Alpha Gamma Delta

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Alpha Gamma Delta
ΑΓΔ
Armorial.png
Founded May 30, 1904; 114 years ago (1904-05-30)
Syracuse University, (Syracuse, New York)
Type Social
Scope International
Vision statement Inspire the Woman. Impact the World.
Motto Live with purpose.
Colors      Red      Buff      Green
Flower Red and Buff Roses with Green asparagus plumosa fern
Jewel Pearl
Publication The Quarterly
Philanthropy Fighting Hunger
Chapters 198 installed collegiate chapters; 125 active collegiate chapters across North America
Members 189,000+ collegiate
Mascot Squirrel
Headquarters 8710 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN
United States
Website http://www.alphagammadelta.org/

Alpha Gamma Delta (ΑΓΔ), also known as Alpha Gam, is an international women's fraternity.

The fraternity was founded on May 30, 1904, by eleven female students at Syracuse University, in Syracuse, New York,[1][2] making it the youngest member of the Syracuse Triad of national social sororities along with Gamma Phi Beta and Alpha Phi.[3] Since then, Alpha Gamma Delta has currently initiated over 189,000 members with 198 collegiate chapters and more than 250 alumnae groups.[4][5]

As a women's fraternity and social organization,[2] Alpha Gamma Delta provides opportunities for leadership, scholarship, service, and sisterhood for collegiate members and alumnae. It primarily promotes this as "academic excellence, philanthropic giving, ongoing leadership and personal development and above all, a spirit of loving sisterhood".[4] Throughout the organization's history, it has supported various charities and philanthropic causes using fundraising and volunteer hours. Its current initiative is fighting hunger, partnered with nonprofit organizations Feeding America and Meals on Wheels.[6]

Alpha Gamma Delta is one of 26 national sororities which are members under the umbrella organization of the National Panhellenic Conference.[7] The organization's own International Headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

History

Founding: 1904

In 1904, new efforts to introduce a new women's fraternity at Syracuse University began through the combined efforts of eleven women and Dr. Wellesley Perry Coddington, a professor at Syracuse University who was noted to encourage Syracuse students to form new fraternities[2][8][9][10] and was instrumental in the early development of Alpha Gamma Delta. Throughout May of that year, the founding women devised the colors, motto, and badge while meeting at the professor's house.

The fraternity was officially founded on May 30, 1904 at Dr. Coddington's home with eleven founders: Ethel Evelyn Brown Distin, Flora Knight Mayer, Georgia Alberta Dickover, Estelle Shepard Beswick, Emily Helen Butterfield, Edith MacConnell Hickok, Georgia Otis Chipman, Grace Mosher Harter, Mary Louise Snider, Jennie Titus Smith Morris and Marguerite Shepard.[2][11] At this time, the constitution and bylaws were read and adopted and suggestions for the ritual were made. The founders wore their badges for the first time, and Jennie Titus was elected as the first president.[12] Unlike many other groups founded at the time, Alpha Gamma Delta was founded as a national women's fraternity, rather than a local fraternity or literary/professional society.[2]

The organization's official designation as a fraternity rather than a sorority derives from an early advisor who noted that soror is a Latin word with no connection to the Greek traditions cited by many collegiate social groups like Alpha Gamma Delta.[13] Many other Greek-letter organizations for women likewise refer to themselves as fraternities, though in the collective sense, they are generally called "sororities."[14]

Expansion and first philanthropies: 1905–1959

For the time period, Alpha Gamma Delta expanded to an unusual extent during its early years. Its Beta chapter at was founded at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1905, and by 1909, its 9th chapter—Iota—was founded at the University of Washington.[15] The first fraternity National Conference was held in 1907, two years before the fraternity joined the National Panhellenic Conference.

