Brittany Setaro, Gamma Rho (Seton Hall University) doesn’t sugarcoat things. “High school wasn’t very positive for me,” she says. “I didn’t accept myself or believe in my own best traits.”
Brittany has a form of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia, which affects both of her legs. It creates limited mobility, lowered stamina, and back pain. “When I walk, my signals are a little bit different than those of everybody else,” Setaro says. “I have to walk with crutches and sometimes use a scooter or wheelchair. In high school, people couldn’t see past that. They just saw crutches. Back then, I was down on myself. I didn’t think I could compare with other students.”
That all changed with college. At Seton Hall, there were other students with disabilities; she wasn’t, in her words, “different anymore.” She joined student organizations like the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE), where she is currently leading a new program with the Cerebral Palsy League (CPNJ) where children with disabilities participate in choreographed dance lessons.
In spring 2016, Brittany joined the Gamma Rho Chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau, which helped her on her long journey to confidence and self-acceptance. “The Sorority gave me a social outlet,” she states. “The retreats and sisterhoods helped me learn my own value. We built each other up and shared what each of us contributed.”
She also credits Alpha Sigma Tau’s four-year member development program, Illuminate, with her growth – especially through the program’s peer-facilitated approach to learning. “It allowed me to express myself and see myself from others’ perspectives,” she recalls. “We related to each other. I shared what they meant to me, and they did the same for me. It was very positive and allowed me to see – and respect – myself for who I am.”
Brittany has found her home in Alpha Sigma Tau, and encourages everybody to find a place where people accept and support each other. “My Alpha Sigma Tau chapter saw past my disability and wanted me as a Sister,” she fondly recalls. “They helped me see that, while I am a little bit different, I am valued.”
“I am a better, stronger woman. I’m in a good place now.”