The Journey to Sisterhood

Alpha Gamma Delta’s journey to returning as an SU sorority

By: Allison Clark

Syracuse University has welcomed a new – or rather, an old – sorority to campus this year: Alpha Gamma Delta. The newly initiated sisters of AGD are now taking on the exciting challenge of forging their own identity as a sorority. “It can be whatever we make it, which is really exciting,” says Madison Vick, a junior AGD sister. “We definitely want to hold up the values of Alpha Gamma Delta.”

Alpha Gamma Delta was founded at Syracuse University in 1904, but left campus ten years ago due to low membership. “Coming back to campus is very important not just for this campus, but for Alpha Gams everywhere,” says Bianca Cortez, AGD’s president. “We are the Alpha chapter, which means we were founded here, and it was a great loss when we had to close.”

In the fall, sophomore, junior and senior girls interested in joining AGD attended an open house organized by AGD consultants, followed by an informational interview. Girls who demonstrated serious interest in becoming a sister received a bid by the end of that week. The AGD consultants and alumnae played an integral role in assembling a positive group of women who exemplified the sorority’s ideals, Cortez said.

This process differed greatly from the traditional sorority recruitment procedure at Syracuse University, which typically takes place in late January. During typical spring recruitment, potential new members interested in Greek life spend time visiting each house, meeting the sisters, and learning about the sororities’ philanthropies and traditions. After receiving and accepting a bid from a sorority, the new members begin the pledging process. AGD’s recruitment was a much faster process than that of established sororities, and may have contributed to its appeal for some girls.

With approximately 100 girls invited to become potential new members, the AGD “colony” was established. The colony followed the same Pan-Hellenic rules observed by SU’s other recognized sororities. “In essence, we are the same as every other sorority with traditions, rituals and sisterhood. It’s important to note that even though our path has been a little unconventional, we have gone through the same process as any new member class has. Most new member classes just don’t have as many women.” Cortez says.

The potential sisters spent the several weeks after receiving their bids getting to know each other and learning about AGD’s history, philanthropy, and values. During the final week leading up to their initiation, the girls bonded throughout a week of sisterhood events. “It brought us together a lot,” says Mo Finn, a sophomore AGD sister. “It’s a huge, diverse group, which is really cool. It’s literally every kind of girl you could imagine on campus, and we’re brought together by that.”

The initiation ceremony was held on November 20, with alumnae and AGD’s in attendance to assist in the re-installation of the Alpha chapter. “I didn’t even grasp how big this was until initiation night,” Finn says. “Initiation wasn’t just us becoming sisters, it was becoming a chapter.”

Butterfield House, which currently serves as a residence hall for female students, will be renovated during the summer of 2011 to serve its original purpose as a AGD’s chapter house. “To not have a physical house is definitely a little harder for us to come together in a big space at once. But we joined Alpha Gamma Delta to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, not for a house,” Cortez said.

The sisters of AGD are enthusiastic about what lies ahead. “Next semester will be our first recruitment, and we actually get to do it,” Vick says. AGD will partake in the traditional recruitment process practiced by other SU sororities, albeit not in their sorority’s house (as Butterfield will still be a residence hall). “We’re really excited about where we’re going with this,” Vick says.

“It has been a whirlwind of events, but we have all bonded amazingly. I love my sisters,” Cortez says. “It’s been a great journey, we have only started.”

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