House mom reflects on time at Pentagon

Sigma Kappa mom draws from experience at White House to advise students



Sandy Hofland, Sigma Kappa house director, discusses her careers as a house mom, at the Pentagon and in the Navy at the Sigma Kappa house on Jan. 11.

SAM SCHMITKE, Evergreen reporter

As students walk through Greek Row, their minds are probably on parties and not the sorority house mom who worked for the Pentagon.

Sandy Hofland is the house director at Sigma Kappa. She has been a house mom for nine years, three at WSU. Hofland said she followed in the footsteps of her aunt, a house mom at UW.

“Being a house director is like being the landlord of the house,” Hofland said. “My main priority is the safety of the girls here.”

Before Hofland looked out for Sigma Kappa women, she worked in the Pentagon for the Navy. She was a secretary in the the Office of the Chief Information Officer.

Hofland said one of her favorite memories from that time was a visit to the White House when President Nixon was headed to China. She watched Nixon leave on his helicopter.

As former chief of information, Hofland said she has to keep many of her experiences from the job confidential. She said that most of the information she knows is classified and what is classified must stay classified.

Still, her unclassified stories showed the character of the Pentagon’s environment at that time.

In her early twenties, Hofland said part of her job was making coffee for men high up. It had to be very dark.

“It had to be where the spoon stands up in it,” she said. “Well, one day I had this hair-brained idea to clean the coffee pot.”

The high-ranked men told her to never clean a coffee pot. The men then went to every other office to get coffee, she said. She had to make coffee every day and dump it out to get their preferred flavor back.

“It took me two months to get it back … I would get so much crap from all of them,” she said. “It’s like a horrible Starbucks story and it’s crazy to see men get upset over freaking coffee.”

She said she got flack for her politics too. Before the close of the Vietnam War, Hofland said she attended a candle-lit march outside of the White House.

“I am in the National Geographic somewhere, I couldn’t tell you where or what year,” Hofland said. “Apparently I was somewhere on the television because the next morning I walked into the office and everyone was waiting for me.”

Hofland said the men reminded her of her duty as a Federal Servant, that she could not protest her government, and threatened her job.

“I never did do it again,” she said.

Hofland said her job was just an extension of her growing up, and that all informs to her advice for Sigma Kappa girls now.

“Being the child of a military father, [you learn] etiquette of the military,” Hofland said. “You need to learn from your mistakes and never make them again.”

Hofland said she is “spouting her philosophy” when giving advice. Her advice to people is to have a sense of humor, and she tells girls to never regret giving an apology.

“You don’t have to be in the wrong to apologize, it just means you didn’t mean to offend them,” Hofland said.

Hofland said students at WSU can keep in mind they go through the same hardships and lessons adults have gone through. She advised students to finish school strong, for they might be working in the Pentagon one day.

Edit: This has been updated to represent Hofland’s correct position at the Pentagon.