Sorority focuses on community volunteering
Royal purple, a sailboat, a pearl, a purple violet, a sisterhood and the motto “Faithful until Death” are just a few of the characteristics that make up the sorority of Sigma Sigma Sigma.
The Gamma Lambda chapter of Tri Sigma has been an organization on UW-Eau Claire since 1963. Their tagline is “Ever Forward,” which is associated with their symbol, the sailboat. This symbol represents continual forward motion and never moving backwards.
Their mission statement 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.”
Jenny Sayles, a senior at Eau Claire and treasurer of Tri Sigma, describes Sigma as not just another organization on campus.
“Other organizations have members but the members in Sigma Sigma Sigma I can call my sisters,” she said. “I have made lifelong friends that I know will be in my life for as long as I can imagine.”
Tri Sigma participates in many service projects throughout the school year. During this semester, they have participated in supporting the National Hazing Prevention Organization, which educates students, parents, faculty and staff, community members, local and campus police and others about hazing so they can easily recognize it and intervene when it happens. Tri Sigma has a zero tolerance hazing policy.
Over the last five years in October, the women of Tri Sigma have been walking in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Each year, Sigma holds their “Baking for Bookies” bake sale fundraiser while handing out free pink ribbons to students in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. This year they raised $180 to donate to Making Strides. Sayles said Tri Sigma enjoys supporting this cause because many of the girls know breast cancer survivors and it is a great way to support them.
One of the chapter’s favorite community service projects is Special Olympics, which they have been volunteering at for the past five years. Each fall, they help out with the annual Special Olympics Bowling Tournament.
“Special Olympics bowling is my favorite because it is working in small groups with individuals with special needs,” Tri Sigma member Sarah Buchner said. “Every time we leave the event I feel happy with myself, like I personally made an impact in someone’s life, I made someone’s day good.”
In November, Tri Sigma hosted a free self-defense class for all Eau Claire women. This class helped to educate women on safety tactics, the ABC’s of self-defense and other basic self-defense techniques. They involved other organizations on campus such as Men Opposed to Sexual Assault, UWEC Feminist Club, CASA, the Army National Guard and SWATeam to present information to the women who came.
Tri Sigma requires at least 10 hours of community service each year from each member. In the spring 2011 semester, they completed a total of 300 hours of community service. This averages over 10 hours per woman in just one semester. Tri Sigma continues to complete many community service opportunities throughout the school year.
“For next year, we plan on hosting our second annual ‘Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em for Robbie’ philanthropy to raise money for the Sigma Sigma Sigma National Foundation,” Tri Sigma President Whitney Hedge said. “We also plan on hosting more programs for UWEC women and recruit to total 40 women.”
Buchner said Tri Sigma inspires exceptional lifelong learning and friendships, and they stand by their values of wisdom, power, faith, hope and love.
“I can attribute a lot of my personal growth in college to Tri Sigma,” Buchner said. “It made me realize that I am capable of so much and makes me want to keep getting involved on campus and to take on more leadership positions now and in the future.”
With its unique community service projects and lifetime friendships, Sayles said Tri Sigma has the ability to benefit and change the lives of the many women involved.
“While being treasurer for almost four years I have had an amazing leadership role that relates to my accounting and finance majors to put on my resume that is unique and a great topic to discuss while interviewing for future careers,” Sayles said. “Sigma has forevermore changed my life and will always be a part of my life.”