Sunday, April 14, 2013

When I arrived at Duke University I had no thoughts about joining a sorority. Well, to be completely honest, I guess it wasn't no thoughts really, just no positive thoughts. I had been inundated by the media's stereotype of the sorority girl just like everybody else and nothing I had concluded was dissuaded by the MTV show "Sorority Life".

Freshman year came and in the Spring came Rush, which when explained to me sounded pretty horrible but so many women did it anyway! Suddenly the people on my hall had symbols with their names on the door, letters that somehow connected them to other women, and while I wouldn't say I was attracted yet I can say that watching as the 'normal' women around me chose to partake in Greek life did make me rethink my assumptions.

And then came sophomore year.

Suddenly one of my closest friends was looking into a joining a sorority; a multicultural organization with atypical women who'd found a joint cause to circle around and that WAS interesting to me. I'd already started asking some the women who'd gone through Rush Freshman year what their experience was like and while everyone considered the end result worth it, I couldn't imagine doing it myself. Thus when I was introduced to Theta Nu Xi and the idea of a process that wasn't focused on social activities or wearing the right clothes - and was founded by a multi-ethnic woman like myself - I was intrigued.

I guess you're not surprised when I say that I joined huh? Almost in spite of myself I decided that with or without my friend something about Theta Nu Xi spoke to me. The women I met became friends and people who cared about me as a person, even before I was a Sister. The tenets of leadership and service (amongst others) were ones I could support now and in the future and the social activities were almost a bonus, lol.

Time passed and from Junior into Senior year I was drawn to the leadership positions within my chapter. When I realized how much fun was to be had and the opportunities available due to the diverse platforms membership provided, I wanted other women to have that. I still want other women to have that. Membership in something you love with the kind of strong-willed, opinionated women Theta Nu Xi tends to attract is both awesome and challenging. Important life moments are like that.

These women have been there for me when I moved, when my mother died, when I freaked out about jobs or what I wanted to do with my future. I have been privileged enough to lead a team in founding a new chapter at VCU and headed back to Duke to help my chapter find its feet again. I feel like now, Nationally, we're at a crosswords.

Sixteen years is a momentous milestone for a Greek organization, but it is not the time to rest on our laurels. I want to see Theta Nu Xi thrive and become permanent fixtures on every campus it exists on and now is the perfect time to structure our future around that goal. I want women to feel welcomed and supported for who they are, regardless of race, background, religion or whatever other divisive term is most popular at the moment. But I do not believe that cannot happen without change, without responding to the needs of our membership or to the needs of women who aren't members yet.

There is no typical Theta Nu Xi woman. It doesn't matter who you are, what school you're at, what clothes you wear, or what extracurriculars you're passionate about - if Theta Nu Xi calls to you and you are committed then I want you to find a home here. I want us to listen and be proactive about how the world is changing and about the evolving place that Greek organizations have within it.

I can say without hyperbole that Theta Nu Xi has changed my life. Even when it drives me absolutely bonkers I cannot imagine a time when I won't care about its future. So while I can't map out for you exactly what my relationship will be with Theta Nu Xi twenty years from now, I know it will still be there. At the forefront of my life or in the wings, ready for me when I am once more ready for it.

My biggest hope is that with a combination open, honest communication and some of my time, attention and complete inability to keep my mouth shut that we will find a way that works for us. That works for for the women who joined in the past, who joined today, or who have just now stumbled upon the organization. The joy of a multicultural organization is that ideally we should be appropriate for all women who want Sisterhood and I can only hope we rise to the challenge.

*If my words are a little garbled forgive me - I've been struggling with how to express my thoughts while still being respectful of my organization and hopefully a little of what I meant got through :). 

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