Motivational speaker brings “sorority girls can change the world” message to App State

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Motivational speaker brings “sorority girls can change the world” message to App State

Katie Bulmer leads

Katie Bulmer leads "Sorority Girls Can Change the World" event.

Cameron Carnes

Katie Bulmer leads "Sorority Girls Can Change the World" event.

Cameron Carnes

Cameron Carnes

Katie Bulmer leads "Sorority Girls Can Change the World" event.

Jackie Park, News Editor

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In 2014, Katie Bulmer was working for a T-shirt company selling bulk orders to colleges. She received request after request for a brand called Comfort Colors, a popular T-shirt company in the Greek community. That was when she decided something: sorority girls can change the world.

Bulmer, a motivational speaker and author of “Sorority Girls can Change the World,” visited App State to speak to women in the Panhellenic community on March 18 about their trendsetting power.

Bulmer said she knows believing sorority girls can change the world isn’t “your average belief.”

Bulmer said she began paying more attention to Comfort Colors due to the popularity of its shirts with college-aged Greek women.

In 2014, the CEO of Comfort Colors was on his deathbed, the company launched no new products and did not advertise. Shortly after, the company sold to Gildan for $100 million, according to a press release.

In January 2015, Bulmer attended an annual trade show with her company and met Comfort Colors corporate employees. She asked them if they noticed the trend with Greek women and their T-shirts.

“Comfort colors corporate says, ‘Oh yes, sorority girls can change the world,’” Bulmer said.

Bulmer said she went home from the trade show and wrote a blog post about how sorority girls can change the world, which a lot of people agreed with.

“This huge, incredible trendsetting power, what if you used it for more than T-shirts?” Bulmer said.

Bulmer spoke about “socials that serve,” meaning instead of having a themed event for members to go to and dance, host an event involving community service.

She said the Alpha Delta Pi chapter at Georgia Southern University started this several years ago. Members went out in the community to participate in 15 different projects, like planting a garden at an elementary school and volunteering at an animal shelter.

“It was such a big deal, the community was talking about it for months,” Bulmer said.

Bulmer said this gave sorority girls good press that they don’t usually get.

“If the worst were to happen and you were to lose your charter tomorrow, who in Boone would miss you the most? The bars that serve Tequila Tuesday? Or the local nonprofits because they love your partnership?” Bulmer said.

Bulmer also suggested that executive members of Panhellenic sororities, who have a budget for their respective position, can make their money count sometimes by purchasing products that have a positive impact on others.

One way she suggested doing this is by buying fair trade products that support good causes. As an example, Bulmer talked about M.E.R.CY Jewelry, a company based in the Dominican Republic that aims to give women jobs and education to keep them out of sex trafficking.

Bulmer recommended that when sororities buy gifts for their new members, to look for companies like M.E.R.C.Y. Jewelry to buy from to make a difference with their money.

“Do you see the impact that you have? You did it with a T-shirt,” Bulmer said. “You guys can change the economic model of the Dominican Republic. That’s just one small example.”

Bulmer also encouraged the women to understand why their organizations were created because it would allow them to grow closer to their sisters.

“It was encouraging to know that somebody really believes in the power of sorority women,” senior public relations major and Zeta Tau Alpha member Hannah Lamb said.

Lamb said she has often felt the stigma of what it means to be a Greek woman when she walks in a room.

Kristen Kinley, sophomore child development major, is the delegate for Alpha Delta Pi on Panhellenic Council and organized the event.

Kinley said a fellow ADPi member sent her information about Bulmer last year, but she was not in the position to bring Bulmer to campus until she became the Panhellenic delegate.

Kinley said she wanted Greek women to realize that they are more than their letters.

“The number one thing in her platform that stands out to me is that we have the power to erase the stigma behind sorority women,” Kinley said.