It is the start of the new fiscal year, which means there are only 19 days left for non-transitioned members of Iota Sweethearts to be "grandfathered" into the newly incorporated organization. As the transition deadline approaches, active sweethearts are making every effort to reclaim and retain members from the now disbanded auxiliary.
During the month of June, I.S.I ran a social media campaign titled "Why I Ow-Sweet." The message, simple- to remind inactive members to think about why they originally became sweethearts. From all over the country, I.S.I. members shared their stories on what drew them to the organization, and why transitioning was important to them. Take a look at what some members voiced as their reasoning for joining Iota Sweethearts in the first place:
Ohio Valley Region Undergraduate Representative Elexis Buchanan (Michigan)
"I Ow-Sweet because even though our name has changed, my love for what this sisterhood represents has not. Being a part of this organization has not only changed me as a person, but it has made me a better speaker, a better listener, a better organizer, a better sister, and a better friend. I Ow-Sweet because over the past five and a half years, I've gained so many relationships; ones that I will cherish forever! I know that the bond that I've built with all these beautiful women from all walks of life would not have been possible if it wasn't for the brothers of Iota Phi Theta. I Ow-Sweet simply because we are a strong mass of individuals who won't conform to what society thinks we should be, despite their misunderstandings. We know what we are, and who we are, and we're stronger because of it!"
Atlantic Coast Region Sweetheart Rosanna Castillo (New Jersey)
"Back in 2006, I met Marquies Brown. He was on line for Iota. He voiced to me that I should think about becoming an Iota Sweetheart. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. Fast forward to the end of the semester. He crosses, and at this point, I was done with Greek life because of a prior incident with another organization. Marquies knew what happened to me and started to introduce me to his chapter. Fast forward even more to Spring 2008 and I meet Kenza [Hutchines]. She started to bring me around, but even before that, she became my sister despite the affiliation. She showed me that Iota was indeed a family and that I could expect a lot more from Iota Sweethearts than the previous hand I'd been dealt. It took me a while to trust and believe, but in July 201, I became a member. I realized that Iota is a family. We may fight, but when it matters most, we will always be there for each other."
Far West Region Sweetheart Anisah Odums (California)
"It's amazing to be a part of something as unique and as big as Iota Sweethearts, Inc. and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. I come from a large family, but I never thought that I'd find another bond as strong as ours. Being a part of this organization, I can truly say that these women and men have genuinely become my sisters and brothers no matter the distance or differences. Not only has a bond been created, but we've learned to build from one another. When I first joined, our chapter was small and it is a blessing to see how much we have grown in so little time! I'm proud of us! I'm proud of our accomplishments and the work we have spread in our community to make it better little by little. This is why I OW-Sweet!"
Midwest Region Treasurer Amber Norwood (Illinois)
"The reason why I Ow-Sweet is simple: the bond that we share with our brothers is like no other! So to be blessed with both an amazing sisterhood and brotherhood is having the best of both worlds. We are truly a FAMILY. We may fight and argue, but we love each other to death and we know we can always count on each other!"
Southern Region Membership Director Samantha Smith (Louisiana)
"I never heard of Iotas until they came on to Sam Houston State University campus. Then one day I saw a flyer for an Iota Sweetheart informational. As the brothers started talking about Ms. Audrey Brooks, she reminded me of my mother because she is always helping people. November 2006, I became an Iota Sweetheart on the first court, and ever since then I never looked back.
Not only did I gain sisters and brothers, I gained another family. Everytime I go to a regional, Clave, or SLC it feels like a family reunion. AND they allow me to be me. (Y'all know I'm rough around the edges.) This is why I Ow-Sweet."
Gulf Coast Region Corresponding Secretary Amanda Chambers (Florida)
"My family is rich in Iota blood. In 2007, I married Bro. Stanley Chambers Jr. and became affiliated with the Alpha Epsilon Omega chapter, also known as the Triangle Iotas. But being around Iota started before I even met my husband. My brother, Bro. Andre McDowell became a member of Iota in 2003. And my cousin is the famous Honorable Founder Lonnie Spruill Jr, whom I love to distraction. I honestly can’t imagine not being affiliated with Iota; it’s literally my family and I believe in the aim, mission, and principles of the brotherhood."
Eastern Region Sweetheart Charna Wilson (D.C.)
"My Iota love story began when so many men in my life from all different avenues began to join this same organization. I did the research and instantly fell in love. Before I even knew what a sweetheart was, I dedicated my time and talents to supporting the men of Iota at Virginia State University in any way I could. That love has stood the test of time and distance, as brothers and sweethearts of Iota know that my dedication to this organization knows no bounds. Iota has enhanced my life, given me my best friends, my accountability partners, confidants, and so much more; it's my family. And for that I will ALWAYS Ow-Sweet !"
July 20, 2016 is the last day for sweethearts who were members of the auxiliary to be grandfathered into I.S.I. After this date, all prior members will have to go through the new membership process. If you are an inactive member, please remember why you joined, the bonds you've built, the friendships you've made and the family you have gained for life and let that serve as motivation to continue active membership in such a great sisterhood.