fraternities and sororities

  • Sorority ~ A Brief History of Sororities

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Fraternities and sororities are secret societies which were initially founded my students to have debates and discussions that might be considered inappropriate  by school officials.  While the first men's fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa, was founded December 5, 1776 the first women's fraternity, later called sororities, were founded much later. This was due to the fact the women didn't become actively involved in higher education and politics. The first sorority, the Adelphean Society (later Alpha Delta Pi) was founded at Wesleyan Female college in 1851.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Especially in the early days, sororities were very important to women entering the male dominant universities and colleges. Quite often the faculty and students weren't too welcoming, so the women banded together to form a sisterhood , which evolved into lifelong friendships. They were an amazing support to one another. There were some attempts to block the founding of these literary societies but many were connected to fraternities that helped them get going. Most sororities began and are located in North America but there are some outside of that; most of which exist in the Philippines.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Today sororities are heavily involved in helping each other and their community. Philanthropy is a HUGE part of sorority life. Many sororities find a charity (often many) that are near and dear to their hearts and then do what they can to volunteer their time and raise money to help these organizations. To learn about a specific sorority be sure to visit our blog and check out out Sorority Spotlight link.

     

    Sometimes people who don't know much about sororities wonder how they really benefit their members. There are MANY benefits of being part of a sorority:

     

     

    • Develop leadership and interpersonal skills
    • Form lifetime friendships and connections
    • Teaches its members to work together with others in an atmosphere of teamwork
    • To perform community service projects
    • Program social functions for the student community

     

  • Sigma Sigma Sigma ~ Sorority Spotlight

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sigma Sigma Sigma ~ ΣΣΣ

     

    Open Motto: "Faithful unto death."
    Mascot: Sailboat
    Jewel: Pearl
    Colors: Royal Purple and White
    Flower: Purple Violet

     

     

    During the time in history when Sigma Sigma Sigma (aka Tri Sigma) was founded, higher education for women was quite controversial. As one might imagine, it was not an easy time for women who sought higher education. Many teachers and other students made it quite difficult at times. However, at the State Female Normal School in Farmville, VA opened it's doors to women and teacher education in 1890. In the fall of 1897 eight students of  -- Margaret Batten, Louise Davis, Martha Trent Featherston, Isabella Merrick, Sallie Michie, Lelia Scott, Elizabeth Watkins, and Lucy Wright formed a special bond while studying for their future teaching careers and formed a secret society. Lelia Scott and Lucy Wright led the first meetings of their secret society, the S.S.S. Club. On April 20, 1898, these women officially announced the founding of the Greek letter society known as Sigma Sigma Sigma.

     

    According to the official Sigma sigma Sigma website the Tri Sigma's Mission, Vision, and Values Statements are as follows:

     

    Mission Statement

    To establish among its members a perpetual bond of friendship, to develop in them strong womanly character, and to impress upon them high standards of conduct.

     

    Vision Statement

    Sigma Sigma Sigma inspires exceptional life long learning and friendships.

    Values Statement

    Sigma Sigma Sigma reaffirms its long standing core values of wisdom, power, faith, hope and love.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Philanthropy is also very important to Tri Sigmas. The Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation was founded in 1984 to fund philanthropic, educational and charitable purposes that help with leadership, the advancement of women and play therapy. The Robbie Page Memorial was founded in 1954, shortly after the Tri Sigma National President's son. Robbie Page, passed away from  bulbar polio. Initially the foundation helped fund polio research and today it fund items related to play therapy such as play rooms, libraries and programs to help children who are hospitalized long-term. Helping children is a huge priority for Sigma Sigma Sigma.

