The Three R’s

The first time I heard that the Sigma Kappa Triangle archive would be posted online for our use, I became giddy with anticipation. I loved the idea of getting more insight into what our sisterhood was like in the early- and mid-20th century. This month, I thought it would be interesting to delve into the search engine and see what I could learn about recruitment over the years.


In the very first issue of the Sigma Kappa Triangle, the word “rushing” was used to describe the activities of Delta Chapter at Boston University. I wonder if it was new terminology for Sigma Kappa at that time…

In the first sentence, a reference to Pan-Hellenes, as well as more stringent rules, is probably a reference to the fact that Sigma Kappa joined the National Panhellenic Congress (or NPC, which is now known as National Panhellenic Conference) in 1905, just three years after its formation. Perhaps it was through joining NPC that rushing became part of Sigma Kappa’s lexicon.

The fall of 1905 was an interesting time...
1907 Sigma Kappa Triangle update from Delta Chapter, Boston University (Vol 1 Number 1)

Two decades later, Psi (University of Wisconsin, Madison) reported — still using the word rushing, but no longer using quotation marks — that the dean of women had become involved in the bidding process. Today, on our campuses, we have Deans of Students and Directors of Greek Life.

Second semester rushing proved to be very successful...
1924 Sigma Kappa Triangle update from Psi Chapter, University of Wisconsin (Vol 18 Number 3)


I don’t know when chapters first requested rush recommendations from alumnae, but by 1956, they were clearly important, since the spring issue of the Triangle included this reminder that undergraduate Sigmas are counting on their alumnae. And this is still the case! Except that in 2018, Recruitment Introduction Forms are submitted online!

Have you given any time or thought...
1956 Sigma Kappa Triangle request for recommendations (Vol 50 Number 2)


Speaking of recruitment, what happened to that other word that used to be in quotes? It changed!

It’s probably no surprise that most early references to recruitment in the Triangle are during war years. All that changed in the 1990’s, however, when the 26 NPC member organizations adopted resolutions to change the emphasis of rush from excessive financial burdens on chapters to place more emphasis on simple “no frills” recruitment efforts.

1992 Sigma Kappa Triangle article about NPC
1992 Sigma Kappa Triangle NPC Biennial Conference Recap (Vol 89 Number 3)

A decade later, in 2003, NPC conference delegates passed a resolution to adopt four specific recruitment styles to allow various chapters the opportunity to move from a single, rather inflexible formal recruitment system to a four-style system that allowed responsiveness to changing demographics, while continuing the no-frills recruitment concept adopted earlier.

2004 Sigma Kappa Triangle Spring issue cover
2004 Sigma Kappa Triangle NPC Biennial Conference Recap (Vol 101 Number 4)

Today, recruitment continues to be values-based, still aligning with the vision of the 1991 NPC recruitment resolution. Sigma Kappa chapters across the nation continue to seek new members who identify with our four values of personal growth, loyalty, friendship and service.


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