Over the weekend, I had the honor of representing my chapter, along with ten other sisters, at our sorority's biennial national convention. When I first went through recruitment three years ago, I heard the phrases "We have a really strong alumni network," "There are tons of opportunities to stay involved even after you graduate," and everyone's favorite recruitment hook, "It's not four years, it's for life."
This weekend, I had the opportunity to witness the validity of that statement in person. Women from almost every active chapter and alumnae association of our organizations gathered in San Diego for five days of educational sessions, business meetings, and opportunities to interact with other women from all over America and Canada. I spent my weekend with sisters from the ages of 18- to 96-years-old, all proudly wearing our badges over our hearts and witnessing history being made within our organization.
I've always been very involved in my chapter and this year I am serving on our chapter's executive council. I thought I knew about all the opportunities available to me within the fraternity. Then I met women who have been out of college for forty-plus years who dedicated forty to 50 hours a week to running, operating, and overseeing fraternity activities. And here I am complaining about the extra three hours of meetings I have to go to during the week.
Beyond seeing women of all ages gather together to further the success of our organization, I got to witness the empowerment, mutual respect, and incredible friendship that comes from joining a sorority. Whether it was voting delegates getting up in front of over a thousand women to voice support for the fraternity council or collegiate women comforting their peers who were triggered by discussions of preventing sexual assault on campus, I witnessed the beauty and power that comes from lifting up other women, rather than tearing each other down.
All too often, I see negative representations and heinously misguided stereotypes of sorority women in the media. I wish every movie producer, TSM author, television and film writer, and naysayer on the Internet had the opportunity to be at a sorority convention. I wish they were able to witness the empowerment, the support, the respect, and the love that comes form joining a organization of women who share your values and support your goals and aspirations. I wish they would focus on how sororities offer leadership opportunities to members of all ages and backgrounds or how we raise money and collect books for underprivileged children or how we provide support to our sisters in need. This weekend, I was reminded of why I joined this organization in the first place; for the sisterhood, for the support, and for the unconditional love and respect.