Students create beaded bracelets to symbolize women’s friendship. Photos by Charlotte Suttee (C’23).
By Charlotte Suttee
Kappa Delta Sorority (KD) Public Relations Vice President Jullianna Morgan (C’21) carried a bright International Women’s Friendship Month poster inside, interrupting the quiet colors of the Mary Sue Room of the Bairnwick Women’s Center. Then came the trays of bright friendship bracelet beads, neon sticky notes, Walmart blue frosted cookies and sprinkled cupcakes.
The sorority enlisted the help of the Bairnwick Women’s Center (the Wick) residents to create the friendship centered event, held Thursday, September 26. KD sororities everywhere designate the month of September as International Women’s Friendship Month. Kappa Delta’s website describes that each sorority must “encourage women to remember the important roles friends play in their lives.”
“How can we make [an event] unique to Sewanee?” Morgan asked herself. “The Wick is a respected organization and they spread a good message… I reached out to them to celebrate female empowerment and friendship.”
Morgan displays the poster for International Women’s Friendship Month.
KD representatives selected two films that discussed female friendships and sent them to Wick, where co-director Adriana Jones-Quaidoo (C’20) worked with residents to create discussion questions.
Guests trickled in at the 4:30 start time, but within 20 minutes, every table was occupied with women crafting friendship bracelets, necklaces, chokers, and writing encouraging notes to be posted around the school. There was a lot of laughter and conversation.
The first video was titled “Frientimacy: The 3 Requirements of All Healthy Friendships,” a TEDx talk by Shasta Nelson. Her talk highlighted the three main aspects of belonging in a pyramid diagram: a foundation of positivity, and two lines of consistency and vulnerability that led to the pyramid top of ultimate female friendship. Jones-Quaidoo then asked the room what they thought the keys to ‘frientimacy’ were.
“Time!” someone noted. Shared experiences. Checking in with people.
“Vulnerability– in the sense that we aren’t just positive all the time and allow negativity,” another woman said.
Jones-Quaidoo explained that friendships may require a balance: “Once you get to the top of the triangle, sometimes you almost forget the positivity.” Positivity is the base of friendships, after all, according to Nelson.
“Hellos and smiles can make all the difference to somebody, and not just for people you know,” Jones-Quaidoo said.
Next up was “A Hilarious Celebration of Lifelong Female Friendship,” featuring a playful and insightful discussion between celebrity friends Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. They spoke about what they look for in a friend, health and longevity impacts of female friendships, and how strengthening these friendships is the key to gender equality and environmental wellbeing.
Jones-Quaidoo admits there were a lot of clear facts about friendship in these videos but recognized that “not everything that is common sense to some of us is common sense for others.”
For some people, this information served as healthy reminders about the nature of female friendships, though Jones-Quaidoo made sure to give everyone some takeaway actions: “One: Reach out to your lonely friends… two: challenge yourself to be vulnerable in the next conversation you have… three: identify what qualities are meaningful to you in a friend.”
Women write inspiring notes to each other.
KD marketed this event towards women, but welcomed the three men in the room, here to support their friends and organizations and to contribute to the discussion.
“Friendship is not just a female thing,” Jones Quaidoo said. The discussion can apply to friendships with any gender.
Morgan was most excited about the turn out and diversity of the student body, greek and non-greek life women, coming together to generate answers to her question: “How can we use female friendship to make an impact on the world?”