Alpha Xi Delta provides second family, opportunity for SDSU women



Haley Halvorson, Lifestyles Editor

Alpha Xi Delta (AXiD) isn’t your run-of-the-mill sorority. In fact, it’s not a sorority at all. AXiD is technically a women’s fraternity.

When AXiD was founded as a national organization in 1893, it was common for men’s fraternities to help start a women’s organization similar to fraternities. Many sororities are technically referred to as women’s fraternities, like Chi Omega and Ceres.

Katie Yunker, the program adviser for Greek Life at SDSU, was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi at the University of Minnesota which, like AXiD, is a women’s fraternity.

“There is no actual difference between a sorority and a women’s fraternity, the difference is purely semantic,” Yunker said. “For most people, especially those who are members of Greek organizations, it is just plain easier to call men’s groups fraternities and women’s groups sororities, even if many women’s groups are technically fraternities.”

In 1968, the AXiD Epsilon Eta chapter was founded at SDSU. The Epsilon Eta chapter is specific to SDSU while other colleges might also have an AXiD, they don’t have that specific chapter.

In the beginning of the fall semester, sororities put on primary recruitment to add more women to their chapter. This is where sororities have a chance to invite women to join their chapter.

Behind the scenes, there is a chance for women to be a part of a growing second family, a way to get involved and a way to give back to a community through fundraising events.

“It was a lot, the first night you meet a lot of people and don’t remember a lot of names but even the first night you get a pretty good feel kind of where you fit in and kind of go from there,” said sophomore animal science and pre-vet major, Lauren Larson.

Larson has been a part of AXiD since the fall of her freshman year. Her brother was in Greek life at the University of South Dakota and really pushed her to join.

“I really wanted to find a home away from home and get that initial big group of friends you could rely on all the time,” Larson said.

Like Larson, Emily Kallem, a junior music education and Spanish major and president of AXiD, decided to join a sorority her freshman year.

“I’m from southern Iowa and came not knowing anyone,” Kallem said. “I decided to go through recruitment because I thought maybe if all else fails I could make a couple friends during the recruitment process and meet some new people.”

Since Kallem plans to be a teacher, she said she liked the idea of raising money toward their philanthropy Autism Speaks. It’s not them looking for a cure and money they raised goes toward helping the families.

“We have a sole sponsorship with Autism Speaks, we are the organization nationally that contributes the most money,” Kallem said.

Some of the events that help  raise money include Mac & Xi’s, Football FrenXi, Nacho Average Fiesta and the 5K that is held during Speak Week in April, which is Autism Awareness Month.

There are many other events AXiD hosts to raise money and every year Nationals sets a goal of how much money to raise.

“This year’s goal is $10,000. We are really ahead of track on making that this year which is really exciting,” Kallem said.

Since the national AXiD organization sponsored with Autism Speaks in 2009 they have raised almost eight million dollars.

“Finding something that’s bigger than yourself to work toward, like our philanthropy, it’s really rewarding knowing I’m not just going to my classes in college,” Kallem said. “I’m also raising money for something and constantly working toward a different goal rather than just graduating.”

When a part of AXiD, there are certain responsibilities a member has to uphold to be eligible and stay involved.

“To stay eligible in the sorority, everything is based on a point system. You get so many points for going to a meeting and going to sisterhoods and required events like Nacho Average Fiesta and Mac & Xi’s,” Larson said.

Along with the point system keep up with academics is equally important.

“You’re also dependent on what your GPA is every month, you have to log a certain number of points,” Larson said. “You’re held accountable for you academics which is obviously really important.”

AXiD requires that all the members join at least one other club or organization at SDSU.

“We want to make sure you have other things that you’re interested in and can do more than just be in AXiD and branch yourself out,” Kallem said.

Being a part of a sorority can also be a great networking tool.

“We’re pretty diverse, in that, we know so many people in different majors and so many people in different clubs,” Kallem said. “There are so many opportunities to kind of find other organizations and passions through us.”

The reputation of sororities and fraternities might just stem from people not knowing enough information about them Kallem said.

“I think that there is a bad reputation because some chapters and some Greek systems make bad choices … it doesn’t mean it’s a bad chapter, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad Greek system or university,” Yunker said.

Although nothing of concern, like hazing, has happened at the sororities or fraternities here at SDSU. News about those issues can affect how they are viewed as a whole and could give students the wrong impression of sororities and fraternities at SDSU.

Whether it’s just getting informed about these organizations, or thinking about joining, Kallem says that if it doesn’t work out that’s OK.

“Have an open mind about it … you can have an idea on what you think is best for you, but until you actually talk to people and really understand what each chapter is specifically about you can’t know what you truly want,” Kallem said.