A new Belmont chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority could be “very close to becoming a reality,” said Vice President and Chief of Staff Dr. Susan West.
If the AKA chapter is created at Belmont, it will join Delta Sigma Theta as the second predominantly African-American sorority on campus, and the sixth overall.
Founded in 1908 at the historically black Howard University, AKA was the first Greek-lettered organization founded by African-American women.
The conversation to bring AKA to Belmont started at least six years ago, when a Belmont student expressed interest in giving minority students more options for Greek life, said West.
But the time wasn’t right.
“Our initiatives as it pertained to students of color weren’t as strong as they are right now,” West said. “As we began to attract more minority students, the request and the demand became greater to offer more choice for African-American sororities that we have in National Pan-Hellenic Council.”
“Alpha Kappa Alpha made the strongest case for doing so.”
Over the last six years, the conversation to bring AKA was carried forward by several interested Belmont students.
It wasn’t until 2017 when the conversation turned into a petition, which turned into a plan, said Provost Dr. Thomas Burns.
“There were about 20 women who signed a petition to bring the sorority to campus, so we discussed it with senior leadership and allowed them to move forward with the process of interest-gathering,” Burns said. “The first time students approached us about it, there were only eight or 10 and we didn’t think that was sufficient interest to create a sustainable organization.”
“But with 20 women, we thought, ‘OK, we’ll see where it goes.’”
Twenty students also registered for an interest-gathering session held by AKA on campus last week — one of the final steps toward making the Belmont chapter a reality.
The next step, Burns said, will be recruitment, then initiation.
“If they make it through that with a sufficient number of women, then we would create a chapter here,” Burns said.