Sigma Gamma Rho offers ‘family’ setting

By Michelle Esposito

This week’s Sorority of The Week recently celebrated their 70th birthday on Nov. 12.

Tonia Havard, president of Sigma Gamma Rho, said their sorority was founded by seven school teachers in 1922 at Butler University in Indianapolis. She added that one of the founding members, Vivian White Marbury, is still alive.

Havard said their chapter, Zeta Nu, began at NIU on Jan. 12, 1974.

“We are made up of many diverse personalities,” Havard said. “We are looking for ladies who want to be dedicated to our organization, have leadership qualities, are strong-minded and have a good sense of sisterhood.”

Havard said there were seven members when Sigma Gamma Rho first began at NIU, which grew to 16 members.

“I was ecstatic when I first joined,” said LaTonia Jackson, a junior criminology major. “When I became a member there was a pledge process and it was well worth it and if I had to do it again I would.”

Havard said, “I wish that I had joined sooner. There was a lot that I missed my first couple years as far as guidance, sincere friendships and understanding.”

Stacy Beck, a junior math major and member of Sigma Gamma Rho, said, “I was overjoyed with the amount of sisterhood that I was embarked upon.”

“My first reaction (upon joining) was I was happy to be involved with a family,” said Stacye Clayton, a junior interior architecture major.

“It was like having a home away from home, as far as family problems, good and bad,” she added.

Havard said she joined Sigma Gamma Rho because she felt it was the only organization on campus doing any service-orientated work.

She said their most profitable philanthropy event is “Greek Scene,” a step show in February that involves all black greek organizations on campus.

“Greek Scene started 18 years ago and became the biggest thing we did so we decided to keep doing it because it made so much money,” she added.

Havard said a substantial amount of funds raised go to NAACP,

the United Negro College Fund, Project Africare and other various charities.

Beck said they’ve also done projects for the Illinois Youth Center of St. Charles, a juvenile center for delinquent minors.

“We did different programs to help habituate them,” Jackson said.

“We did things such as Christmas, Halloween and birthday parties. Other times we would go and talk to them,” Havard said.

Beck said Sigma Gamma Rho has received honorable recognition from the university for their efforts.

Havard said they are asking campus organizations and administrators to donate money or supplies by Nov. 24 to a kindergarten class in Miami, who fell victim of Hurricane Andrew.

“The proceeds will be used to purchase school supplies such as crayons, paper, pencils, chalk, paint and paint brushes,” Havard said.