Sunday, July 20
Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha at GW helped their sorority kick off its centennial celebration at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. last Monday.
The GW chapter of the nation’s first black sorority, recognized this spring as the undergraduate chapter of the year for the second straight year, presented various songs, dances and skits at the weeklong “Boule” conference.
“The ‘Boule’ is a huge conference where everyone comes together from every region and discusses everything we need to do for the sorority,” said junior Janelle Dixon, president of the GW Alpha Kappa Alpha chapter, noting that members of the sorority were invited to tour the White House and attend a Patti LaBelle concert. “It’s been an exciting week.”
The convention brought nearly 25,000 sorority members together from 975 chapters around the world. The sorority boasts over 200,000 members nationally, including 11 students from GW.
Since it’s chartering on GW’s campus in 1978, the Mu Delta chapter has engaged in many service programs at GW and across D.C., including walks for AIDS, diabetes and the homeless.
“The purpose of Alpha Kappa Alpha is to set high moral and ethical standards for young women and children and to we want to encourage people to better themselves,” said former chapter president Heather Coote, who graduated last year.
Dixon described the sorority as “a service organization with your sisters.”
“We are a highly, highly, highly active chapter,” she said. “This past year we donated computers to Miriam’s Kitchen, the homeless shelter in D.C., so that homeless people can gain Internet access with the outside world.”
The sorority was founded as a social and service organization by undergraduate Ethel Hedgeman Lyle on the campus of Howard University in 1908, according to The Washington Post. Some of the sorority’s most famous members include Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Phylicia Rashad, Jada Pinkett and Alicia Keys, The Post said.
“At that point, (AKA) was helping African Americans and others in very small ways,” Coote said. “Service projects have since grown immensely. We focus on the problems that are affecting our community today through our main focus on economics, sisterhood and partnership.”
The original version of this article incorrectly referenced GW’s Mu Delta chapter as the “delta” chapter. It also incorrectly stated that the “delta” chapter has 200,000 members, which is the number of members in the entire sorority.