Grad student wins scholarship at annual AKA sorority ball

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Xi Chapter at Eastern Michigan University hosted its 62nd Annual Edith Penn Scholarship Ball Jan. 20 in the Student Center.

EMU catered the ball, and the Student Center Ballroom was decorated with pink and green balloons and placemats — the AKA’s national colors — as well as candy and pictures of the sorority members in unity on a projector, and cotton snow to give the appearance of a winter wonderland theme.

The winner of the scholarship this year was Janis Strickland, a graduate student at EMU.

To win the scholarship, applicants were required to have at least a 3.0 GPA, a reference letter and a two-page essay on community involvement. The scholarship ball was free and included free food, a D.J. and a speaker for the occasion.

The speaker was Shetina M. Jones, a member of the sorority chapter, who spoke on the idea that “the only thing you take is what you leave behind.”

Jones, an EMU alumnus, has a very extensive background in not only her professional background but also in her dedication to serving her community.

Jones was an assistant hall director at EMU and is now working at Michigan State University as a resident director. She also has started teaching a student development-training course this semester.

Jones had a central message in her speech.

“We all have a purpose, and we have all done something great,” she said. “If you have a vision and a foundation, you truly grow from it, and I want people to know it’s really important to contribute to EMU.”

Jones has attended five balls and thoroughly enjoyed this one.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “I loved the fung shui of it — it had a very intimate setting and a very diverse crowd. I saw some different faces and some new faces, and that was a good feeling.”

After dinner and the speaker, there were chapter awards for the sorority members with awards like “Academic Ivy of the Year” and “Soror of the Year.” The chapter gave special thanks to its graduate adviser, Mable Stroman, and concluded the ball with a toast and dancing.

Brittany Galloway, a junior and part of the Chaplin of Xi chapter, helped coordinate the ball and used the theme “What Legacy Do you Leave Behind?”

“I hope students were inspired to do something on this campus and leave a legacy,” Galloway said. “Don’t continue to watch the same people do the same work.

Galloway was in charge of a lot of the logistics for the ball.

“We had to get a speaker, call event planning, allocations for money, make these green placemats which was a first, and get sponsors for the placemats,” she said. “We started planning in the summer.”

According to Galloway, the hardest part of planning the event was the work and money they had to put in for the ball.
“We had to fundraise the money,” she said. “The most rewarding part of planning the ball was working for my AKA; I loved putting together the placemats, just to serve the purpose is fun, and seeing the success of it.”

Wendale Farrow, an EMU graduate student, had never been to a ball before and enjoyed his experience.

“One of my good friends, Kourtney Moore, is the president of the sorority and invited me,” Farrow said. “I thought they served a really nice dinner and had a great keynote speaker.”

Alpha Kappa Alpha will host a program entitled “Head Over Heels” from 7-9 p.m. in the Student Center.

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