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Confessions of a Sigma-holic

  • Posted on November 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Hello, my name is Jackie and I’m a Sigma-holic…Jacqulyn King

One of my favorite Tri Sigma memories from college involved singing as a group.  It seemed like we were always singing, it was practically Tri Sigma the Musical.  We would sing during Recruitment, during meetings, or just impromptu anywhere. Some of the songs were sentimental and sweet, while others were just plain silly, but no matter what the tune I always felt better after singing with my sisters.  

Current research now backs up what I suspected all along, that group singing has been scientifically proven to lower stress, relieve anxiety, and elevate endorphins (Stacy Horn, Time).  So you can imagine my surprise at learning that Sigmas just do not sing like they used to.  Case in point, at Tri Sigma’s last convention in Orlando, a few of us older Alumnae attempted to initiate singing during a break between sessions. This was a time-honored tradition, but when we broke into song our actions were met with a collective eye roll.  Have Tri Sigmas lost their voice?  I confess that I was… disappointed.

Following our spurned sing along, Alumnae more involved with the collegiate chapters explained that the younger generation would rather chant than sing. Now as a former cheerleader, I can appreciate a good chant as well as the next Sigma, but isn’t there room for both?

This reluctance to sing as a group is not unique to Tri Sigma; it seems to be a growing trend throughout our culture.  In the past, before sporting events, those in attendance would sing our National Anthem together.  Now it is more common for the crowd to merely stand at attention and listen while someone sings for the audience. I have also noticed this trend in a few church services that I recently attended.  These were mega churches, which featured talented singers and musicians that performed throughout the service. During these programs, I felt more like a member of an audience rather than a congregation. Although, I realize these churches offer tremendous advantages to their members, should they be moving away from something that researchers are beginning to discover is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits (Stacy Horn, Time)?

As Stacy Horn concluded in her article, Singing Changes Your Brain, Time August 16, 2013, group singing is cheaper than therapy, healthier than drinking, and certainly more fun than working out.  It is the one thing in life where feeling better is pretty much guaranteed. So why not pull out your chapter’s copy of The Songs Sigma Sing, and discover for yourselves the fun of a Sigma sing along. Better yet, as the holidays approach, take some time to go caroling around your campus community.  I am planning to attend our convention in Chicago this June, and I am hoping to hear some young voices joining the old ones this time, as we celebrate our glorious sisterhood together.


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.

Wishing in Panties

  • Posted on November 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm

By: Molly Schroeder SteadmanMolly

We are going to be seeing a lot of Princess Leia over the next few months and that calls for a celebration! Gold bikinis for everybody! If you are a woman of a certain age, Princess Leia was the first hard core princess. Sure now Mulan and Merida and Kate are absolutely fantastic but in 1976, it was Leia or Cinderella. I will choose hamburger buns and a blaster over mice and a broom any day.

If you lost track of Princess Leia after the cremation of her father (follow along people) you are missing out. Carrie Fischer, our fearless heroine did not make the jump to light speed in an intergalactic threesome with Han and Chewie.
Instead she has been an outspoken and hilarious advocate for mental health, particularly bipolar disorder. Her books, Shockaholic and Wishful Drinking, take the reader on a harrowing and hysterical trip through her mind. Her one woman show made me squirt wine out of my nose and laugh so hard I peed a little and that was before two pregnancies!
I don’t have to tell the gals working with collegians  that mental health  is a real problem on campus. I don’t have to tell anyone with a newspaper or reliable TV reception that it is a problem in our communities and in our country. About the only place they don’t think mental health is a problem is in congress and the irony of that is breathtaking.
Sadly this wide spread epidemic doesn’t have the same gravitas or fund raising prospects as some causes do. And while they are all worthy, mental illness still carries a stigma that we just don’t see with breast cancer or diabetes. They are called victims, the mentally ill are called far worse. This keeps us from getting help, telling others we are sick and realizing that there is a lot more of it going around than we think.
I lost another friend this week to mental illness; she was brave and strong like Carrie Fisher; making fun of herself and getting the help she needed. My friend left behind her amazing kiddos and real loser of an ex husband to raise them. I wish she had gotten more help. I wish we had better treatments. I wish her babies still had a mama to tuck them in at night.
As I watch the Star Wars ads this fall I am going to remember Princess Leia and her hamburger buns but I am also going to remember what she said about mental illness, “The only lesson for me, or for anybody, is that you have to get help. It’s not a neat illness. It doesn’t go away.” And I will wish that everyone would hear her.

