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An Open Love Letter to My Sorority on Valentine's Day

This year my school's Panhellenic recruitment week lined up perfectly with Galentine's Day. So, naturally, my sorority's bid day was themed "Falling in Love with Kappa Delta", which got me thinking a lot about the past few years and my collegiate experience in this organization. 

With welcoming in a new pledge class and looking to my next stages of life including my next stages of Kappa Delta as an alumna, I wanted to write this letter to my sorority.

To Kappa Delta Sorority,

Kappa Delta Eta Iota Bid Day 2018

"Thank you" doesn't feel like a strong enough phrase to explain my gratitude. Being a part of this empowering organization has changed my life in ways that I will probably never be able to put into words, despite being a writer by trade.

When I think back on the past three years, I go through a wave of emotions. I won't glamorize or sugar-coat it and say that each of those feelings is innately positive. However, what I have learned now in my final year is that the ability to see something through the bad parts and care enough to fix and rectify them is part of what makes a community like this just so great. 

Starting from my first year at college and my new member education process, I immediately was met with a feeling of being wanted in a community, something that I wasn't previously the most familiar with. For most of my life, I felt like an outsider. Even in spaces that were supposed to feel unifying to me, I always felt out-of-place. However, I'll never forget running home to the Kappa Delta sisters where, despite all of the confusing butterflies in my tummy, I suddenly felt the pressure to be someone else evaporate. I knew immediately in our chapter that I could not only be who I was safely, but be everything I wanted to grow into with the certainty that my (then soon-to-be) sisters would do everything they could to help me grow into that person. 

Kappa Delta Eta Iota Chapter 2018

I'll never forget the way it was so easy to trust this group of women who I hardly knew. When we were filed on to a bus and told "we're going to Jersey now to rollerskate for Bid Day", I didn't feel overwhelmed with anxiety but reassured that they knew what they were doing and confident in knowing I would have one of the best nights of my life. I now know just how deeply personal Bid Day is for every new member and how that night sets the tone for everything you will accomplish in your sisterhood. Mingling with my pledge class (Upsilons!!) came eerily easily.

In fact, it was one day in our school cafeteria that I met up with a fellow New Member that I quite literally did not know at all. Immediately she said, "It feels so easy to talk to you. I know in our hearts that we have the same values, so I'm not afraid". I knew I felt the same way, too.

Kacey and I pre-big/little event 2018

I met my wonderful big not long after and fell instantly in love with a little family. I was never this stereotypical sorority girl and as I looked around at my family and chapter I began to understand not just why that stereotype was problematic, but just how much it did not apply. Instead of leaning away from the demonized sorority girl trope, I began to pick up some of the better tendencies of the stereotype, now understanding that it was created to tear down women who embraced their own confidence.

Our standards for social media (which the Internet likes to drag), actually became something I was grateful for. At first, it felting trivializing to delete my Finsta, but as time went on I realized just how liberating it was. I also learned that these standards helped shape me to be more confident. We had seminars on how to put your best foot forward where I learned things that completely shaped my future from job interviews to networking events. 

Big/Little Reveal 2018

As I already said, there were also moments of doubt for me. This sisterhood never promised that it would come easily and they never promised it wouldn't be emotionally challenging. However, they did promise to give unconditional love and support. My chapter listened when I spoke, even if it was an opinion that challenged the status quo. While it was frustrating to confront things head-on, it was empowering to be given the space and platform to work toward resolutions. And at the end of the day, I knew that through any strife or turmoil any one of my sisters would pick up my phone when I called.

Brooke's Birthday Celebration 2018

Kacey and I at KD formal 2018

And they did. Through my lowest of lows, my sisters were there for me. Whether it was finding out my mom had been diagnosed with cancer or being too depressed to leave my bed, there was always a Kappa Delta sister who was ready and willing to bring me ice cream and just sit with me. Because of this, they also got to be there for my highest of highs.

I'll never forget meeting Shawn Mendes with one of my sisters or winning tickets to Jingle Ball. I can't forget the shout outs at chapter meetings when I nailed an internship that I had gone through countless interviews for or the way my sisters made sure that my birthdays were special. 

And all of that does not stop at the chapter level. My national sisterhood has always had my back. From the sisters that I have met in the most unusual of ways to the scholarship I was awarded when I found myself struggling to make ends meet as a result of the pandemic, I can't thank this organization enough for the global safety net that is provided for me. 

Kappa Delta has taught me so many lessons: from civility to humility to empowerment to management. Despite what people from my hometown believe, this sisterhood has not changed me, it has helped me uncover who I am truly underneath and embrace it fully.

Brunch Date!
Big/Little Reveal 2019

As my time in this chapter comes to an end, I know that this doesn't have to be the end of my community. Our sisterhood goes beyond these collegiate years and has become something ingrained in all of us. Any time I see a white rose or a nautilus shell, I know that I'll think of sisters and think of both the comfort and joy that they have shared with me. 

You all have changed my life and I only hope I can be there to do the same for you.

In love and AOT,

Alex West