In April 2021, the Rho Zeta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA), the first Black sorority to charter at Furman, was reinstated after a period of inactivity. Prior to reactivation on campus, Furman had not had a Divine Nine Chapter since Spring 2018, and the assembly of AKA, Inc. on campus demonstrates the significance of having a Black Greek organization at Furman once again.
Rooted in the value of a sisterhood of scholarship and service, AKA was founded in 1908 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. by nine women - and has since grown to over 300,000 college women active in AKA around the world. Sinclair Gibson ‘21, Ivy League Reporter and Sisterly Relations Chair, shared that AKA was chartered as Furman’s first Black sorority on March 4, 1994. While the Rho Zeta Chapter has had periods of inactive membership on campus since then, its reactivation in April 2021 consisted of ten members, nine of which are still Furman students.
Gibson expressed the considerable impact AKA has made in her life, sharing that her commitment to the sisterhood will last beyond her years at Furman. For Gibson, the sorority “represents a legacy of Black women coming together in true sisterhood that my mother passed down to me as a young kid. It is a legacy of intelligent, strong African American women choosing to undertake a lifelong bond and commitment to not only each other, but to serving our communities and university.”
Daria Parks, sophomore Hostess and Historian, shared that she is proud of the prestigious reputation and history of AKA. "It is also an honor to be in a sisterhood with my mom and Vice President Kamala Harris," Parks explained.
Members of AKA participate in organizational community service, such as fundraisers each semester to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Women's health initiatives, and CLPs to raise awareness of these causes. This semester, the Furman community can support the chapter's philanthropic efforts on AKA's HBCU Impact Day. 'Pie A K' will be hosted on Trone Patio from 12:30-1:45 PM Friday, Sep. 24.
Kyndall Shaw, Technology Chair and Financial Secretary, believes AKA is an influential step towards bringing more Black culture to Furman and hopes to see more Divine Nine Organizations on campus soon. "It's a chance to show all of the amazing ideas, service projects and programs that AKA embodies," she says. "It's a step towards embracing Black women to show that we are present and we matter."
While AKA, Inc. does not actively recruit members, interested candidates should keep an eye out for formal recruitment information available soon.