     

  • Sigma Kappa Spotlight

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In 1873-74  five young women founded Sigma Kappa at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. 1871 was the first year that Colby College allowed women to attend equally. Mary Caffery Lowe attended for two years as the only female at the school -- what a trail blazer!!! Finally in 1873 four other women came to the school -- Elizabeth Gorham Hoag, Ida May Fuller Price, Francis Elliot Mann Hall and Louise Helen Coburn. During this time in history it was very difficult for women to gain admittance to a college and once they were they faced discrimination by college staff and male students. Naturally, the five women spent a lot of time together and decided they would like to start a literary and social society -- Sigma Kappa.  They were first required to submit a constitution and bylaws, which they did. On November 9th, 1874 the women received a letter stating their petition was approved and Sigma Kappa  became official! That date has been celebrated as Founder's day throughout Sigma Kappa's history.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    According to the official Sigma Kappa website the purpose and values of the sorority are as follows:

     

    Purpose Statement

    The purpose of Sigma Kappa Sorority is to provide women lifelong opportunities and support for social, intellectual, and spiritual development by bringing women together to positively impact our communities.

    Values

    Our values: personal growth, friendship, service and loyalty; bound by a promise.

     

     

    It is also very important to the members of Sigma Kappa to give back to the community, help fellow sisters and to national organizations as well. Their philanthropies include; Alzheimer's Research, Gerontology, Maine Sea Coast Mission and Inherit the Earth.

     

     

  • Sigma Delta Tau ~ Sorority Spotlight

     

     

    Sigma Delta Tau ~ ΣΔΤ

     

    Open Motto: "One hope of many people."
    Mascot: Teddy Bear
    Jewel: Lapis Lazuli
    Colors: CafèAu Lait and Blue
    Flower: Golden Tea Rose

     

     

    The Sigma Delta Tau sorority was founded March 25th, 1917 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. It was originally named Sigma Delta Phi but was quickly changed when the founders learned that those letters already belonged to another sorority. Although Sigma Delta Tau was founded by seven Jewish women; Dora Bloom Turteltaub, Amy Apfel Tishman, Marian Gerber Greenberg, Grace Srenco Grossman, Inez Dane Ross, Regene Freund Cohane, Lenore Rubinow, there is no religious requirement for membership and the sorority is not affiliated with any particular religious organization.

     

    During that time in history, higher education for women was still a relatively new development and the founders faced struggles because of that; as well as discrimination by other Greek organizations of the time based on their religious affiliation. This is according to the official Sigma Delta Tau website. These obstacles to strengthened their bond and their determination to create a supportive sisterhood to help each other and other women succeed.

     

    MISSION STATEMENT ~ www.sigmadeltatau.com

    The mission of Sigma Delta Tau is to enrich the lifetime experience of women of similar ideals, to build lasting friendships, and to foster personal growth.  Sigma Delta Tau shall encourage each member to reach her fullest potential by providing intellectual, philanthropic, leadership and social opportunities within a framework of mutual respect and high ethical standards.

    To achieve these goals, we will:

    • Strive for excellence by providing the best possible service to each chapter and each member.
    • Join as partners with colleges and universities in the pursuit of academic success for our members.
    • Perpetuate our values and traditions while adapting to meet the challenges of the future.
    • Promote lifetime commitment and active involvement as Sigma Delta Tau alumnae.

     

    Helping others is a big part of the Sigma Delta Tau sorority sisterhood. In 1982 Sigma Delta Tau adopted Prevent Child Abuse America as their national philanthropy. They contribute their time, talents and treasure to helping this worthy case. In addition, Sigma Delta Tau also helps Jewish Women International and their literacy initiative; as well as Women for Women International.

  • Phi Mu ~ Sorority Spotlight

    Phi Mu ~ ΦΜ

    Open Motto: "The Faith Sisters.
    Mascot: The Lion "Sir Fidel"
    Symbol: Quatrefoil
    Colors: Rose and White
    Flower: Rose Colored Carnation

     

     

    Phi Mu is the second oldest women's fraternity in the nation. It was originally founded as  the secret society Philomathean Society on January 4, 1852 at Wesleyan College. It was founded by three dynamic young women who were pioneers of their time; Mary Elizabeth Myrick (Daniel), Mary Ann DuPont (Lines) and Martha Bibb Hardaway ( Redding). The came together to form this society to support and encourage one another, for friendship and sisterhood and to challenge each other academically. After many very successful years of growth and development, the Philomathean Society had achieved a lot of respect, recognition and prestige. August 1st, 1904 they were granted a charter to become a national and they adopted the Greek Letters Phi Mu. Mary Ann DuPont (Lines) was the only one of the three founders to see the Philomathean Society become Phi Mu. In 1911 Phi Mu became a proud member of the National Panhellenic Conference. There are currently 115 chapters and they boast over 175,00o collegiate members.