Molly Schroeder Steadman (Chi) is a former chapter officer, local and national sorority volunteer, and National Headquarters employee. She recently moved back to Kansas with her husband and three children. Join her in supporting the future of Tri Sigma with regular donations to the Foundation, preferably the Chi Scholarship fund. Her blog, “Is Everybody Wearing Panties?”, runs the first Friday of every month. Values aren’t something you are born wearing; like your panties, you have to put them on every day before you leave the house.

Your Character Does Count

  • Posted on October 20, 2015 at 12:04 pm

By: Kristen Wissbaum, RN-BSNKristen and Mary

I have been blessed to be a part of the Character Education Advocate team with Sigma Sigma Sigma since the Character Initiative began. Since that time I have been challenged to discover my beliefs relating to character and specifically MY character. One important thing I’ve learned is that every person has to discover their beliefs about character and strive to carry out those beliefs on a daily basis. This can be a lot harder than it seems. Character is made up of minute by minute decisions throughout your day, from donating time for volunteering to returning your shopping cart at the grocery store – every choice you make defines your character. One of the lessons from Michael Josephson that has impacted me the most is the list below of his beliefs about character. I have the list posted on the desktop of my computer as a reminder. Whether I’m working on assignments or checking email after work, I glance over and see the list of character reminders. This helps me remember to take a moment to be thankful for the positive parts of my day and think about something I could do to improve someone else’s day. These beliefs listed below are encouraging, challenging, and inspirational. I hope that by sharing these, others will be able to use Michael Josephson’s list to challenge their character and be a positive example to others.

I believe I’m a work-in-progress, and there will always be a gap between who I am and who I want to be.

I believe every day brings opportunities to learn and do something meaningful.

I believe the true test of my character is whether I do the right thing even when it might cost more than I want to pay.

I believe no matter how I behave, some people will be mean-spirited, dishonest, irresponsible, and unkind, but if I fight fire with fire, all I’ll end up with will be the ashes of my own integrity.

I believe life is full of joys and sorrows, and my happiness will depend on how well I handle each.

I believe pain is inevitable but suffering is optional, and if I can control my attitudes, I can control my life.

I believe kindness really matters, and sarcastic comments and badly-timed criticisms can cause lasting hurt.

I believe there’s joy in gratitude and freedom in forgiveness, but both require conscientious effort.

I believe what’s fun and pleasurable isn’t always good for me, and what’s good for me isn’t always fun and pleasurable.

I believe no one’s happy all the time, but in the end, I can be as happy as I’m willing to be.

I believe the surest road to happiness is good relationships.

What do you believe?


Kristen Wissbaum, RN-BSN (Epsilon Phi) is a lead Advocate on the Character Advocate Team and has been involved with the Character Initiative since it began 4 years ago.  She is a registered nurse and just recently got married.  Her mom, Mary, is also a Tri Sigma!

Confessions of a Sigma-holic

  • Posted on October 15, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Hello, my name is Jackie and I’m a Sigma-holic…Jacqulyn King

It is pretty clear that I’m slightly fanatical when it comes to Tri Sigma, but I confess that sometimes I even fantasize about future programs, items, or activities that could be incorporated into our sorority.  Here’s my list:

