Monday, March 7, 2011

International Badge Day

Today thousands of women around the world are celebrating their fraternal experience by wearing their sorority badge or letters. This year’s theme is “Keep Your Fraternal Experience Close to Your Heart.”
The National Panhellenic Conference created International Badge Day in 1997. The conference decided to celebrate this day in March, national women’s history month. The idea came from a paper written by Nora M. Ten Broeck titled, “A Simple Solution- Wear Your Membership Badge Today”. This article appeared in the 1996 issue of Alpha Sigma Alpha’s newsletter “The Phoenix”. The article details Ten Broeck’s personal experience of wearing her sorority pin to work.

Since then international badge day has expanded to include sororities not just in the National Panhellenic Conference but also in the National Pan-Hellenic Council Inc., National Multicultural Greek Council, National Asian Pacific Islander American Panhellenic Association and National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations Inc.

Only initiated members may wear a sorority’s badge or pin. