Recently, I had a boy tell me he wouldn’t date me because I was a sorority girl and we had a “reputation” (I know, crazy, right?). This infuriated me, because being in a sorority, I know how absolutely wrong this assumption -- this “reputation” is. Actually, being in a sorority has made me a stronger woman than I was before. The women in my sorority keep me humble, they push me to work harder, and to be a better individual. They call me out when I’m not being my best self, and encourage me to live life in service of others.
So in case you forgot just who sorority women are, here are a few women you might not have known were in sororities, and how they have changed the world.
Meghan Markle, Kappa Kappa Gamma
Meghan Markle is, obviously, now known as the Duchess of Sussex. What most people don’t know, though, is that in her college days at Northwestern, she was a sorority woman as part of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Long before becoming a Royal, Meghan Markle was at the head of many humanitarian and charity causes. When she was only 11, she saw a sexist commercial, wrote to Hillary Clinton and the head of the company, and had the wording in the commercial changed -- talk about a strong woman.
She is an ambassador for World Vision, a counselor for One Young World, and an advocate for the United Nations. Markle has collaborated with World Vision to bring awareness to the effects of clean water in Rwanda. Markle is a strong advocate for gender equality and has also collaborated with World Vision in India to advocate for women’s rights in the region, highlighting higher education for girls and women. Markle continues to use her royal status to bring awareness to these causes. KKG’s tagline is “aspire to be,” and with that, it’s no surprise this was Markle’s chosen sorority.
Judith Resnik, Alpha Epsilon Phi
Judith Resnik, a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi at Carnegie Mellon, was an engineer, NASA Astronaut, and America’s second female astronaut. Graduating with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, Resnik worked at Xerox, became affiliated with the National Institute of Health as a biomedical engineer, and in 1978 was recruited to be an astronaut. She was also the first American Jewish astronaut in space and the first Jewish woman in the world in space. Having a dorm and engineering lecture hall named after her at both Carnegie Mellon and the University of Maryland, as well as a Judith Resnik Award presented every year by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Resnik continues to inspire many women in the STEM field to strive for success and (quite literally) reach for the stars.
Lucy Liu, Chi Omega
You probably know Lucy Liu from her work in Charlie’s Angels, Set It Up, Tinker Bell, and many of her other acting roles. During her time at the University of Michigan, Liu was a member of Chi Omega. While she is an award-winning actress, producer, and director, she has also used her platform for humanitarian aid. Since 2004, Liu has been a UNICEF Ambassador, involving herself in UNICEF’s campaigns aimed to save and improve the lives of children all over the world. In 2008, Liu was given the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award at the UNICEF Snowflake Ball in recognition of her dedication and efforts to serve children in need all over the world. Liu continually devotes her time to traveling around the world, witnessing what goes on and helping out first hand in these countries. “I truly believe there is hope; I believe this because of devoted workers and individuals around the world in organizations like UNICEF and USAID.,” said Liu.
Harper Lee, Chi Omega
Harper Lee, Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom award winner, was another proud Chi Omega Alumna. She single-handedly rocked the world even though she published only two books, The scenery depicted in To Kill a Mockingbird was heavily inspired by Lee’s childhood, and the message conveyed by the book was her sole purpose for writing it -- not the money or the fame that subsequently came with it. After the book catapulted her to fame, she turned down interviews and appearances, maintaintaining a humble and low-profile lifestyle. Lee, to this day, has influenced generations, by telling the story of racism and injustice in a small southern town.
The list of notable sorority women goes on and on and spans hundreds of years. Empowered women empower women, and if there is one commonality that sorority women share is that they empower one another -- no matter the sorority, no matter the chapter, no matter the university. Sorority women have been making a name for themselves for generations, and that is not gonna go away any time soon.
So yeah, I’d say sorority women have a reputation -- a reputation for being really strong women. For being women who have changed and continue to change the world. For being women who stick up for injustices and give a voice for those who don’t have it. So next time someone condescendingly asks if I’m in a sorority, I will look them in the eye and say “Yeah I am, and proud of it!”
Xx, Valeria Bermudez
Loyola University, New Orleans, Alpha Chi Omega