#TheGiftofASA: Celebrating 117 years of sisterhood
One hundred and seventeen years ago, five women came together to charter Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority. These 16-year-old women were intentional when they founded our Sorority, planning from the beginning for it to be national in scope, even though Louise didn’t believe Juliette when she would say that. Louise would later “admit that the faith and effort of even 16-year-old girls can ‘remove mountains’” at the 40th anniversary convention in Chicago.
I have been reading “The Years Behind Us: A History of Alpha Sigma Alpha” and reflecting upon those early years of our Sorority. They were challenging times, where campuses with anti-sorority laws or faculty who ruled out sororities meant that several of our chapters were forced to close. How ironic that more than 100 years later, we have campuses considering similar actions. It is tragic to think of the women at Harvard who are being denied a sorority experience because of the penalties the institution is imposing upon members who are affiliated with a single-sex organization. While we do not have a chapter there, we stand in support of our Panhellenic sisters and their constitutional rights for freedom of association.
My sorority experience has shaped me into the woman I am today, and I am incredibly grateful that the five founders chose the path they did. Take a moment to reflect on these words from the Service for Founders’ Day:
“The success of the Sorority is dependent on the advancement of its principles by each member. We cannot separate our lives from the influence of Alpha Sigma Alpha and must accept our responsibility to our solemn vow ‘to live up always to the highest in thought, word and deed.’”
Now, more than ever, we need to spread the positive stories of sorority life. Through my membership in Alpha Sigma Alpha, I have learned skills that I carry forth into both my professional and personal life: servant leadership, networking, collaboration, team building, conflict management, managing budgets, delegation, accountability, facilitation, public speaking and the list goes on. We must wear our letters proudly and share our sorority experience freely. It starts with you, having a conversation with your parent, partner, friend, colleague, boss. Tell them the wonderful opportunities that Alpha Sigma Alpha provides to you, what you have learned and how that makes you a better person, better employee, better partner, better parent. The world needs to hear our stories and we must not hesitate to share them.
In every interview I have ever been on, I talk about my involvement in Alpha Sigma Alpha. Everyone I work with and all of my friends and neighbors know about Alpha Sigma Alpha, how it has benefitted me and how it enables me to contribute on a much broader scale. Our relevance is being questioned by those who only see the negative stereotypes about fraternities and sororities. We must do better. We must behave and act in ways that are true to our core values and the vision that five women had in 1901.
The words in our Service for Founders’ Day could not ring truer in the world we live in today. How will you celebrate Founders’ Day? Will it be wearing your badge to class or work? Will it be gathering with sisters to perform the ritual service? Will you celebrate through service to one of the national philanthropic partners or an organization in your local community? I want you to consider one additional way to celebrate this Founders’ Day. Share your Alpha Sigma Alpha story with someone new. Share what Alpha Sigma Alpha has taught and given you using #TheGiftofASA on social media. Let’s pay forward the precious gift of our membership by spreading the influence of Alpha Sigma Alpha throughout the world.
As our Ritual states:
“Make us worthy of the founders we honor today. Make us serene in the knowledge that their influence is eternal, and that our love for them and for the sorority they founded shall indeed be a love that never fails.”
Happy Founders’ Day sisters!
Kelly McGinnis Beck