By: Areej Ali
Nu Omega Zeta is a Black-focused sorority at McMaster that aims to support and enrich the Black community on campus and in Hamilton.
While the sorority was founded in September 2011, plans to launch Nu Omega Zeta were in the works months before the sorority’s founding date.
The seven Nu Omega Zeta founders first looked to Black Greek organizations in the United States, which provided a good perspective on how they should establish their own chapter.
For instance, today, the sorority pairs up new members with a ‘Big Sister’ who provides guidance and support.
The founding members first looked for an executive board and then created the symbols, guidelines and pillars that the sorority would stand for.
According to Eno Antai, the current president of Nu Omega Zeta, members do not need to identify as Black in order to join the sorority.
Nevertheless, the group is Black-focused, aspiring to “promote the growth and enrichment of Black undergraduate students and to enhance their education through the strengthening of the relationships within the Black community.”
In particular, Nu Omega Zeta stands for “Sisterhood, Volunteerism and Knowledge.”
Over the few years, members of the sorority have volunteered at Empowerment Squared, a Hamilton-based charity that seeks to empower marginalized and newcomer communities in Hamilton.
The sorority also runs campus events such as “Chance on Campus,” a one-day event that gives grade 10 and 11 students the opportunity to experience post-secondary life at McMaster and learn about the university’s organizations and academic and financial resources.
“When I look back and think why I wanted to join Nu Omega Zeta, I remember feeling very isolated and alone on campus in my first year,” said Gabriela Roberta, a member of the sorority.
“I had no intentions of joining a sorority. However, Nu Omega Zeta was the first and only organization to reach out to me and make me feel as though my fears are not only my own,” said Roberts.
Roberts added that the sorority immersed her in a community of women that truly understood her struggles and concerns.
She strongly feels that Nu Omega Zeta has been a transformative life experience.
For Jet'aime Fray, another member of Nu Omega Zeta, the sorority means sisterhood. Fray explains that the sorority has allowed for her to create long lasting friendships and has given her a unique opportunity to volunteer in Hamilton.
“In a society that refuses to acknowledge Black women, having a space that allows you to be unapologetically who you are and celebrates you is very needed,” said Antai, who feels that the space Nu Omega Zeta provides to acknowledge Black women is much needed and can give many students a home away from home.
Julianne Providence joined Nu Omega Zeta for precisely this reason.
“I saw it as a space where I could belong. I had seen the ladies on campus and admired the connections they had with each other,” said Providence.
Omega Zeta hosts a number of initiatives throughout the year, including rush events, parties, relationship summits, workshops, networking events about education and support in the Black community and a ‘World AIDS Day’ panel discussion.