November 15, 1901
The Virginia State Female Normal School (Longwood University)
||Developing women of poise & purpose
||strive to develop women of poise & purpose; and assist members in fostering lifetime friendships.
||Aspire, Seek, Attain
Crimson Pearl White
Palm Green Gold
||phoenix, crown, palm tree, star
S. June Smith Center,
Girls On the Run International,
The Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation
||170 collegiate & alumnae chapters
||9002 Vincennes Circle
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. The purpose of the association is to cultivate the relationship among members. Alpha Sigma Alpha promotes high ideal and standards for its members throughout their lives by emphasizing balance among four aims of intellectual, physical, social and spiritual development. With the effort of each member, Alpha Sigma Alpha became a full member of National Panhellenic Conference in 1951. The insignia of Alpha Sigma Alpha are the star, crown, palm tree and phoenix. The star represents the aspirations of Alpha Sigma Alphas to live up to the values of the Sorority. The crown represents leadership attained and the name of recognition given to our alumnae. The palm tree represents an emblem of sturdy development. The phoenix, the central symbol in our coat-of-arms, openly represents the reorganization of the Sorority that occurred in 1914. There are currently over 175 chapters of Alpha Sigma Alpha nationwide with more than 120,000 members.
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. 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."
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". 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. The first initiation was held In Jan 1903. On Feb. 13, 1903, Alpha Sigma Alpha was chartered in the Circuit Court of Prince Edward County, VA, by Judge George Jefferson Hundley, Juliette Jefferson Hundley-Gilliam's father. The Sorority was chartered to legalize its existence and to begin the first of many steps toward expanding the sisterhood and making Alpha Sigma Alpha a national sorority.
Alpha Sigma Alpha expanded quickly 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. Despite the anti-sorority attitude Alpha Sigma Alpha held the first National Convention at the Hotel Richmond in Richmond, VA over the Thanksgiving weekend 1905. During the convention the first Nation Council were elected and the Alpha Sigma Alpha Magazine was created.
After only ten years Alpha Sigma Alpha fell on hard times again, of the 13 chapters established in those years only four where left in 1912. By 1913 only one active chapter was left, the original alpha chapter. At the end of 1921 the sorority turned to Ida Shaw Martin, author of the Sorority Handbook, for help in rebuilding. With her help Alpha Sigma Alpha began on focusing on local sororities at teachers colleges and colleges of education within bigger universities.
In 1911 Alpha Sigma Alpha became a professional sorority within the field of education, and in 1915 founded the Association of Pedagogical Sororities with Sigma Sigma Sigma to develop common standards for the formation and expansion of educational sororities. In 1947 the seven sororities of the association voted to dissolve it and petitioned to join the National Panhellenic Council (NPC). On November 27, 1951 Alpha Sigma Alpha was officially welcomed as a full member of the NPC, from that point on Alpha Sigma Alpha could establish a chapter at any university.
Timeline of events
1901: Founding of Alpha Sigma Alpha at Longwood College on November 15
1906: The first publication, Aegis, is printed
1913: Ida Shaw Martin is elected to membership, Only teachers' colleges and colleges of education within universities will be eligible as ASA chapters
1914: Convention over Thanksgiving weekend at the Miami University, Ohio: Rituals, customs, symbols elaborated and developed, constitution formulated, inception of weekly publication The Phoenix
1951: Alpha Sigma Alpha petitions for membership to the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and is accepted on November 12
1976: Special Olympics added as national philanthropic partner
1990: Additional national philanthropic partner added: S. June Smith Center
1998: National headquarters moved to Indianapolis, Indiana
2008: National headquarters building opens in September 2008 at 9002 Vincennes Circle, Indianapolis, Indiana
2008: Alpha Sigma Alpha adopts official ladybug mascot named Dot
2009: Joined Special Olympics' campaign – Spread the Word to End the Word
2012: Girls On The Run added as national philanthropic partner
Symbols and insignia
- Colors: The primary colors of Alpha Sigma Alpha are crimson and pearl white, supplemented by the secondary colors palm green and gold
- Flower: both the aster (the fall flower) and the narcissus (the spring flower)
- Jewel: the pearl (which belongs distinctly to the new member) and the ruby (which belongs distinctly to the initiated member)
- Symbol: star, crown, palm tree, and phoenix
- Mascot: Dot the ladybug (officially adopted as Alpha Sigma Alpha's mascot at the 2008 national convention & leadership conference)
- Badge: 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. In 1903 the Membership badge changed to the diamond shape it has today.
- Service Immersion Experience: A five-day service trip where "members grow as women of poise and purpose through service, immersion, and leadership development in an environment that challenges all participants."
- DOT Days: A program inspired by the Philanthropic Statement, and stands for Donating our Time Days. D.O.T. days take place during the first week of October every year. "Established in 2012, this week is set aside for all members across the country to focus on service to their communities. Alpha Sigma Alpha chapters and members are encouraged to donate their time to the national philanthropic partners and local community."
- ASA Advantage: the "Sorority's member education initiative and is offered in four modules; new member, initiate, senior and alumna". The modules include new member information, resources for graduating members, and information to help development in the four aims (physical, social, spiritual, and intellectual).
- Wi$e Up!: is a "program designed to educate young women on the importance of financial health and stability" hosted by the Department of Labor Woman's Bureau's.
- Advisor Institute: "Empowers new and tenured advisors, with new techniques and ideas, as well as opportunities to practice familiar concepts, advisors have the chance to grow and develop in a comfortable setting with their peers."
- Emma Coleman Frost Leadership Development Institute: "Provides emerging collegiate leaders with the opportunity to enhance their personal and leadership development."
