Scholarship, service and sorority • Southwestern University

Taylor Williams ’23 was already familiar with the National Panhellenic Council, a coalition historically black fraternitiesd sororities, before arriving on the campus of Southwestern University. His father is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.®, one of nine organizations that make up the council, and Williams grew up hearing about the benefits of belonging to a black Greek letter organization.

But her father did more than introduce her to the Divine Nine, as these nine fraternities and sororities are collectively known. He also introduced her to Associate Professor of Education Alicia Moore, who serves as an educational advisor for the Southwest Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®Alpha Phi Alpha’s unofficial sister sorority.

“Dr. Moore became my mentor, and later my sorority sister,” Williams says.

Today, Williams, who majors in political science, is president of the Upsilon Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, which was chartered by Southwestern in 2015. She is proud to lead one of the newest chapters of this distinguished organization. .

“It takes a very strong woman to become an Alpha Kappa Alpha woman,” Williams says. “You have to prioritize service. Fraternity must be prioritized. You have to make both financial sacrifices and emotional sacrifices. You have to really want to be here. »

Member Rini Mannankara ’22 added her handprints to an anti-hazing banner during National Hazing Prevention Week.Grow and prosper

As a relatively new organization on campus, Alpha Kappa Alpha continues to grow its membership. The Southwest chapter currently has six active members, but Williams hopes the number will increase soon.

“We continue to get our name out there,” Williams says. “Right now, we are working to ensure incoming students know about our presence and impact on campus and around the world.”

The international organization has a long and rich history. Founded in 1908 by nine students on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC, the sorority was the first Greek-letter organization for black female students. Today, as a multicultural organization, it has over 320,000 members in 1,046 chapters. in the United States, US Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Japan, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea and United Arab Emirates.

Some of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s notable accomplishments over the past 114 years include establishing the first mobilthe Mississippi Delta Health Clinic in 1935; stimulating research on sickle cell disease in the 1950s; the purchase of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home for the MLK Center for Social Change in 1972; the creation of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation, a multimillion-dollar entity that awards more than $100,000 in scholarships, grants, and scholarships each year, in 1981; and coordinating a national campaign to highlight historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in 2018.

Members of the organization, or “sorors” as they call each other, also celebrated many individual achievements. Notable members of Alpha Kappa Alpha include author Toni Morrison, actress Phylicia Rashad, comedian Wanda Sykes, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris. The sorority has also granted honorary membership to a number of esteemed women, including poet Maya Angelou, civil rights leader Rosa Parks and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

servant leadership

Alpha Kappa Alpha is not a social club but rather an international service organization dedicated to creating a college experience that is both meaningful and productive. Its mission is to cultivate and encourage high academic and ethical standards; promote unity and friendship among female students; to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women in order to improve their social status; maintain a progressive interest in university life; and be of service to all humanity.

The Upsilon Alpha Chapter hosted an HBCU 4 Life event to educate the southwestern community about...The Upsilon Alpha Chapter hosted an HBCU 4 Life event to educate the Southwestern community about the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

“Our service goals change every four years,” says Williams. Current goals focus on supporting HBCUs; raising awareness of women’s health issues; build economic legacies; promote the arts, especially black artists; and strengthen the sisterhood’s global impact.

The Southwest Chapter has engaged members in these goals in a variety of ways.

“We have organized virtual yoga and Zumba classes. We wore red to draw attention to heart disease. We have hosted presentations about the challenges that many black women face in the healthcare system and how often they are not heard or meaningfully represented,” Williams says.

The Upsilon Alpha Chapter, which is sponsored by the Beta Psi Omega Graduate Chapter in Austin, collaborates with other nearby Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Chapters, including Huston-Tillotson University Beta Kappa Chapter and Delta Xi of the University of Texas at Austin. The section also participates in initiatives at the regional, national and international levels. Through the The One Million Backpacks initiative, for example, Alpha Kappa Alpha distributed backpacks full of school supplies to economically disadvantaged school children, and the Change for Change fundraiser collects change to donate to charitable causes.

Chapter members represented Alpha Kappa Alpha at the Galley Fest.Chapter members represented Alpha Kappa Alpha at the Galley Fest.Multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial

Williams notes that Alpha Kappa Alpha is a diverse organization that welcomes college-aged women of all races and ethnicities.

“There is a common misconception that Alpha Kappa Alpha only lets in black women or is only for black women. Although originally founded for black women, we are a multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial organization,” says Williams. “We have an international presence, with chapters all over the world. There is a space for any woman who meets the criteria to be an Alpha Kappa Alpha female.

The organization uplifts women everywhere, whether they are members of Alpha Kappa Alpha or not. For example, in 2022, the Upsilon Alpha Chapter is awarding Eugenia Gabrielle Agobe ’23 the Dr. Alicia Moore Service Excellence Scholarship in the amount of $1,908, a nod to the founding year of the Upsilon Alpha. ‘Alpha Kappa Alpha. Agobe will be honored on April 13 at the Upsilon Alpha Spirit of Giving Awards Ceremony, which celebrates students, faculty, and staff who champion social justice and the academic community.

“We love the fellowship that Alpha Kappa Alpha offers,” says Williams. “There are so many opportunities for growth and resources available to you when you join an amazing fellowship like this.”

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