Why do so many college-bound girls jump at the chance of joining a sorority? Just log onto Facebook, Twitter, or Insta and type in the hashtag #sorors (Latin term for “sisters”) to find your answer. As you scroll, you’ll see countless photos of women — young and old, famous and not — posing with one another as they celebrate holidays, birthdays, and girls’ nights out. When you pledge a sorority, one thing becomes very clear: You become a part of something far bigger than yourself.
Contributing writer, Princess Gabbara, sat down with four sorority girls — Ikeia, 21; Jewel, 20; Laureanna, 20; and Shawnesha, 20 — to discuss what really goes on behind the scenes. From common stereo- types to community service to leadership opportunities, here’s everything you need to know.
Alpha Kappa Alpha
Slogan: “A Legacy of Sisterhood and Service”
Established: January 15, 1908 at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Official Colors: Salmon Pink and Apple Green
Every soror has her own unique reasons behind why she pledged, but for Ikeia Bennett, a senior at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Zeta Xi Chapter, Greek life just sort of fell into her lap. “It was my last year of high school and I was looking for a scholarship,” she says. “So I did a scholarship and I didn’t know what it was until one of my counselors said the scholarship is from Rho Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, so I decided to look up the organization and learn more about [it].”
“By the time I accepted my scholarship, I knew I wanted to become a member,” Ikeia says. “The women of Rho Mu Omega gave me so many encouraging words of wisdom and advice, which I still hold onto today. It was amazing to know that people outside of my family cared and saw potential in me.”
Since pledging, Ikeia says one of the most rewarding aspects of Greek life has been being able to give back on a regular basis. It’s no secret that sororities are known for their philanthropic efforts and spirit of giving, but as members of the very first Black Greek-lettered sorority, the AKA’s feel it’s their duty to set the bar high. “We have Get on the AKA Train, where our alumnae help current members study and prepare for their exams during midterms week,” Ikeia says. “And there’s Freshwoman Move-in Day, where we welcome incoming members by helping them move into their dorm rooms. It’s a lot of fun!”
According to Ikeia, joining a sorority has many advantages, one of them being the chance to hold an office. Her role as Tamiouchos (Treasurer) works perfectly for her, since she plans on pursuing a career in accounting after graduation. But, she says the highlight of it all has been creating lifelong friendships with girls from all walks of life, especially since she’s an only child. “That’s been the best part about being an AKA — I have sisters now,” she says. “Knowing that I have sisters for a lifetime is priceless.”
Read the rest of my feature for Sesi magazine’s fall 2015 issue [here].