Not Your Average Sorority Girl
During my sophomore year in college, I looked to join an organization that would help me make friends, and would also help me become a better person by giving back to the community. At first, I wasn’t a big fan of sororities. I only knew them by all the misconceptions and stereotypes I had learned growing up from movies and non-greeks that thought they knew what sororities were like. However, after I decided to rush at the beginning of sophomore year, my opinion has since changed. Once I learned about Delta Delta Delta and their philanthropy, all my fears and doubts about sororities went away. I wanted to join an organization that was making a difference in the world, and with Tri Delta, I found what I was looking for. When it comes to philanthropic works, the sorority of Delta Delta Delta is famous for the organization’s huge commitment and love for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital among the greek community. St. Jude is one of the top children’s cancer hospitals worldwide. The main reason St. Jude stands out from the rest of the children cancer facilities is that, “…families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live…” (How St. Jude Began). Because of this charitable practice, donations from organizations like Delta Delta Delta are so crucial to keeping the hospital funded and running in order keep saving children’s lives. Many people think that Tri Delta falls under the misconception that we are just superficial girls that party all the time, but that is simply not true. Tri Delta women are very dedicated to bringing the community together with different philanthropy events to help raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
How is Delta Delta Delta stigmatized by the sorority stereotypes?
When people think of sororities, their minds goes directly to partying, promiscuous girls, and girly activities.These stereotypes are based on sorority movies like “Legally Blonde”, “House Bunny”, “Sorority Row”, and so many more that create a false image of what sororities are really like. In none of those movies do they talk about how philanthropic sorority women are or how enthusiastic these women can be when it comes to helping others. A little-known fact is that sororities on the UC Davis campus raise the most money for their philanthropies, more than any of the other clubs and organizations on campus. It wasn’t until after I joined Tri Delta that I recognized the difference they were making as well. Because of these stereotypes, Delta Delta Delta is taken less seriously by individuals outside of Greek life because they don’t know how much we do for St. Jude. This is unfortunate, and philanthropy events hosted by Tri Delta would probably be more successful if more people knew about our goals and partnership with St. Jude. If Delta Delta Delta could get past the sorority stereotypes, then people would be more willing to attend the events or donate.
Some facts about Delta Delta Delta
The sorority Delta Delta Delta was founded in 1888 at Boston University, and up to today, there are 141 Tri Delta chapters across the United States and Canada with 18,857 collegiate members (Tri Delta). Sarah Ida Shaw wrote Tri Delta’s purpose in 1888 which says, “to establish a perpetual bond of friendship among its members, to develop a stronger and more womanly character, to broaden the moral and intellectual life, and to assist its members in every possible way” (Tri Delta). In each chapter, there are designated Tri Delta women, such a president, vice president, treasurer, etc., that are voted in charge to make sure that the Tri Delta women are following Tri Delta’s purpose during their years as active members. That is why philanthropy is so important to Tri Delta because it helps us grow as a person and act out our purpose as sorority women. As our designated philanthropy, Delta Delta Delta supports children’s cancer hospitals (Wikipedia.com). In 1999 Tri Delta officially partnered up with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and St. Jude became their main philanthropy (Tri Delta). Tri Delta women across the country and Canada put all their efforts into our philanthropy and over, the years we have been able to raise millions of dollars for St. Jude. Unfortunately, members outside Tri Delta know little about our purpose as a sorority and how much we’ve done for St. Jude.
Some facts about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
When Danny Thomas was a young man, he wanted to be a successful actor. When he couldn’t find a job, he prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, to help him build a career and in return, he would build him a shrine (How St. Jude Began). After Danny had become very successful, he started to gather more businessmen and began to build the promised shrine for St. Jude, a children’s cancer research hospital (How St. Jude Began). In 1962, St. Jude hospital opened its doors for the first time. At the time the survival rate for children with cancer was about 20% and today the survival rate at St. Jude has gone up to 80% (How St. Jude Began). Today St. Jude’s continues to thrive with the help of donations and will continue to work on research until, “no child dies from cancer” (How St. Jude Began). Since donations are very crucial to keep St. Jude functioning, it is important to partner up with organizations that are committed and serious about the cause, like Tri Delta.
Delta Delta Delta’s commitment to St. Jude
The women of Tri Delta care about the wellness of children, that is why our philanthropy is our priority as a sorority. Just in the first year of committing to St. Jude Tri Delta raised more than $44,000 (Tri Delta). In 2006 Tri Delta made a goal to raise $10 million in 10 years for the patient care floor. They completed the goal in just four years (Tri Delta). In 2014 Tri Delta announce their new goal, $60 million in 10 years making them the biggest contributors to St. Jude in history (“Tri Delta’s Partnership with St. Jude”). These goals are critical because it’s how the sisterhood can guarantee that St. Jude will have funds to continue their research and keep saving kids lives for free. To achieve these goals the Tri Delta sisters put together three main philanthropy events throughout the school year, in the effort to reach out to the UC Davis community and raise as much as possible for St. Jude.
