George Mason University prides itself on its diversity, as it should. This university is ranked #104 in ethnic diversity in the nation and has multiple cultural organizations to represent that diversity. With the sorority recruitment buzz going around recently, I wanted to focus on our multicultural Greek organizations on campus, Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. They are currently George Mason’s first and only South Asian interest-based sorority! I had the opportunity to speak to their vice president, Ridhima Bhatia, about her experience.
How has joining Kappa Phi Gamma shaped you?
RB: Before joining this sorority, I was quite soft-spoken and didn’t have a platform to learn and build upon the skills that I’ve cultivated today. However, after becoming a sister and getting to know people in the Multi-Cultural Greek Council, I have seen myself grow to be a person I am proud of. The various leadership positions that I held in this sorority has given me the organizational, social, and networking experience on multiple platforms. In turn, this made me a more rounded and profound South Asian woman in this diverse community.
How do you feel this sorority empowered South Asian Women?
RB: The original 27 founders of this organization did not see a space for their own community. So in 1998, these 27 women took the initiative to pave the way for other South Asian sororities in the multicultural Greek community by founding Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. This created a wider horizon for South Asian women across the country. It opened up different avenues for their empowerment through various leadership and cultural movements, as well as a huge emphasis on community service and fundraising. The diverse community we have now is what empowers us. Speaking of which, as we grew nationwide, we did not limit our sisterhood to just South Asian women. Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. is inclusive of young women of all backgrounds and cultures. We are your home away from home, wherever that may be.
Do you think multicultural greek organizations on campus are recognized enough on campus?
RB: The people that do seek us out have the intention of seriously committing to our organization. Even though we are a smaller council, we believe in quality over quantity. The people that have joined our organization are very passionate about its mission and principles. They have never strayed away from putting in the hard work and dedication to bring our efforts to success. Those that join our organizations put in the work for it, and truly care for it.
Courtesy of Ridhima Bhatia
Why do you think it is important to have Multicultural Greek Organizations on campus?
RB: I think it is important because it gives space for minority students to have a place where they feel like they belong. It gives them a voice, leadership opportunities, and a group of people that are like-minded. The beauty of diversity is the various cultures within it. That is what MGC provides to our students – a space to experience, immerse, involve and share the beauty of our various and rich cultures. These organizations bring together people who have shared similar lifestyles and are interested in coming together based on the shared love of our cultures, and spreading awareness about it to everyone at this University.
What is Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority Inc.’s philanthropy and what impact has it done so far?
RB: We are a service-oriented organization, and our cause is cancer awareness. We do several fundraising events across the year, but our main annual philanthropy event is C.A.R.E. Week (Cancer Awareness: A Real Effort). During this week, we host a week’s worth of fundraising events. The finale of the week is the Mr. C.A.R.E. Pageant, where we ask various organizations to send a male representative to compete in the pageant. It’s an incredibly fun event, and all proceeds go to a charity. All chapters/colonies in the nation pool the money they fundraised towards a charity that had been chosen nationwide for that year.
You currently have 12 undergraduate students in the chapter. How do you feel having a smaller chapter benefits you?
RB: A smaller chapter has its perks because we are a lot more tight-knit. It’s difficult to have close friendships be close with, but when you have a smaller group of girls, it’s easier to get to know each sister on a personal level and build that sisterhood. We truly value that and think it’s one of our greatest strengths.
One of Kappa Phi Gamma’s principles is culture. How do you embody that in your daily life?
RB: Our sisterhood is diverse, so we are not defined by one culture. What culture means to us is being proud of who you are and where you come from. We try to embody that by participating in cultural events on campus to support various other organizations such as Indian Student Association, Bengali Patriots Association, Nepali Student Associations, Hamro Chino (started by one of our own sisters, Ashma Pradhan!), etc!
Courtesy of Ridhima Bhatia
Kappa Phi Gamma is doing great things, and we can’t wait to see all that they accomplish!
Look out for them on campus!
Find them on Instagram @kphig_lambda!