Meet Vickie Watts, a Louisiana State University alumna who carries her Tiger spirit with pride. Her LSU journey began at a young age, attending football games with her parents in Tiger Stadium as a child and embracing the educational opportunities available on campus by taking Leisure Classes beginning at age nine. Vickie’s parents instilled a strong work ethic in their children who were expected to work while they were students. Embracing education wholeheartedly, Vickie worked her way through her undergraduate studies and went on to earn a master’s degree, both at LSU. She then began to work on a PhD in Higher Education Administration, before having to stop her educational pursuits while in treatment for breast cancer.
Why and how did you get involved with Tri Delta?
Vickie has been the house director since 2015. During the interview process, Vickie immediately felt a strong connection with Tri Delta because as a “St. Jude Mom” she shared the organization’s passion for supporting St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Vickie’s daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma (brain tumor) at age 15 as a high school freshman. Vickie and Sarah spent four months in Memphis for Sarah’s initial treatment and Sarah worked with the teachers at St. Jude to keep up with her schoolwork. Her case was monitored by the St. Jude clinic in Baton Rouge which followed her continued care when she was able to be at home. For 3½ years, Vickie and Sarah traveled back and forth to Memphis for checkups. Sarah lost her battle at 19 years of age.
Her daughter’s memory lives on in the most beautiful way, as Vickie spearheads a team in Sarah’s name for the St. Jude Walk/Run in Baton Rouge. She also served on the committee that organized Baton Rouge’s first St. Jude Walk/Run, originally called the “Give Thanks Walk/Run.” It has been a beautiful way to celebrate Sarah each year. This heart-wrenching experience drew Vickie closer to both St. Jude and Tri Delta, forming a bond that ultimately shaped her path.
What do you love about being a house director?
“I felt prepared for the position having gained valuable experience in program management for a transitional living program for children aging out of the foster care system. I’m proud to work for Tri Delta because I love the energy and involvement with St. Jude, which sealed the deal for me following my interview. I also love the close-knit group of house directors on the LSU campus. We share friendships and ideas with each other. Lastly, I adore the team of people I am privileged to work with daily, including the local house corporation, advisors, alumnae officers, collegiate officers and the other incredible and dedicated staff—some whom have been with Tri Delta and LSU for 45 years!”
What does a typical week look like for you?
“The schedule is busy, and no two days are the same. I strive to stay up to date with the chapter calendar daily, which keeps me on my toes. To keep everything organized, I developed an Event Planning Form for collegiate officers to use when planning an event at the house. It helps the officers and me stay organized and keep track of all the details. I work with vendors who are making deliveries or doing maintenance and repairs. Some vendors come annually, and some come monthly or weekly, depending on their tasks—air filter changes, pest control, fire extinguisher inspections, fire suppression system test, etc.”
“Our beautiful house was built in the early 1960s, so it holds its share of surprises that need immediate attention. I find myself juggling multiple tasks and adjusting priorities as things arise, constantly adapting and reprioritizing to ensure that I am focusing on what needs to be addressed at the moment. It’s a dynamic and rewarding challenge that keeps me motivated and ready to take on whatever comes my way.”
How has being a house director contributed to your growth and development—professionally and/or personally?
“One aspect that stands out to me is that this chapter’s alumnae have an unbreakable bond which is truly special. When an alum’s name is mentioned, the connection between these women is immediate. It’s fun to now work with advisors who were collegiate chapter members when I began this journey eight years ago. One advisor in particular, Shelby Miller, is a childhood cancer survivor and now serves as the philanthropy advisor. Learning about her journey and now watching her serve as an advisor to support St. Jude is truly inspiring. ”
“Professionally, this role has taught me patience. Balancing the needs of collegiate members, managing the house and staff, and collaborating with other house directors requires patience. On a personal level, this experience has given me an opportunity to connect with incredible individuals and get to know multiple generations of Tri Delta members. I love hearing mothers, grandmothers and aunts share stories about the chapter with their daughters and nieces. It is also wonderful to see ladies reconnect and laugh together at reunions.”
How has being a house director had a positive impact on your life?
“Being a house director and being connected to Tri Delta has allowed me to make a difference and continually honor my daughter’s memory as I help with fundraising events throughout the year. It is rewarding to assist the collegians with their fundraisers at the house and to experience their passion for St. Jude. The partnership between St. Jude and Tri Delta created a beautiful home for St. Jude families, Tri Delta Place. St. Jude families are fortunate to have a beautiful, home-like, short-term place to live on the St. Jude campus. I am blessed with the opportunity to stay connected to the cause that is closest to my heart while also positively influencing the lives of the incredible women in Delta Omega. I am also able to share many of the same values and goals as the collegiate and alumnae members. In my journey as a house director, I have found purpose, fulfillment and connections that will forever shape my life for the better.”
What advice do you have for those interested in being a house director?
“This role is vibrant and never boring! Flexibility is key; you’ve got to be ready to change courses. My advice is to use the resources available to you, websites and social media platforms are full of helpful information. Connect with other house directors on your campus because their insights and experiences are invaluable. If your organization doesn’t have a binder with all the details regarding their house, create one. I created a binder when I started working for Delta Omega Chapter. It is our go-to manual. I update and add information each semester. This binder is extremely helpful to substitute house directors and volunteers when I am not available. Being a house director is a unique position that keeps you active and makes you proud of the impact you can make!”
If you are interested in learning more about our house director careers, we encourage you to visit the Tri Delta Housing Career Page, Tri Delta Housing Job Board or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.