Cleopatra’s Sisters: the sisterhood without the sorority

By Ava Turner

Elm Staff Writer

Much like a sorority, the members of Cleopatra’s Sisters experience the lasting bonds of womanhood and friendship.

Cleopatra’s Sisters is a club at Washington College that specializes in building a community to spread empowerment and positivity. 

According to their Instagram page, the club is “an organization of diverse women at Washington College dedicated to community service and advocacy for women’s issues.”

The president of the club, senior Jiruwak Tolessa, said Cleopatra’s Sisters is “an empowerment group … [meant to be a] celebration of womanhood.” She said the club is “not a sorority, but [they] have a sisterhood that lasts after college.”

Tolessa was drawn to Cleopatra’s Sisters when she experienced to the welcoming and positive atmosphere and the community involvement.

“I joined because I wanted to be a part of an organization that mainly focused on women, specifically women of color. In a PWI, the needs of students of color are usually put aside. An organization like the Cleopatra Sisters creates the space for women to come together and discuss different issues, support and be there for each other, not just while we are students at WC but beyond WC. The celebration of womanhood is what made me join the organization,” Tolessa said in her spotlight post on the club’s Instagram page.

Junior Ama Amponsah is the vice president of Cleopatra’s Sisters. This is her third year being a member of the organization.

According to Amponsah, Cleopatra’s Sisters is “an organization for women of color, but not just for women of color … [where] anyone from all backgrounds can come together.”

Amponsah said that she was introduced to Cleopatra’s Sisters in her freshman year and was enticed by the positivity and role models. The officers exemplified what it meant to be a leader for Amponsah, leading to her desire to be a strong female role model for others.

“I hope to pass what I have learned on to our new members and to continue to spread our principles on campus,” Amponsah said, elaborating on her desire to be a role model for others, in her spotlight post on the club’s Instagram page.

Cleopatra’s Sisters has been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and the shift to virtual learning. They had many events planned for the spring 2020 semester that had to be cancelled. These included fundraisers, flower drives, and other female empowerment events. 

The Cleopatra’s Sisters officers are currently working on a calendar for virtual events, which they hope to have available by November. In the meantime, they will post any updates on their Instagram @cleopatras_sisters_wac.

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