After a three-year nationalization process, the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority became a part of St. John’s Greek Life again on February 1.
The Alpha Sigma Alpha Gamma Phi chapter, which was formerly the local sorority Kappa Phi Beta, has the mission of developing “women of poise and purpose,” according to former Greek Advisor Maggie Bach, who is herself a member of ASA.
“It’s been a lot of work and different from what we were used to, but it’s rewarding and exciting,” chapter president Anna DellaRatte said.
Bach was part of the chapter’s transition from beginning to end.
“In 2011, the Panhellenic Council voted to open for expansion, to allow Kappa Phi Beta to find a national organization to affiliate with,” Bach explained. “This opening was posted in a bulletin that is sent to all 26 of the National Panhellenic Conference Sororities. Applications were received and Alpha Sigma Alpha was chosen by the women of Kappa Phi Beta for affiliation.”
“The women felt that reinstalling a former chapter of St. John’s University would help them stay connected to the history of the university,” Danielle Davis explained. As the chapter’s leadership consultant, Davis played a guiding role in the transition, teaching the sisters the history of ASA and their responsibilities as members.
“Alpha Sigma Alpha was interested in re-colonizing at St. John’s and after meeting with national representatives we realized that ASA was a great fit for us,” junior Tracy Mikulewicz said. “They promote a lot of the same values and aims as Kappa Phi Beta.”
Mikulewicz, an actuarial science major, pledged Kappa Phi Beta in spring 2012.
“The process for a local sorority to affiliate with a national one is a very long, but exciting process,” Bach said.
The process has several steps: after Kappa Phi Beta chose to be affiliated with ASA, a national representative came to campus to “install the colony,” Bach said. This happened in the fall of 2013. After the colony is installed, the chapter goes through a training process to prepare them for initiation.
“The transition went really well,” Mikulewicz said. “We spent the fall semester learning about Alpha Sigma Alpha before getting officially installed as a chapter. There were definitely challenges along the way, but it really brought us closer together as a sorority.”
“This group was able to move quickly through the colonization process because they have had previous experience in a sorority,” Davis said.
“We never had sisters outside of our chapter, so being a part of an organization that has over 90 chapters is inspiring,” DellaRatta, a junior advertising major, said. “The letters we wear are shared with women across the country who share the same values and live the same aims. It’s a great feeling and Alpha Sigma Alpha has provided us with that,” said DellaRatta, who joined Kappa Phi Beta in fall 2012.
The Gamma Phi chapter of ASA was first established at St. John’s in 1969. They left campus in the early 1970s for unknown reasons.
Both Davis and DellaRatta mentioned the sisters’ diversity as one of their strengths.
“Alpha Sigma Alpha is different because they are diverse,” Davis said. “They realize the importance of grouping together different personalities. Even though they are all different, they all share a common interest and bond.”
“I pride myself on the diversity of my organization,” DellaRatta said. “I’m also proud of our ability to recruit the most genuine, dedicated girls who I am proud to not only call my sisters, but my true friends as well.”
The founding sisters of ASA welcomed their first pledge class last weekend.
Davis foresees a bright future for the group.
“This group is very involved in community service and philanthropy, so I see them continuing to give back to the community,” she said. “They continue to push themselves to constantly be better.”