Alpha Sigma Alpha

Alpha Sigma Alpha (ΑΣΑ) is a United States National Panhellenic sorority founded on November 15, 1901 at the Virginia State Female Normal School (later known as Longwood College and now known as Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia.

Once a sorority exclusively for teacher's/educational colleges, Alpha Sigma Alpha became a full member of the National Panhellenic Conference in 1951,[2] and, as a social sorority, now admits members without limits based on major. There are currently over 175 chapters of Alpha Sigma Alpha nationwide with more than 120,000 members. It is currently partnered with philanthropic organizations Special Olympics and Girls on the Run.

Alpha Sigma Alpha
Alpha Sigma Alpha crest
FoundedNovember 15, 1901
The Virginia State Female Normal School

(Longwood University)

Farmville, Virginia
MottoAspire, Seek, Attain
Colors     Crimson

     Pearl White

     Palm Green      Gold[1]
Symbolphoenix, crown, palm tree, star
FlowerNarcissus, aster
JewelPearl, ruby
PublicationThe Phoenix
PhilanthropySpecial Olympics,
S. June Smith Center,
Girls On the Run International,
The Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation
Chapters170 collegiate & alumnae chapters
Members120,000+ lifetime
Headquarters9002 Vincennes Circle
Indianapolis, Indiana



In the fall of 1901, at Longwood University, five friends, Virginia Lee Boyd-Noell (Virginia Boyd), Juliette Jefferson Hundley-Gilliam (Juliette Hundley), Calva Hamlet Watson-Wootton (Calva Watson), Louise Burks Cox-Carper (Louise Cox), and Mary Williamson-Hundley (Mary Williamson) decided to rush the local women's fraternities on campus. However, rather than accepting bids that would separate the group, they decided to form their own sorority.[3] On November 15, 1901, Alpha Sigma Alpha was named and chartered. The charter stated "The purpose of the association shall be to cultivate friendship among its members, and in every way to create pure and elevating sentiments, to perform such deeds and to mold such opinions as will tend to elevate and ennoble womanhood in the world."[4]

In the year after the charter was signed the founders announced the Sorority's first hymn, "Blest Be the Tie that Binds", and first open motto, "to one another ever faithful".[5] The first colors were crimson and silver, the flower was the white carnation, and the jewel was the emerald. The first membership badge of the Sorority was a shield topped with a jewel set crown, with the Greek letters ΑΣΑ inscribed in gold on a black background. On February 13, 1903, Alpha Sigma Alpha was chartered in the Circuit Court of Prince Edward County, VA, by Judge George Jefferson Hundley, the father of one of the founding members.[3] This chartering began the organization's legal existence, the first of many steps toward expanding the sorority and making Alpha Sigma Alpha a national sorority.

Early challenges

Alpha Sigma Alpha expanded quickly, installing 13 chapters in its first decade, and then began having issues due to the anti-sorority sentiment of the time, causing one of the chapters to be disbanded only months after its instatement.[3] Despite the anti-sorority attitude, Alpha Sigma Alpha's first six chapters held its first National Convention at the Hotel Richmond in Richmond, VA over the 1905 Thanksgiving weekend. During the convention, the first National Council was elected and the sorority created its magazine, to be published three times a year. This first publication was first printed in 1906. In 1908, the magazine's name was changed to the Aegis of Alpha Sigma Alpha.[3] In 1911, Alpha Sigma Alpha became a professional sorority within the field of education.[3]

Soon after, Alpha Sigma Alpha's chapters began to struggle with membership and function. Alpha Sigma Alpha first contacted (Sarah) Ida Shaw Martin – founder and former national president of Delta Delta Delta and author of the Sorority Handbook – for assistance in 1912.[3] By that year, only four of the 13 chapters established since the sorority's founding were left, and by the next, only one active chapter existed, the original Alpha chapter. Shaw Martin suggested ASA contact a local sorority at Miami, Ohio, which was then installed as an ASA chapter. Shaw Martin's assistance led to her induction as an honorary member and the sorority's expansion at teacher's colleges. The sorority would absorb many more local chapters over the next few years.[3]

As the sorority began to stabilize, it held a convention to reorganize itself over Thanksgiving in 1914. At this convention, the sorority adopted a constitution and modified its symbols, customs, and ritual. Here, Shaw Martin was elected national president,[3] and the sorority renamed its magazine to its current name, The Phoenix, which became a weekly publication edited by Shaw Martin. It functioned "as the central medium linking the various parts of the Sorority... it consisted entirely of instructions and discussions of Sorority rulings and policy, chapter newsletters and excerpts from articles on morals and ethics for fraternal organizations."[6]

