A Letter from our VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity,
Hello! I am Sam Carranza, and I am the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity for the Iota Kappa chapter of Alpha Phi at Dartmouth College. I love the work I get to do alongside my sisters, but if I’m being honest I almost chose not to go through recruitment at all. After watching everyone around me go through fall recruitment, I saw how women tried to change aspects of themselves to “better fit” into certain spaces. Traditional sororities were not originally intended to be for women of marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds. As a first-generation, low-income Latina woman, I spent much of my childhood trying to conform who I was in order to be accepted, and I feared that in joining a sorority at a predominantly white institution I’d have to do the same.
Thankfully, my worries were quickly put at ease. After my first few conversations in Alpha Phi I knew this would be a place in which I could learn and grow. I was specifically inspired by Selena, whose main goal was to make every sister feel loved, heard, and accepted for every aspect of their identities. She developed the Director of Diversity and Inclusivity position with the intent of making our house safer and more equitable for women whose voices often went unheard. Alongside the Director came the Diversity and Inclusivity Taskforce, a group of women who voluntarily came together to create a platform in which sisters of all backgrounds could be uplifted and appreciated for their thoughts and ideas. I was amazed at how much these women cared about one another, and how their goal was to leave APhi a better place than when they first joined. I knew this was something I had to be a part of, so following my recruitment in January of 2020, I applied for the Taskforce the minute I could.
Like the amazing women who came before me, I wanted to pay it forward, too. They paved the way for me, now it was my turn to do so. In August of 2020 I was selected to sit on the Alpha Phi International Collegiate Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. For the next year I got to work with 22 fantastic women from chapters in the US and Canada to help National bring about tangible change. In that time we made revisions to bylaws, developed training modules, and put together educational materials to encourage chapters to have these more important and progressive discussions. Our biggest achievement was creating a brand new executive position — the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity. Together we prepared trainings and wrote the manual for this new role and in October 2020 we internationally launched a new officer structure with the position we created! So later that year when I was elected by my own chapter into a position I poured my heart and soul into, I couldn’t have been more honored.
I am deeply committed to the work I do, and it is my goal to advocate for the mental, physical, emotional, and academic well-being of the women in this house so that they never feel anything less than valued. With the Taskforce, I’ve worked to normalize and facilitate difficult conversations. We’ve hosted Bias Trainings, Sexual and Mental Health nights, conversations about safe spaces, and other events to highlight the stories of our incredible sisters. Ultimately we want to make these conversations comfortable and do our part to hold ourselves, our sisters, and the rest of our campus accountable.
It is remarkable to see how far we’ve come as a chapter, and I have no one to credit but my dedicated and passionate sisters. They have worked to make values surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion not just a sector of the house, but more so integrate it into our fabric and culture. People are willing to learn and to improve and that’s what makes the Iota Kappa Chapter so special. Together we’ve grown into better versions of ourselves —we’ve grown into the women that we want to be.
I am so grateful for each and every one of my sisters and all of the diverse backgrounds and complex identities that they represent. I do this work for them, and for those who come after us, because even though we have a long way to go, I can’t help but look back and see how far we’ve come.