The Sisterhood I Needed

The Sisterhood I Needed

By Destiny Willis (Kappa Mu, The University of Texas at Tyler)      

If you have a sibling, you know the push and pull of a sibling relationship. You have your squabbles, but you also have a unique bond. Growing up, I would occasionally ponder what it would be like to be an only child and to not have to share everything in life. However, I never thought it would be a reality that came crashing down on August 10, 2007. The day comes and goes foggy in my mind. One thing I do remember is being upset with my sister as she drove away with her friend, and they would not let me tag along. I was 13, and my sister, Kelly, was 16 when she died.

Over the years, there have been sisterly activities I have missed doing; nail salon days, binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy on Christmas Eve, mall trips and an instant restaurant buddy when you are craving a chocolate molten lava cake, for example. There have been many milestones over the years my sister and I never got a chance to celebrate.

In the spring of 2013, I joined the Kappa Mu chapter at The University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler). I joined Alpha Chi Omega for friendships and sisterhood. There were things I longed to do with my sister and could not, but I found I could do them with my Alpha Chi Omega sisters. Throughout my time with Alpha Chi Omega in college, I found sisters to go on movie trips, late night Taco Bell runs, dress shopping for formals and all the other activities I wish I could have experienced with Kelly.

RSW BrunchReal. Strong. Women Brunch 2019After graduating with my master’s in accounting, I moved away from friends and family to North Carolina for my job. During my first year in NC, I lived in a smaller town which was an hour from a major city, and I only had friends from work. My company then moved me to the Charlotte, NC area in 2019. I decided to connect with my local alumnae chapter, Zeta Iota Zeta, and attend the Real Strong Women Brunch they were having with the collegiate chapter at UNC Charlotte. This event was my first experience as an alumna, and I was beyond scared. I remember walking into the ballroom of the brunch and being greeted instantly by Marissa Gilbert. Little did Marissa know that on my approach to the ballroom, I was talking myself out of turning around and going back home. I will never forget that moment when she made me feel instantly welcomed and like I belonged.

After the Real Strong Women Brunch, the rest just flowed easily. I was later introduced to the alumnae chapter president at the time, Jordan Cannon, who genuinely cared about every sister in the chapter. It was not too long after that I agreed to become the treasurer! Then the pandemic hit. As we all remember, the pandemic was a scary and isolating time in our lives. I lived by myself but never felt truly alone, thanks to my Alpha Chi Omega sisters. Jordan came up with the idea of delivering face masks with “AXΩ” on them and cute little cookies to all our members to remind them that Alpha Chi Omega was always here. If anyone needed a sister to reach out to, there were plenty willing to take the call.

Destiny WIllisAll the love I have experienced with Alpha Chi Omega has encouraged me to help ensure other alumnae feel that connection after college. When Kim McClure reached out to me about the open province alumnae chair (PAC) position for North Carolina in 2021, I instantly jumped at the opportunity. I have been the PAC for the past two years and am excited to continue as PAC for the 2023-25 term. I hope that I can help inspire alumnae to connect with their local chapter and find their people. Some of the milestones I felt like I would never have when my sister passed away, I have gotten to experience them through my sisters – engagements, weddings, graduations and even holding a baby during Alpha Chi Omega’s convention!

To find an alumnae chapter near you or one that is virtual, explore the Chapter Search on My Alpha Chi