In 1915 the sorority founded the Association of Education Sororities with Sigma Sigma Sigma to develop common standards for the formation and expansion of educational sororities.[7] Although Shaw Martin petitioned the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) in 1920, this request was rejected on the basis that women could not hold dual membership in two NPC organizations (as Shaw Martin would if the education sororities were accepted).[3]

Modern day

In 1947, the six sororities of the AES voted to dissolve it and petitioned to join the NPC.[3] On November 27, 1951, Alpha Sigma Alpha was officially welcomed as a full member of the NPC.[2] From that point on, Alpha Sigma Alpha could potentially establish a chapter at any university recognized by the NPC, no longer limited to those specific to the education profession.

Since then, Alpha Sigma Alpha has partnered with various nonprofits in the name of philanthropy. Its philanthropic efforts began in 1958 when it established scholarships for intellectually disabled students and those in special needs education. In 1976, the sorority's national headquarters announced a partnership with the Special Olympics.[3] Since then, it has taken several other projects under its wing. The sorority added the S. June Smith Center, a day care center for intellectually disabled students, as a philanthropic partner in 1990.[3]

In 1998, the sorority moved its national headquarters to Indianapolis, Indiana, and opened a new building a decade later in September 2008. It also adopted an official mascot that year, a ladybug named Dot.

Continuing its involvement with the Special Olympics, Alpha Sigma Alpha joined their campaign "Spread the Word to End the Word" in 2009. In 2012, the sorority added another national philanthropic partner, Girls on the Run.[8]

The badge

Symbols and insignia

Alpha Sigma Alpha has multiple official colors, flowers, jewels, and symbols. The primary colors of Alpha Sigma Alpha are crimson and pearl white, with palm green and gold as the sorority's secondary colors. Its official flowers are both the aster (the fall flower) and the narcissus (the spring flower). For jewels, the fraternity chose the pearl (for members before initiation) and the ruby (for initiated members), which are also linked to the sorority's primary colors. The symbols are the palm tree and the crown, which are linked to the secondary colors of palm green and gold. The sorority mascot is Dot the ladybug.[9]

The new member pin

The insignia are the star, crown, palm tree, and phoenix. To the sorority, the star represents how its members should try to live up to the sorority's values, while the crown represents leadership and alumnae recognition. The palm tree represents strong development, and the phoenix, the coat of arms' central and largest symbol, openly represents the sorority's 1914 reorganization (or basically, a rebirth, linking it to the phoenix).[9]

The original colors, flower, and jewel were respectively crimson and silver, the white carnation, and the emerald. The first membership badge was a shield topped with a jewel set crown, with the Greek letters ΑΣΑ inscribed in gold on a black background.[10] In 1903, the membership badge changed to the diamond shape it has today.


In 2016, Alpha Sigma Alpha relaunched its membership education program, where members learn about the sorority's values.[11] The program is broken down into four stages to correspond with four stages of membership, namely new members, initiates, senior members, and alumnae. The new member program includes online and in-person components, a handbook, a journal to reflect on the sorority's ritual, and a mentorship via an older collegiate member. Initiates also learn about the sorority's values online, have chapter programs, and may be certified to become a mentor to a new member if they wish. Graduating members have monthly meetings on how to transition from college and have a legacy project. Alumnae receive quarterly newspapers, blogs, and webinars.

The sorority currently runs a Sexual Assault Prevention Program, SPEAK UP, where members may watch videos online on topics including "healthy relationships, bystander intervention, self-care and consent, and alcohol and risk reduction."[12] Collegiate chapters host one workshop per semester on such topics, facilitated by a trained regional staff member.


Alpha Sigma Alpha has run a Service Immersion Experience for its members since 2013,[3] which consists of a service trip where members travel to Oahu, Hawaii and work with local organizations.[13] In 2012, the sorority began a program called D.O.T. Days, or Donating Our Time Days, which take place during the first week of October every year. Sorority members "are encouraged to donate their time to the national philanthropic partners and local community."[14]


Various leadership programming exists for Alpha Sigma Alpha members, advisors, and volunteers.[15] Advisors, volunteers, collegiate members, and alumnae may all attend the sorority's National Convention & Leadership Conference.

For its collegiate members, the sorority hosted its first leadership training school in 1966. In 1989, the sorority followed with its Emma Coleman Frost Leadership Development Institute.[3] Collegiate members are also required to attend the sorority's "The Academy" program on leadership and networking. Graduating college seniors and alumnae have a Women's Advancement Series, which provides career feedback and help on connecting with local sisters.

