Recognizing a strong sisterhood A profile of Beta Psi Nu

Tammy Tran

Beta Psi Nu is a predominately African American sorority founded on the basis of Christian values. It was established in fall of 2009 in the Wisconsin region as an extension of Beta Sigma Omega fraternity. While predominately African American, the sorority is open to all races and religions. The organization embraces the idea of uplifting and empowering woman coming from all walks of life through service, leadership and dedication to the greater good of maintaining sisterhood.

For two years, the women of Beta Psi Nu at Lawrence University have been striving to become an official sorority under the Panhallenic Council. According to founder/president, Arriel “Azati” Williams, the sorority has been struggling to gain recognition. “We were told we couldn’t be a part of the Panhallenic Council because we are not a national organization,” shares Williams. “Policy says [Lawrence] can only recognize national sororities and fraternities. “

Said founder/vice president Ashley Dowdy, “We’re frustrated to a certain degree. We know it’s not in the policies [to recognize us as a sorority], but I feel there are things that can be done to change that.”

To date, the students of Beta Psi Nu have met with the Campus Life and President’s office. Both parties were unable to comment on the issue because the last time they met with sorority was last year and have not heard of renewed efforts by the group this year.

“There’s so much more we can offer to this campus, as opposed to take away,” said Williams. “Lawrence’s mission implies individualized learning — that you build and shape the community based on what you want academically but what about socially. College is a time to network if you haven’t, and blossom socially.”

Williams continued, “Students should not be limited to either of those things. Individualized learning is about cultivating your community, but we don’t feel that full-scale. We want to make a difference, we need to, and we will continue to strive for recognition so that other students coming behind us will feel that they have options within the Lawrence community.”

Although Beta Psi Nu has not been recognized, they are continuing to work towards building a firm and sustainable foundation and sisterhood. Although the sorority has not been able to acquire recognition, they have been active and growing.

The Beta Psi Nu sorority is constitutionally bound with their brothers Beta Sigma Omega, and participates in a wide range of events with them. To date, there are seven members of Beta Psi Nu on the Lawrence Campus, five of which just crossed this term.

“Everyday, we go on and thrive as if we are recognized. We want to be recognized,” says Williams. “But we’re not going to step on anyone else’s toes to do so. We want to do this professionally and respectfully to get to that point. But yes, we want this. “