• Anna Heidel

International Women’s Day: Panhellenic POV

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8. The idea came from Clara Zetkin, who was the Leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany. Women’s oppression and inequality was a subject of debate in the early 1900s, as they could not vote and worked long hours with poor pay. At the International Conference of Working Women, Zetkin proposed a worldwide women’s day. On this day, women would speak up and support one another with their concerns. Her proposal passed unanimously, and International Women’s Day was honored for the first time in 1911.

Source: Wikimedia Commons


Since then, IWD has transformed into honoring the achievements of women while also advocating for gender parity. In 2001, the internationalwomensday.com platform launched. The website offers an abundance of resources and adopts a new campaign theme annually. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge, which challenges individuals to seek and celebrate women’s achievements to create an inclusive world. So, we challenged executive members of sororities here on campus to answer questions about sisterhood, women empowerment, and chapter accomplishments.


WHAT DOES SISTERHOOD MEAN TO YOU?


Addi Cottone, Alpha Delta Pi President: “In the past, sisterhood meant quality time with your sisters. However, in the past year, this has changed for me because I have not been able to have that same quality time that I used to pre-COVID. Sisterhood now has a much more complex meaning, which is loving and accepting someone for who they are, but constantly inspiring one another to be the best possible version of themselves.”



Haley Zimits, Kappa Kappa Gamma President: “Sisterhood means having people in my life that understand and support me.”

Perry Harrington, Pi Beta Phi Vice President of Community Relations: “Sisterhood to us means the sincerest of friendships, a bond that is set apart from all others. It means something a little different to each of us, but always rooted in friendship. For me it means walking into 526 Gadsden being unapologetically myself and feeling confident because my sisters are there to constantly uplift and encourage me along the way.”


Elizabeth Gregg, Zeta Tau Alpha President: “Sisterhood means having a bond with the women of our chapter that will not last only four years, but a lifetime. The women of Zeta Tau Alpha are constantly surrounding each other with unconditional love, support, and kindness which has been even more prevalent in these unprecedented times. Members never feel alone in the chapter, there is a place for everyone!”


HOW HAVE THE WOMEN IN YOUR CHAPTER EMPOWERED AND SUPPORTED BOTH YOU AND EACH OTHER?


Addi Cottone, Alpha Delta Pi President: “Each woman in Alpha Delta Pi is strong, independent, and intelligent in their own ways. Because of this, I am constantly empowered to be the best version of who I am. Many of the women of Alpha Delta Pi are very career focused and this has driven me to think the same way about my own future.”


Haley Zimits, Kappa Kappa Gamma President: “The women in Kappa Kappa Gamma have inspired me to take on my role as President. Without the support of my sisters, I would have never thought it possible to get involved in this leadership role as a Sophomore. I feel lucky everyday to have people who want to see me be the best that I can be. It is empowering to have sisters that believe in me and trust me. Chapter wide, we have several ways members can show their support for one another. Some examples are Supportive Sister of the week, sending Kappa Kisses during chapter and a journal that has been passed around since 2018 between sisters to share our gratitude and love.”


Perry Harrington, Pi Beta Phi Vice President of Community Relations: “Pi Beta Phi supports me by surrounding me with positive influences who inspire me to be a better version of myself each day. Ever since I walked through the doors of Pi Phi I have received unconditional support from my sisters who are constantly rallying around me whether it be within Pi Phi or not. Someone is always there to lend a helping hand or maybe just a shoulder to cry on.”


Elizabeth Gregg, Zeta Tau Alpha President: “The women of Zeta Tau Alpha are some of the hardest working and motivating individuals on our campus. The involvement within the chapter and on campus can be seen across our organization. Everyone in the chapter wants to see you succeed and will assist in whatever capacity to guide you there. All of our sisters are so inspiring and help to shape us into our best version of ourselves!”


WHAT ARE SOME NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF YOUR CHAPTER?


