Joining a sorority as a minority
Being a member of a sorority and a BIPOC
“Coming to UF has been a truly transformative time and has led me to have to confront
mental health issues that I never had previously. It seems scary, but I’ve gotten myself to not
think of it as that. I find myself approaching my anxiety in a collaborative way now, because I’ve
realized that it’s because I truly care about what I’m doing here. I strive every day to be the best
in my major and that has led me to deal with increased anxiety. Thankfully, there are resources
that I can use around me to ease my stresses and find moments of stillness throughout my day.
I’ve learned so much about myself and my passions through the past couple of years here at UF,
and throughout that time, the girls in Kappa Delta have always been so quick to relate to me
and provide their comfort. It’s easy to get wound up in your own self when dealing with mental
health issues, but these girls never let me drift too far before checking on me and pulling me
back to where I need to be.”
- Ariana Suryo MC '21
“When I first decided to join a sorority, I was nervous about how I would fit in as a minority.
However, from the moment I attended my first recruitment event at KD, I felt welcomed and
accepted by everyone. They were genuinely interested in getting to know me and my
background. As I went through the recruitment process and eventually became a member, I
found that being part of a Kappa Delta was an incredibly positive experience. I had the
opportunity to get involved in philanthropy events that supported causes I cared about, and I
was able to develop my leadership skills through various roles within the sorority. I also had a
built-in support system of sisters who were always there for me when I needed it. One thing
that stood out to me was how diverse Kappa Delta was. There were members from different
ethnic and racial backgrounds, as well as members with different interests and personalities. It
was refreshing to be part of a group that embraced diversity and didn't try to fit everyone into a
- Kaylynn Nguyen MC '21
“Prior to being a member of the Panhellenic community, my knowledge regarding Greek life was
almost nonexistent and only made up of stereotypes created through the media. I was
extremely apprehensive about going through the recruitment process since I had no prior
knowledge about it. Because I am originally from Brazil, it was difficult for me to blend in with
the majority of other women rushing. This caused me a lot of anxious thoughts during the
recruitment process. Still, once I started having conversations inside Kappa Delta, I found
myself forgetting about my concerns and wanting to continue this process instead. KD truly
made me feel welcomed and showed me unconditional love, through amazing people who
constantly supported me since the first day I walked in. Due to my background and cultural
experiences being different from most girls, I knew it was essential to find a home that
welcomed my differences and celebrated my unique background. Watching the efforts of KD
working on becoming a more inclusive and welcoming environment through their DEI team
made me feel genuinely seen and even led to me joining the DEI team the following year. Since
the day I had my first conversation at kappa delta, I knew I had found a home at UF that would
forever support me through all my hardships and achievements.”
- Maria Leitao MC '21
A message from one of our members who is a part of the Jewish community
“I think there are a lot of preconceived notions of religion’s role in a sorority. Going into recruitment, I had heard murmurs about “this sorority is really Christian” and “this sorority is mostly Jewish.” I think it is really important to first address that there is a historical aspect to these statements.
As a reflection of the times, for a lot of the 20th century, many sorority members consisted of, and were quite frankly limited to, white and Christian women. I grew up listening to stories from my Bubbie (my Jewish grandmother) about going through sorority recruitment. When she went through recruitment in the 60s at The Ohio State University, she was released from every chapter that didn’t identify as ‘a Jewish sorority’ before Party 1. And in that time period, that was okay.
Thankfully, the Panhellenic community as a whole is striving to become more inclusive towards all women. I mean come on, this is 2022… I knew I wouldn’t be released after Party 1 just because I was Jewish… But honestly… Did I?
I had my doubts. I have faced anti-semitism on many accounts, but here I was seeking membership to a sorority and I wanted them to want me. But I wanted them to want the real me, not any façade that I could’ve put up for 20 minutes. So during every party in the first round, I found a way to slip into the conversation that I am a proud Jewish woman. That was my way of standing my ground.
In my conversation at Kappa Delta, the wonderful Emmy Iannone, the 2020-2021 Kappa Delta President, said something along the lines of: she hadn’t met many Jewish folks in her life, but that her freshman year roommate, Julia Levvy, the 2020-2021 Zeta Tau Alpha President, was Jewish and they became best friends. Julia taught Emmy how to make Challah and celebrate Shabbat!
Sure, a sweet and short exchange isn’t much. But it was a lot to me. I would be welcomed in Kappa Delta as a proud Jewish woman. Which was such a relief because after meeting Emmy in those first 5 minutes I knew she was supposed to be in my life. Fast forward 3 years and she is my big sister and one of my very best friends.
As for the Jewish community I have made here, honestly, there aren’t many of us, but I always have sisters to go to Yom Kippur service with. Eight of us this past May went to Israel together on birthright through UF Hillel. We were luckily joined by other wonderful and proud Jewish women who are members of other UF Panhellenic chapters.
So in short, if you want my advice: go to the chapter that feels like home. Tell them you’re Jewish or don’t! If it’s important to you, amazing! If it isn’t, that’s okay too! The Panhellenic community is about sisterhood and friendship! If you are looking for your Jewish community, you’ll find them within your chapter or if there isn’t one, there are other Panhellenic women at this university that will gladly celebrate Shabbat with you! Do what you feel is right!
All my love,
Bailey Inglis MC '19
Kappa Delta's 2021 DEI Director
Being a member of a sorority and the LGBTQIA+ community
“I came into recruitment hearing a lot about Greek life from my mom and family members. I had seen all the movies and shows and thought I had an idea of what it would be like. In high school I was a part of a wonderful community in my theater program and so they were very accepting when I came out. It did not come without hardships of course, and I ended up losing several friends as well as support from my church. I had come to terms with everything and was very proud of who I was. During recruitment my freshman year, I was hit with the realization that I would have to re-come out to an entirely new group of people. This terrified me. In every round I would convince myself that I would bring it up casually but never ended up doing it. I was worried that an organization of women would not be comfortable with a queer person. I actually didn’t come out to a single person until February of my freshman year. Although my concerns were very valid, I was met with nothing but support and love. I cannot believe it took me so long to be my true self because all along I was in the best place for me. The people in Kappa Delta have pushed me to be the best version of myself and I could not be more grateful.
I let my past experiences affect me during recruitment and for almost a whole year. I wish I could’ve told myself that it is okay and that you will find your people. I hope that people going through recruitment and anyone struggling with identity know how loved they are and to be your most honest self. I promise you will find the place for you and should not settle for people who do not enthusiastically support all parts of you. For me, Kappa Delta has been a safe haven as I cannot be fully true to myself when I go home or am around family. I know that college can be a chosen family for many people in the LGBTQ+ community. I hope and know that this will happen for all of you too.”
- Merrill Garlington MC '20