AU Delta Phi Epsilon members disaffiliate, establish nonprofit chapter
Sisterhood for International Engagement emphasizes giving back to the community
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that SIE membership was free. It has been corrected to state that dues are under $100.
American University Delta Phi Epsilon members disaffiliated from the professional Greek organization’s national board in January, saying the board was unrepresentative of its values.
Sisterhood for International Engagement, which is not a Greek organization, will continue its philanthropic efforts after members disaffiliated from the professional foreign service fraternity, according to Charlotte Faust, president of SIE.
“It’s the exact same group of people,” said Faust, a senior majoring in international studies and literature. “A real difference is who we existed under.”
Faust said that past Delta Phi Epsilon presidents, the executive board and members collectively voted to disaffiliate from the national Greek organization before the movement to abolish Greek life went viral over the summer.
Although there is still a recruitment process to become a member, similar to Greek organizations, SIE strives to be as inclusive as possible, Faust said.
“We wanted to serve as a possible organization [for] other groups that felt that they didn’t have a space in existing organizations,” Faust said. “Other universities in D.C. can actually start a chapter of our organization if they want to.”
National General Secretary of DPE Terrence Boyle said that he has noticed a “wave” of Greek organizations disaffiliating across the country. He predicted that a more diverse range of students may decide to join SIE, as it is not Greek-affiliated.
The members’ greatest concern with the national board revolved around the usage of their chapter’s fees, something that was never explained to the sorority, Faust said. Delta Phi Epsilon charged a fee of $21 per member.
Boyle said that $10 goes toward a lapel pin, $6 is donated to a charitable foundation and the rest goes toward the development of new chapters through the international society — the purchase of starter pins and banners for recruitment.
SIE dues are under $100, according to Faust.
“It’s nice to be completely in charge of our funding and use it wherever we want to,” Faust said.
Faust and the SIE executive board want to remain true to their values by engaging in more service. Last semester, the former DPE chapter hosted an online fundraiser for the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition.
Members also took an interest in environmental justice, Faust said. The SIE executive board hopes to invite a panelist to talk to its chapter in the future.
In addition to philanthropy, Faust said SIE promotes professionalism by holding events focused on career options and research into specific fields of interest.
“I found out about the job I had all throughout sophomore year because of people in this organization,” Faust said. “There are so many things I know about resume-building, LinkedIn, opportunities [for] internships.”
Rhea Tuli, facilitator for the Committee on Equitable and Just Practices, said the new group also fosters lasting friendships. For Tuli, the sisterhood is the best aspect of being a member of SIE.
“It’s a group of people that are like-minded and have a global worldview,” Tuli said. “AU’s a really competitive space, … but what’s so cool about SIE is that it’s a group of people that are supportive [of] each other.”
Tuli urges Greek organizations on campus to rethink their involvement in what she sees as an oppressive and exclusive system.
“Greek life prides itself on its sisterhood and brotherhood, but how can it be a true one if it … includes some and makes others feel unwanted?” Tuli said.