     

     

    THE CREED OF PHI MU FRATERNITY

    To lend to those less fortunate a helping hand.
    To think of God as a protector and guide of us all.
    To keep forever sacred the memory of those we have loved and lost.
    To be to others what we would they would be to us.
    To keep our lives gentle, merciful and just,
    Thus being true to the womanhood of love.

     

    To walk in the way of honor, guarding the purity of our thoughts and deeds.
    Being steadfast in every duty small or large.
    Believing that our given word is binding.
    Striving to esteem the inner man above culture, wealth or pedigree.
    Being honorable, courteous, tender,
    Thus being true to the womanhood of honor.

     

    To serve in the light of truth avoiding egotism, narrowness and scorn.
    To give freely of our sympathies.
    To reverence God as our Maker, striving to serve Him in all things.
    To minister to the needy and unfortunate.
    To practice day by day love, honor, truth.
    Thus keeping true to the meaning, spirit and reality of Phi Mu. 

    From the official Phi Mu website ~ www.phimu.org

     

     

     

     

     

    The members of Phi Mu do so much to help each other, their community and the Children's Miracle Network. Phi Mu strives to raise 500,000 annually for Children's Miracle Network, which they donate to one of the 170 CMN hospitals nationwide. They contribute their time, treasure and resources to assist those in need.

  • Kappa Kappa Gamma ~ Sorority Spotlight

     

     

    Kappa Kappa Gamma ~ ΚΚΓ

     

    Open Motto: N/A
    Mascot: Owl
    Symbol: Fleur-de-Lis, Key
    Jewel: Sapphire
    Colors: Dark Blue and Light Blue
    Flower: Fleur-de-Lis

     

     

     

     

    On October 13th, 1870 Kappa Kappa Gamma women't fraternity was founded at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. It is said that in the late 1860's two friends Mary Louise Bennett and Hannah Jeannette Boyd were frustrated that there weren't any women's organizations similar to men's fraternities.  At a time when very few women were encouraged to seek higher education, the women who were at these colleges and universities needed the support and sisterhood that a women's organization could provide.  Soon after their initial discussion the recruited 4 other women; Mary Moore Stewart, Anna Elizabeth Willits, Martha Louisa Stevenson and Susan Burley Walker. As noted on the official Kappa Kappa Gamma website:

    "Kappa's six Founders were exceptional young women who believed they could take on the world and create something totally new. Taught to love learning and literature, these educated ladies not only originated the idea of Kappa Kappa Gamma but wrote its constitution, planned its motto and chose its badge and name."

    There are strict regulations regarding the Kappa Kappa Gamma badges, which since it's founding have been golden keys. Member are discouraged from loaning their badges to those who are not initiated members because they represent membership. As noted on the KKG website, it is strongly recommended that badges be returned to the main headquarters upon a member's death. This is to help ensure that only initiated members are in possession if these keys.

     

     

     

    Currently there are 138 chapter and over 240,000 collegiate members nationwide. They are all strong women who support each other through their endeavors and they also active members in their community through their philanthropy. In addition, these caring women have also partnered with RIF - Reading is Fundamental. They share their time, treasure and talent to help young people discover the joys of reading.

     

  • Kappa Alpha Theta ~ Sorority Spotlight

     

     

     

     

    Kappa Alpha Theta ~ ΚΑΘ

    Open Motto: "Faith, Hope, Love."
    Mascot: Kite
    Symbol: Key
    Colors: Black and Gold
    Flower: Black and Gold Pansy

     

     

     

    Kappa Alpha Theta was founded in 1870 and was the very first Greek-Letter organization for women. At a time when it was rare for women to obtain a higher education, there were those who knew their potential, wanted to pursue their dreams and knew that they could do great things with the education they would receive if just given the chance. At what is now DePauw University (formerly Indiana Asbury) four women came together to start an organization where women could support and encourage one another. The original founders of Kappa Alpha Theta were Elizabeth McReynolds Locke Hamilton, Alice Olive Allen Brant, Elizabeth Tipton Lindsey, and Hannah Virginia Finch Shaw.

