Divine Nine Makes its Way to Piedmont


Sigma Gamma Rho members of past and present gather outside of student commons PHOTO// Chloe Spradlin

In Mar. 2023, Piedmont University announced the arrival of the sorority of Sigma Gamma Rho, and the celebration got started Sunday, Mar. 26 with a block party at the Student Commons.

Sigma Gamma Rho is a nationally recognized sorority that has mainly included black women since its inception in 1922. It is one of the “Divine Nine” black-greek life sororities. This is the second sorority to join Piedmont’s campus, and sophomore Bryn White is the ace that brought it here.

“I’ve always grown up around Sigma Gamma Rho, and I knew I always wanted to be a part of them, but coming to Piedmont, it wasn’t an option. So, I had to figure out a way to bring them here,” White said.

An event was hosted outside of the student commons on Mar. 26, where SGR members of the past and present gathered to celebrate the founding of Piedmont’s chapter. There was music, food, dancing and smiles all around for Piedmont’s new community.

Piedmont’s president, Marshall Criser III, spent some time at the event connecting with the new addition to campus life and students that stopped by. 

“I think this opportunity to recognize that we have a diverse student body, and an opportunity for people to get together but also find their group, their thing to do on campus; It’s something that’s very, very important for our students and it’s very important for us,” said Criser.

Students who want to join SGR have to go through the process of rushing. Rushing for sororities in the Divine Nine is different than rushing for predominantly white sororities. It takes months for prospective members to prove themselves to the sorority, citing GPA and making sure they are a right fit for the sorority, making the long wait an essential piece of the selection process.

Alicia Finnell has been a member of Sigma Gamma Rho since 1994. She joined the University of Georgia chapter and recalls her time during rush and as a member for the last 19 years.

“I was talking to my brother about it [SGR] and he said ‘Oh yeah, those are smart girls.’ And I responded ‘Yeah, that’s me. I’m smart,’” said Finnell, describing the decision to pursue joining the sisterhood.

Within the Greek life cultures, your fellow members are your brothers/sisters. This tradition combines with the adoption of a “little” when a senior member of the sorority is paired with a new member, adopting them as their little brother/sister to help guide and ease the transition into Greek life. 

“I still have a lifeline to all of my sorors,” says Finnell. “It’s just nice to have that constant connection. And I also love that no matter where I go, if I see somebody with a Sigma Gamma Rho shirt on, it’s like ‘Hi soror, how you doing?’ And you have an instant sister. It’s really like being a part of a big family.”

The motto of Sigma Gamma Rho is greater service, greater progress. That is what the Piedmont chapter of SGR is trying to bring to campus.

“Going back to its very beginning, Piedmont is all about access and it’s all about a campus community that finds an opportunity to be part of the Piedmont Lions,” said Criser. 

For more information on how to become a member of Sigma Gamma Rho, contact Bryn White at her student email for more information, [email protected].