AKA sorority chapter celebrates 20 years at DePauw

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This week, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a number of events, including a creating a walk-through mini museum celebrating the sorority's history on DePauw's campus. 

  President Kareen Dillon, a junior, said the museum will feature the accomplishments of the sorority's alumnae through photos and articles. The museum will be open Saturday from 2:30 - 4 p.m. at the Peeler Art Center. 

Dillon said the museum will give a chance for former members to come back and relive happy memories and allow DePauw students to see the contributions that AKA has made to the campus. 

All of the Alpha Kappa Alpha alumnae who graduated from DePauw have been invited back to campus for the Pink Tea Rose Ball, an event celebrating the scholarship of the women in the sorority. Dillon said that they expect at least 30 alumnae to come to the event. 

"Because it is our 20th anniversary, it's really big," said Melody Buckley, a senior. She said it is impressive and exciting that the organization has been able to sustain itself for so long on campus. 

Alpha Kappa Alpha was chartered on DePauw's campus on March 23, 1991.  It was the first greek-letter organization for African American women on campus at the time.  Since its chartering, AKA has had more than 100 DePauw women join the organization, Dillon said. 

The celebration aligns with a week of events hosted by AKA focusing on the organization's initiative, "Global Leadership through Timeless Service."  The events cover a broad range of topics, including child abuse, disabilities and African history. 

"We want students to come out and learn at our events, but also have fun," Dillon said. "You don't want it to be class all over again." 

The events kicked off Sunday night with "Sustain a Natural You", a discussion about making healthy and environmentally friendly choices.  Attendees were asked to go through a box full of hair care products and ask which one they thought was the healthiest and most natural choice.  Those attending the event left with a gift bag with a natural, homemade all-purpose cleaner, essential oils and recipe cards for meatless dishes. 

Buckley said she thinks it is important for the group to discuss natural hair care because there are so many hair care businesses owned by black women. 

Marlene Linen, a senior, said she learned a lot about maintaining natural hair and added that she liked finding a natural alternative to using bleach while cleaning. 

Dillon said that the events aim to help create well-rounded people, a goal of AKA since it was founded in 1908 on Howard University's campus.   

Dillon said the organization, which was the first greek-letter organization for African-American college women nationwide, was created in order to promote scholarship, unity and friendship during a time of segregation. 

"Although it was created in 1908, the whole idea of making sure that women have something to do, making sure that women have a place to go to in order to feel appreciated, feel welcomed, to build a sisterhood — that's what the organization continues to do," she said.