Sorority cultivates dedication, friendship

By Maria Tortorello

Today, the green and pink spotlight shines on NIU’s chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, which is this week’s House of the Week.

The first chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded on Jan. 15, 1908 by a group of undergraduate students at Howard University located in Washington D.C.

Over the years, the sorority has grown into a national organization with chapters located all over the United States. Alpha Kappa Alpha has extended its chapters as far as Liberia,

West Africa and the Bahamas.

NIU’s chapter of the sorority currently has 17 active members and three other members from the graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha called Xi Mu Omega.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority is a service sorority which has been dedicated to helping organizations such as the United Negro College Fund, UNICEF and AIDS education groups.

According to an informational sheet the sorority gives to girls interested in becoming members of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the sorority serves “to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women, to maintain a progressive interest in college life and to be of service to all mankind.”

Jetina Woods, Alpha Kappa Alpha member, said the events the sorority hosts throughout the year are fundraisers for these organizations.

The biggest of these events is the Green and Pink Extravaganza, which is to take place at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center.

The Extravaganza will feature appearances from Miss Black Illinois Tiffany Abram and Atlantic recording artist Glen Jones.

Abram will be presenting the dramatic interpretation she performed for the Miss Black Illinois competition.

A minister from Chicago will be giving a motivational speech to those in attendance.

Jones will perform his two hit singles “Here We Go Again” and “I’ve Been Searching.”

The cost for the evening is a $10 donation at the door.

One particular charity the sorority takes part in every year is helping a DeKalb family during the Thanksgiving season.

“Rev. Leroy Mitchell gives us the name of a family in need and we adopt them,” Woods said. “We provide Thanksgiving dinner for them.”

One other form of charity work includes helping the homeless. “We help the homeless on the streets of DeKalb on a regular basis,” Woods said.

To be chosen as a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha house one must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better, have involvement in organizations on campus and write a letter of interest.

“It’s a selective process,” Woods said. “It was an honor to be selected.”

Being a part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority has many high points, according to Woods.

“The sisterhood and being able to help others is an advantage,” she said.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha girls are not only the helping hands of the community, but they also have a positive reputation around campus, Woods said.

“(The Alpha Kappa Alpha girls) are known as the distinctive young ladies on campus,” she said.

Woods said the sorority’s positive reputation is a result of the way the members present themselves around campus.

“You can tell by the way the girls carry themselves,” Woods said.

Woods said many memorable experiences come with the package of being an Alpha Kappa Alpha member. She remembers last October when the oldest living member of Alpha Kappa Alpha came to NIU for a visit.

“To be in the same room with her was an honor,” Woods said. “Can you imagine? She could have been one of the founders of the sorority.”