Community is at the very heart of greek life, a sorority will be a place of belonging where sister form lifelong bonds. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated is was formed on January 15, 1908 on the campus of Howard University and holds the distinction of being the first black Greek lettered sorority. With over a thousand undergraduate and graduate chapters all over the country, Alpha Kappa Alpha is “dedicated to implementing programs of service that enhance the social, economic and educational well-being of the local, national and international communities”. Members achieve this goal through a variety of innovative programs that aim to serve the communities in effective, sustainable ways.
Southwest Michigan is home to two Alpha Kappa Alpha chapters. The undergraduate chapter, Delta Chi, finds it home on Western Michigan University’s campus while the graduate chapter, Iota Sigma Omega, is proud to call Kalamazoo home. These two chapters work hard to implement AKA’s programs & initiatives in our community, serving the people of Southwest Michigan with passion & dedication.
Because AKA’s program theme for 2018 through 2022 is Exemplifying Excellence Through Sustainable Service, the contribution and work of local chapters is imperative to bring about their desired goals. Areas of focus include breast cancer awareness and prevention, heart health, nutrition and wellness and care for caregivers. In each of these areas, sisters from Delta Chi and Iota Sigma Omega partner with local organizations to address the needs of the community, especially those concerning women.
In order to increase survival rates amongst women diagnosed with breast cancer, Delta Chi and Iota Sigma Omega sisters partner with local clinics and hospitals in an attempt to encourage African-American women to receive regular mammograms. These women also work hard to emphasize healthy lifestyles at every stage of life. Structured nutrition initiatives are a primary focus, with local nutritionists and dietician working with the chapters to design healthy eating plans that will help Kalamazoo residents to live longer, healthier lives. In addition, AKA recognizes the need for caregivers to take care of their health (both physical and emotional) to reduce the stress and negative health consequences that can arise from caregiving.
Heart health remains a focus for AKA and the sorority is committed to encouraging women to maintain healthy hearts through walking and other fitness activities. Many chapters achieve this by forming walking clubs and inviting their communities to join in. AKA also partners with the American Heart Association for a Pink Goes Red event on the first Friday of February in an effort to educate African-American women about how to prevent strokes and increase heart health.
Iota Sigma Omega’s annual Pink Goes Red event will be held on Friday, February 1st at the Girls Scouts building located at 601 W. Maple St, in Kalamazoo. This free event is open to the public and will provide a wealth of information regarding heart health, overall nutrition and the importance of an active lifestyle. Activities for Pink Goes Red have included healthy food demonstrations, the testimonies of stroke survivors, presentations from local doctors as well as dance and exercise sessions to get the heart moving. Additionally, ISO hosts a free walking club that is open to the public and meets every Monday from 5:30-6:30pm at Kalamazoo Central High School.