Alpha Gamma Delta began to expand internationally in 1919 with the chartering of its Tau chapter at the University of Toronto, which meant the fraternity would hold its annual meeting as the International Convention and adopt an International Philanthropy Project.[16]

The 1910s and 1920s saw the beginning of the fraternity's national philanthropic efforts. Instead of hosting its 6th annual National Convention, the fraternity's national president cancelled the meeting and asked chapters to donate their $50 fees to war relief efforts as part of Alpha Gamma Delta's first fraternity-wide contribution. Additionally, many chapters adopted war orphans or made garments, thus beginning a history of philanthropic activity.[17] During World War I, the fraternity supported the American Red Cross[18][19] and various war relief efforts. This service continued during World War II.[20] In 1920, the fraternity created its first official philanthropic focus by starting a summer camp for underprivileged children in Jackson, Michigan[21] which expanded internationally into Wellington, Canada.[17] These camps served more than 7,000 children for 27 years.[22]

Although its founding date is May 30th, Alpha Gamma Delta created a separate annual celebration in 1936 called International Reunion Day, as many of its collegiate chapters could not celebrate the actual Founder's Day due to university vacation closures or final exams on that day.[23] Both collegiate and alumnae chapters were and still are encouraged to meet on the third Saturday of April instead.

Alpha Gamma Delta's philanthropic focus shifted in 1947 from underprivileged children to sponsoring counselors for with the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults.[24] That same year, the fraternity held its first International Convention outside of the United States, choosing Banff, Alberta as their location.[25]

In 1959, at Alpha Gamma Delta's 22nd International Convention, Theta Sigma Upsilon merged with Alpha Gamma Delta and added 19 chapters to the fraternity's roster.[26][27][28]

Organizational and continuing philanthropic change: 1960s–present

During and after the latter half of the 20th century, the organization underwent restructuring, creating a separate branch to manage its philanthropy while also beginning new programs for its members. A separate foundation, originally called the Founders Memorial Foundation, was established in 1962 to handle philanthropic fundraising; it would later be renamed to the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation.[29] This entity would manage the funds raised by collegiate and alumnae chapters and by direct donations. The fraternity changed its philanthropic focus again in 1979 after partnering with the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, which would later expand in 1991 to diabetes treatment and research in general.[29][30]

The fraternity launched an annual leadership program, The Leadership Conference, in 1982 to provide its members with education on that subject.[31]

In 2004, the fraternity celebrated its centennial anniversary during its International Convention that year.[32]

In the 2010s, Alpha Gamma Delta continued to change and restructure, creating another separate branch to manage its collegiate housing options and again changing its philanthropic focus. The fraternity founded its Fraternity Housing Corporation in 2010 to provide local chapters a national property management and funding option. Currently, 90 out of 125 active chapters of the fraternity are managed under this corporation.[33] Most recently, the fraternity shifted its philanthropic efforts to fighting hunger, parterning with Feeding America and Meals on Wheels in 2017.[29]

Programs and philanthropy

Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation

Alpha Gamma Delta's participation in philanthropy is through donations made through the fraternity's separate philanthropic arm, the Alpha Gamma Foundation. Created in 1962, the Foundation provides grants to organizations and individuals in the U.S. and Canada who are involved with the fraternity's philanthropic focus. The Foundation also awards scholarships and grants, funds wellness programs and provides leadership training and other educational opportunities.[34]

Since 2017, the fraternity's official philanthropic focus has been to fight hunger, and its current philanthropic campaign is “Full Plates. Hearts. Minds.” which focuses on providing meals for those who are hungry, providing hope for those dealing with hunger and creating awareness about hunger insecurity.[35] Alpha Gamma Delta is currently partnered with Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America.

Four young women pose holding both each other and an award for "Alpha Gamma Delta: Best Tree"
Members of Alpha Gamma Delta at a sorority formal

Local activities

Collegiate and alumnae members participate in fundraising activities to raise money for the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation, as well as volunteer with and raise funds for organizations whose mission is to fight hunger in local communities. These organizations may include Feeding America or Meals on Wheels. Individual chapters plan their own fundraising events, activities of which range from food fundraisers to community-wide galas and to campus-wide athletic events.[36][37]

Outside of philanthropy, chapters plan social events such as formals and mixers with fraternities, host sisterhood activities for the chapter or with other sororities, and participate in philanthropic events sponsored by other fraternity/sorority groups on campus. Alumnae chapters/clubs host reunions and other events.[38]

Each chapter must maintain a 2.9 average GPA to remain in good standing with the national organization.[39] The fraternity has various scholastic recognitions and programs for individuals who maintain a GPA above 3.14 and chapters averaging from 3.14 to 3.5 and higher.

