About DEIA

Over the past several months, the national conversation around systemic racism and injustice on top of the challenges from the ongoing pandemic continue to weigh heavily on all of our hearts and minds.  Each of us has been affected in different ways and many of us have no experience to draw upon as we navigate these difficult times. It has been reassuring to see so many sisters continuing to Live with Heart, speaking up in solidarity to support our Black sisters, holding our organization accountable to our own values, and taking the time to educate ourselves and each other on how to actively fight racism and social injustice.    

At this moment, we are examining ourselves, our policies and practices to determine whether we are contributing, actively or passively, to social injustice. Sigma Kappa is committed to providing a welcoming, safe, and meaningful experience for all members. While we have made organizational progress since our diversity & inclusion initiative was launched in 2018, we know there is still so much more work to do. We also know our success is dependent on the help, feedback and actions of our individual members.   

We need to do more to assure our  Sisters of  Color and other underrepresented women feel welcomed, included and empowered in our organization. While words matter, our actions matter more. To demonstrate this commitment to action, national council, the Foundation board of trustees, the National Housing Corporation board of directors and the staff of all three entities have been working collaboratively to develop immediate next steps on how all three entity boards and staffs will continue to make diversity, equity, inclusion and access (DEIA) a priority throughout the organization.  

We want you to be proud of your association with Sigma Kappa and all that it stands for. We are confident that we can improve aspects of our organization that might prevent us from being fully inclusive, equitable, or accessible. We know that this work will enrich the membership experience for everyone and ensure that Sigma Kappa continues to thrive for generations to come. 

If you are interested in investing in DEIA work, please click here to make a gift to the PULSE annual fund which will help underwrite the programs and resources to support Sigma Kappa DEIA initiatives 

If you have questions or would like to provide feedback or share your stories, please email us at 



DEIA Committee & Charge
About the Committee

Sigma Kappa’s diversity, equity, inclusion and access committee will help us to better consider and understand the perspectives of our members who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of Color; LGBTQIA+ members; and members with Disabilities. The committee will: 

  • Provide feedback and advice to Sigma Kappa national council, Foundation board of trustees, National Housing Corporation board of directors, and staff of all three entities on how the boards' efforts will affect inclusion, diversity, equity, and access across the organization.   

  • Assist in implementing Sigma Kappa's DEIA action plan, developed with assistance of an outside expert.   

  • Ensure the boards and staff are aware of emerging trends within DEIA so Sigma Kappa understands how those developments impact the organization.  

  • Work with (i) the committees responsible for recommending board members of the three entities and (ii) the volunteers and staff responsible for appointing and hiring Sigma Kappa volunteers and staff to identify opportunities for greater inclusion and ascension of Women of Color and other diverse and affected groups into leadership and staff positions within Sigma Kappa.    

  • Work side-by-side with three committee members appointed by the Sorority, Foundation, and National Housing Corporation.  

 Click here to learn about the women on the DEIA Committee.

DEIA Meet & Greets

From October 27 - 29 we held three sessions with different members of the DEIA Committee, check out the recordings below to learn more about the committees!

Communications & Updates
DEIA Resources
People First Language

People-First Language is the most commonly accepted standard in speaking to or about people with disabilities, in order to acknowledge the person first, then the disability. 


For example: 

Instead of saying this... Say this.
Disabled person Person with a disability
She's disabled She has a disability
Wheelchair-bound Uses a wheelchair
Autistic Person with autism
Hard of hearing Has a hearing impairment


Note: While this is the current standard, it is important to recognize the preferences of the specific person you're speaking to! If a person with autism says, "I would like you to refer to me as an autistic person," then do that going forward. This goes for all terms/labels, not just disability-related! 

When in doubt, ask the person how they would like to be referred to.


Check out for more information on people-first language!

Recommended Reading 

Check out our recommended non-fiction book list!

Check out our recommended children's book list!


The lists below have shows, podcasts, and movies that either have a focus on DEIA themes or a focus on the most under represented groups in the media.

Working through Difficult Conversations
Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

Check out our recommended list for ways to celebrate Black History Month!

Additional Resources
DEIA Commitment
  • We commit to providing quarterly updates in the Sigma Kappa Triangle and other Sigma Kappa communications on our progress on these and future initiatives in this area.   

  • We will continually ask ourselves how we are including our Women of Color and other underrepresented women as we strive to make our membership more diverse. 

  • We are investing in immediate and ongoing professional education on diversity, equity, inclusion, and access for national council, the Foundation board of trustees, the National Housing Corporation board of directors, and the national headquarters staff of all three entities. This training will be facilitated by our DEIA Consultant, Vicki Clark.

  • We are engaging with Vicki Clark, an expert in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, to identify Sigma Kappa’s needs and opportunities in this area and to create professional resources to move us forward. This work will be funded with a grant from the Sigma Kappa Foundation.

  • National council and Sorority staff is developing a new strategic plan for Sigma Kappa that takes us beyond the immediate pandemic obstacles and into the future. We are excited to share that plan with you in the coming months. DEIA will be prominently featured throughout our strategic plan and woven into everything we do. 

  • A creative team is currently creating resources to support the now required DEIA chairwoman position for collegiate chapters as well as additional DEIA resources for collegiate chapters. 

