Service-based sorority lives up to its name

Leadership. Unity. Service. These are just a few words that describe the Omicron Tau chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. The sorority was first founded in 1908 and has been on the UTSA campus since 1989.

Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) has a tradition of volunteering with charity events that give back to the community. The members of AKA have helped in events such as the San Antonio Walk to End Alzheimer’s and the For The Kids (FTK) Winter Wonderland Fashion show. They have also assisted with building playgrounds and volunteered with Haven for Hope.

At the San Antonio Walk to End Alzheimer’s in September, the ladies of AKA arrived at 6 a.m. and helped set up for the walk with other members of UTSA’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), the coordinating body for the nine historically black fraternities and sororities. AKA took photos, blew up balloons and greeted the participants.

“It was amazing to be there with all those people and wear purple,” said member Rachel Ugoala. “We were all there to support and help out where we could. It was a really good event.”

AKA also helped with the FTK Winter Wonderland Fashion show on Nov. 14, which supported families with children who are battling pediatric cancer. Held in UTSA’s Liu Auditorium, the fashion show featured UTSA student leaders escorting children with pediatric cancer down the runway.

“It was just nice to be able to support the families and children who are affected by this,” said member Grace Williamson. “We got to entertain them for a few hours before we actually went out there.”

Continuing their community service, members of AKA volunteered at Haven for Hope, which gives warm clothes and food to homeless people in San Antonio. They prepared meals for the day in the bistro, made sandwiches in the kitchen and served hot meals to residents.

“We’re very fortunate, and we don’t really get to see people who struggle everyday to put food on the table for their kids or their family, and just to see that was very humbling,” said member Janay Thomas. “They were saying, ‘Thank you, you’re smile has just made my day!’ and I feel like just our presence there made a real impact.”

Member Janay Thomas feels that their top priority is to give back to the community. “Women should try to be a part of this organization because we’re very service-based. If you want the social side of it, the sisterhood, we have all of that. It’s the best of both worlds. We all have fun, yet we still give back to the community.”

Ugoala additionally shared that being a part of Alpha Kappa Alpha changes its members for the better and equips them with experience that will be useful later in life. “I’ve grown so much since I first joined last spring. Just to be a part of something greater and to give back on a broader scale, this sorority gives you so many opportunities for you to lend a helping hand anywhere. This sorority is a lifetime membership.”

Williamson said that it’s more than an organization. “It’s also business, it’s leadership, it’s spiritual and you also gain a lifetime of sisters. You’re becoming a part of a lasting legacy: an imprint on this world that will stay here even when your name is gone.”