I wish…

  • …The Lifetime Membership payment plan could be extended from three years to six. This would spread the payments out and therefore make lifetime membership more affordable.  It has been my experience that sisters who invest in lifetime membership tend to remain steadfast.
  • …There were a Lifetime Membership pin or charm available to denote that a sister has paid her Lifetime dues. Perhaps a skull and bones design resembling one of Sigma’s earlier badges would be appropriate?
  • …That the lighthouse would become the symbol for Alumnae Chapters. Why a lighthouse?  Because they serve as sentinels that guide boats to safe harbor, just as Alumnae Chapters bring sisters together within a community.
  • …A doll would be added to the National collection representing all our Iota Alpha (Initiated as Alumna) sisters. Perhaps a contest could be held asking Iota Alpha sisters to submit a doll for consideration. Sisters could vote for their favorite via social media.
  • …The Sigma song Dee Ah Dee Um Dum would be revived.  This was selected as the song of the Triennium at the 1968 National Convention.  It is a beautiful original composition written by sisters from the Alpha Phi chapter. This song is one of the reasons I fell in love with Tri Sigma, and hearing Carrie Underwood sing this song would be a dream come true.
  • …A best selling novel would be written featuring loveable characters that are Tri Sigma sisters.  Occasionally sororities find their way into the pages of a book, but these characters tend to be negative. It would be so refreshing to read a story that would shine a positive light on sorority life.
  • …For a Founders’ Bracelet. I think it would be fun to have this special piece of jewelry that would feature a unique charm related to the life of each founder. It would be a way to commemorate the founding of our sorority, and allow the wearers to carry our Founders with them.
  • …For a Virtual Sigma Alumnae Chapter online.  I’ve struggled with this idea, because I wouldn’t want it to take membership away from existing Alumnae Chapters. However, it would be a wonderful way for sisters who are unable to join a traditional chapter to stay connected and active through technology.

So now you see what a Sigma-holic does in her spare time.  Thanks for letting me share my wish list. I realize that some of you may not embrace these with the same enthusiasm as myself.  Thank heavens our sisterhood has such a well thought out process to address such suggestions for change.  So you can rest assured that most of these wishes will remain the wild fantasies of a Sigma-holic, unless I find that magic wand I misplaced.   


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.

Kindergarten in Panties

  • Posted on October 9, 2015 at 12:03 pm

By: Molly Schroeder Steadman Molly

Kindergarten is kicking my a$$. There I said it. I graduated at the top of my class, have a master’s degree in Finance and a scholarship ring (somewhere!) and kindergarten is more than I can handle.
You know it’s every day, right? The wake up, get ready, pack lunches, make breakfast, zip uniforms,  do hair, loaded and in the car by 7:42. And then it seems like I barely get the hurricane cleaned up when it’s time for pick up: load the boy, get snacks and water, be in the parking lot by 3:30. Home to hang up uniforms, unpack lunches, go thru backpacks, do homework, make dinner, clean up dinner, give bathes, clean up bathes, get kids to bed and then try to not fall asleep on the couch before 9. It’s embarrassing.
And as I type this let me tell you I am aware of how ironic this is. I am so passionate about girls going to school! Everywhere! All over the world! I just didn’t think it would have to start so early!
I saw an interview with Malala Yousafzai the other day. She is the charming Pakistani girl who was shot as a school girl and became an activist for child rights and the education of girls worldwide. Along with her charm and intelligence, I was struck by her maturity and poise. As my Chapter sisters can attest, I didn’t have any of that going on at her age or even now. She is raising money and building schools for refugees and trying to influence world leaders to change policy. She wants them to require girls to attend school, outlaw FGM and child brides. She is incredible and amazing and I want to be her when I grow up. So you can imagine my chagrin when I catch myself trying to talk the girlies into taking a sick day.
To my credit, they say no. I guess they have watched and picked up a thing or two over the years. It will get easier, my mom friends with older kids tell me. Eventually they will make their own lunches and button their own shirts. But I suspect they are sugar coating it for me. Motherhood doesn’t get easier, it just changes.
So we will go to school and we will practice our letters and I will hide a yawn and an occasional tear.  How did they get so grown up? Who are these beautiful girls and where did my babies go? Yeah, this Kindergarten business is an a$$ kicker.

