After the recent round of the Panhellenic Association chapter elections, KeiJan Martin was chosen as the president of the Epsilon Zeta chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma, making her the first African-American woman to hold the position and one of two women of color that will now preside as presidents of Panhellenic sororities at FSU.
Martin, who described herself as a shy girl in high school, explains that she didn’t necessarily expect to fill this position, especially after joining Kappa Kappa Gamma after as a sophomore after her roommate convinced to do so.
“I just wanted to find new ways of being social and saw this amazing opportunity in joining the chapter,” Martin said. “It forced me to do something that I wouldn’t normally do.”
After serving as a recruitment counselor and advising potential new members, Martin reflected on her own experience rushing, noting that throughout the process, there was no one there for her to really look up to.
“There was one other black woman, but she graduated a while ago,” Martin said. “I didn’t understand the stigma behind being in a Panhellenic sorority and it didn’t phase me, but now looking back, it should have.”
The stigma is often understood as a lack of representation from women of color, with “sorority segregation” gaining traction in explaining Greek life becoming more associated to a likeness and physical and social conformity. Martin explains that this has never been the case for her.
“I never felt as though I had to change myself when joining my chapter,” Martin said. “Everyone was very supportive of everyone. I didn’t necessarily feel that stigma.”
Ana Gonzales, a sister of Kappa Kappa Gamma, emphasizes the fact that regardless of any other factors, Martin’s qualifications and passion for her chapter made her the perfect person for the job. She notes that Martin is someone that radiates positivity, is levelheaded and works to make sure that all of the sisters feel included and secure. It is her merit alone, according to Gonzales that made her the right choice in assuming the role as president of the chapter.
The historical feat, according to Martin, will be one that is documented moving from here on out, with the emphasis now lying on creating a legacy that will reflect a progressive tenure as president, and one that worked to ensure that the sorority would continue its sisterhood and overall success.
As a black woman, Martin notes that there isn’t necessarily an increased amount of pressure, but more so an emphasis on the push to go above and beyond.
“It all reminds me of a quote my mother used to tell me: Good, better, best – never let it rest until your good’s better and your better’s best,” Martin said.
In regards to the stigma associated with Panhellenic sororities, Gonzales explains that taking a closer look at Greek life can show some otherwise.
“It is very easy for some people to hear things and believe them as fact,” Gonzales said. “We are so diverse and even more so than the color of our skin but where we all stand with our beliefs and thoughts. If you don’t think you have a place here, just know that there is a place for everyone.”
Source: FSU News | Brianna Milord