Addi Cottone, Alpha Delta Pi President: “Last November, our chapter hosted the Race for Ronald Virtual 5K, which collected over $10,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Our most recent philanthropy event, which was a carnation sale during the first week of February, collected over $1,000 for RMHC and the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation. Our chapter is committed to sisterhood, values and ethics, high academic standards, and social responsibility, and I am so proud of all of our accomplishments.”


Haley Zimits, Kappa Kappa Gamma President: “I am so proud of the great accomplishments Epsilon Kappa has had over the past two academic school years. In 2020, our members spent 4,349 hours serving the local Columbia community. We focus on providing local elementary students with books and school supplies. We also host a one day retreat for middle school girls called GIRLS Academy. Kappa Kappa Gamma raised over twelve thousand dollars through our Fall 2019 Philanthropy Event, Kappa Disko. Our members can not wait to host our next Kappa Disko!”


Perry Harrington, Pi Beta Phi Vice President of Community Relations: “Spring 2020 graduate and 2018 Chapter President, Sarah Moore took a job at Pi Beta Phi Headquarters as a Leadership Development Consultant and is currently establishing a new chapter at the University of Miami! Pi Beta Phi won the Chapter of the year in 2017 and #1 GPA in Spring 2020. Our chapter was the top fundraising team at the NEDA walk Spring 2020 and had an extremely successful first annual Pi Phi Phive K during the first week of March! We collected over 6,000 books in our book drive for local elementary schools, beating the Clemson chapter!”

Elizabeth Gregg, Zeta Tau Alpha President: “This past February, our 2020 Chapter President Shannen Cloherty was awarded FSL President of the year. Her award and well-deserved acknowledgment are the true reflections of how successfully she led our chapter through this past year. Shannen's investment in Zeta Tau Alpha not only improved our chapter, but she was noted as a catalyst for positive change and increased collaboration across all Greek Councils at the University of South Carolina. She is an incredibly inspiring individual and truly poured all of her wisdom into our chapter ultimately bettering our purpose as an organization. Shannen is a phenomenal role model and we are so lucky to have had such an amazing leader to best prepare us for the 2021 year!”


Then, we chose to challenge members of our chapter to describe sisterhood and empowerment within Alpha Delta Pi, along with their professional and panhellenic individual achievements.


DESCRIBE SISTERHOOD IN ONE WORD.


We compiled our sisters' responses into a word cloud. Here is what they said.


HOW HAS ADPI EMPOWERED AND SUPPORT YOU?


Tessa Arquette, PC '19: “ADPi has given me the courage to go above and beyond in everything I do. This organization has taught me to hold myself accountable and to a higher standard. With practicing that, I am fully confident in myself and my choices in life.”


Macy Mekiliesky, PC '20: “My sisters encourage me to be the best version of myself that I can be and will always have my back. I have met some of my best friends in ADPi, and I am so grateful for their constant love and support. They have made my freshman year absolutely amazing, and I’m so excited for what’s to come!”


TELL US ABOUT YOUR INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENTS!


Becca Sternberg, PC '18, Former Executive Office Intern: “I was elected to be the VP of the Carolina Judicial Council which is basically UofSC’s Honor Board. I will be serving as a University 101 Peer Leader this fall for the second year! I will be serving as an Orientation Leader for the second summer in a row this summer, guiding and mentoring incoming gamecocks through their transition to UofSC!”


Riley Rodgers, PC '19, Vice President of Operations: “I am currently serving as VPO of Beta Epsilon, a role I never could have achieved without the support of my sisters. I also just got re-elected for my Student Senate Seat, and my sisters were crucial in supporting me through elections season!”



To see more of our sisters’ achievements, check out our Instagram @adpisouthcarolina!


Thank you to Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, Zeta Tau Alpha, and our own president and sisters for their participation in this blog post. International Women’s Day is guided by ten values: justice, dignity, hope, equality, collaborating, tenacity, appreciation, respect, empathy, and forgiveness. We are so blessed to have panhellenic women that exhibit all ten values.


For more information on IWD and how to get involved, please visit www.internationalwomensday.com.