Leadership Learning

Real, Strong Women on the Hill

By: Allison Aprahamian (Iota Sigma, Southern Methodist University)

Like I have found to be true with most things in life, formal recruitment with Alpha Chi Omega prepared me extremely well for my trip to D.C. where I advocated for the sorority and fraternity experience.

Much like polish week, my fellow student lobbyists and I spent the first day practicing the pitch we would give in our Hill visits. We learned from policy experts about the legislation that will protect our organizations and end hazing, and we were briefed extensively on the logistics of the Hill Day. Despite all of the notes taken and lectures given, our advisors stressed that the most important component of our meetings was having confidence in ourselves, having passion for our experience and having meaningful conversations with the Hill staffers.

The night before we went to lobby on the Hill, my Alpha Chi roommates and I felt prepared, but we were nervous nonetheless. It felt oddly like the night before the open house round of recruitment; a big day that meant a lot to the Greek community was coming in just a few short hours whether we felt ready or not.

In the morning, we woke up too early, put on our lyre badges and our #StandUpToHarvard buttons, and walked toward our nation’s Capitol building. Standing outside the door of our first meeting, it felt like lining up to greet potential new members. I adjusted my name tag, ran through my talking points in my head, and opened the door, game face on. Just like in recruitment, after the first conversation with a Hill staffer, I realized that’s all it really is: a conversation.

As Alpha Chi Omegas, we’re accustomed to being champions for causes we care deeply about and for others who can’t speak for themselves – so advocating for the sorority experience came as second nature. In my conversations with policy makers, I discussed how proud I am of the difference the Iota Sigma chapter makes in women’s lives through the money raised at our philanthropy event, Alpha Chi Couture. I talked about how serving as vice president recruitment and working with an incredible advisor in that capacity made me grow as a leader and as a woman. I shared with legislators just how important and impactful it is for women to come together so that we can lift one another up to be real, strong women.

After 10 meetings, we walked back to the hotel with the aches in our feet and love in our hearts that only formal recruitment and advocating for the sorority and fraternity experience on the Hill can bring.

I can truthfully say I am a product of the love, leadership and guidance I have received from Alpha Chi Omega, and I did my very best to convey that to policymakers. Though our “preference night” may be months away, I feel confident that when our bills are introduced, they will pass with flying colors and bipartisan support because of the efforts of our fraternity/sorority community on our Hill Day.