DEIA Consultant

Because we are not experts in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion and access, we have engaged a professional to guide us along this journey. Vicki Clark (Vicki Clark Consulting) will provide ongoing DEIA training and partner with the boards and staff as we identify Sigma Kappa’s needs and opportunities and create resources to move us forward. Vicki is a servant leader. As a servant leader, her approach is to begin the work first as a listener, learner, and community builder. She meets organizations where they are and builds a framework and the scaffolding to support change. Her work involves action planning and implementation designed to fully engage and harness the power of the board, members and stakeholders. Vicki has worked with dozens of women's leadership groups at local and national levels. She is aware of the nuances that exist in executing an organization's desire to move towards diversity, equity, inclusion and access, and takes a collaborative approach with boards, membership and staff. We have started working with Vicki and look forward to learning from her.

Foundation Workgroup

The Sigma Kappa Foundation commissioned a work group of alumnae and collegians to look at the mission-based ways we can use our resources to have a positive impact in DEIA. The workgroup will identify barriers that exist for our members and potential members from underrepresented groups, solutions to help eliminate those barriers, opportunities to strengthen our commitment to DEIA, and other ways in which the Sigma Kappa Foundation can provide resources to support our sisters in these areas.


Marissa Wilkes, Chair

Theta Iota, The State University of New York at Fredonia

Martha Bronitsky

Alpha Omicron, University of California, Los Angeles

Shannon Chang

Zeta Phi, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Lisa Gilbert

Kappa Xi, University of Nevada, Reno

Christie Gillespie

Best Sigma, Purdue Univeristy

Anna Henk

Gamma Theta, California State University, Long Beach

Lisa Humenik, Trustee

Gamma Mu, Eastern Illinois Unversity

Alli Kopetzky

Gamma Alpha, University of Northern Colorado

Kim Padilla

Alpha Gamma, Washington State University

Lucy Siegel

Delta, Boston University

Sarah Womble, Trustee

Delta Tau, University of Central Arkansas

Creative Teams

General DEIA Education Creative Team 

The general DEIA education creative team is creating resources that are intended for collegians, advisors and alumnae. Resources related to advisor DEIA training, fostering relationships with NPHC and MGC groups, where to start on DEIA conversations, terminology and more are in the works. This team will continually work to provide general education pieces to our membership that are currently missing.


Officer Resource Creative Team

The officer resource creative team is developing new resources for collegiate officers related to DEIA. Each officer will have a new resource available in early November about areas they can focus on related to DEIA in their role. This will be unique to each officer. Additionally, a robust event planning guide and how to elect without bias during chapter elections will be released in early November.


Social Justice Creative Team

The social justice creative team is building a resource to assist those who seek to have educational conversations that involve deconstruction of thought for themselves and others. In addition, they are working on a survey that will assist chapters in identifying where their members are when it comes to the DEIA focus of the organization. This will then help guide chapters in determining what steps to take next. Following this, the team will take a deeper dive into social justice and work on resources that can be used by all members.

History Task Force


The objective of this task force is to research, document, and acknowledge Sigma Kappa’s history as it relates to organizational discriminatory behavior and practices, as well as our historical steps toward inclusion. The work of the task force will culminate in a Sigma Kappa Triangle article that is created in collaboration with the Sorority’s communications team, but the group may also make recommendations for how to share information with our membership along the way.


  • Christy Nielson, Xi
  • Allison Parker, Alpha Gamma


  • Jeanne Disney, Xi
  • Dana Finley, Delta
  • Stefanie Greenhill, Theta Xi
  • Maggie Morris, Mu
  • Nicole Pawelski, Beta Tau
  • Amanda Perez, Zeta Kappa

Staff Liaisons:

  • Mallory Simmons, Delta Delta
  • Annika Dellert, Gamma Delta
Ritual Inclusivity Task Force


This task force has been operating for a year and has reviewed the Sigma Kappa ritual to identify non-inclusive language and information. Its plan for focus groups and education was paused when our in-person Convention experience was canceled. Now, with a focused commitment in our strategic plan to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, we are reformulating the charge for the task force.

The objectives of this task force are:

  • To make specific recommendations to national council about language and information in the Sigma Kappa Ritual that is non-inclusive or marginalizes members and can be modified while preserving the items adopted by the Founders. The task force’s recommendations may also include strategies for obtaining feedback and buy-in from the membership about the recommended changes.
  • To show why any proposed changes do not compromise the integrity of our Ritual, recommendations should be accompanied by a historical timeline and context for items that were added to our Ritual over time.
  • After the recommendations are presented to national council, the council will appoint a work group (which may include members of the task force) to educate the membership on any modifications that are adopted and the rationale. That work may include focus groups and surveys on how to explain any changes, and training that empowers our members with information to understand why any adaptations are appropriate and will ensure the longevity of Sigma Kappa.


  • Sara Chacon, Gamma Alpha


  • Sheila Barnes, Gamma Phi
  • Joanna Cline, Zeta
  • Angela Guillory, Delta Mu
  • Lisa Humenik, Gamma Mu
  • Ashton Kelly, Gamma Kappa
  • Christine Padalino, Theta Lambda
  • Marlee Ribnick, Epsilon Mu
  • Lea Sahgal, Lambda

Staff Liason:

  • Julia Kozicki, Tau