla was elected vice president last semester with the plan to eventually become president. However, because of a last-minute transfer of the elected president, she was next in line for the role. Quintanilla’s already pretty involved on campus; on top of being a sorority president, she’s also a president’s ambassador, an orientation leader, a Ram Camp leader, and a member of Love Your Melon and S.H.I.E.L.D.
“I think she’s doing an amazing job as president,” junior sociology major Yonatzin Cardoso said. “Our past presidents have all been amazing and she’s bringing it up a step. Our motto is always leave it better than how you found it. She’s definitely doing that.”
Cardoso is Quintanilla’s roommate and big sister in the sorority. She was very excited to see Quintanilla take office.
“It (her being president) makes me very proud because her and I have talked about it,” Cardoso said. “(It makes me proud) just to see her handle it with such grace and such courage and not let it weigh her down. If it does weigh her down, it doesn’t show. I think she’s just an amazing leader and example of Alpha Xi Delta.”
Quintanilla didn’t know Texas Wesleyan even had a Greek Life when she first started here.
“Whenever I first started here, I didn’t know anything about Greek Life, and I didn’t even know Wesleyan had a Greek Life, ” Quintanilla said. “Then I saw that they had recruitment. I’ve always wanted to join a sorority, but I didn’t know we had one here. I was very excited.”
Quintanilla may not have known about Greek Life when she first got here, but she’s known for a long time that she was going to Wesleyan.
“My dad (Dr. Hector Quintanilla) is the dean of School of Business,” Quintanilla said, “so basically I’ve known my whole life I was going to come here.”
As a result, Quintanilla said she knew a lot of the faculty, but not many students. She stumbled on to Wesleyan’s Greek Life when she was looking for some place to belong on campus.
“The reason why I choose it (Alpha Xi Delta) is because it had the most at home environment to me,” Quintanilla said. “The girls were really sweet, and I really liked everything that they were about. It actually seemed like an actual sisterhood instead of just a bunch of people who got together just once a week and departed. I could tell that it was an actual family environment, and I was really looking for people to know at the time.”
From that first day of recruitment in the fall of 2016, Cardoso had wanted Quintanilla to be her little sister.
“I knew from the moment she walked into the recruitment that she was going to be my little (sister) and no one else could take her because she was going to be mine,” Cardoso said. “She’s a 24-hour job and we’re always together, but I wouldn’t change her for anything in the world.”
Quintanilla loves the closeness of Alpha Xi Delta and is appreciative of how much it’s let her grow as a person.
“I think maybe whenever I was officially initiated into Alpha Xi Delta, that made a really big impact on my life,” she said. “I like the way it’s changed me. I’m not the same person that I was before. I know a lot of people say that stuff, but it’s honestly true. Because of it (Alpha Xi Delta), I have been able to branch out and realize (my) potential. It really does happen. It’s given me the confidence to go out and do stuff I want to do.”
Quintanilla said helping young women realize their potential in both academics and life is Alpha Xi Delta’s mission and she believes it’s important for all women to have some support system like Alpha Xi Delta.
“It’s (Alpha Xi Delta) really important to me because I feel like still in society women are still having to work so hard to gain that respect from everyone,” Quintanilla said. “I mean we’ve come a long way, but not really. I think having a group of girls who are like constantly supporting each other is super important because I don’t want anyone of them or any girl at Wesleyan to feel like they can’t do something.”
Quintanilla said her passion and dedication to the sorority have grown even more since becoming president.
“There’s a lot more passion for it now,” she said. “I feel that now that I’m president, I’m the face of Alpha Xi Delta, so I always have to be watching what I’m saying to people, how I’m dressing, and how I’m presenting myself in general. I just feel like I have to be the definition of Alpha Xi Delta now. I have all these girls counting on me and all the girls at the chapter counting on me, so it’s a really big difference. Having a cool group of girls trust you since you make a decision for everyone is a big difference, but I like it.”
Quintanilla said her biggest challenge is having the patience to see her work flourish.
“I have a very big vision when it comes to how I want my chapter to be or how I want the community at Wesleyan to be, so I get frustrated if things aren’t like resulting quick enough,” Quintanilla said. “I have to remember that it’s all going to be worth it in the long run. Like the things that I’m doing now and the things that I’m helping out with now aren’t going to happen right this second, so I think patience has been my biggest challenge here.”
Cardoso said one of Quintanilla’s best attributes is her people skills.
“I think she has such amazing people skills and that kind of brings out people to events that she advertises for, not just Alpha Xi, but like RA events and stuff like that,” Cardoso said. “The fact that she connects so well with people is her best attribute to Wesleyan.”
Dr. Eddy Lynton, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, also agrees that Quintanilla has great people skills and believes those are part of what makes her a great criminal justice major.
“She’s very passionate about people, about the social world, and her social environment,” Lynton said. “She’s always interested in improving the world and making it a better place for people. She always wants to leave things better than how she found them. I think that’s what makes her an exceptional criminal justice major.”
Lynton also said that her people skills will help her in her career and he loves having her in class.
“I really want to see her working hands on with the people,” he said. “I think she can do anything really, but I think her real strength is people. She has, I don’t know how to even describe it, special quality about her that I think draws people to her. She’s got a great personality and she’s got a very positive vibe. She’s just full of life and I love that about her.”
Quintanilla said she is considering going to graduate school at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville for their good criminal justice program. Cardoso believes Quintanilla may even get her doctorate degree.
“I see her going to graduate school and getting her doctoral,” Cardoso said. “I actually kind of see her being a dean because she’s very passionate about criminal justice, and I see her going a long way.”
Cardoso said she’s seen Quintanilla grow in her leadership, confidence, and understanding of others’ emotions a lot since she first met her and believes she’ll accomplish a lot by the end of her presidency.
“I know our number one goal is to become a bigger chapter and to be a lot more involved on campus and we are doing that slowly and surely,” Cardoso said. “I think by the end of her presidency we’ll have definitely accomplished that.”