Molly Schroeder Steadman (Chi) is a former chapter officer, local and national sorority volunteer, and National Headquarters employee. She recently moved back to Kansas with her husband and three children. Join her in supporting the future of Tri Sigma with regular donations to the Foundation, preferably the Chi Scholarship fund. Her blog, “Is Everybody Wearing Panties?”, runs the first Friday of every month. Values aren’t something you are born wearing; like your panties, you have to put them on every day before you leave the house.

Going Alumnae

  • Posted on September 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

By: Amanda Cross 22

When I was a collegiate member, Bid Day was one of my favorite days. Not only did it bring me back to the day that I accepted my own bid, but it was just one of the happiest days of the semester. Bid Day was always filled with so much excitement to see which women would be coming into your doors and calling you a sister. It was fun to see the new sisters and how they mixed in with the older ones. I really couldn’t wait to see who would be the future leaders of Sigma Sigma Sigma at my school.
I never thought I could have that same feeling as an alumnae, until now. I have been so proud of all the new Sigma Sigma Sigma women I have had the privilege to see on social media–whether from Alpha Omicron or otherwise.
In a recent newsletter sent out to recent graduates our National President touched on something that I had really been witness of in the last few months. My sisterhood has grown. I no longer feel like my sisters are just the ones from my 3.5 years in Alpha Omicron. I truly feel like my circle of sisters has expanded over and over again.
Like any alumna I was scared once graduation hit. I wasn’t sure what would come of my role in Sigma Sigma Sigma. Being a Tri Sigma had become a huge part of my identity over my collegiate career, so I definitely wanted to keep that identity. It’s hard to wrap my mind around how many sisters I truly do have.
If you are a new alumnae, older alumnae, or you are graduating soon and don’t quite know what your sisterhood means, remember the follow: We are members of Sigma Sigma Sigma and we are faithful unto death.
Amanda Cross is a recent Sigma Sigma Sigma alumna from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas. She loves blogging, reading, and binging on too much social media and netflix. She is super excited to start her new monthly series Going Alumna as well as to start her journey as a Marketing and Communications Assistant for Tri Sigma.

Women of Character Don’t Haze

  • Posted on September 21, 2015 at 3:46 pm

By: Lorin Phillips, Assistant Executive Director of Sigma Sigma Sigma

Every September, Tri Sigma joins with HazingPrevention.Org to have a concentrated effort on calling members to action to Prevent Hazing. It isn’t about awareness. It is a call to action and empowering all Tri Sigma women to take action to prevent hazing.
This year HazingPrevention.org has created a campaign around “these hands don’t haze”. This week we’ll be sharing ways each member can contribute by doing things like signing an anti-hazing pledge, participating in their These Hands Don’t Haze Mosaic, and hosting an education program with your chapter. Learn more.
This year, Tri Sigma has updated our hashtag from #SigmasDontHaze to #WOCDontHaze (Women Of Character). The sad reality is that some of our members and chapters do choose to haze. While we address hazing that is reported by working with chapters to rid their local chapter of traditions which do not adhere to our policies and values, we still have work to do to fulfill our mission of Friendship, Character and Conduct. Therefore, we think the more accurate and true statement is that Women of Character Don’t Haze.
If Tri Sigmas are truly upholding our values, working toward our mission, and living our ritual every day we would be an organization without hazing. Whether we put actions and practices under the umbrella of hazing, bullying or mean girl behavior, none of those have a place in Tri Sigma and all of those behaviors have negative and hurtful consequences for the women on the receiving end of those actions. There are too many negative things going on in our jobs, in our social groups, in our families, and in the world to be anything but kind to and supportive of each other.
I often get the statement that it is hard to hold members accountable because it might be considered hazing. It is absolutely acceptable to have high standards and expect members to live our values. We just don’t achieve that by intentionally being scary and intimidating, pushing individuals mentally and physically to test loyalty, yelling at members to know our facts and history, or playing on emotions by shaming them into being better. We can have standards and hold members accountable and still be kind. We all have to work each day to ensure when we are talking to members or any person that we strive for the right message with the right delivery. If we are entering the conversation from a place of genuine care and concern for both the chapter and the individual, we can be almost certain the message will have the right delivery. On the other hand, if we are entering the conversation with the intent to talk down to someone or if we view new members as “having to prove themselves”, we can almost guarantee it will be the wrong delivery. So often we focus on the activity or list of “can’t do’s” to ensure we are avoiding hazing. While I appreciate the effort to ensure an activity itself is not hazing, it is often the intent and delivery of an activity which is the issue not always activity itself.
This week we want to invite you to engage in a conversation highlighting the right mentality toward all members. Sisterly love and friendship – being Women of Character. What is the right message with the right delivery? #RMRD. We’ll be posting some common chapter events or member expectations and we’d like to hear from you some examples of when you heard the right message with the right delivery.
Let me give you an example –
• We might post:
o PARTICIPATION : Right message – expecting members to meet their monthly points. Wrong message – “Your new member class needs to get it together, you are disappointing the older sisters and you all need to hold each other accountable for participating or you won’t be initiated.” How can you help encourage participation without threats? #RMRD #WOCDontHaze
• You might post
o “find out if new members understand the points system”
o “Is everyone using the GIN system calendar?”
o “Participating is one of the best ways to learn about Tri Sigma. What else can we do to help you?”
o “We miss you when you aren’t here…is everything okay?”

