October Conversations with Council


  • Your life without Tri Sigma
  • Greek organizations cease to exist
  • No more single-sex organizations (Title IX language); single-gender
  • Enrollment numbers decrease and fewer women participate in recruitment

These are all possible scenarios in the changing climate of university life. Projections are that there will be fewer college students in years to come, with growth increases in enrollments concentrated in the Southeast and Western United States.

Events like the hazing death at Penn State and others have posed threats to entire Greek systems across the country. Availability of membership to young women in groups like the Boy Scouts has fostered an environment that questions single-sex membership (single-gender) in any organization. Harvard has instituted sanctions on students who belong to single-sex (single-gender) organizations, preventing them from earning scholarships and participating in leadership roles at the University.

We find ourselves in an environment where (to an even greater degree) we are all accountable for the actions of others in our Greek communities. Universities tend to punish the entire system when there are a few bad actors. We have come to acknowledge this fact and have always been a leader in the fraternal world in our attention to risk management. Tri Sigma has a no-tolerance posture related to hazing, and always has. This stance has served us well in the past, and will continue to do so in our future.

One of our Council charges is to ensure the future of our beloved organization. We stay up-to-date on campus issues on a regular basis by reading news articles, staying in touch with our National Panhellenic Conference friends and serving the Conference, working through the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee and through our Capitol Hill visits, and staying abreast of trends impacting us. We have members who lobby Congress along with other NPC women in order to push through legislation related to housing and tax-exempt status, single-gender status and other pressing issues as they arise.

Those of us who belong to Greek organizations treasure our memberships, but do we always put our best face forward to non-Greek members? How do we demonstrate the value of being a member in public? When Council members have conversations with people we meet at the airport or on the plane on our way to Sigma conferences, we are often met with surprised comments regarding our continued service to the organization. We’re obviously no longer in college—do we earn a salary for our time and efforts? Why would we spend so much time volunteering for an organization when we have been off campus for so many years?

We respond that we feel compelled to give back to Sigma because the organization has given us so many fabulous opportunities during the course of our memberships. We are the women we have become due to our membership and the personal growth opportunities we have been afforded. We have developed leadership skills due to our membership. We have found great value in our personal lives due to membership in Tri Sigma. We give time, devotion and financial support through Foundation donations. We have a network of sisters and friends across the United States whose friendships we treasure. We are passionate about our organization and its values. We have the opportunity to mentor young women as Council members.

How are you promoting your Tri Sigma membership personally? We are all ambassadors for our organization on a daily basis. Were you aware of the threats to our existence listed above? Have you seen these threats on your campus? Do you have thoughts to share regarding what we can do to be “What’s Next” in Greek life as a women’s organization? Share with us ideas you have for strengthening our sisterhood in light of societal threats, and let’s start a dialogue about steps we can take. Questions about actions we’re currently taking? Please share with us at cwc@trisigma.org.  We look forward to hearing from you!



Joyce O’Daniel

National Vice President