25 - Bria Randal, Auburn’s First African-American Panhellenic Sorority President

In addition to these friendships fostered through taking on leadership, she says she owes a lot of her success to the older women in Chi Omega that invested in her daily and who challenged her to be her best self. Bria explains that as a freshman, it took the encouragement of these women for her realize what she was capable of. She found Chi Omega’s network of values-driven women to be what propelled her into challenging responsibilities that would sharpen her and help her to grow.

“I’m growing as a self-motivator, but at least in my younger years, I definitely had to hear it from other people,” Bria said.

Now she’s at a point where she knows both her capabilities and her limits. Not only is she using the knowledge she learned from Chi Omega to help herself continue to grow, but she is committed to paying it forward by reaching out a hand to the younger women in her chapter too.

“You just kind of have to make sure that you’re integrating the people that are coming in,” Bria said. “A lot of people took me in during a vulnerable phase and formed me into someone that can now continue to form younger women into something.”

Bria was slated as G.H. of Alpha Beta at the end of 2017, and she says the guidance from her older Sisters is what allowed her to take on this role with confidence.

Bria understands that while boys have often been raised to be risk takers, girls have been raised to take the safer option. She knows how critical a strong female support system can be in reversing some of these pressures. Bria worked everyday to ensure her Sisters were not being given this same narrative. She wants to ensure that her Sisters in Chi Omega, as well as all women, understand that they are not limited in what they can want for themselves.

“Perfection used to be my main goal, but now it’s more so bravery,” Bria said. “To do anything and fail at anything.”

Bria feels more willing than ever to take risks knowing she has a foundation of strong Chi Omega Sisters to catch her in failure, and she is dedicated to being that for others, as well.

Every week while Bria was G.H. she would include an inspiring quote at the end of her email announcements. Bria explained how tough the environment can be when young women are constantly surrounded by other young women who are extraordinary. It is hard not to compare yourself. To encourage a positive culture among her Sisters and challenge them to be their best selves, she has made conscious changes like simply using the word “brilliant” instead of “beautiful” to compliment her friends.

“I want to make it less so about what we look like and more so who each individual person is,” Bria said.

Bria knows the best way for sororities to make all feel included is to minimize distractions and keep recruitment focused on the important conversations. She explains that this is crucial in making sure Panhellenic is available and inclusive to any young woman who wants to pursue it, no matter her racial, socioeconomic or regional background. The conversations and connections are the root of it all.

“I think rush is hard for anybody, but it was a good way for me to step out of my shell right away so I wouldn’t get locked into it,” Bria said.

Bria admits that she struggled a little in the beginning of her new member process, as she didn’t know many people. But she did what ended up being the best decision she could have made. She got as involved as possible in Chi Omega and hoped that would help her find her people. It did that and so much more.

“I walked into a sorority in a room of girls that didn’t look like me and might not be like me but was able to find exactly who I needed to be,” Bria said.

Bria strongly believes that sororities should continue striving to give young women the confidence and the tools to be their best self. She said everyone needs a foundation of authentic connections when they come to college to inspire them to grow and to hold them accountable. Even now that her term as G.H. is over, she strives to ensure her Alpha Beta Sisters focus on bettering and empowering each other continuously.

“It’s not just Chi O but the women within it who made themselves my foundation and let me grow in whatever I wanted to be that makes it so special,” Bria said.

The unforgettable, transformative conversations during recruitment were what drew Bria to Chi Omega. The connections she made in the years following were irreplaceable, and even though she had no idea the lifetime of Sisterhood that Chi Omega would bring her, she understood that this was a group of women she wanted to be a part of.

The impact of these conversations have followed her throughout her Chi Omega experience. These conversations were what set her on the track to make history at Auburn University as the first African-American Panhellenic Sorority President.

She once was the younger member looking for guidance and advice, but like Chi Omega does for so many, she now gets to sit on the other side of those conversations and be that light for younger women in her chapter.

Souce: The Auburn Plainsman