Phi Sigma Sigma was founded on November 26, 1913, at what is now Hunter College’s Park Avenue Campus in New York City, New York.
By the second decade of the twentieth century, many of today’s national sororities and women’s fraternities had already become established in the college world. However, in the early years of the 1910s, the youngest members of the National Panhellenic Conference were just beginning to organize.
History of Phi Sigma Sigma
Phi Sigma Sigma was founded after ten women approached the dean of women at Hunter College in 1913 about forming a sorority that was open to women of character from all backgrounds. The result became Phi Sigma Sigma sorority. It was officially established on November 26, 1913.
The organization then went on to receive its articles of incorporation from New York City in 1913. Unfortunately, members had to change the name of the organization, then known as Phi Sigma Omega, because another organization had already been incorporated with that name.
The women of Phi Sigma Sigma wanted to create an organization that was welcoming to everyone. Therefore, unlike many sororities and women’s fraternities, the ritual and member programming of Phi Sigma Sigma is not based in any kind of religious philosophy.
Phi Sigma Sigma was not founded with expansion in mind, but after a friend contacted one of the founding members, a second chapter was established at Tufts College and a third at New York University, both in 1918.
Through its expansion efforts, Phi Sigma Sigma became a national organization in 1921 when its sixth chapter was established at the University of California Los Angeles. Phi Sigma Sigma became an international sorority in 1930 when its twentieth chapter was chartered at the University of Manitoba in Manitoba, Canada.
In 1951, Phi Sigma Sigma was one of eleven sororities and women’s fraternities granted full membership in the National Panhellenic Conference, an umbrella organization representing twenty-six of America’s “traditional” sororities and women’s fraternities. Today, due to the instability of organizations or merging with other member groups, only eight of the eleven organizations admitted in 1951 are still in operation.
In June of 1968, Hunter College’s two campuses, one in the Bronx and the other on Park Avenue, split into two separate institutions. Due to the split in the college, the first chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma was also divided due to members attending different campuses. The Alpha, or first, chapter remained on the Park Avenue campus, while another chapter, Alpha Alpha, was established on the former Bronx campus, now known as Herbert Lehman College.
In 1999, Phi Sigma Sigma recieved the National Make A Difference Day Award for the organization’s commitment to community service and philanthropic causes.
Phi Sigma Sigma Today
Today, Phi Sigma Sigma has 107 active collegiate chapters and numerous alumnae groups throughout the United States and Canada. Phi Sigma Sigma also has over 60,000 initiated members and celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2013.
Phi Sigma Sigma’s philanthropic project is the National Kidney Foundation. Adopted in 1970, the National Kidney Foundation provides support for those awaiting a kidney transplant and recipients of donated kidneys, awareness of kidney diseases, and sponsors programs for transplant recipients across the United States and Canada.
Phi Sigma Sigma can be identified by various distinct insignia adopted throughout the organization’s history.
- Colors: king blue and gold
- Symbol: sphinx
- Flower: American Beauty Rose
- Philanthropy: National Kidney Foundation
- Motto: Diokete Hupsala “Aim High”
Founded in 1913, Phi Sigma Sigma has evolved into an international organization that meets the needs of its collegiate and alumnae members through various activities and fellowship, regardless of religious backgrounds.