- National Convention & Leadership Conference: "Is the forum where sisters from around the world unite in sisterhood for fun, personal and professional development, and delegates from each collegiate and alumnae chapter decide the future of the Sorority. Sisters of all ages enjoy a week of sisterhood, heritage, leadership and service."
In 1976 Alpha Sigma Alpha National headquarters announced that the Special Olympics would be their national philanthropic partner. Since then it has taken several projects under its wing. In 1986 Alpha Sigma Alpha changed the 1947 Endowment fund to the Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation. Initially it was a scholarship-granting body, but it has branched out to support a number of different interests with the intentions of providing opportunities for service, leadership, and lifelong learning. In 1990 Alpha Sigma Alpha partnered with the S. June Smith Center, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Center was named after an Alpha Sigma Alpha member, Dr. S. June Smith (Kappa Kappa chapter), rounding out its philanthropic interests. In 2012, Alpha Sigma Alpha headquarters announced a new partnership with Girls On the Run International.
- S. June Smith Center (1965): "Supports children with disabilities in achieving their potential and promotes their full participation within their families, schools and communities in Central Pennsylvania."
- Special Olympics (1976) "Provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community."
- ASA Foundation (1986) (established in 1947 as the endowment fund): A chartable foundation with the mission of supporting the educational, leadership and philanthropic purposes of Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority and its members.
- Girls on the Run (2012): "A transformational physical activity based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd–8th grade. The program teaches life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games."
During the first National Convention in 1905 the Alpha Sigma Alpha magazine was created. The magazine was to be published three times a year. In 1908 the name was changed to the Aegis of Alpha Sigma Alpha. The name was changed again in 1914 to the name it has today, The Phoenix, and it became a weekly publication edited by Ida Shaw Martin. "The Phoenix was 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."
- Outstanding New Member Award – Formally known as the Ideal Pledge award, the Outstanding New Member Award was established to recognize a new member who has been an exceptional contributor to her chapter in her first year of membership.
- Frost Fidelity Sward – Recognizes a woman that exemplifies commitment and service, demonstrates her regard for others by her actions and lends abilities to all projects
- Elizabeth Bird Small Award – Formally known as the Alpha Girl Award, the Elizabeth Bird Small Award recognizes academic excellence and leadership talent
- Outstanding Athlete Award – Recognizes a sister that exemplifies the physical aim by representing her college by being on a sports team. She demonstrates athleticism, sportsmanship, leadership, and teamwork while being actively involved in Alpha Sigma Alpha.
- Four-Star chapter award – Established in 1985, the award is given annually to Alpha Sigma Alpha collegiate chapters that uphold the high ideals of the sorority. 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.
- Crown of Excellence award – The top award that a collegiate chapter can receive. The award was established to recognize the chapter achieving the highest percentage of requirements toward the Four-Star Chapter Award.
- Scholastic Achievement award – This award is presented to a collegiate chapter with the highest GPA for a school term among the chapters with grades reported from the college or university.
- Rose Marie Fellin Financial Excellence award – This award was established in 1992 in honor of Rose Marie Fellin's 27 years of service as the headquarters executive. The award is given to a collegiate chapter practicing the principles of sound financial management through record keeping, accurate financial reports, communication with national headquarters, as well as striving towards overall financial stability.
- Recruitment Excellence award – The Recruitment Excellence Award was established in 2010. The award is presented to a chapter that has met its recruitment targets for the year. This encompasses reaching given campus quota and total, as well as innovation in planning and implementing a quality recruitment plan.
- Sidney Gremillion Allen Panhellenic award – This award is given to the collegiate chapter that displays outstanding Panhellenic spirit and participation. The award is named after Sidney Gremillion Allen for her service as National Panhellenic Conference delegate.
- Service and Giving award – The service and giving award is given to a chapter that best exhibits the Alpha Sigma Alpha value of generosity.
Individual alumnae awards
- ASA Foundation Heart of Giving Award – This award is given to an alumna who has made a significant contribution of time, talent or treasure, to a local, national, or international charitable organizations(s). The award was first presented by the ASA Foundation at the 2012 national convention and leadership conference.
- Agape Award – The Agape Award recognizes volunteers who display a love for Alpha Sigma Alpha and its members. Recipients seek to advance the interests of others and to spread the positive influence of Alpha Sigma Alpha. The word "agape means a connections to the needs of others without the expectation of gaining something in return.
- Evelyn G. Bell Award – The award was instituted by the Buffalo Alumnae Chapter in 1980, in honor of Evelyn G. Bell, a past national president. The award is given to an alumna member who exhibits exceptional leadership, loyalty and commitment to Alpha Sigma Alpha by serving as a collegiate officer, alumnae officer and national volunteer.
- Helen Corey Award – First established at the 1982 national convention. The award is presented to an individual member in recognition of her unwavering and tireless efforts to the sorority.
- Wilma Wilson Sharp Award – The award recognizes an alumna member who has distinguished herself through service to her community, her profession and has shown significant leadership qualities, loyalty and continued service to Alpha Sigma Alpha.
- Recognition of Eminence Award – Designated to honor those alumnae whose professional or community achievements have attracted recognition far beyond the circle of Alpha Sigma Alpha membership.
- Outstanding Advisor Award – Established as a way to recognize the loyalty and dedication to Alpha Sigma Alpha's collegiate chapter advisors.
Alumnae chapter awards
- Palm chapter
- Star chapter
- Crown chapter
- Crown of Excellence
- Outstanding Membership growth
- Outstanding Alumnae Panhellenic Engagement
- Outstanding collegiate chapter relations
- Outstanding Programs
- Outstanding Community Involvement, Service and Giving
There are currently over 175 chapters of Alpha Sigma Alpha nationwide with more than 120,000 members.