IU Tri Delt Freshman’s Amazing Story Contrasts Executive Board’s Claim that the Sorority Doesn’t Exhibit Tri Delta “Ideals”

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter with a heavy heart. I hope that this letter conveys to you how life changing Tridelt has been for me. My name is Nicole Curlin. I am a freshman at IU and a current member in the pledge class for Delta Delta Delta. I have had an especially impactful experience with Tridelt. Since you can’t see me, for the purposes for this letter, it is necessary for you to know that I am Black. The reason why my race is even in this letter, is because I want you to know how big of a deal it was for me to rush. The black community has its own sororities that are very renowned and prestigious nationally. I am a multiple legacy for one of those sororities and have been taught all my life that that organization was something that I was meant to be a part of- that it was in my blood. But for some reason, I always felt that this would not be my place. That is why I rushed.

This is important because of the backlash I received from my extended family and members in the Black community. When I announced to my family that I would be rushing, the reaction was heartbreaking. One of my well-meaning, but scared, relatives said to me, “Nicole you cannot hide who you are. These people will remind you every day of the color of your skin and where you belong in society.” These words from my relative have echoed in my head since that moment and I was mindful of them while rushing. My experiences within the sorority have provided me with much more than just an extra-curricular activity. My sisters are a family that not only recognize my differences but embrace me for them. In Tri Delt I have never had to hide who I am, regardless of the fabricated societal norms my well-meaning relative and society try to preach to me. The Tri Delt sisterhood has provided an atmosphere of love and support through our cardinal values of truth, self-sacrifice, and friendship.

Throughout the rush process, numerous other chapters stereotyped me. I was called “the perfect token”, “the prettiest black girl they’ve ever seen”, and “different” from other black girls on campus. I specifically remember during “pref” round that we were given letters from our final three chapters. At one chapter three girls wrote me three one-page letters telling me how funny I am. While funny is a great compliment, it wasn’t until I was at Tridelt, that i realized there was so much more to me and what I had to offer. At Tridelt, I didn’t receive one-page letters about how great my humor was. I was given one word. That word was refreshing. The girl who rushed me told me that I was different, that I was unique, and that my personality was deeper than surface level. I quickly learned that Tridelt wanting me in their pledge class wasn’t about gaining diversity points because of the color of my skin. It was about the diversity I bring to the house as a person. For example, I am fluent in 4 languages, I hate chocolate, and I can’t stand the smell of popcorn. These were the things that Tridelt was interested in seeing in me.

I hadn’t felt this love and support anywhere on campus until I stepped foot in our beautiful brick house. When my friends turned their backs on me, smearing food in my bed while I was in class, my sisters at Tridelt were there for me, letting me sleep in their beds. When I was left stranded and alone on a Friday night, my sisters were there for me making a point to come and get me to hang out so I wouldn’t be alone. At three am while I cried because I just couldn’t understand my calculus for the life of me, I wasn’t crying alone. I was crying on the shoulder of my sister who stayed up all night to help me study even though she had no homework to do that night. I have found over and over again that when the people I thought I could rely on the most fail me, my sisters have my back. As a person who also lives with a severe anxiety disorder, I can tell you that the moment I walk past our doors, all my worries don’t seem that bad anymore. The hate that I get for being Black isn’t there anymore. The pressure to always be perfect isn’t there. The feeling that the world is against me isn’t there either; because I know that even if the world is against me my sisters will always and forever have my back.

I know our chapter is in trouble and we need to be doing somethings differently, but I want you to know that despite our imperfection, our love loyalty and respect for one another is something that can’t be found anywhere else. Believe me, I’ve looked. I hope that you can see that Tridelt is more than our flaws and that together even with the world against us we can come together in unity to fight back.

Nicole Curlin

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