The sisters of Delta Sigma Delta

Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 in Features

The sisters of Delta Sigma Delta

by Jeff Harmon

BANGOR — Stacey Libby is a 22-year-old woman from Gray. Chelsea Kondratowicz is a 19-year-old from Kingston, N.Y.. Sarah Lehman is an 18-year-old from Lubec. All three of these young women are college students at Husson University and the New England School of Communication. They also have another thing in common: they are all members of the sorority Delta Sigma Delta.

The Phi Beta Kappa Society is generally recognized as the first Greek-letter student society in North America. It was formed Dec. 5, 1776, at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Now there are hundreds of Greek societies nationwide, and they are found on most college campuses across the country. The Husson University campus is home to three sororities and three fraternities. Alpha Phi Omega, Kappa Delta Phi, and Mu Sigma Chi are the fraternities on Husson’s campus. The sororities at Husson are Epsilon Tau Epsilon, Kappa Lambda, and Delta Sigma Delta. The oldest of these Greek organizations are the fraternity Mu Sigma Chi, established in 1931, and the sorority Epsilon Tau Epsilon, founded in 1933. According to Libby, “In the beginning, there was only Mu Sigma Chi. Then later, the brothers put the first class of girls of Epsilon Tau Epsilon through the pledging process. After that, ETE found one year with over 80 girls wanting to pledge, so they opened Delta Sigma Delta to join the Pi Rho Zeta family."

From the Husson University website:

“Delta Sigma Delta is a community service based sorority providing social interaction between NESCom and Husson students. Above all, we are a sisterhood, a group of girls both past and present that are there for each other long after our years here at college. In the past we have received the highest GPA and the most community service awards for the Greek organizations on campus. Along with our community service we also host fun events such as our Blue Hawaiian, parent’s weekend, Alumni Banquet and more. Let us show you what sisterhood is all about!”

There are currently 24 members of Delta Sigma Delta on campus, and the reasons for joining a sorority are as diverse as the women who are members.

Sarah Lehman’s mother was a Husson graduate in 1982 and a member of Delta Sigma Delta. This makes Lehman a “legacy” and all but guarantees her acceptance to the sorority. She joined because she thought it would be a good way to meet more people. Lehman pledged Delta Sigma Delta this spring.

While growing up in New York state, Chelsea Kondratowicz was very close to her parents, two step-brothers and her half-brother. She is attending college nearly 400 miles from home, and her mother, who had joined a sorority when she was in college, encouraged Kondratowicz to pledge. Chelsea remembers, “We attended the Husson open house and I saw all the organizations and clubs. Delta Sigma Delta had a table and my mom told me to go up and talk to them. I remember all the sisters had blonde hair except for Stacey. My mom asked, 'Do you have to be blonde to join?' I was embarrassed, but the girls laughed it off and told me more about Delta.” Kondratowicz pledged Delta Sigma Delta in the spring of 2010.

Stacey Libby’s parents live two hours away and she also has an older sister, Sarah, who lives in Vermont. In spite of the fact that Sarah is 10 years older than Stacey, they have always been close. Stacey’s fiancé is a member of the fraternity Mu Sigma Chi, which is a big reason that she chose to join Delta Sigma Delta. When her family learned of her plans to join, the first thing her sister asked was, “Why would you want to join that? You’re a leader, not a follower.” But Libby says that the sorority has helped her to become more of a leader. She pledged Delta Sigma Delta in the spring of 2008.

Deciding to join a sorority or fraternity isn’t a guarantee that the student will become a member. First, there is an information night, when students who are considering joining can meet the members and ask any questions they may have. Later, there is “rush,” which prospective members must attend if they want to be considered.

During rush, candidates for membership may receive a “bid,” which is an invitation to join. If the sorority is considering, but unsure if someone would fit in, that person may receive an “interest bid,” meaning that they want to find out more about the person before accepting her. Finally, not everyone will fit into the ideal of what it takes to be a member. These students are simply told that the sorority is “not interested.”

Those who are accepted make friends for life. The benefits of this can extend far beyond college life. Many alumni members of sororities and fraternities continue to be involved long after graduation. The opportunities for networking with alumni members can help to open doors after graduation when students are trying to enter the job market.

Amber Woods has been the faculty adviser for Delta Sigma Delta on the Husson campus since 2006. When she began, she remembers there only being six or seven members of Delta Sigma Delta; the number has now grown to 24. She notes that there is more to being a sorority sister than just the social aspect. Members must maintain a grade point average of at least 2.5, and are required to do a minimum of 15 hours of community service per semester.

Woods lists some of the 10 to 15 charities per year that have been aided by the sisters of Delta Sigma Delta as: the YMCA Spring Fair, the Eddington Elementary School Fair, the March of Dimes, Paws on Parade, the Susan G. Komen walk, and most recently, they were on hand as volunteers in support of the Bangor-Brewer M.S. Walk.

The sororities and fraternities on the Husson campus do not have houses like many other Greek student organizations at other schools. A local ordinance in Bangor makes it illegal for more than a few people who are not related to live in the same house. The purpose of the law is to prevent brothels from opening in the city. Due to vagueness in the law’s written language, it also prevents the sisters from having a place of their own.

In the past, Delta Sigma Delta had its own lounge in a dorm on campus. The university took that from them due to space constraints. Woods says that this makes it difficult for the sisters to have a space dedicated to their activities. They currently hold their meetings in classrooms, but that lacks the comfort and intimacy of a space of their own.

The sisters hold various fund-raising events throughout the school year; however, funding is largely reliant on donations from alumni. At the moment, the money is just not available to set them up with their own meeting space.

This has only been the slightest glimpse of what goes on in Delta Sigma Delta. There is a saying; “If you are on the outside looking in, you can never understand. If you are on the inside looking out, you can never explain.” What a sorority is NOT about, in the words of Stacey Libby, “It’s not really pillow fights and pajama parties.” In her four years there, she has not seen a single one of those.

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