By Evana Brenelus
Before attending The University of Tampa, I always told myself I would never pay for a fake sisterhood. Years later, here I am in a sisterhood, but it certainly is not fake.
I am the current vice-president of the Oh-So-Sweet organization of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated- UT’s very own Illustrious Kappa Lambda Chapter. My organization is a part of the National Panhellenic Council (NPHC) also known as the Divine Nine (D9).
D9 includes nine fraternities and sororities which were created for African Americans/Black people during a time when discrimination ran rampant and people of this community were not accepted in white spaces.
If I am being honest, I knew nothing about D9 before getting to UT’s campus. It all started when I went to an involvement fair tabling event last year and came across (the now past) members of Kappa Lambda. Instantly, I felt welcomed and seen for the first time on campus.
They were so kind and in my brief interaction with them, they reflected some of the organization’s principles, particularly sisterhood and finer womanhood. The more I interacted with them, the more I saw how their actions matched their words. Those are the type of people I like to surround myself with.
I am a very strong-minded and opinionated individual which can be too much for people, so I always feel as if I will not be accepted or liked most of the time. Despite my activist personality, I meshed quickly with my sisters, new and old. We love having different conversations, even the tough ones because everything is a teaching moment.
After learning more about the sorority’s history, principles, and national programs, I felt like I found an environment that would push me to be the best version of myself. The other principles of scholarship and service are aspects that have always been important in my life which this organization has embraced for the past 102 years.
One of my favorite national programs is Adopt-A-School which is aimed at creating more positive environments for students of color who usually attend low-funded schools. I believe everyone, especially children, deserves a good education no matter their race, location, gender, or economic status.
Even though I have only been a Zeta for a short amount of time, I have done a lot of community service like donating school supplies for students in Jamaica while upholding the importance of scholarship. I have experienced the sisterhood I always dreamed of as the only girl out of two children. Most importantly, every day, I am pushed to be a finer woman.
Apart from service activities, we have painting events, game nights, fundraisers, talks with faculty, and other social events to bring people together on campus. There are many other events coming up this semester that will be open to the whole UT community.
This sisterhood has been one of the highlights of my life and I am looking forward to seeing where this journey takes me. Once a Zeta, always a Zeta.