As members of Gamma Phi Beta, we inherit a rich history of strong women who paved the way for our Sorority to be what it is today. These women extend far beyond the walls of Gamma Phi to include women all over the world who stood for women’s rights and equality. These are women who left behind remarkable legacies from which we can learn.
We owe a lot to the women who worked for the rights we often take for granted, and when we consider those in our own lives who have made us stronger and pushed us to fulfill our potential, it’s obvious that we have a lot to be thankful for. We have our four Founders of course, but beyond them we have a network of thousands of women who have set the stage for our current alumnae and collegiate members to continue building on the history we share.
Whether from Gamma Phi Beta or not, we all know strong women who have impacted our lives for the better. Family members, friends, teachers and role models have all contributed to creating our individual histories in one way or another.
Part of knowing that history and learning from it comes from understanding your own values and knowing why they are important to you. Maybe your mother instilled in you a strong sense of loyalty or a best friend challenged you to find new value in your faith. A passionate sister could have inspired you to pursue creativity and strong leaders taught you the value of integrity.
Whatever it is that you value and hold close, it has a history in the people you have known and the experiences you’ve had.
Take the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along…’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Our ideals are continually shaped by the courage we have had to find.
It’s these ideals and values that begin to shape the legacy of who we are and the history we will leave for others to look toward. When you know what’s important to you and you see the impact you hope to have on the world around you, you begin to shape your legacy.
Each and every day, you are creating the moments by which people will remember you. So ask yourself, “What did I do today that I would want to be remembered by?” Did you show love to the people around you through your actions? Did you build women up or tear them down through gossip?
No one is perfect, and we all have days when we fall short. But as a Gamma Phi Beta you have a responsibility to hold yourself and others accountable to continue to build on the strong legacy of Love, Labor, Learning and Loyalty that we have inherited.
For some words of encouragement, here is a quote from Marian Wright Edelman, who actively worked as an advocate for the rights of underprivileged children her entire life.
“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily difference we can make, which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”
By Emily Mullins (Wichita State)
Emily Mullins is a senior studying Strategic Communications at Wichita State University. Since joining Gamma Phi Beta, she has served as administrative vice president and president, and has loved experiencing the many opportunities the Sorority has given her. She's excited to be involved in new ways during her last semester! On any given day Emily can be found drinking coffee like a Gilmore, checking out an armful of books from the library or finding a new recipe on Pinterest.