From Weekly Chapter to Congress: Representing DPhiE in Hill Visits
Kiara Josey- Gamma Lambda chapter, Caldwell University
From day one of the recruitment process during her freshman year at Caldwell University, it was clear to now senior Kiara Josey that the members of Delta Phi Epsilon had strong, unbreakable bonds that she strived to experience, especially during her undergraduate experience.
After that moment, Kiara decided to join DPhiE and dedicate her next four years to developing those bonds while also pushing efforts in inclusion so more and more individuals could experience the friendships that she was able to form herself.
Due to this steadfast commitment to inclusion and belonging, Kiara was nominated to represent the sorority as a whole at a recent virtual lobbying visit with her representatives.
Normally hosted in Washington, DC, Kiara, along with representatives from other partnering sororities, met with offices of both representatives and senators virtually to discuss two pieces of legislation related to expanding the sorority experience.
The undergraduate members were accompanied by representatives from the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition (FGRC), an organization dedicated to advocating for legislation that is important to the success of fraternity and sorority organizations across the country.
Kiara, along with a member from Sigma Delta Tau sorority, discussed the importance of Greek housing maintenance and anti-hazing policy.
The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act of 2021, if passed, would allow tax-exempt charitable or educational organizations to make collegiate housing and infrastructure grants to fraternities and sororities that apply such grants to their collegiate housing property. Currently, alumni members of chapters are not guaranteed donations made to the campus will enhance sorority or fraternity housing.
The Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) Act would create a federal definition of hazing, require universities to include incidents of hazing in their Clery Act reporting and provide students with educational programming related to hazing.
“This was my first time lobbying and I did not know much about the process going into the sessions,” Kiara said. “It was a really rewarding experience being able to represent DPhiE on issues that affect us everyday.”
Within her chapter, Kiara serves on the leadership team as the vice president of equity and belonging. When looking back at her experience so far as a member, she noted her favorite memories were helping the sorority to navigate through the last few years of social uprisings.
From Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the country, to hate crimes targeting the AAPI community, Kiara helped her chapter navigate the best way to lead with empathy and make sure DPhiE is and remains an organization dedicated to diversity, inclusion and belonging.
Because of her leadership within this space, Kiara received the nomination to represent the international community in the lobbying visit.
“Because of DPhiE, I have been able to learn from fellow leaders on best practices to handle difficult situations and tactics to help navigate obstacles,” Kiara said. “I learned that lobbying for the things that matter most to you is a great way to get your voice heard.”