Alpo Sipila

International Student, Soccer Player, and Firefighter

I was really lucky when I came here because I already had this group of guys, my soccer team. I had actually been in the States for two years in high school, so the culture wasn’t altogether new. I was comfortable, but I had no knowledge of college life.

When I came and stayed here overnight the first time, the community was so welcoming, I knew I wouldn’t have trouble belonging. I knew it would feel like home.

I’m involved in Greek life, and I didn’t have any idea what to expect. You hear all this negative stuff in the news, but Sewanee Greek life is special. It’s really unique. It’s not exclusive. I know people from other fraternities and people who aren’t involved at all, but we are all equally close. The inclusive nature of Greek life actually brings the community closer together.

I’m also a firefighter here. When I heard about it, I started asking questions. Then I was hooked. I felt like I needed to be part of it. Giving back to the community that has been so great to us—that’s amazing. Being a firefighter, we actually get to know the area. The community isn’t just about the campus—it’s about the locals. And they care about us, too.