The History of Sororities at Spelman

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The year 1979 was a very significant moment for sisterhood at Spelman College as four of the six active sororities on campus were chartered that year.

According the spring 1979 issue of the Messenger, before that year, Greek organizations were not allowed since it was the general consensus that Spelman was in itself a sisterhood and that sororities would take away from this concept. In fact, sororities were voted down three times just 10 years ago.

The change in attitudes toward sororities came from the growth in student enrollment and the increase in the diversity of student interests. Encouraging academic excellence and leadership development and providing scholarships and community service, sororities have been a vital part of the Spelman community for more than three decades.

View a photo gallery of the sororities chartered at Spelman and learn more about them below:

 Tau Beta Sigma – Iota Rho Chapter

The “Irresistible” Iota Rho Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority Inc. was chartered at Spelman on April 30, 2010. We provide exceptional service to collegiate bands and promote equality and diversity, including empowering women in the band profession. We cultivate leadership, educational achievement, music appreciation, and community development. Eighteen members have been initiated into our chapter, and we have five honorary inductees. Currently with seven active members our chapter is represented in every Spelman instrument ensemble, including wind ensemble, concert band, jazz ensemble, and Atlanta University Center Orchestra. Some of the chapter’s community service projects have included participating in Hurricane Irene relief, Hosea Feed the Hungry, and music classes at local high schools.

Delta Sigma Theta – Eta Kappa Chapter

The Eta Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. was the culmination of a dream envisioned long before its charter was granted on April 11, 1970.  The mission of Eta Kappa Chapter is the furthering of the sorority’s five-point programmatic thrust: economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, and political awareness and involvement. Ten years after Eta Kappa was founded, members of the chapter successfully petitioned to bring Eta Kappa home exclusively to Spelman in 1979.  Now, 17 dynamic sorors continue the legacy of a chapter that has initiated more than 900 visionary women into the national sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta.  It was a spirit fueled by tenacity, vision, and sisterhood that birthed Eta Kappa, and it is that same spirit that keeps the chapter alive and well today.

Alpha Kappa Alpha – Mu Pi Chapter 

The “Sweet” Mu Pi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. was chartered on Feb.­ 10, 1979, at Spelman College. The Mu Pi chapter has initiated 1,080 members. There are currently 33 active members on campus. All members of Mu Pi are charged with committing their time and energy to the community. This responsibility is fulfilled through several ongoing projects including the Ivy Reading AKAdemy, It Takes a Village, Gifts of Giza, voter registration drives, and partnerships with Hands on Atlanta, and Habitat for Humanity. The chapter has become well-known for its dedication to raising funds for nonprofit organizations such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, AIDS Walk Atlanta, and Relay for Life. Mu Pi also strives to enhance the student life of Spelman College through numerous cultural and social programs. These initiatives include the AKA Book Club, AKA Flicks, AKAnomics, and AKA Fit Club, and the annual events Mr. AKA Scholarship Pageant, AKA Café, and the Limelight Fashion Show.

Sigma Gamma Rho – Epsilon Eta Chapter

The Epsilon Eta Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho was chartered as a citywide chapter in Atlanta on March 10, 1974. With 11 charter members, on Jan. 2, 1979, Epsilon Eta became the first chapter of a sorority to be established at Spelman College. Epsilon Eta’s mission is to touch and improve people’s lives more completely through scholarship, sisterhood and service. The chapter’s purpose is to be a source of light for Spelman sisters and increase our presence on campus through community service and philanthropy, and our Exceptional Women Speaker Series, which seeks to uplift women.

Zeta Phi Beta – Beta Iota Chapter

The “Beautiful” Beta Iota Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. was charted on Jan. 13, 1979, on the campus of Spelman College. Beta Iota upholds the principles of Zeta on a daily basis: scholarship, service, sisterly love, and finer womanhood. Since the revival of the chapter in 1993, there have been 59 initiates and currently there are five active and dedicated members. Although the chapter is small in number, Beta Iota continues to thrive as a progressive organization while producing quality women on Spelman’s campus. Beta Iota has achieved several accomplishments, including Spelman Student Organization of the Year, highest undergraduate GPA in the state and Southeastern region, and several community service awards.

Gamma Sigma Sigma – Eta Zeta Chapter

Founded in 1952, the Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority Inc. initiates members who are dedicated to a lifelong commitment of service and diversity, as well as fostering an environment of unity and creating opportunities for growth. We are a unique organization on Spelman’s campus that serves as the only service sorority at the College. As an inclusive sorority our focus is creating strong bonds of friendship among students of all races and creeds. The Eta Zeta chapter was chartered on Jan. 16, 2008, by both Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University students. View a video of of the Eta Zeta chapter of Gamma Sigma Sigma.

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Comments

  1. Pamela Bell Payton says

    This is wonderful to read but there is still part of the story that is left oout. Several ladies were initiated into sororities at Spelman College prior to the charterings of 1979. Myself along with over 60 seniors were initiated into AKA at Spelman in the Spring of 1978, and there were ladies initiated at Spelman prior to that. Since Spelman did not have official chapters, we were only allowed initiation as seniors. We were sponsored by an Atlanta Graduate chapter and very much value our Spelman and Sorority sisterhood. So remember the history began before 1979.

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