Multicultural sorority returns to campus

Delta Sigma Theta is relaunching after low numbers closed it in 2008.

Melissa Berman

Delta Sigma Theta, a historically black sorority, returned to the University of Minnesota and Augsburg College this fall after an almost six-year absence.

Now, seven founding members — six from the University and one from Augsburg — want to add to the University’s multicultural greek organizations and breathe new life into the restored Twin Cities chapter, which folded in 2008 due to low membership.

Danita Brown Young, the University’s vice provost for student affairs and dean of students, was a member of Delta Sigma Theta while she attended Kent State University. She’s still active in the sorority’s Twin Cities alumnae chapter.

When Brown Young took her post at the University this summer, she identified strengthening the campus’s greek community as one of her main goals.

Brown Young said greek life addresses issues important to the African-American community — issues like education, political awareness and health.

Cheryl Cooper Boyd, the sorority’s Minnesota coordinator and a member of its Twin Cities alumnae chapter, said she hopes Brown Young’s position as a high-level administrator and her involvement with greek life will help Delta Sigma Theta and other University greek organizations grow.

“The positive benefits of participating in greek life are really important to [Brown Young] in terms of bonding — and a network and public service, which is what we stand for,” Cooper Boyd said.

Delta Sigma Theta is one of five multicultural sororities on campus. Matt Levine, program director for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said he hopes to see that community continue to grow.

“Our multicultural greek organizations have an incredible history on this campus. We want to see those groups continue to succeed,” he said. “They’re another way for students to find their niche.”

Marketing and international business sophomore Yasmine Mohammed Nur is a founding member of Delta Sigma Theta. She said she joined in part because of her admiration for the sorority’s members.

“A huge factor that attracted me to this sorority was I saw how women [in the sorority] carry themselves — the way they talk, the way they walk, the way they dress,” she said. “I just knew it was for me.”

Mohammed Nur said she knew Delta Sigma Theta was a successful sorority, but its emphasis on philanthropy persuaded her to join.

“It’s an organization that actually truly impacts lives,” she said. “I liked how its standards are so high with its GPA and public service requirements, its sisterhood aspect and how unified everyone is. I just wanted to be a part of it.”

The founding members are now finishing recruitment of new members and beginning to plan service events. Members said they hope to have their first philanthropic event this month, which isn’t a surprise to Brown Young.

“It’s so fitting that when these ladies finished [meeting] on Sunday, the first thing they were scheduling was their first public service event,” she said. “They are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work to serve our community.”