Susquehanna Hosts Sigma Gamma Rho Regional Meeting
Published on September 12, 2012
More than 200 members of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority were on the Susquehanna University campus Sept. 7 and 8 for the organization’s northeast area 1 regional meeting. Founded at Butler University in 1922 by seven educators to create a sisterhood of women dedicated to education and service, Sigma Gamma Rho was the last sorority to be established under the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). Along with three other sororities and four fraternities, it makes up the NPHC’s “Divine 9,” historically black Greek-letter organizations founded between 1906 and 1963. Many college-educated African American families have ties to one or more of these organizations.
Being chosen to host Sigma Gamma Rho’s northeast regional area 1 meeting is a reflection of Susquehanna’s commitment to diversity, said Armenta Hinton, associate director of Susquehanna’s Center for Diversity and Social Justice. “Bold and aggressive steps have been taken to make our campus more inclusive and affirming, such as chartering two historically black sororities and fraternities on campus,” she said.
The undergraduate Rho Theta and graduate Kappa Iota Sigma chapters of Sigma Gamma Rho were chartered at Susquehanna University in 2007. Undergraduate (Gamma Beta Alpha) and graduate (Xi Psi Sigma) chapters of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, another “Divine 9” organization, were established on campus the following year. In 2008, the same year Susquehanna marked the 150th anniversary of its founding, Sigma Gamma Rho and Phi Beta Sigma celebrated the dedication of their on-campus houses.
Hinton said the Susquehanna chapters of Sigma Gamma Rho support women of all nationalities interested in enhancing educational opportunities for women, and as a result, include members of the Bucknell University community who share similar goals for diversity and inclusion. Moreover, Jenna Antoniewicz, Susquehanna University’s director of community standards and student conduct, and a graduate member of Sigma Gamma Rho, said, “It can boast the most racially diverse membership of any sorority supported by Greek Life.”
“Research shows that graduation and retention efforts are enhanced when students are able to experience their culture or be affirmed within campus and student life,” Hinton added. “As such, the international and multicultural makeup of both organizations (Sigma Gamma Rho and Phi Beta Sigma) is a further example of Susquehanna’s commitment to lead by example in making diversity and inclusion a part of the fabric of this institution, no longer relegated to one office or the duties of a discreet staff, but a part of everything that we do.”