Hello, my name is Jackie and I’m a Sigma-holic…
As a confessed Sigma-holic, I’m obviously obsessed with all things Tri Sigma, but I recently discovered something that I confess… I found disappointing.
Recently, I was perusing a copy of Essential Sigma, which is the manual used in Tri Sigma’s new member education program. I am fiercely proud of this resource. The sisters who developed this curriculum did an outstanding job, and it certainly deserves all the acclaim and awards bestowed. Yet, I found something missing that I consider essential.
When reading the section dealing with Alumnae Membership, I discovered there is no mention of the Golden Violet Award. This book explains there are Alumnae Opportunities such as Alumnae Chapter membership, serving as a Key Alumna, or being a member of a Collegiate Advisory Board or Housing Corporation. It also points out there are opportunities to participate in Alumnae Panhellenic associations, and to become a National Officer of Tri Sigma. Even when discussing Alumnae Recognition, the Golden Violet, the very symbol of a sister remaining Faithful Unto Death, was not listed. What an unfortunate oversight.
Not wanting to nit pick, I hesitated to write about this. Times change and it is important to keep an open mind. However, when a younger sister mentioned that she had no idea what a Golden Violet was until she attended a National Convention, I felt compelled to speak up. As a collegiate member, I was always taught that we should all strive to become Golden Violets, is this no longer the case?
In searching for current information published by Tri Sigma concerning the Golden Violet Award, I found this definition on page 414, of the Appendix of Ever Forward Sigma Sigma Sigma: Over a Century of Sisterhood 1898-2010:
“The Golden Violet Award is awarded to a member who has been an
alumna for 50 years and who has given service and financial support
to Tri Sigma. She shall have paid her lifetime dues or annual national
dues for 20 years or more. She must be nominated [by an Alumnae or
Collegiate Chapter] to receive this award.”
Following this explanation, Golden Violet recipients were listed under their collegiate chapters. Although I was grateful to find this information, it was buried in the Appendix, and did little to justify the significance of this award.
I suspect that many sisters are under the impression that the Golden Violet is simply a pin presented to sisters upon the 50th anniversary of their initiation into Tri Sigma. This is a huge misconception. It has been my privilege to see eight incredible members of the West Michigan Alumnae Chapter receive their Golden Violet. These sisters exemplify what it means to be a steadfast Tri Sigma, who is also involved with, and contributes to her community. The Golden Violet is an award sisters earn, not just become. Shouldn’t it be “essential” that Sigma sisters aspire to be eligible for nomination, when their time comes?
Jacqulyn King (Alpha Phi) is a retired high school Library Media Specialist, and she and her husband Mark divide their time between homes in Michigan and Florida. She belongs to the West Michigan, Central Michigan and Southwest Florida Alumnae chapters. Her blog Confessions of a Sigmaholic runs the third Tuesday of every month.