When Gallatin junior Tiana Morrison arrived at NYU for her freshman year, she was disappointed with the lack of Greek organizations dedicated to black culture.
Hoping to change that, Morrison is in the process of adding a chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho to NYU, which would make it the university’s first black sorority.
Morrison aspires to bring both a culture and service-oriented organization to campus while strengthening the school’s community.
“I was actually trying to research any black sorority at NYU, and I couldn’t even find anything on Google, so that just says something about what we need,” Morrison said. “I feel like this [sorority] is giving those people who don’t have an outlet or an opportunity or an organization here already to find that place, to find that home, that venue to make change and bond with others.”
Morrison wanted to establish a Black Greek letter organization chapter at NYU after seeing historically black Greek life at her friends’ colleges and portrayed in movies. When Morrison was a sophomore, she began researching different organizations during the fall semester.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. stood out among other sororities. With a Gallatin concentration in youth development and community change, Morrison praised the organization for being service-oriented with a motto of “Greater Service, Greater Progress.”
“We do a lot of community service,” Jeannine Hunte, vice president of the Kappa Sigma SGRho NYC Alumnae Board, said. “Our headquarters require five projects.”
For NYU SGRho, currently an interest group, potential members have already participated in the African-American Parade on Sept. 15 and performed volunteer work at soup kitchens. On Oct. 19, the group will be volunteering at a walk to raise funds for Lupus research.
When fully recognized as a chapter, SGRho will become the only BGLO at NYU.
“It gives the minority population at NYU more social opportunities and more opportunities to get involved in campus life in a unified entity,” Danissa House, a graduate student and SGRho member, said.
“Imagine that within the next five years, SGRho will not be the only one on campus,” said Alain Balan, a CAS senior and Black Student Union president. “There will be other young black leaders on campus that will take the initiative to see something like this happen, and it will happen soon.”
“My whole goal is just to create a community and add another aspect of diversity on campus,” Morrison said.
SGRho has recently been approved as an interest group, and will be confirming their status with the Inter-Greek Council Recognition Committee on Oct. 18. After the committee’s confirmation, SGRho will await approval for colony status.
Jones said once the sorority becomes a colony, SGRho can initiate members and petition for full chapter status as early as one semester after becoming a colony. Morrison and Hunte said SGRho plans to tackle the requirements early in hopes of receiving chapter letters by fall 2014.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 17 print edition. Kathryn Jones is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]