Delta Delta Delta’s Philanthropy Events
The three philanthropy events that the sorority Delta Delta Delta hosts to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude are Delta House of Pancakes, Sincerely Yours, and Delta Dodgeball.
Delta House of Pancakes, also known as DHOP, is Tri Delta’s national annual winter philanthropy event for St. Jude. During the event, the sisters of Tri Delta make a variety of pancakes for the participants to eat and enjoy. DHOP is a successful event every year, because college students love pancakes, and the environment of the event is very laid back and friendly, making everyone in the community comfortable. The women of Tri Delta also take into consideration that certain people have gluten allergies, so we make sure to make gluten free pancakes as well, in efforts to keep all the guests accommodated. Tickets are usually $5 pre-sale and $7 at the door, a price appropriate for a college student’s budget. The sorority sisters are required to sell at least ten tickets before the philanthropy event. Most girls sell them to their friends and family, while others use their connections with other Greek organizations such as fraternities and other sororities. The UC Davis Tri Delta women try to reach out to people outside of Tri Delta as well, by setting up an information and ticket station in the middle of campus, because we want students outside Greek life to feel included. The fundraiser is open to the entire community, and all the proceeds go directly to St. Jude Cancer Research Hospital.
Sincerely Yours is a letter writing campaign that is the most personal philanthropy event that Tri Delta puts together for St. Jude. It is also held in the Springtime, but unlike the other two philanthropies, Sincerely Yours is usually not open directly to the public. The sisters are encouraged to write personal letters to fifty people they know, about what St. Jude means to them and how it has affected their lives; concluding the letters by asking for donations that will go straight to St. Jude (Sincerely Yours). This philanthropy event is what raises the most money out of all the philanthropies because letter writing is very personal and the letters are usually sent to family members. By reaching out to people that love us and support us, as well as the things we are involved in, it’s more likely that the donations will be higher. St. Jude also provides us with pamphlets of patients’ stories that we can include in the letters, in an effort to show who they will be helping with their donations.
Delta Dodgeball is Tri Delta’s annual Spring philanthropy benefiting St. Jude.The event is a dodgeball tournament between the fraternities on campus. Each fraternity that wishes to participate in the event can create a team for 70$ that will be donated to St. Jude. Some of the sisters of Delta Delta Delta become the coaches of each fraternity team, while others are responsible for setting up the event and making sure it runs smoothly so that everyone can have fun. The point of this event is for people to have a fun day in the sun while supporting St. Jude. For this event, we try to reach out to the fraternities, because they tend to be competitive in nature and with each other. We want the participants to enjoy some friendly competition while supporting a great cause. During the event, we provide the participants with pizza and water, to make their experience, even more, fun. Delta Dodgeball continues to be a successful event because college guys seem to love dodgeball on a sunny spring day while helping kids.
According to our philanthropy chair, Emily Bingham, at the UC Davis Delta Delta chapter, during the 2015-2016 year, “we raised $20,800 from Sincerely Yours, DHOP raised about $2,000 and Delta Dodgeball about $800” (Bingham). As stated earlier Sincerely Yours helped us raise the most money for St. Jude. This year Emily worked very hard to encourage the Tri Delta sisters to reach out to as many people as possible to ensure that our first event of the year for St. Jude, DHOP, goes successfully. The event turned out to be a huge success. Emily posted on our private Tri Delta Facebook page the following, “I’ve counted the money, and I’m happy to present you with the total amount raised from DHOP! Our grand total is about $5,760! Literally, I’m so shook because I could not have expected this great of a turnout/outcome and I have no words but thank you, everyone! We got one of the biggest turnouts ever for DHOP, and it was magical that we could share our love for St. Jude with over 600 people. I’m so proud of all of you!” (Bingham). That’s 600 people that Tri Delta managed to get together under one cause. They loved the pancakes and everyone’s company.
My Personal Experience with Delta Delta Delta
As I mentioned before, joining a sorority was something I was a skeptic about due to how sororities are portrayed in the media. After learning how passionate and philanthropic they are about St. Jude, I realized how wrongly I misjudged Tri Delta based on stereotypes that weren’t true. After two years of being a Tri Delta sister, I have experienced first hand how much dedication and work goes into our philanthropy events. Our main goal as an organization is to raise as much money possible for St. Jude because we want to help sick children get the treatment they need for free. Our event’s such as DHOP, Sincerely Yours, and Delta Dodgeball have all been very successful, and the community enjoys being a part of our philanthropy.