American Indian sorority recruits downtown for first time
ASU Press
April 17, 2008

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 by Karen Michelle Sarver
 

Alpha Pi Omega Inc., the first Native American Greek organization on the ASU campus, is recruiting new members for the first time on the Downtown campus.

"Last fall, we only recruited on the main campus," Greyeyes said. "But this past spring semester I [received] e-mails from Native American women asking us to come to their campuses to recruit."

Sorority President Deidre Greyeyes, a Navajo of the Water Clan, explained that Native Americans graduate from small high schools on their reservations to attend large "colleges and universities with immense student populations that outnumber Native Americans by the thousands."

Greyeyes said sorority members act as a surrogate family, offering support and encouraging "the progression of education amongst Native Americans."

The organization's Web site also states that one of Alpha Pi Omega's goals is to "work to improve retention rates, diversity and well-being among the American Indian population and the general student population at Arizona State." among the American

According to the sorority's fact sheet, Alpha Pi Omega, established at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on September 1, 1994, is "historically the first Native American Sorority in the nation."

Four Native American college students, known as the Four Winds, founded the organization in October 1994.

The ASU chapter was established May 4, 2007, at the Tempe campus and has 11 members.

Although the sorority is social in nature, chapters are required to complete community service projects and conduct fundraising activities.

The group's current national philanthropy is the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), which represents American Indian and Alaskan Natives in science and technology fields.

Some of the sorority's past volunteer events include the "Hope Starts With You" Breast Cancer Walk, the Native American Recognition Days Parade, and Kid's Day at the Boys and Girls Club.

Greyeyes said the group's status is currently provisional, which is a required for a year, and then it will become the Iota Chapter.

More than 75 tribes, from the Acoma Pueblo to the Zuni, are represented nationwide in the sorority.

"There are no restrictions as to specific tribes, races, ethnicities or gender," Greyeyes said. "Although we may be a Native American-based sorority, we pride ourselves on being open to all cultures and backgrounds."

Members are required to be full-time students enrolled in a four-year university and to have a 2.3 cumulative GPA.

Alpha Pi Omega adviser Guila Curley said she encourages all college women to join and "to band together as sisters."

The organization, she said, enables women to "make bonds that will last a lifetime."

For more information, visit http://asuapio.com/info.php.

Reach the reporter at: ksarver@asu.edu.