We know so many of our chapters, members, and alumnae are doing exceptional things to build sisterhood and develop a lifelong commitment to Tri Sigma without hazing. This week we want to highlight those moments, ideas, mentalities, and events. If you are a student leader who knows some things need to change in your chapter, be confident that you can make that change a have a national sisterhood who will support you with ideas, encouragement and praise! Women of Character Don’t Haze.


LorinLorin Phillips, Assistant Executive Director for Tri Sigma.  Through her work with Tri Sigma, Lorin supports the Risk Management Committee, created and developed the SAFE Team volunteer position and educational curriculum, and oversees the risk management investigations and membership review process. During her time with Tri Sigma she has conducted over 100 risk management investigations and 15 membership reviews. In addition, she has been integral to revising their member accountability process and incorporating technology into their social event and risk management policy education programs.

Confessions of a Sigma-holic

  • Posted on September 15, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Hello, my name is Jackie and I’m a Sigma-holic…Jacqulyn King

Happy Homecoming! Whether your campus celebrates in September or October, the brisk cool air and fall colors send me running for campus when I hear the call from my Alma Mater. This has become one of my favorite events.

Confession time, this was not always the case. My first homecoming was a bit awkward. I’m not sure why, but it was difficult to return to the Chapter house and realize that the group had managed to move on nicely without me. Imagine that! Oh, my younger self had so much to learn. Also, in the three months since graduation, I had failed to become rich and famous. I felt …weighed in the balance and found wanting. Many years and two chapter houses later I returned to discover what I had been missing, my friends, all the memories, and my campus. Don’t make my mistake, Homecoming is not about where you have arrived, it’s simply a time to celebrate where your journey began.

Since this realization, Homecoming has become an annual event. My Alpha Phi Chapter has a lovely tradition that goes back 42 years, beginning when we had moved to a house on S. Main Street in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. At this new location, the Homecoming parade would pass right by the house. Since a sister had been elected to the Queen’s Court, we decided to invite our Alumnae to join us for a continental breakfast. Together we sipped coffee or hot chocolate and watched as Liz waved from the Queens float as the parade passed. Two houses later, rain or shine sisters still gather on the front porch on the Alpha Phi Chapter house to enjoy the parade.

If your chapter celebrates Homecoming, don’t miss this opportunity to show your support. Alumnae retuning sends a message to the campus community that your chapter is alive and well. It also provides new members with a sense of heritage, and demonstrates that we are sisters for life. I hope you will set a better example than I did, and enjoy these special moments while you can. I would love to hear how your chapter celebrates Homecoming. Please feel free to share your special memories.


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.