Volunteers and advisors may attend a Region Volunteer Development Weekend or an Advisor Institute, respectively, which are each a weekend of leadership training and advice on chapter operations.[15] The sorority began its leadership consultant program with their first 'traveling secretary' in 1963, later called 'field representatives', before settling on its final name.[3] Leadership consultants are the traveling staff of the national organization who educate college chapters on leadership and programming.


The current publication is The Phoenix. The magazine covers chapter news and includes features on members who are involved in their communities, memorial lists, praise for members on their personal successes, and miscellaneous articles.[16]

The sorority has also published two cookbooks sourced from recipes members have submitted.[17]


The sorority's various philanthropic partners include the Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation, the S. June Smith Center, the Special Olympics, and Girls on the Run.[18]

In 1986, Alpha Sigma Alpha combined the 1947 Endowment fund and the Development Fund established in 1982 into the Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation.[3] Initially, it was a scholarship-granting body, but it has branched out to provide the sorority's members with grants and awards as well.[19] The foundation also provides funds for chapter programming.

Two of the sorority's philanthropies focus on helping people with disabilities. The S. June Smith Center provides services to children with disabilities and their families, including various types of therapy and instruction. The Center was named after an Alpha Sigma Alpha member, Dr. S. June Smith.[20] The Special Olympics is an organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions worldwide.

The sorority's newest philanthropic partner is Girls on the Run, a non-profit which uses exercise to build healthy mental and physical habits in preteen girls.


Notable alumnae

Collegiate awards

Collegiate members are recognized with awards for outstanding new members and sisters who exemplify service, academics, or athletics. Chapters also receive various awards.

Established in 1985, the Four-Star Chapter Award is given annually to collegiate chapters which excel in various areas. The areas covered include membership, academic excellence, finance, chapter education and operations, service and giving, national meetings and bylaws, organization image, policies and procedures, advisory board, and alumnae involvement. The chapter that achieves the highest percentage of requirements toward this award receives the Crown of Excellence Award, the top award that a collegiate chapter can receive.

Awards are also given to chapters which excel in single areas. Any collegiate chapter with the highest GPA on its campus for a school term receives the Scholastic Achievement Award. The Rose Marie Fellin Financial Excellence Award was established in 1992 in honor of its namesake's 27 years of service as the headquarters executive. The award is given to a chapter practicing sound financial management through record keeping, accurate financial reports, communication with national headquarters, as well as striving towards overall financial stability. The Recruitment Excellence Award was established in 2010 and is presented to a chapter that has met its recruitment targets for the year. This encompasses reaching campus quota and total, as well as innovation in planning and implementing a quality recruitment plan. Sidney Gremillion Allen Panhellenic Award, named after the sorority's NPC delegate, is given to the chapter that displays outstanding Panhellenic spirit and participation. The Service and Giving Award is given to a chapter that best exhibits generosity.

Alumnae awards

Alumnae chapters may receive several different awards: Palm, Star, or Crown Chapter; the Crown of Excellence; and Outstanding Membership Growth/Alumnae Panhellenic Engagement/Collegiate Chapter Relations/Programs/Community Involvement, Service and Giving.

Individual alumnae may receive their own awards. Alumnae whose professional or community achievements have attracted recognition outside of the sorority receive the Recognition of Eminence Award. First presented in 2012 at the sorority's national convention, the Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation Heart of Giving Award is given to an alumna who has made a significant contribution of time or money to a charitable organizations. The Evelyn G. Bell Award, named after a past national president, is given to an alumna member who exhibits exceptional leadership, loyalty and commitment to the sorority by serving as a collegiate officer, alumnae officer, and national volunteer. Other awards presented to members for dedication and service to the sorority are the Helen Corey Award, the Wilma Wilson Sharp Award, the Agape Award, and the Outstanding Advisor Award.

