Photo courtesy of University of Michigan Dearborn

By TERRY LAKINS, Student Life Editor

Photo courtesy of University of Michigan Dearborn
Photo courtesy of University of Michigan Dearborn

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. is a Greek life organization. It’s well defined for being one of the Divine Nine, which are historical African American Greek life letter organizations.

Jennifer Golida, the president, said the group primarily focuses its efforts on community service, outreach and collaborations.  

“We want to show a sense of community and unity,” Golida said. “That’s really important for us.”

Golida said many of their events are a part of their national initiative. Operation Big Book Bag is an event that takes place twice a year where the sorority reaches out to local elementary or middle schools. They attempt to fill up as many book bags as possible with school supply donations to give to the children. Cradle Care is another event where they reach out to young ladies who are pregnant, with most of them being in high school. The Sorority will collect baby supplies for the expecting mothers and also pass out literature about practicing safe sex and HIV awareness.

“We want to have a purpose behind it,” Golida said. “This information they can pass on to people they know or their children.”

Another event they have, exclusive to the summer, is Swim 1922. This simple event involves the sorority teaching swim lessons.

“We try to do this when it’s hot outside,” Golida said. “This is one of the things we can directly impact.”

Some of their events don’t fall under their national initiative, such as making valentine day cards for kids at St. Jude’s hospital.

This organization also has several partnerships. One of their collaborations is with the March of Dimes, where they participate in walks to raise money for help and support of premature infants and sick children. Another partnership they have is with Center for Disease Control, which is for HIV awareness, and the sorority will throw events around this to promote it. Many of their collaborations can vary and often they will partner up with Greek Life organizations and the Black Student Union. They also partner up with other chapters of Sigma Gamma Rho, where they have leadership conferences, sisterhood events, regional and national conventions.

The busiest time for Sigma Gamma Rho is in November, which is their sigma week. A lot of social and community-based events happen during this time, which vary from year to year, though a few staples such as a self-defense class for women remain intact. Golida said November is also the month the sorority was originally founded, which gives it importance and historical context.

They also have an event called New Member Presentation, where the Sorority puts on a show for unveiling their new members to everyone. Every month on the 7th and the 22nd they offer a study space for their members or anyone who wants to join them.

“We’re all in school and our main objective is to graduate,” Golida said. Golida said the study spaces are very informal, low pressure and allow them to mingle with people who don’t know much about their organization. They also meet twice a month to plan and discuss their upcoming events.

Despite the sorority being a historical African American organization, the group is open any woman of any nationality. Golida said at the end of the day it’s all about bringing people together.

“We have many things that contribute to our identity,” Golida said. “Any member in the organization — they’ll get a sense of community and sisterhood.”