Alpha Gam is all about sisterhood, and this means that we hold our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion dearly. Since we have so much to say and so little time during recruitment, we would like to take this opportunity to make our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion clear and accessible.
So, what do those values of diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to us?
Diversity calls upon us to be open to vulnerability. Understanding our history and how Alpha Gam and Panhellenic Organizations have contributed to racist events that have transpired throughout time, helps us to better lead our chapter and foster a culture that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diversity calls upon us to be open and willing to have those hard conversations with fellow members, friends, and family. With that vulnerability, understanding and the power of change can be possible. We understand and love that we have sisters far and wide who share different backgrounds, races, and ethnicities. Women who have grown up in different cities, states, and socioeconomic backgrounds and bring valuable experiences and voices to Alpha Gam. With our diversity, inclusion follows, and we are constantly striving to promote a culture of inclusivity in Alpha Gam.
Internal inclusivity is at the heart of Alpha Gam. Every member deserves to feel loved and encouraged every time they walk through our front doors from bid day to graduation to alumni events. Equity is the fairness created in the open environment made by diversity and inclusion, and members deserve the chance to be their best and true selves. This calls for equitable opportunities for all members to excel and grow on campus and in our house, and we foster these values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, in several ways.
In Alpha Gamma Delta, we value everyone for who they are and what they stand for. Over the years, we have made several efforts to enhance our membership experience, and DEI has been at the forefront of those initiatives. From becoming DEI Certified by the Student Government Association to having our own DEI Committee, Alpha Gam has and continues to strive for excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As we were honored with the award for Outstanding Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by the Order of Omega in Spring 2020, Alpha Gam has been recognized for our leadership on campus and in the Tuscaloosa community.
Starting at the beginning of the fall semester, we created a “book club” that will provide members a free and facilitated space to discuss and have hard conversations about the various issues concerning DEI today. To kick start the event, Alpha Gam is buying a copy of White Fragility for every participant in the chapter, including our new members! We are constantly working with our members, community, and campus to find ways to grow, educate, and actively make a difference. In addition to this book club, several membership programmings focused on DEI are scheduled for Fall 2020, and we have information regarding our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion presented at our weekly chapter meetings by our DEI Chair and Committee.
To promote internal inclusivity, Alpha Gam’s Care for the Flock pairs a group of five new members with members from different states, backgrounds, and pledge classes. Care for the Flock, not only provides girls with the opportunity to meet new members in their own pledge class but members of different pledge classes. This helps build relationships throughout the classes and helps our members get to know other members from over twenty states and various backgrounds and interests.
Our philanthropy, the Alpha Gam Foundation, works with cities all over the country to provide meals and food for those in need. Since those experiencing hunger and food insecurity are typically experiencing the effects of systemic poverty, AGD’s philanthropy enables us to promote equity every day. Our very own Fifth Quarter, aids in feeding thousands of meals to Tuscaloosa families and our fellow students every year, in addition to several other events we do to help fight hunger that you heard about during Philanthropy round! Furthermore, Alpha Gam encourages philanthropic values in the personal lives of our members as well, and several members have taken the initiative to start drives funding initiatives that fight racial injustice, human trafficking, ableism, and so much more. As a chapter this summer, Alpha Gam Psi also made a significant financial contribution to Reading Allies, a program that several of our members are involved in that serves primarily racial and ethnic minority children throughout the state of Alabama, and coaches reading to hundreds of children experiencing the impacts of systemic poverty.
Furthermore, Alpha Gam constantly challenges our members to strive for academic excellence. Members are encouraged to take classes of all kinds and attend academic speakers presented by the University. The SGA Cabinet of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) presents many valuable events that our members are encouraged to attend, and many of those events are led by our own members! Alpha Gam currently has four members serving on SGA’s DEI cabinet along with several other members holding executive positions in organizations that promote DEI. Katherine Beasley, a current Alpha Gam senior, started Miss Unique UA last year, an annual event that highlights and empowers members of UA Crossing Points Program, a UA program for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Furthermore, several members of Alpha Gam have been involved in organizations such as the Blackburn Institute and the University Fellows Experience that seek to uphold and promote our shared values of DEI.
To better understand our cause for change, it is important to understand our history and commitment to changing our futures for the better. Alpha Gamma Delta International Headquarters has provided a wonderful call to action outlining our commitment to our members and community. To read more, please follow the link here: https://alphagammadelta.org/our-commitment/
As always, there is room to improve and be better than we were yesterday. Each day we, the DEI Committee members, are working to grow, educate, and empower our members to be the change we wish to see. By no means are we done with diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives--we are just getting started-- and we look forward to seeing the amazing contributions Alpha Gamma Delta Psi Chapter members will make in the years to come.
With sisterhood and empowerment,
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of Alpha Gam