Current chapters

There are currently over 175 chapters of Alpha Sigma Alpha nationwide with more than 120,000 members.[28] A national housing corporation was created in 2015.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Baird, William Raimond; Brown, James Taylor (1920). Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (9th ed.). G. Banta Company. pp. 576–577. OCLC 17350924. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  2. ^ a b "National Panhellenic Conference". 2009-09-05. Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Alpha Sigma Alpha Interactive Timeline". Retrieved 2018-07-28.
  4. ^ "Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority founded - Alpha Sigma Alpha | Alpha Sigma Alpha Interactive Timeline". Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  5. ^ "Establishing an identity - Alpha Sigma Alpha | Alpha Sigma Alpha Interactive Timeline". Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  6. ^ "The Phoenix of Alpha Sigma Alpha - Alpha Sigma Alpha | Alpha Sigma Alpha Interactive Timeline". Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  7. ^ Alpha Sigma Tau (June 1938). "The AES: Its Place in the Teachers College". The Anchor. pp. 12–13. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  8. ^ "Girls on the Run International | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2018-07-28.
  9. ^ a b "Symbols | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  10. ^ "Did you know this? Founders' Day edition | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. 2013-11-15. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  11. ^ "Membership education | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  12. ^ "Sexual Assault Prevention Program | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  13. ^ "Collegians selected for the 2017 service immersion experience | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  14. ^ "DOT Days | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  15. ^ a b "National Events | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  16. ^ "Phoenix Magazine Submissions | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  17. ^ "Second cookbook published - Alpha Sigma Alpha | Alpha Sigma Alpha Interactive Timeline". Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  18. ^ "Service & Giving | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  19. ^ "A brief history | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  20. ^ "S. June Smith – Dr. S. June Smith". S. June Smith Center. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  21. ^ "Kayla McDonell". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  22. ^ "Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation: Scholarships, Awards and Grants". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  23. ^ "District 2 recognitions". Alpha Sigma Alpha District Two. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
  24. ^ "Hannah Blaylock". University of Central Arkansas. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  25. ^ "Scarlett & Kevin - wedding website by". Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  26. ^ "What's Life Like as a 'Dance Mom'?". American Profile. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  27. ^ "RU Senior Competes to Be America's Next Top Model". Radford University. Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  28. ^ "Home | Alpha Sigma Alpha". Alpha Sigma Alpha. Retrieved 2016-02-03.

External links

Association of Education Sororities

The Association of Education Sororities (AES) was the former umbrella organization for teachers' sororities in the United States founded in 1916 until its merger with the National Panhellenic Conference in 1947. One of its members described it as an organization for "social sororities functioning in the field of education."Its former members include current NPC members Sigma Sigma Sigma, Alpha Sigma Alpha, and Alpha Sigma Tau, as well as now-defunct sororities Delta Sigma Epsilon, Pi Kappa Sigma, Theta Sigma Upsilon, and Pi Delta Theta.

Calva Watson Wootton

Calva Watson Wootton is one of the five founders of the national sorority Alpha Sigma Alpha.

Wootton was born in Nottoway County, Virginia to her parents, Josephine and Meredith Wastson. Her father, Meredith, was a judge. Wootton's family affectionately called her "Pig". Wootton loved sports and would often go hunting with the men.On November 15, 1901, Wootton was one of the five women who started their own sorority at Farmville State Female Normal School in Virginia. The women started Alpha Sigma Alpha in order to live within the bonds of Greek sisterhood. Wootton led the Alpha chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha in her achievements in school. She participated in campus literary societies and language clubs. In her chapter, she served as the historian and secretary. Wootton signed the charter for incorporation on February 13, 1903. Judge George J. Hundley, the father of founder Juliette Hundley, assisted the young women in developing the charter for incorporation.Calva Watson Wootton graduated from the Normal School and went on to be a teacher. She married Percy W. Wootton on April 25, 1917. Wootton continued teaching but the Woottons never had any children of their own.Wootton died on August 3, 1961 at the age of 75 and is buried in Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia.

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University (CMU) is a public research university in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Established in 1892, Central Michigan University is one of the largest universities in the state of Michigan and one of the nation's 100 largest public universities. It has more than 20,000 students on its Mount Pleasant campus and 7,000 students enrolled online at more than 60 locations worldwide.

CMU offers 200 academic programs at the undergraduate, master's, specialist, and doctoral levels, including nationally recognized programs in entrepreneurship, journalism, music, audiology, teacher education, psychology, and physician assistant. The School of Engineering and Technology has ABET accredited programs in Mechanical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering. The university's neuroscience program was named program of the year in 2013 by the Society for Neuroscience and CMU has also established a College of Medicine, which opened in fall 2013.CMU competes in the NCAA Division I Mid-American Conference in six men's and ten women's sports.

