By Julie Rodriguez
Since 1898, the sisters of Sigma Sigma Sigma have pledged their dedication to philanthropy and volunteer service. And yet, on the week before the Thanksgiving break, it seemed that a new sorority had taken our campus by storm.
Service Week with Sigma, which in the past was usually tailored down to a single event, started the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 17, in the Brower Student Center, where Sigma sisters sold lemonade, laptop stickers and gold ribbon pins to benefit child cancer patients.
The sorority not only had a presence in the Student Center throughout the week, but they also hosted events on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“Our entire week is relatively new … We’re not just focusing on money this year,” said Brittany Cammarota, a senior accounting major and treasurer of Tri Sigma. “We’re trying to expand our sorority beyond philanthropy by becoming more active in community service.”
After a month of planning and hours of effort put in by each member of the sorority, Service Week with Sigma was remodeled as a series of events hosted not only to raise money, but also to raise awareness.
“We’ve done philanthropy weeks in the past,” said Sara Von Bartheld, a women’s and gender studies and sociology double major and Tri Sigma’s vice president of operations. But the sorority members agreed that it seemed none were quite like this year’s.
On Monday night in Roscoe West Hall, the sisters of Tri Sigma put their words into action. After a presentation on women and leadership given by the volunteer organization United Way, the sorority took time to make cards for the College’s “B+ Heroes.” The B+ (or ‘be positive’) Foundation is dedicated to bettering the lives of children battling cancer and helping the families that support them.
While Monday night may have taken a more serious tone, on Wednesday night the Student Center’s upstairs auditorium was packed and full of life for Service Week’s second gathering. Sixty Second Scramble, which is Tri Sigma’s annual event, collects money from its audience to be donated to the Robbie Page Memorial Fund, which helps to finance the use of therapeutic play among child patients in U.S. hospitals.
It was a vision of purple: the room was adorned with lilac streamers, and the sorority tee shirts were emblazoned with violet “Sigmas.” As the audience began to file in, the excitement seemed to swell. Alyssa Blochlinger, the philanthropy chair of the sorority and organizer for many of the week’s events, called the participants forward to signal the start of the games.
The first challenge, playfully named “This Blows,” had participants try to transfer cotton balls from one table to another using only their noses, and petroleum jelly as an adhesive — and the games only got sillier. Though the winner of the Sixty Second Scramble was given the opportunity to donate a portion of the ticket proceeds to a charity of their choosing, it seemed winning was not the reason why so many had come out to support Tri Sigma that night.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” freshman criminology major Christina Caccamo said. “You get the opportunity to laugh and just have a good time.”
The last event was held that Friday afternoon at the Sundial Lawn, during which students were encouraged to participate in a sorority clean-up of campus litter as “an opportunity to become more active in the community,” Von Bartheld said. “What we really hope is just to raise awareness of the philanthropy that our sorority is involved in.”