Phi Sigma Sigma makes its mark on University campus

In 1923, the Theta chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma was founded at the University. On Sunday, just under 200 women accepted bids from Phi Sigma Sigma, re-establishing a tradition that began almost a century ago and marking their first pledge class after a three-year hiatus.

“When Phi Sigma Sigma left campus, we worked closely with the college’s Panhellenic (Council) to plan for our return this fall, just in time for Phi Sigma Sigma’s 100th year anniversary,” said Michelle Ardern, executive director of Phi Sigma Sigma. “It is truly a wonderful time to be a Phi Sigma Sigma member.”

To join the sorority, potential new members went through a unique recruitment process. On Sept. 29, the colonization kick-off took place at David Kinley Hall, where women learned more about Phi Sigma Sigma and colonization week. From Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, the colonization team held personal interviews with women interested in membership. Selected women were then invited to meet Phi Sigma Sigma sisters from Illinois State University on Oct. 4. The next day, the women participated in a preference party at the Illini Union. On Sunday, which was Phi Sigma Sigma’s Bid Day, those who were chosen for the sorority celebrated their acceptance at the Illini Union.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of a brand new sisterhood and create a group based on what we all want as a group together,” said Lindsay Goldstein, junior in Media and Illini Media employee. “We all get to be our own leaders together.”

Joining the sisterhood had special meaning for Goldstein, who left campus last fall after doctors discovered she had a cancerous tumor. After three rounds of chemotherapy, Goldstein went into remission last February.

“I get a second chance at a real college experience, and hopefully now that I’m in a sorority, it will feel even more complete,” she said.

Goldstein is also a triple-legacy of Phi Sigma Sigma, and will continue her own family’s tradition as a member of the sisterhood.

Annie Golminski, sophomore in DGS and transfer student from Sacred Heart University, is ready to make Phi Sigma Sigma a home for the founding members of the Theta chapter. As a sister from the Iota Nu chapter at Sacred Heart University, she is looking forward to showing the new girls what being in a sorority really means, she said.

“Phi Sig to me was where I found my niche last year,” Golminski said. “It felt like home and that each and every one of us was a Phi Sig for a reason, and I really hope that is exactly how it is at U of I as well.”

Now that the chapter has its founders, it will participate in a six-week new member program facilitated by the consultant team, which consists of members from Phi Sigma Sigma chapters throughout the nation. In addition, there is a full calendar of events planned, including a sisterhood retreat, Homecoming activities and a barn dance.

By next fall, chapter members will also return to living at 902 S. Second St., the current Phi Gamma Delta, or FIJI, house, which they have owned for several decades. Phi Sigma Sigma will also participate in formal recruitment starting next school year.

“Phi Sigma Sigma is committed to providing hands-on support to our newest chapters so that they have a strong foundation for the future,” said Bianca Fazzina, director of recruitment and extension. “Starting a new sorority and laying groundwork is a wonderful opportunity for the women at the University of Illinois.”

In early December, the women will be initiated into the sorority, and next year, the Theta chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma will once again have an established home on the University campus.

Alice can be reached at [email protected]