College of Communication and Information student Chanel Friday played a key role in founding the new Alpha Omicron Colony of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Incorporated at the University of Kentucky this year.

Friday, an Integrated Strategic Communication senior from Kennewick, Wash., has been working behind the scenes with a few other students for three years to bring the sorority to Kentucky’s campus.

“Multiculturalism is one of the biggest tenets Theta Nu Xi follows,” Friday said. “We wanted a diverse amount of women to have a sisterhood to represent that you can be unique and still be in a sorority. You don’t have to feel like you have to fit into certain categories.”

The sorority does just that. It was founded in 1997 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the tenets of scholarship, service, sisterhood, leadership and multiculturalism.

The women, from many different backgrounds, enjoy learning about each other’s cultures.

“We focus not only on getting to know people of different cultures, but educating ourselves.” Friday said.

During her sophomore year, Friday and her friend and fellow founding member, Julia Vega, noticed a need for a multicultural sorority at UK, and they’ve been working towards the goal of bringing one to campus since then.

“We felt there was a need to bridge gaps between cultures on campus,” Friday said. “Because maybe one might see, at first glance, each of the existing councils and think maybe I don’t fit in this one and maybe I don’t fit in that one. So we wanted to be that in-between so that everyone felt like they had a home. We wanted something that represented multiple races, cultures, religions and backgrounds.”

Friday and Vega researched various sororities and quickly agreed that Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., was the sisterhood their campus needed.

The two girls pioneered an interest group called R.E.A.L., which stands for Reaching out to Empower Ambitious Ladies.

“We had to function as an interest group before [the national sorority] would actually acquire us, just to see how it would last on campus,” Friday said.

The interest group led to the foundation of Kentucky’s colony with an emergence ceremony on March 7, 2016 in Greek Park.

There, Friday saw years of hard work come to fruition.

“Everything is discreet up until the point that we emerge,” Friday explained. “So our emergence is when we revealed ourselves to the campus. That day, it felt really good because now we can be out in the open with something that we’ve been working so hard for.”

The women of the sorority were both excited and nervous.

'There were all types of emotions,” Friday said. “We were all excited, but we were all nervous, too because we perform our step and other cultural dances at the emergence. So we were all just really nervous about the performance aspect of it.”

They also hoped for acceptance from the campus.

“The other Greek organizations came out and supported us, and that was really awesome.” Friday said. “We’re happy that the university has been really supportive and that we were well-received by the campus.”

The women who emerged are the first line of sisters at the University of Kentucky. At 15, they are also the most initiates at one time to any colony or chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., in the 19-year history of the sorority.

“This is honestly a legacy we have left at UK, and I hope it prospers here, because I do feel like there’s a lot of women out there who can benefit from Theta Nu Xi, and it has potential to do great things on campus, to partner with other organizations and just bridge the gap between different cultures and people on campus,” Friday said. “I know that they will continue on with that.”

Friday plans to stay in Lexington after her May 2016 graduation.

“I hope to stick around for now to be a supportive alum of the colony and help them with any type of programming that they need,” Friday said. “Plus that’ll give me a reason to stick around UK! I’m not really ready to leave yet.”

Friday also plans to join a Graduate, Alumni and Professional (GAP) chapter, a feature that sets Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., apart from other Greek organizations.

“It is lifelong,” Friday said of her sisterhood. “It will be forever involvement.”

With more than 36 chapters nationwide and growing, sisters of the sorority are all across the country.

“The best part is just knowing that you have a support system, and even beyond our colony there are sisters everywhere,” Friday said.

Friday encourages all who are interested in joining Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., to do so, including upper class students and women who participated in another organization’s rush or intake and didn’t accept the bid.

“We want them to feel like they still have the option to be in a sisterhood if they want to,” Friday said.

Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., is in the National Multicultural Greek Council, which is not active at UK, so the sorority is currently housed in the United Greek Coalition, along with Beta Upsilon Chi and CERES.

“We support each other, and they’ve been really supportive of us,” Friday said.

The sisters of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., appreciate the support and welcoming spirit of other organizations on campus, and are excited to, in turn, support new organizations that follow.

For students interested in bringing another organization to campus, Friday encourages them to talk with her and her sisters about the process. They are willing to offer advice and support to new groups on campus.

“We want everyone to find the right fit for them,” Friday said. “I’m all for starting new organizations. We just wanted to jumpstart that because it will create a more diverse and inclusive university, since that’s something that we’re focusing on right now as a campus.”