Asian sorority comes to the University’s greek organization

The sorority Sigma Psi Zeta officially joins seven other multicultural greek organizations on campus.

by Sarah Connor

When international students Sarah Sham and Faith Tan came to the University of Minnesota as freshmen two years ago, they sought out a greek community that recognized Asian culture.

But after an unsuccessful search, the Singaporean students began recruiting friends and classmates to charter a new campus sorority that would cater specifically to Asian women.

The group was officially welcomed into the Multicultural Greek Council late last month at a reveal ceremony in Coffman Union. Members say the new sorority gives them a place on campus to call home and will create a community for future Asian women students at the University.

“We felt like we were missing something from this college experience, and we really wanted to make our experience memorable,” said Sham, vice president of the sorority, Sigma Psi Zeta. “We wanted to make something out of nothing and leave a legacy behind.”

Tan, the organization’s president, said the new sorority sprouted from the student group Bel Esprit, which she and Sham
created after neither of them found a good fit with the sororities that already existed on campus. The student group helped gain support and members for the new sorority, she said.

MGC adviser Mia McCurdy said she’s expecting Sigma Psi Zeta to do great things on campus now that it’s an official greek

“I have been working with these women for over a year now, and they were an incredibly dedicated interest group that moved very quickly to become a sorority,” she said.

Tan said she and Sham recruited the chapter’s first 12 members “organically” by contacting friends, classmates and acquaintances and even cold calling women who they thought would be a good fit.

The sorority likely won’t participate in spring recruitment, Tan said, but it plans to take part in formal recruitment next fall.

“We want to try to recruit as soon as we can, but we don’t want to rush things,” Sham said. “We want to make sure we have a solid foundation before we actually recruit more girls.”

Though it’s hard to predict whether Sigma Psi Zeta will struggle in recruiting new members because it is new, McCurdy said, it’s done a good job so far identifying itself as a multicultural sorority and making women of diverse backgrounds feel welcome.

Tan and Sham said they’re planning to get the sorority’s name out through events like mixers and fundraisers and by participating in a greek-based step show at South Dakota State University this winter.

“Our biggest goal is to start planning for recruitment so we can get our first class and really get a good group of girls to join our sisterhood,” Sham said.

Katy Huang, Sigma Psi Zeta’s fundraising chair, said she hopes the new organization and the other greek chapters on campus will work together.

“We really want to get to know the other fraternities and sororities, especially in MGC,” she said.

The sorority joins seven other culturally specific organizations in the MGC, including a South Asian sorority and a Latina sorority.

Tan said she hopes the new Asian women-centered organization can help those students feel more connected to campus.

“We wanted an experience out of greek life that could cater to our culture and our background and be somewhere that we would all feel comfortable,” she said.