Tri Sigma Joins the R-MC Greek Community
Emma White '22
Greek life is a central aspect of Randolph-Macon’s culture, and earlier this month, a new sorority made its way onto campus. Sigma Sigma Sigma, otherwise known as Tri Sigma, is a Greek organization whose values are “wisdom, power, faith, hope, and love.” This will be Tri Sigma’s ninth chapter in Virginia, joining the 100 plus chapters nationwide.
Tri Sigma was founded in Farmville, Virginia at Longwood University in 1898, making the sorority over one hundred and twenty years old. The sorority began as a group exclusive to educational colleges, but became a full member in 1951, now admitting members of any major. They host chapters on over 112 college campuses and maintain over ninety alumnae chapters as well. Tri Sigma boasts a number of notable alumni, including New Jersey State Senator Kristin Corrado, internet personality Gabbie Hanna, and Grammy Awardwinner Carrie Underwood.
According to their national website, Tri Sigma’s mission is 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.” The process of establishing a new chapter at R-MC was a long and calculated one. It all started two or three years ago with an exploratory committee made up of students, alumni, and members of the faculty and staff. This committee looked at a range of statistics, including concerns like space availability on campus as well as current and projected chapter sizes. The committee then made the recommendation to the Panhellenic Council to expand and add a new chapter at our school. From there, a bulletin was sent out to inform all twenty-six national Panhellenic organizations that R-MC was looking for a new chapter to join our campus. Any interested organization was tasked with submitting a packet of information that included what their new member plan looked like, their number of alumni in the area, etc. Out of five interested organizations, only three were selected to visit campus. The committee ultimately chose Tri Sigma, believing it to be the best fit for our college, and the national council approved the opening of this new chapter.
Among female students, Tri Sigma’s recruitment events have been popular. “There has been a lot of interest,” said Jayme Watkins, Director of Student Life. She shared that “even before they got to campus, Tri Sigma started their social media accounts and before spring semester started, they already had a decent number of people signed up on their website for an interview.” Since then, that list has only grown. Throughout this month, Tri Sigma has hosted a variety of events for hopeful recruits, including a watch party for ABC’s "The Bachelor", a “Galentines” cookie decorating party, and “Grow With Tri Sigma,” where girls painted their own clay pots and chose a succulent to plant inside.
Erykah Scruggs is one of four Tri Sigma residential consultants who has worked directly with possible recruits throughout the beginning stages, and who will remain present throughout the initial establishment of the sorority after bid day. For Scruggs, establishing Tri Sigma at Randolph-Macon has “been a really positive experience.” Scruggs stated that the group of consultants has “really been supported by the community” and that they are “so thankful to be here on campus and so happy with all the support [they’ve] gotten.” Scruggs also stated that the first Tri Sigma recruits at the college will have a unique experience. “They will be charter members, so they get to start their own chapter,” she said. “Whatever they want the vibe of their group to be, they get to set it.”
These first chapter members will have a chance at leadership experience and opportunity right off the bat, as the standard officer positions will be broken down into committees where students will have the opportunity to grow into the responsibilities. Scruggs thinks joining Tri Sigma will be “a great opportunity for girls looking for leadership positions and female empowerment.”
There are currently four sororities at R-MC, along with seven fraternities and one Co-ed service. Overall, fraternities and sororities make up thirty one percent of our student population, and for many college students, involvement in these organizations is immensely important, and can shape both their college career and their life after graduation. "It is a really great unique experience because there are so many things you can do all at once,” said Jayme Watkins on the importance of Greek life at R-MC.
Watkins also touched on the importance of Greek alumni communities, saying that “there are a lot of networks out there for alumni of fraternities and sororities and communities to meet other members within their own organization or others. In high school and college, your friends are right there around you. When you get older, they're not just there. You have to work to find friends, so it's really nice to have that connection.”
Tri Sigma’s presence on campus will not only create new opportunities for those interested in joining a Greek organization, but an opportunity for other organizations to rise to the occasion as well. Jayme Watkins is excited for the energy and new perspective Tri Sigma will bring, and says that this change could encourage other institutions to realize that “things don't have to be done the way they've always been done.” Watkins believes that having Tri Sigma on campus has brought more attention to Greek life as a whole, and that their presence will “really be positive for the entire community.”