My Legacy is Wearing Other Letters

Michele with daughter, Lydia

When my daughter was born, I would often sing Sigma Kappa songs to her while we were up during those nighttime feedings. I had hoped that I would have embedded some sense of how much this part of my life meant. As she has grown up, she has witnessed my love and appreciation for my sisters. My “people,” core group of sisters, plan a trip every summer together where we simply unplug, relax and unwind together. 

When she started her college search, I really hoped that whatever school she chose, her college experience would include a Sigma Kappa Chapter. However, most importantly I wanted my daughter to choose a school that checked all the boxes that would allow her to be successful in her future career. When the short list of colleges appeared, none of the schools had a Sigma Kappa chapter on their campus.

In August of 2019 I dropped her off several states away hoping that she would be happy, healthy and well-adjusted in her first semester of college. She called me within the first week and told me about some of the sorority girls she met during the activities fair. She seemed to understand each sorority’s identity on campus. I realized she would have a different experience than I had.

I chose Sigma Kappa because they were establishing a new chapter on my campus and I wasn’t interested in any of the other national or local organizations. Primary recruitment on her campus, required her to make a commitment to recruitment and help cover cost by paying $50. My guess is so the girls going through the recruitment are serious about the entire process. Before starting recruitment, they held an orientation to tell the girls what to expect and how to dress. Having these standards in place made it easy for me, as a mom, to embrace a campus with such an organized and successful Panhellenic system.

Phi Mu’s initiation

 The open house rounds were over the course of two weekends and included visiting eight different sororities. The following weekend was the sisterhood round where you could be invited to up to five sororities. My daughter was invited to four and one of her top picks didn’t invite her back. She had a good attitude about it and continued in the process.  Next up was the preference round where you could be invited back to two sororities. She was invited back to her second and third choices but realized if she had to pick between her original number one and two, it would have been extremely difficult. She was so excited after preference and about deciding which sorority would be her new first and second choices. 

Secretly I was hoping the second sorority would be the right one based on their solid national headquarters. I thought how this sorority portrayed themselves would be best for my daughter. In researching, the final sororities, both nationally and locally, I wanted one that had a positive review and was deeply rooted in tradition for loyalty, philanthropy and empowerment. During recruitment week I felt like I was riding the emotional roller coaster of highs and lows that come with primary recruitment alongside my daughter. She would go to one party and be very excited and then another where she was disappointed because she didn’t feel a connection with the young ladies she met. 

At this point, many girls simply drop out because they don’t want to continue the process if their number one didn’t see them as a fit. Other women decide to only list their top choice or not join a sorority at all. As things work out as they should, my first choice, and what ultimately became her first choice, is where she ended up. She joined Phi Mu. My hope that she would be chosen by a group of independent, supportive and loving sisters where she could be herself came true. She was extended a bid from a sorority older than Sigma Kappa, but new to the university. This chapter was still finding their identity on campus. I was so excited I sent a text to my Sigma Kappa group. Now she’s been able to experience bid day, the new member process and big/little reveal. She has the sense of sisterhood that has been part of my life for over thirty years and is so happy. She has found her “people.” Isn’t that what being part of a sisterhood is all about? Even though we are both part of different sororities I was so thrilled that she was able to find her people and her home away from home.  I know she will have a great support system now and in the future.

Do you have a Sigma Kappa legacy? Connect your legacy with Sigma Kappa by signing her up for the Legacy Link. Doing so, will connect her to the sisterhood of Sigma Kappa at an early age and introduce our values: personal growth, friendship, service and loyalty. Each November legacies signed up through the Legacy Link will receive a small gift from the national organization. Legacies must be 16 years or younger to be eligible for Legacy Link program. Click here to learn more. If you would like to recommend an outstanding leader who shares are values, click here to fill out a recruitment introduction form.

Michele Pratt

Michele (Walbert) Pratt initiated into Theta Iota, The State University of New York at Fredonia in 1988. Michele was a founding member and has gone on to serve as an advisor to her chapter for many years. She also previously served as president of the Buffalo Alumnae Chapter. Michele is the vice president of business development for a consulting firm and has her own copywriting business, Pratt Consulting.

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