Sororities haven’t been getting the best publicity lately. The Alpha Phi chapter at Alabama sparked controversy that started a lot of negativity in the world of sororities. Sure, their video shows what we typically think of if we’re asked to rattle off what a sorority encompasses. Not to get too nerdy here, but it was Newton that stated in his third law, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Alpha Phi’s video may have played up the stereotypes of sororities, but Alpha Sigma Alpha at Murray State University got back to the roots of what sororities are really about.
So, a quick refresher: sororities are a great place to meet new friends and gain a sense of belonging in college. They provide a sense of sisterhood to all of those involved. With this being said, can you imagine feeling everything except these feelings? Many individuals with disabilities feel left out or forgotten. Once high school ends, so does the social aspect for many with disabilities. Fortunately, this is when Alexis Cain became a true social butterfly.
On August 16, 2015, after four days of the recruitment process, Alexis received a bid from the sisters of Alpha Sigma Alpha at Murray State University in Kentucky. What started as a conversation with her mother, Alexis finally saw come to life. She is now one of the sisters of Alpha Sigma Alpha. What makes this bid even more special? Alexis is the first girl to be recruited into Alpha Sigma Alpha who has Down Syndrome.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes delays intellectually and developmentally. What is truly amazing about Alexis is that Down Syndrome doesn’t hold her back. Alexis embodies all of the qualities that I think of when thinking of sorority sisters – passion, commitment, and respect. It is absolutely amazing to see that the group of Alpha Sigma Alpha sisters see Alexis for who she really is.
While there are organizations in place to help individuals meet people of their age group or similar interests, this is a whole new platform. Special Olympics and Best Buddies both allow individuals to meet new people and gain life long friends all while staying active physically and within their communities. Alpha Sigma Alpha of Murray State University can now join the ranks of these elite organizations.
I used to be a volunteer with Special Olympics and my brother, who also has Down Syndrome, has won countless medals as an athlete on their local swimming, basketball, and track teams. I was also the President of my high school’s chapter of Best Buddies. I did a high school internship in a few different classrooms of those who needed extra care. Needless to say, I’m passionate about these organizations and what Alpha Sigma Alpha stands for. Their wish to include anyone who shares their beliefs is eye-opening and quite inspiring.
Alexis has been given an amazing opportunity to become sisters with a genuine group of people at Murray State University. If you watch the video below, it is clear that Alexis fits right in. Each girl congratulates her and gives her a warm and welcoming hug.
Alexis, my wish for you is that you enjoy every moment of your newfound sisterhood. As my brother begins the post-high school portion of his life, you give me hope that he too can continue to have a social life. I am so proud of you for embracing your true identity as a college girl. While I never joined a sorority, I know how important it is to find your own voice and sense of belonging in college. I am so excited for what this opportunity will bring you. To Murray State University and the wonderful girls of Alpha Sigma Alpha, thank you for recognizing Alexis for who she truly is.