New sorority ‘adds another dimension to Greek life’

Jessie Hellmann

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) charted a new chapter on USI’s campus Sunday night.

AKA, which is the oldest Greek-lettered organization established by African-American college women in the United States, welcomed 12 USI students.

David Stetter, fraternity and sorority life director, said USI has worked for over a year to find 12 women, which is the minimum amount of required members to charter,  who met the GPA requirements and could meet the financial requirements.

“I’m really proud of them, and I’m really, really excited,” Stetter said.

He said when he started working at USI in 2010, a student’s parent said she wanted to start discussions about creating an AKA chapter at USI.

“Last night her daughter was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. as one of the chartering line members,” Stetter said. “It’s really cool that with a conversation two years ago and a lot of work, it finally hit this point.”

He said having AKA on campus will challenge the way current sororities and fraternities look at Greek and campus life.

“I think it’s going to provide more diversity to the University of Southern Indiana fraternity and sorority life,” Stetter said. “Their way of service and looking at the community is tenfold to (that of) IFC and Panhellenic organizations.”

Other African-American fraternities and sororities have been at USI but have dissolved because members graduate and don’t get replaced, Stetter said.

The only other African-American sorority to charter at USI was Delta Sigma Theta, which was last recognized on campus in 2008. It was an Evansville city chapter between USI and the University of Evansville.

Stetter said the establishment of AKA will lead to more National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations, historically African-American fraternities and sororities, coming to campus.

“I believe that (AKA) will be the first of multiple NPHC organizations to come to campus,” Stetter said. “I think they have laid a foundation.  We have had multiple conversations with other graduate chapters of other NPHC organizations locally.”

He said the chapter will be governed by USI’s Panhellenic council, until another NPHC chapter is on campus, then it will break off and be governed by a USI National Pan-Hellenic Council, which will be formed from members of the NPHC fraternities and sororities.

Pamela Hopson, the President of Zeta Zeta Omega, the local graduate chapter of AKA which helped bring the sorority to campus, said she’s excited.

 “I’m excited that (AKA) is represented on USI’s campus. It adds another dimension to Greek life,” Hopson said. “I hope that the campus community shows them the USI love that they have shown when other fraternities and sororities have come on campus.”

 Associate Provost of Student Affairs Marcia Kiessling said it’s a historic moment for the institution.

“We haven’t had a historically black sorority on our campus before,” Kiessling said. “I think it will benefit because it will add to the diversity of the institution.”

She said it will also help with recruiting students to the university.

“As students consider different schools and see (AKA) is one of their many options, that is an asset to our institution,” Kiessling said.