History of the Alpha Pi Chapter of Lambda Sigma

Member Lists:1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004.
Officers Lists: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
Events Lists: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004.
Minutes: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004.
Reports: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004.

National History of Lambda Sigma Society

(Edited from an earlier version by Dean Ruth W. Knights, Allegheny College)

In the early 1920's, Dean Thyrsa Amos of the University of Pittsburgh had the kind of imagination and foresight to found the National Society of Cwens to give recognition to outstanding women, excelling in scholarship and leadership. The Lambda Sigma Society, whose membership also includes sophomore men, is the successor to Cwens. This came about in 1976 because of the progressive requirements of Title IX. In the changeover, however, the specific significance of the heritage from which Lambda Sigma was created continues to be both meaningful and viable.

Dean Amos felt strongly the need for an organization designed to recognize outstanding sophomore women on the University of Pittsburgh campus, just as the already established Society of Druids tapped the campus' outstanding men. With great in enthusiasm, twelve sophomore women accepted their invitations and met on November 7, 1922, to proceed with Dean Amos' visionary plans. After considerable discussion, the name Cwen, signifying "lady" or "queen" in Anglo-Saxon, was chosen. The purposes proposed included fostering activities and scholarship for freshmen women, promoting fellowship and leadership, and giving reinforcement to campus groups responsible for carrying out rules and regulations.

With three enthusiastic chapters at Pittsburgh, Miami, and Missouri, the Society of Cwens decided to hold a conference "on the need and place of an honorary society for sophomore women, " May 25-6, 1925, at Miami, Ohio.

In the opening session, delegates voted unanimously to form a national society and to call this society Cwens. Expansion was discussed, and the consensus was to limit the establishment of new chapters to four-year colleges already having Mortar Board chapters and/or whose women graduates could qualify for membership in the American Association of University Women. Invitations to become Cwens were limited to the top 10 percent of the freshmen women.

On June 16, 1926, the charter of the National Society of Cwens was recorded. The 1972 National Convention met in Pittsburgh on the Duquesne University campus and observed the Fiftieth Anniversary of the founding of Cwens with the Feaste in the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus.

Then came the years 1975-6, when the Title IX Education Amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1972 abolished single-sex organizations in institutions of higher learning. The chapter presidents, meeting in conference in October 1975, gave authority to the National Executive Board to disband the National Society of Cwens if no viable alternatives to sustain it could be found. Thus, plans were made for a national sophomore honor society for both women and men. After investigating all channels for retaining Cwens in its current state, the National Board disbanded Cwens, and on March 6, 1976, founded Lambda Sigma Society.

The Society's fundamental purposes remain the same--fostering leadership, scholarship, fellowship, and the spirit of service, as well as promoting and serving in every way the interests of the colleges or universities of respective chapters. Lambda Sigma will continue to play a significant and meaningful role in the lives of its members and in the campuses and communities in which they serve.

Insignia (From Lambdasigma.org)

The official symbol of Lambda Sigma is a blue diamond with the Greek letters superimposed in gold. The letters lambda and sigma are emblematic of leadership and scholarship, which are the foundations of society.

Chapter Activities (ibid.)

Each Lambda Sigma Chapter plans a unique program of activities designed to achieve the purposes of scholarship, leadership, fellowship, and service.

Since the spirit of service is a strong bond between Lambda Sigma members, many chapter activities are service-oriented. Chapters may serve their campuses by assisting with freshman orientation, tutoring, serving as big brother/sisters, guided campus tours, ushering at special events, sponsoring a college quiz bowl, or cleaning up the campus. Many chapters are also involved in community service through projects such as visiting homes for the elderly or handicapped, raising money for local and national charitable organizations, assisting with voter registration, or organizing blood drives.

Other activities include social events as parties, dinners and dances, and chapter fundraisers which might include bowl-a-thons, auctions, dance-a-thons, or sales of buttons, flowers, t-shirts, used textbooks, birthday cakes, and even Christmas trees.

A national convention is held annually to bring Lambda Sigma presidents together to share ideas among chapters. Each chapter also conducts activities to inform, select, and initiate new members in accordance with the rituals of national Lambda Sigma.