     

    Elizabeth (Betty) Locke was the one who originally decided to establish a women's fraternity. She had contacts with two of the fraternities  on campus; Beta Theta Pi which was her father's fraternity and Phi Gamma Delta which was the fraternity her brother belonged to. The members of Phi Gamma Delta had asked Betty to wear their letters as a supporter (not an actual member) for the fraternity but she did not feel comfortable doing that since she was not privy to the secrets and purposes that the letters represented. Instead - with her father's encouragement - Betty decided to start a women's fraternity and along with the other three founders started Kappa Alpha Theta. They got their constitution drawn up and badges designed, which  they wore them proudly. In March 1870 Kappa Alpha Theta became the very first Greek-letter women's organization.

     

     

     

    Today Kappa Alpha Theta boasts over 170 college chapters and 190 alumnae chapters throughout the Unites States and Canada. They have 210,00o+ collegiate members.  As noted on the official Kappa Alpha Theta website their values consists of "Scholarship, service, leadership, personal excellence, and friendship/sisterhood." Of course, philanthropy is a huge part of Theta life and in 1989 they partnered with CASA  - which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate - as their international philanthropy.  CASA is made up of community volunteer who fight to protect the rights and dignity of children.

     

  • Delta Zeta Soroity Spotlight

     

     

    Delta Zeta ~ ΔΖ

    Open Motto: N/A
    Mascot: Turtle
    Jewel: Diamond
    Colors: Rose Pink and Nile Green
    Flower: Pink Killarney Rose
    Badge: Roman Lamp

     

     

     

     

     

    1902 was an exciting time for the women of Oxford, Ohio who wanted to obtain higher education from Miami University. When Dr. Guy Potter Benton was elected as the  president of the University one of his first actions was to allow women into Miami University in the fall of that year. It didn't take long for a group of six very bright young women; Alfa Lloyd Hayes, Mary Jane Collins, Anna Louise Keen, Julia Lawrence Bishop, Mabelle May Minton, and Anne Dial Simmons to come together with common goals and ideals and form Delta Zeta. It was to be the first women's fraternity to be established at Miami University in Oxford, OH - which is known as the "Mother of Fraternity" because many prominent men's fraternities that originated there.

     

    It wasn't an easy go for the founders of Delta Zeta. It is reported that at one point their constitution was stolen but Dr. Benton was able to get the offenders to return it and on October 24th, 1902 it was formally established by the state of Ohio. The Delta Zeta Creed really explains so much about this women's fraternity and her members:

    Delta Zeta Creed

    To the world,
    I promise temperance and insight and courage,
    To crusade for justice,
    To seek the truth and defend it always:
    To those whom my life may touch in slight measure,
    May I give graciously
    Of what is mine;
    To my friends,
    Understanding and appreciation;
    To those closer ones,
    Love that is ever steadfast;
    To my mind,
    Growth;
    To myself,
    Faith
    That I may walk truly
    In the light of the Flame.
    –– Dorothy Mumford Williams, Alpha Zeta (Adelphi University) (1939)

    (Via Wikipedia)

     

     Another important aspect of the women's fraternity Delta Zeta, is philanthropy and service. They have made speech and hearing their main priority and Delta Zeta has nationally partnered with The Starkey Hearing Foundation, Gallaudet University and the House Research Institute. Each chapter also helps to support local organizations that are committed to this cause. 

    Delta Zeta's other national philanthropy is The Painted Turtle, which helps to provide a camp experience for children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses. According to the official Delta Zeta website:

     

    Delta Zeta supports The Painted Turtle camp as one of its national philanthropies through fundraising, donating items on The Painted Turtle's wish list, and via our collegiate and alumnae members who volunteer their time to the camp, helping the children that it serves.