Smooth Sailing Sigmas

  • Posted on September 8, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Most of us have at least one item with a sailboat on it somewhere in our closets, jewelry boxes, offices, and bedrooms. Let’s admit, Sigmas are a little sailboat silly! We sign our emails with “Ever forward,” print sailboats on our t-shirts, and try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to make sailboats by twisting and turning our hands together in the air. But why the sailboat? Longwood College wasn’t really near good sailing waters. Did our founders like to vacation by the sea? Perhaps. Did a Sigma at one point win a sailing competition? Maybe. (If you did, let us know!)

Sailboat pin belonging to Mary Hastings Holloway Page

Sailboat pin belonging to Mary Hastings Holloway Page


The sailboat hasn’t always been our symbol; it didn’t come into effect until the 1974 Convention. Sigma legend has it that the reason the sailboat was chosen was because it was Robbie Page’s favorite toy. A picture of Robbie at the beach a few weeks before he passed away shows him playing with a sailboat, and the story spread. However, we cannot confirm nor deny that the sailboat was his favorite. The sailboat was only one of the symbols up for debate at that Convention. A mushroom was also a contender, proposed for its ability to grow and sprout in many places.

Necklace with sailboat pendant belonging to Emily Lewis Lee

Necklace with sailboat pendant belonging to Emily Lewis Lee


But by the 1970s, Tri Sigma already had a long tradition of service to children. During the debate over the symbols, the discussion became centered around this idea, and the appropriateness of the sailboat as a child’s toy. Additionally, the sailboat was felt to convey a sense of direction for charting a course for Sigmas everywhere. Today, the sailboat is associated with the mantra, ever forward, referring to our organization’s smooth and constant forward motion.


The Tri Sigma Archives Committee is here to preserve our history, and we need your help. Visit the archives website for more information.

Blooming Panties: The Value of Serving Sigma

  • Posted on September 4, 2015 at 12:03 pm

By: Molly Schroeder Steadman Molly

It doesn’t take people long to realize that I am raising money for the Chi chapter Scholarship with the Tri Sigma Foundation. Oh it’s your birthday? Here is a donation in your Honor to the foundation. Oh you got a bonus at work? Let me send you that address? We have been working for about 2 years and we are absolutely on track to get this done! I am super excited for the Mighty Chis. (A term I invented)
I was very involved with the national organization after I graduated from Pitt State. I was a housing volunteer at a Kansas Chapter. I was a National Volunteer and eventually moved to Woodstock and became a paid member of the National Headquarters Staff/Angels. Those jobs and responsibilities fit my life until they didn’t and I moved on to the next thing. In my case, it was a new job, a husband and 3 kids in 4 years.
Out the window went work, travel, night meetings and 14 hour marathon conference calls (kidding!) in the window came snugly, wet kisses, stretch marks and a reading list that includes Madelyn and Mike Mulligan. Do I miss conversations with grown ups? You betcha! Would I change a thing? Not a chance.
The point is you have to bloom where you are planted. We have to take the time and talents that we are blessed with and use them in service to our sisterhood and ourselves.  That may mean driving to a Chapter meeting each week like the selfless chapter advisors, (God bless each and every one of them) or maybe all you can do is send in a few extra bucks to the foundation. Either is fine, no either is excellent and critical to our sisterhood. But not everybody can or is suited to everything. You have to bloom where you are planted. And that can change as time goes by. I am going to see this scholarship funded and watch my babies grow. After that who knows?
Today as you make your choices and think about all the ways you can serve, remember that our sisterhood has opportunities that require all manner of time and talents. There is one for you! While you are thinking maybe you can check your couch cushions for loose change? The Mighty Chi scholarship fund needs all the help we can get!

Molly Schroeder Steadman (Chi) is a former chapter officer, local and national sorority volunteer, and National Headquarters employee. She recently moved back to Kansas with her husband and three children. Join her in supporting the future of Tri Sigma with regular donations to the Foundation, preferably the Chi Scholarship fund. Her blog, “Is Everybody Wearing Panties?”, runs the first Friday of every month. Values aren’t something you are born wearing; like your panties, you have to put them on every day before you leave the house.