How a Women’s Organization Readied Me for a “Man’s World”
As a woman studying political science, I recently chose to write a research paper on how women can advance in politics. I scoured countless academic articles, news sources and data. My findings proved that women succeed when empowered women empower other women to run for political office. My personal experience further supports those findings.
My desire for a career in progressive political communications has been influenced by the women around me, my Kappa Delta sisters, who have built my confidence and empowered me to pursue my dreams. Ironically, sorority life is considered by some to be antithetical to the political world; however, I would not be prepared for this field without Kappa Delta.
Five years ago, I began Rhodes College reeling from the impact of trauma I could not yet process. My depression and anxiety felt insurmountable, yet I was excited to form lasting relationships as a new member of Kappa Delta. Just a few hours before big/little reveal, my soon-to-be grand-big, Currie, slipped a letter under my door. She wrote: “It is this inner beauty of yours, your self-assuredness, your selflessness, your passion, your drive and your bravery that truly captivate me. It is women like you who make this sorority what it is — an amazing place for women to learn about themselves and grow.”
In the years since, I have hung Currie’s words on the walls of dorms, houses and apartments. Her words follow me wherever I go and have become the foundation of my investment in sorority life, that my personal empowerment should always serve to empower others.
As my time in Kappa Delta continued, I quickly became engaged in committee work and appointed officer positions, even running for vice president-public relations. When I didn’t get the position, I figured that was the end of my time in chapter leadership. I should have known better! My Kappa Delta sisters refused to allow me to give up on myself. Two beloved sisters who had been serving on council urged me to run for vice president of programming on the Panhellenic Council. It is because of Victoria and Meredith and their compassion and sisterhood that I seized this opportunity.
When I began serving my campus Panhellenic, the council’s work consisted of booking a couple of speakers per year, coordinating study breaks during final exams and organizing formal recruitment. While these tasks were impactful and worthwhile, I knew we could be doing so much more. Remembering the note from my grand-big, I knew that my feelings of empowerment came from others who empowered me and, therefore, Panhellenic should always serve to empower our students.
My exec team and I began our term with this goal in mind. Our year included more speakers, recruitment introduction events and Panhellenic sisterhood events. We used social media to profile the work of our chapters and the individual achievements of our members. We developed stronger relationships with the administration, NPHC and campus organizations, culminating in a Women’s Leadership Forum. Most importantly, we centered ourselves and our work in our respective and collective values, better uplifting one another in the process.
Through the most tumultuous years of my life, Kappa Delta supported me, challenged me and kept me striving for more. The sorority experience persists because of our capacity to adapt year after year into organizations more diverse, inclusive and centered in our values. We have done so much, and we can do so much more.
Because of every Currie, Victoria, Meredith and Panhellenic sister, we will.
Hannah Rose Adams
To learn more about Kappa Delta’s confidence platform, click here.