On October 27, Theta Delta Sigma was voted onto the Montclair State University campus by a unanimous vote from the Greek Council. This marks not only the first New Jersey chapter of Theta Delta Sigma, but also the first Queer-focused Greek Organization at Montclair State.
As a National organization, Theta Delta Sigma strives to “make diversity the rule, instead of the exception.” They do this through ensuring all types of diversity in each of their 13 chapters and colonies, which span all the way from Virginia to Vermont. The organization’s most recent demographics tout 70 plus cultures and nationalities, all major religions, and several different gender identities and sexualities amongst their members.
On Montclair State University’s campus, Theta Delta Sigma was discovered by a group of students living in the Stonewall Suites, an LGBTQ living community. The students, who range from freshmen to juniors, decided that they wanted “more than just a club.” They got together and presented their idea to Brian Edwards, the Coordinator of the LGBTQ Center, who was incredibly excited to work with them and move forward. The students researched several national organizations and eventually uncovered Theta Delta Sigma. For many, the “Siblinghood” provided by Theta Delta Sigma is ideal because it provides them with a tight-knit family while using gender-inclusive terminology. The founding members state that they feel the “inclusive Siblinghood will be imperative in providing the support needed to make sure [their] college careers are successful as well as the rest of [their] lives.”
Future Colony President, Kelsea Rowan, states “personally, it’s really important to have a gender-inclusive organization because I do feel like my identity is better recognized through the language of Theta Delta Sigma, not just my gender expression. Because I’m a part of the LGBTQ community, my friend base has always been diverse and this organization has made it so going forward, my family will be just as diverse, if not more!”
After working with both Brian Edwards and Emily Cordero, the Coordinator for Greek Life, the dedicated students contacted the national office of Theta Delta Sigma. Through in-person meetings and many emails, they were given the okay to make their formal presentation in front of the entire Greek Council.
Under the supervision and direction of Emily Cordero, Brian Edwards, who will serve as their campus advisor, and their National representatives, the organization will spend one year as a colony. Through this, they will learn the proverbial ropes of Greek Life and will work to co-sponsor events and establish their presence on campus. In October 2016, the colony will have the opportunity to be considered for a full charter.
While Montclair State currently houses two gender-inclusive organizations, Alpha Phi Omega and Phi Sigma Pi, as well as countless other organizations within the Greek Community who are LGBTQ-friendly, Theta Delta Sigma will be the first organization with a primarily LGBTQ focus. The colony plans to focus their philanthropic work on local youth shelters, specifically those that house homeless LGBTQ children and teenagers.
This past year, Montclair was listed on the Campus Pride Top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities list. Following that, it seems only natural that MSU would extend this widespread inclusion to Greek Life.
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