When you hear the word sorority, a preconceived set of pop culture-propagated images likely comes to mind.
Given the stereotypes, it might surprise you to know that Concordia is home to its very own Greek society. Lambda Delta Sigma (LDS) is one of the oldest campus organizations, yet many students are unaware of the group’s existence. Because LDS does not fit the Hollywood portrayal of sorority behavior, and the Greek heyday at Concordia has long been over, LDS operates largely under the radar. As a current member of LDS, I’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the society’s history, how we’ve made it this far, and what it’s like to be a member of the only surviving sorority at Concordia.
Concordia's only surviving Greek society, Lambda Delta Sigma, is one of the oldest campus organizations.
Lambda Delta Sigma was founded in 1919, making it one of the oldest campus organizations at 97 years old. Back in those days, LDS was actually one of many sororities and fraternities on Concordia’s campus. Each year the societies would hold a campus winter carnival lasting several days and including activities like the winter Olympics, crowning of a king and queen, and concerts by artists such as Peter, Paul and Mary.
Many things have changed between the society’s creation and today. The most notable being that, over time, the other sororities and fraternities disbanded.
A few significant changes have happened within LDS as well. In 1919, the organization was a literary society and its symbol was the red rose. Today, the symbol of LDS is the pink flamingo. This is evident during pledge week, when potential and active members proudly wear pink, feathered boas to emulate our “mascot” of sorts.
Also, LDS is no longer a literary society but a philanthropic society. This means that one of the primary missions of LDS is to serve the Concordia community and the Fargo-Moorhead area. Each month the co-philanthropy chairs choose an organization to work with, such as the Great Plains Food Bank, the Red River Zoo, Eventide, and Riding On Angels’ Wings.
January is perhaps the month when LDS receives the most campus recognition as the society hosts an all-male pageant to raise money for the YWCA. Men from various Concordia organizations volunteer to participate in the event and must participate in a talent, Cobber spirit, and question portion of the pageant to compete for the title of Mr. Concordia.
Ticket sales and donations are collected the week prior to the event and delivered to the YWCA post-crowning. The event has been wildly successful, and each year approximately $2,000 has been raised. Putting service at the center of the organization is extremely important to our mission and gives all of us a great chance to get out of the Concordia bubble.
In addition to philanthropic events, LDS also makes an effort to hold monthly socials with fraternities. I know what you’re thinking: how can you have socials when there are no fraternities left at Concordia? Well, when all of the other Greek organizations were shut down at Concordia, LDS had to get creative, so we turned to the men at North Dakota State and began hosting socials with their fraternities. Socials are not what pop culture would have you think they are; they are alcohol-free, organized events, and they are a ton of fun. In the past, we have gone skating at Skate City with NDSU's Farmhouse fraternity, carved jack-o'-lanterns with Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and held Christmas festivities with the men of Theta Chi.
Putting service at the center of the organization is extremely important to our mission.
Socials are another excellent way to expand our friendships beyond campus. So much so that LDS elects a representative from one of the fraternities to attend weekly meetings to keep us informed of NDSU Greek events.
Weekly meetings are where LDS shines as an official organization. All events of the meeting follow parliamentary procedure, and we have a very thorough constitution that guides us. Each week we also get a chance to celebrate each other’s accomplishments during “sisters to be heard” and award “points” to sisters or events that are truly exciting or funny.
Lambda Delta Sigma is a one-of-a-kind organization in that we get to enjoy all the benefits of a sorority without many of the stigmas or problems that face national chapters. Our members come from all walks of life, and all areas of campus, and many of us would never have interacted if it weren’t for LDS. I am so extremely proud that this organization has continued to survive, and I hope it continues to thrive and unite the women of Concordia for years to come.
Rachael Michaud '16 is a communication studies major at Concordia.