The Tau Kappa chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated welcomed eight new members in an initiation ceremony hosted on Wednesday, Nov. 20 The event took place in Sunken Garden as friends, family, supporters and greek members of local fraternities and sororities stood by to watch.
The AKAs were founded in 1908 on Howard University’s campus as the first African American female sorority, according to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Chartered on LMU’s campus in November of 2011, Tau Kappa, a growing and prideful chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), hosted a beautiful ceremony that was intended for their newest members to proclaim and reveal their position as an AKA to the world.
This organization helped pave the way for the emergence of many more African American female sororities to follow. Some of which are chartered on our campus as well, such as Delta Sigma Theta and Sigma Gamma Rho, according to LMU's Student Affairs.
The event began with Tau Kappa members as well as LMU alumnae, walking down a brightly lit walkway in Sunken Garden. Following them was the current AKA chapter composed of three returning members and eight new members. The three returning members wore white dresses and were decorated with green and pink accessories, the colors of the sorority. The eight new members wore pink dresses, white heels, green head wraps and sunglasses to disguise themselves.
Tau Kappa President Kenzie Hunt, a senior entrepreneur major, explained what being an AKA means to her. “An Alpha Kappa Alpha woman is holistic in her experiences, whether it’s professional experience, academic experience or social experience,” said Hunt.
Hunt explained why she wanted to become an AKA. “I had an aunt who was an AKA, and a lot of my mom’s friends are AKAs so just being surrounded by the strength and the courage of these women was heavy on my decision to become an Alpha Kappa Alpha woman. I’m also an only child, so to have sisters is something I’ve always yearned to have,” said Hunt.
Alexa Walls, a sophomore dance major and public relations minor, crossed into the organization on Wednesday. Walls explained the process of preparing for the ceremony: “I invited a lot of people, my family lives in Atlanta so my dad and my mom flew out. My sister lives in LA so she came out from the valley and I had friends come out from USC as well,” said Walls.
Walls described the feelings she felt in her initiation. “I wasn’t nervous, but it was something I was waiting for for a long time and I think it is a very personal journey," said Walls. The opportunity to express their "love", "knowledge", and "passion" is what Walls' believes is the "true meaning for the new membership presentation."
Each new member reintroduced themselves to the world one-by-one as a new representative of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. They each announced their excitement and honor to pledge a part of a historical organization. LMU alumna, Megan Castillo of the class of 2019 explained why she opted to join the organization. “AKAs have been such a beacon for the black community and a safe place for black women, it was just a unique way for me to be involved and have a support system moving forward,” said Castillo.
Castillo described the changes Tau Kappa underwent while she was a member. “When I crossed there were only five of us, and then two of us graduated and then there were three. So I’m excited to see the legacy that will continue and all of the new things that they do given that they are newly initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated,” said Castillo.
Examples of service projects that Tau Kappa has organized and been involved in include the breast cancer walk and their pillowcase project, where they collect pillowcases and sew them into dresses which are then shipped to Haiti for young women to wear. Every semester they host their “Skee-Week,” a week filled with programming and service.
Their fall semester’s Skee-Week included a panel of black female entrepreneurs, exposure to black art through painting sessions and a focus on women’s health and wellness through nutrition classes. Additionally, they have monthly impact days which are days sorority members dedicate to service and giving back to their community.
Castillo said, “It’s not easy to be an AKA and a dedicated AKA at that. It does take work. You do have to do the work of the chapter and you do have to do the work of the organization,” said Castillo, “I hope to see it continue to grow and continue to introduce more black women to the organization and that they continue to thrive on the campus.”