A DAY ON CAPITOL HILL
During the second week of April, collegiate members Emily Buice, Beta Eta–Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and Ana Landsverk, Epsilon Chi–Kansas State University, NPC Delegate and former International President Rie Gerah Hoehner, Epsilon Nu–University of Central Oklahoma and Executive Director Katie Jolley Abernathy, Delta Theta–University of Idaho, participated in the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition in Washington, D.C., along with 108 other university students from across the country. Students met with members of Congress to discuss the value of the single-sex organization experience, college students’ freedom of association rights and anti-hazing efforts.
Emily and Ana prepared for their week in Washington by participating in a webinar and reading a lot of material. The first few days of the trip consisted of networking and learning about the issues they would be advocating for.
“As a founding member of my chapter, I had a great time meeting other students who were also founding members of their organization. We got to share in our similarities and understand the experience that others had faced,” said Ana. “And, as a lifelong Kansan, it was amazing to meet other fraternity and sorority members from states like California, New Jersey and Texas. My peers were just as passionate about their sorority or fraternity experience as I was, which was an amazing feeling. Many of these students were chapter president or served as student body president. It was incredible to be in the presence of so many student leaders.”
The issues students advocated for included the Freedom of Association Act and the END ALL HAZING and REACH Acts. Emily, Ana and the rest of the fraternity/sorority representatives heard from Harvard students affected by recent campus sanctions.
“I knew the issues we were advocating for were incredibly important to preserving the sorority and fraternity experience,” said Ana.
They planned and practiced for their upcoming meetings—and the day proved intense.
“We started at 10 a.m. and had meetings about every 30 minutes until 4 p.m.,” said Emily. “Some staffers were pressed for time and offices were a bit small, so we found ourselves often meeting in hallways. Our experience on Capitol Hill is one I’ll always remember. It’s so easy to take for granted my everyday freedoms. Meeting with members of Congress and fellow fraternity/sorority students showed me that my voice matters. Speaking up for issues I’m passionate about is the only way change will be made and I hope our efforts allow future generations to have the same experience I had as a collegiate member. Being a part of a sorority has shaped me into the woman I am today.”