    Visit The Painted Turtle camp at http://www.thepaintedturtle.org/turtle/

  • Delta Gamma ~ Sorority Spotlight

    Delta Gamma ~ ΔΓ
    Open Motto: "Do Good.
    Mascot: Hannah Doll
    Symbol: Anchor
    Colors: Bronze, Pink and Blue
    Flower: The Delta Gamma Cream Colored Rose
    Delta Gamma  was founded in Oxford, Mississippi at Lewis School for Girls, located near the University of Mississippi. Anna Boyd Ellington, Eva Webb Dodd, and Mary Comfort  Leonard founded the  women's fraternity in December 1873.  They started the fraternity to provide encouragement to each other and others and to facilitate intellectual growth.
     On the official Delta Gamma website they note that it is one of the oldest sororities and because of that they have had the opportunity for many firsts such as:
    • first women’s fraternity to employ a full-time staff member to address the health and wellness needs of its members
    • first women’s fraternity to incorporate a foundation in 1951
    • first to build an international headquarters specifically for that purpose
    • first to have seminars and house corporations
    • first to have an archivist handling historical materials at the international headquarters
    • first to receive recognition from the American Academy of Opthalmology for Distinguished Public Service
    • first to establish challenge grants in values and ethics, through the Dorothy Garrett Martin Lectureship in Values and Ethics 
    Sorority life means many things to many people. Sororities are a great place to develop lifelong friendships, learn about leadership, learn how to excel academically, and so many other things. Today Delta Gamma boasts over 143 chapters and 250 alumnae groups with over 142,000 members worldwide.
    Women's fraternities also provide many opportunities to help others in the community. Philanthropy is very important. Delta Gamma does so much to help folks in their community and their national philanthropy is on service for site. They have even partnered with TOMS for The Great Fight for Sight.
  • Sorority Spotlight ~ Delta Delta Delta

    Delta Delta Delta ~ ΔΔΔ

    • Open Motto: "Let us steadfastly love one another."
      Mascot: Dolphin
      Jewel: Pearl
      Colors: Silver, Gold, Cerulean Blue
      Flower: Pansy

     

     

    The women's fraternity Delta Delta Delta is also known as Tri Delta. It was founded in November 1888 by Sarah Ida Shaw, Eleanor Dorcas Pond,  Florence Isabelle Stewart and Isabel Morgan Breed At Boston University. During this time in history women were just starting to slowly enter the world of higher education. Many of these young women came to rely on others like them who were paving the way for a whole new generation of women. This was a time when public opinion was that women didn't need higher education because there were very few women in the workplace at this time; in fact women weren't even allowed to vote.

    Although there were already three women's organizations on the Boston University campus Sarah Ida Shaw wanted to start a women's fraternity that was different from the others. It is noted on Tri Delta's Official Website  that she said to her friend Eleanor Dorcas Pond:

    "Let us found a society that shall be kind alike to all and think more of a girl's inner self and character than of her personal appearance."

    So the two enthusiastic friends set out to create the organization they both envisioned. They got to work writing the constitution, rituals and designing an emblem. From the very beginning these two friends pour their heart and soul into the sorority. They set a strong foundation before the official founding took place. Delta Delta Delta was also the first organization to be founded without the help of a men's fraternity. Tri Delta was not a weak struggling sorority -- instead their numbers grew and quickly surpassed a new chapter of Gamma Phi Beta. They were a strong tightly knit group of devoted sisters.

    Today Delta Delta Delta has 180 Chapters (in the US and Canada) and since it's founding in 1888, it has welcomed 235,000 members into the Tri Delta Sisterhood.

    As noted on the Tri Delta website their purpose is:

     

    "THE PURPOSE OF DELTA DELTA DELTA shall be to establish a perpetual bond of friendship among its members, to develop a stronger and more womanly character, to broaden the moral and intellectual life, and to assist its members in every possible way.

    IT SHALL ALSO BE THE PURPOSE OF DELTA DELTA DELTA to promote and develop mutually beneficial relationships between the Fraternity and the colleges and universities where the Fraternity has established chapters, to develop qualities of unselfish leadership among its members, and to encourage them to assume, with integrity and devotion to moral and democratic principles, the highest responsibilities of college women." 

    The Tri Deltas also do all they can to help their members and to give improve their community. They volunteer their time and talents to many causes and their national philanthropy is Children's Cancer Research and they partner with St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

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