Coe College

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Ida Shaw Martin

Sarah Ida Shaw Martin (7 September 1867 - May 11 1940) was a founder of the Delta Delta Delta sorority and the author of The Sorority Handbook. She served as national president of two sororities--Tri Delta and Alpha Sigma Alpha -- a notable feat since both organizations forbid membership in other sororities. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Boston University in 1889. In November of her senior year, 1888, she founded Tri Delta with friends Eleanor Dorcas Pond, Isabel Morgan, and Florence Isabelle Stewart. She is noted as having extensive knowledge of Greek, Hindu, and Egyptian mythology, as well as geometry, which aided her in the formation of Tri Delta's rituals. Shaw Martin first connected with Alpha Sigma Alpha in 1904 while working on an edition of The Sorority Handbook. Alpha Sigma Alpha gave her honorary membership in May of 1913 and elected her as the sorority's national president in November of the following year. She would serve Alpha Sigma Alpha in this capacity until 1930. She also worked with Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority to draft its first official constitution.

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Kappa Delta

Kappa Delta (ΚΔ, also known as KD or Kaydee) was the first sorority founded at the State Female Normal School (now Longwood University), in Farmville, Virginia.

Kappa Delta is one of the "Farmville Four" sororities founded at the university. (The others are Alpha Sigma Alpha, Sigma Sigma Sigma, and Zeta Tau Alpha; a clock tower at the university campus with a clock face representing each sorority is dedicated to the four). All of these sororities are members of the National Panhellenic Conference, which governs the 26 national social sororities.

Kappa Delta has over 260,000 initiated members and 166 active collegiate chapters. Kappa Delta also has more than 200 chartered alumnae chapters. It is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee.

List of Alpha Sigma Alpha chapters

A list of chapters of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.

List of Vanderbilt University Greek organizations

The following is a list of Greek organizations at Vanderbilt University.

List of fraternities and sororities at University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin is home to more than 65 national fraternity and sorority chapters. These chapters are under the authority of one of UT Austin's seven Greek council communities, Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Latino Pan-Hellenic Council, Texas Asian Pan-Hellenic Council, Multicultural Greek Council, United Greek Council and University Panhellenic Council. Other recognized Fraternities and Sororites exist as Affiliates. Affiliate Membership targets two groups: fraternities and sororities that fit into a current council structure and are waiting until they can petition a council, as well as fraternities and sororities that do not fit into a current structure but still want to be a part of Sorority and Fraternity Life.

National Panhellenic Conference

The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is an umbrella organization for 26 (inter)national women's sororities throughout the United States and Canada. Each member group is autonomous as a social, Greek-letter society of college women and alumnae.

The National Panhellenic Conference provides guidelines and resources for its members and serves as the national voice on contemporary issues of sorority life. Founded in 1902, NPC is one of the oldest and largest women's membership organizations, representing more than 4 million women at over 650 college/university campuses and 4,600 local alumnae chapters in the U.S. and Canada. Each year, NPC-affiliated collegians and alumnae donate more than $5 million to causes, provide $2.8 million in scholarships to women, and volunteer 500,000 hours in their communities.The organization holds a philosophy that it is a conference, not a congress, as it enacts no legislation and only regulates its own meetings. Other than basic agreements which its groups must unanimously vote to follow, NPC confines itself to recommendations and advice and acts as a court of final appeal in any College Panhellenic difficulty. One of its services is providing advisors for college and alumnae Panhellenic organizations.

Professional Fraternity Association

The Professional Fraternity Association (PFA) is an association of national, collegiate, professional fraternities and sororities that was formed in 1978. Since PFA groups are discipline-specific, members join while pursuing graduate (law, medicine, etc.) degrees as well as undergraduate (business, engineering, etc.) degrees. PFA groups seek to develop their members professionally in addition to the social development commonly associated with general fraternities. Membership requirements of the PFA are broad enough to include groups that do not recruit new members from a single professional discipline. The PFA has welcomed service and honor fraternities as members; however, Greek letter honor societies more commonly belong to the Association of College Honor Societies.

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Zeta Tau Alpha

Zeta Tau Alpha (known as ZTA or Zeta) is an international women's fraternity.

The fraternity was founded on October 15, 1898 at the State Female Normal School (now Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia. its International Office is located in Carmel, Indiana. It is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference and currently has with more than 257,000 initiated members.

Current Members
Former Members
Currently active members of the
Professional Fraternity Association
Former and formerly active members of
the Professional Fraternity Association
or its predecessors:
Professional Panhellenic Association
or Professional Interfraternity Conference
North-American Interfraternity Conference
Independent professional fraternities
Related concepts
Asian/Pacific Islander-American
and sororities
Historically Jewish
Native American
Latino and Puerto Rican
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