By Caitlyn-Rae L. Arendse (Beta, Albion College)
When I was a freshman, I chose to join Alpha Chi Omega because of the way I was spoken to. I remember when my future grand-grand-big, Ashley Audisho, made me feel so comfortable talking about my academic goals and aspirations, and I felt like I was taken seriously. It was then that I knew how badly I wanted to go back each day and talk more to the women of the house. I remember talking with my alumna sister, Marianne Krause, about how I feel about credit, APR financing and the book Wuthering Heights. It felt like I could explore my seriously studious side while also having so much fun!
This year, I was so proud to have been elected vice president diversity, equity and inclusion, where I work my hardest to provide resources to my sisters and other VPs DEI! So far, I have sent out letters about reaching out to me about anything concerning our chapter’s view on inclusivity as well as information and resources to support Black History Month fundraising/educational efforts. As an African-American and multiracial woman, I feel like I can help make conversations around race easier by educating my sisters about my background while learning about theirs as well.
One of my duties as VP is to share news from headquarters, as well as resources. In order to allow my sisters easier access to this information, I was able to create a newsletter titled, “D.E.I. 4 U,” which is sent out every month on the first. It makes me feel really happy to be able to share news with my sisters about how we can build a more inclusive environment around us.
And that is what our sisterhood is and will always be built on. Inclusivity. The ability to stand together as a house when we feel down individually, to support each other on tough days and to be real, strong women.
So, what is a real, strong woman?
An individual who sees more in herself day by day. A woman who can identify her strengths and use them to support those around her, who cares for and gives back to her community, despite challenges. A woman who focuses on the future and embraces her pain and insecurity, joy and love, and all emotions in between.
My sisters have all taught me more about myself, and I am sure I have done the same for them. As we push through the pandemic, I am excited to connect with more Alpha Chi Omegas from different chapters and learn more about our beautiful, strong sisterhood.