Two Mills women have joined a sorority despite the mild campus debate four visiting historical black sororities sparked.
One year after the debate, juniors Lucinda Woodson and Shamekka Kuykendall stand behind their decision to pledge and join the Berkeley chapter of Zeta Phi Beta seven months ago.
“I have resources, people I’ve met through Zeta, that wouldn’t be available to me at Mills,” said Woodson.
“I’ve become more organized, more professional,” said Kuyendall.
Last fall the The Black Women’s Collective, in considering ways to increase recruitment and retention of black students invited the four sororities to exchange information with black women on campus.
Despite what many thought to be an attempt to start a sorority on campus, according to Woodson and Kuykendall, there was never an intention to start a a chapter on campus.
“We weren’t talking about starting a Mills Chapter last semester,” said Kuyendall.
However, the informal debate weaved its way into casual conversation throughout campus leaving many unclear about the purpose of the visit.
For some members of the BWC, sorority involvement
see Sorority, page 4
way to solve black students’ feelings of exclusion and isolation on campus.
Meanwhile,some members of the Mills community were concerned about sorority’s selective,and exclusive nature, violating college policy.
While Dean of Students Myrt Whitcomb said last fall that students wanting to connect with their communities were free to join groups off campus, some students felt that campus resources and opportunities, which brought students to Mills, should be explored first.
“It turned into a debate over whether sororities were good or bad,” said Woodson.
While not dismissing the possibility of starting one in the future,Kuyendall said they want to get the Berkeley chapter running strong and said they promote Zeta events, which are community service oriented, to the Mills community.
Despite an expectation that they feel alienated from Mills, both Woodson and Kuykendall say they feel as though they belong to both campuses. Kuykendall admits that she now does the same things at Mills that she did before joining the sorority.
Woodson says her social life, which is spent in Berkeley, consists of planning and implementing community service events.
“I waste less time now,” she said
Kuykendall expects the business aspects of the sorority to be a plus for her when she applies for the Mills MBA program.
Woodson emphasizes the importance of the work accomplished by a sorority. “The organization itself is just a name,” she said, “It’s the individual involvement that makes it great.”
The Berkeley chapter of Zeta Phi Beta consists of seven individuals, four Berkeley students and three Mills women.