I am but one of the many “Brothers 4 Sisters” that support the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation. I first heard of the Foundation when a colleague told me of conversations she had been having with the organization’s founder, Ginny Carroll, and others in regards to addressing issues of limited access to education for women around the world. I thought to myself, “Well, good for them” and went on about my day. Soon after that I began hearing the low rumble of this movement beginning to grow. It wasn’t until a friend passed along a copy of Half the Sky by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas D. Kristof, and me reading it, did I truly understand the “whys” of the greater need for our commitment.
There are millions of affiliated sorority women in the United States and abroad. Historically, their efforts have been very altruistic. But for me, the Circle of Sisterhood gives fraternity and sorority communities a way to unite for a common cause and do so on a very large scale not only locally, but globally as well. Through my experiences as the Assistant Dean of Students at Purdue University, I witnessed first-hand the collective power of a Panhellenic community, uniting the IFC, NPHC, and MGC groups on campus, to support one common mission:
To leverage the collective wisdom and influence of sorority women to support entities around the world that remove educational barriers for girls and women, uplifting them from poverty and oppression.
Now that I am working for an Inter/National organization, I have begun to see how similar to a college campus our Headquarters. community can be. The alphabet soup of umbrella organizations have well over 100 organizations, each with its own charity or philanthropic initiative it supports. When Purdue’s community officially adopted the Circle of Sisterhood as its “community philanthropy,” groups did not stop supporting their organization’s philanthropy. Rather they harnessed a communal mentality and spirit into smaller, yet still important, fundraising and awareness creating initiatives. The same can be done with the greater interfraternal community.
If you have not done so, please take time to read the book and understand how your involvement can be significant. If you already have a copy or have read it, give the book to someone you know to continue the conversations while thinking about the following:
- What can your organization, its undergraduates and alumni do to role-model service to others and awareness-raising around the global issues of girls and women?
- What are your alumni chapters or alumna Panhellenics doing to serve the global community?
- How could a connection to the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation be a compliment to your organization’s existing activities?
“One person can make a small difference. But as a fraternity and sorority community of millions, our collective efforts will be transforming for generations to come.”
This post was written by Kyle Pendleton, the Director of Harm Reduction and Education for Zeta Tau Alpha. Pendleton previously served as President of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors. Among other things, he is passionate about fraternal organizations, philanthropy and football! Thanks for your service Kyle!