As soon as Spring Break commenced, I drove to Cincinnati and caught a flight to San Antonio to attend the 2017 NASPA Annual Conference. Over the last week, I have traveled to five cities in three states, seen The Alamo and Bourbon Street, and have been eaten at In N Out, Mi Tierra’s, Chimes, and Bistro Byronz. After eleven days of travel and both Gamecock Basketball teams in the Sweet 16 (Go Gamecocks!), my journey led me to Louisiana State University (LSU), where I had the opportunity to speak with the women of the Omega chapter of Alpha Delta Pi.
After being absent from campus for the last three decades, the Omega chapter was recolonized this year and have returned better than ever before. Led by Corrin and Michelle, chapter president and membership education vice president, the Executive Board started to brainstorm different ways to cultivate a strong sense of belonging amongst all chapter members. With over 160 women representing a variety of social identities, perspectives, and academic year, our task was two-fold.
What does diversity mean to the Omega chapter? How will the Omega chapter promote inclusion in all areas of their organization?
We discussed current challenges within Fraternity and Sorority Life and how it negatively influences our effectiveness as leaders on campus. Challenges such as implicit biases during recruitment, lack of cross council collaboration, and how microaggressions can lead many members to disengage from the mission and vision of the chapter. Because of their recent recolonization, this chapter is unique because they have newly initiated members who were not affiliated with Greek Life during their first couple years on campus and remember what it is like to observe from a distance. This viewpoint is rare, especially within Panhellenic and IFC organizations who typically hold formal recruitment during the first semester (or year) students are on campus. After much discussion about their chapter identity and reputation, the Executive Board took a stance and created a diversity statement for their chapter.
“We, the women of the Omega chapter of Alpha Delta Pi, are committed to the acceptance and respect of all people’s social identities. We will educate our members on the importance of open-mindedness, understanding, and awareness. We will value and unify diverse perspectives and thoughts through sisterhood, scholarship, and service.”
Wow! Intentional and purposeful don’t even begin to describe how these words make me feel. However, one thing is very clear. These women are ready to be the trailblazers in Fraternity and Sorority Life at LSU. They have inspired a shared vision for who they will be and are fueled with passion that will guarantee their success. Their commitment to diversity and inclusion is unparalleled to any chapter (IFC, Panhellenic, NPHC, MGC) I have witnessed before. I am so excited for the change they will initiate at LSU that will be echoed and duplicated across the country.
I did not want to leave, however I know they are in good hands with the help of their leadership consultants (s/o to Becca, Kaley, Maddie), volunteers and international officers, and university resources. When things get challenging, I am confident they will remember why they joined and how we started our time together.
Rain Drop. Drop Top. Geaux Tigers!
Encourage somebody to be great today!