Today, Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. celebrates our sixteenth anniversary. It is around the age of sixteen that a young woman takes her first steps into adulthood. And like the ceremonies and revelry that our members will participate in today, this moment in a young woman’s life is often commemorated with a celebration. At this stage of development, it is important for a young woman—or young organization—to take the lessons learned in her youth and apply them to overcoming the challenges and obstacles she will face in the future. On this day, we celebrate our “Sweet 16” with reflections from sisters that have had the opportunity to watch Theta Nu Xi spread her wings since 1997.
How is Theta Nu Xi coming of age in its 16th year?
“I think that turning 16, like in American culture, means that we are well on the way to being fully grown. With it comes the perils of deciding which path to take toward adulthood. This period of time in life can be confusing and frustrating. But, at the same time, it’s an exciting time that’s full of new growth, experience and changes and I look forward to all of it for TNX.”-Cianti Stewart-Reid (Current National President-Alpha Chapter, Spring 1999)
What does turning sixteen mean to our Sorority?
Turning 16 means that our sisterhood is strong and powerful. We have encountered many “growing” pains over the years but I strongly feel we are more in touch with what matters most to our sisters – fulfilling our tenets and not compromising our core ideals and values.-Nadira Mathlin (Beta Chapter, Spring 2001)
Looking back, what would you as a sister now tell your new sister-self about what your years of membership would come to mean to you?
“The years of sisterhood have meant a lot to me. I’ve grown up as Theta Nu Xi has evolved, and the Sorority has been a constant in my life for thirteen years. Through academic pursuits, jobs, and different geographic locations – Theta Nu Xi has been a cornerstone. If I were offering advice, I would tell my new sister self to try to relax, enjoy the ride, and be forgiving of myself and others. My love for the Sorority and my sisters won’t diminish over time, but how much time and energy I can devote will. I would tell my new sister self that it is still possible to stay active financially and as a member of a chapter, and that I will meet people that bring joy in the best of times and comfort in the hardest of times. I’d also tell my new sister self that I won’t be able to form a close bond with every sister I encounter but that I will form lifelong bonds with some women that surpass my imagination.” – Monica Copeland (Delta Chapter Founder, Spring 2000)
How have we bridged the gaps in our world over the years?
“We have brought multicultural education to campuses and communities throughout the nation. We have also brought awareness to many about the importance of love, knowledge, acceptance, and understanding of other cultures and issues that women in general, and women of different cultures face. Our presence has made a difference even if that difference is just starting a conversation about a controversial topic or who TNX is, or about multiculturalism.”-Erika (Strauss) Chavarria (Nu Chapter Founder, Spring 2002)
The “coming of age” years are usually the toughest. How can we overcome the challenges we currently face, and will face in the future?
“Our growth has been impressive, and I think we’ve managed to keep our traditions largely intact. However, having a diversity of personal interests and priorities within the organization can sometimes contribute to disengagement. When the business aspect, intake, or social aspects seem less relevant in members’ minds, we’ve got to think about what additional gaps Theta Nu Xi can fill in graduate, alumnae, and professional women’s lives that make paying dues and staying active a core part of who they are and what they want to do with their time and resources. Thinking of long-term sustainability would be a great way to guide our path for the next sixteen years.”-Monica Copeland
What message do you have for our younger and new members?
“I would tell all of our new sisters that they have joined a great organization, but it takes work to maintain it. It should be fun and fulfilling. It will bring you together with some of your greatest friends. But, it needs to be nurtured in order to grow and that is a part of their responsibility. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it.”-Cianti Stewart-Reid
What is your vision for Theta Nu Xi in next sixteen years?
“A bridge is defined as a structure carrying a road, path, railroad, or canal across a river, ravine, road, railroad, or other obstacle. Thus, [the women of Theta Nu Xi] must rise at the dawn of this critical moment to create paths for those who are oppressed and dismantle the obstacles of racial, social, and economic inequalities that plague our communities, nation, and world. If we are silent and do not fight against poverty and racism, then we are complicit.
Yet simultaneously, we must create a safe space for true sisterhood where fierce loyalty, support, and love launch women into their destiny. These are our two challenges and my vision for Beloved Theta Nu Xi for the next sixteen years.”-Founding Monarch Geeta Kapur (Alpha Chapter, Spring 1997)
Today, and for years to come, we hope that all sisters reflect on these responses and (re)dedicate themselves to living the mission. In doing so, we will all have done our part to ensure that Theta Nu Xi will continue to be a source of love, support, and understanding for each other and our communities.
Interviews conducted by Soror Erin Murphy (GAL via the Xi Xi Chapter, Spring 2012).