Symbols

While Alpha Gamma Delta has no official symbols, it has official flowers, colors, and a jewel picked by the founders in the meetings to plan the fraternity.[2] Alpha Gam's flowers are red and buff roses, with green asparagus plusmosa ferns, matching the official colors of red, buff, and green. The jewel is the pearl. The armorial bearings of the fraternity were designed by founding member Emily Helen Butterfield in 1906.

The fraternity's vision is to "Inspire the woman. Impact the world," while its motto is to "Live with purpose."[4]

Mascot

In 1915, Gamma chapter at Wesleyan University chose the mascot, a squirrel, and named the mascot Skiouros, with the following explanation:

"In the days when Gamma first made the triple colors of red, buff, and green her own, some of her energetic number sought a mascot to symbolize the characteristics of the colors and progress of Alpha Gamma Delta. In the autumn tints, so beautifully dear to us, they received the suggestion, and the little squirrel, typical frequenter of autumn haunts, was chosen as the mascot. Our little friend, we find, is also nimble and agile—he leaps from branch to branch and accomplishes such progress to symbolize the spirit that never dies, the spirit of energetic alertness and progress."[40]

Badge

Although the founding women designed a badge as they planned to found the fraternity, they decided on a new design in the following months submitted by Mr. J. F. Newman, a jeweler:

"The second, and current, badge features a plain Delta, a chased Gamma, and an Alpha set with pearls [the official jewel] or diamonds superimposed on the other two letters."[2]

Members may attach one of several honors chains to their badge if they have received the appropriate honor.[17]

Membership

According to Alpha Gamma Delta, the fraternity has an initiated member base of 189,000+ women with 194 chapters currently active. Like with all National Panhellenic Conference sororities, women may join through Alpha Gamma Delta if they attend a university with an active chapter as an undergraduate and receive a membership offer from the chapter. Prospective new members must meet the fraternity's national minimum GPA requirement (2.5/4.0) as well as the chapter's requirement. Alternatively, women past college-age may be invited or may apply to join via alumnae initiation if they are not already a member of another NPC sorority,[41] a process which 20 of the 26 members of the NPC also participate in.[42] Due to NPC agreements, no woman who has been initiated into another NPC sorority may join another one, although no NPC woman is restricted from joining a professional or service Greek letter organization.

Collegiate members have chapter meetings, philanthropy events, and chapter leadership opportunities, and according to the fraternity's website, active membership involves programming with the Alpha, Gamma, and Delta Experiences.[43] Alumnae in good standing may join one of 250+ alumnae clubs in North America.

Leadership

International Headquarters is the governing body for all members, undergraduate and alumnae, and is headed by an International President. The International Headquarters calls an annual meeting of chapter presidents and any alumnae or collegiate members who wish to attend. As chapters expanded early in the 20th century, Alpha Gamma Delta established fraternity provinces organized by geographic region with directors who lead each province and represent them to the International Headquarters.[17]

Individual collegiate chapters follow a standardized leadership structure with an elected executive board consisting of a president and several vice presidents with different responsibilities. Alumnae often act as advisors or volunteer organizations for a nearby collegiate chapter.[17]

Chapters

Alpha Gamma Delta has 194 active collegiate chapters across North America, grouped and named by geographical region.[17] The longest running active collegiate chapter is Delta Chapter at the University of Minnesota. However, since its reestablishment in 2010, the oldest active collegiate chapter is the Alpha Chapter at Syracuse University.

Fraternity Housing Corporation

The Alpha Gamma Delta Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC) was formed in 2010 to provide student housing for members of Alpha Gamma Delta. Currently, the FHC provides property management services to more than 90 Alpha Gamma Delta chapters and 100+ staff members in the headquarters office and in local chapters across the country.[33]

Notable alumnae

Business, education, and science

Entertainment and arts

Literature

Media

Politics

Sports

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b c d e f g Meehan Pedrotty, Kate (2007-03-02). "A History of Sigma Chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta, 1917–2006". University of Illinois Archives – Society for the Preservation of Greek Housing. Retrieved 2018-05-10. 
  3. ^ "The Syracuse Triad : Syracuse University Magazine". sumagazine.syr.edu. Retrieved 2017-10-16. 
  4. ^ a b c "About – Alpha Gamma Delta". alphagammadelta.org. Retrieved 2018-05-10. 
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External links

  • Alpha Gamma Delta's official website
  • Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation official website
  • Alpha Gamma Delta Chapter Houses Website
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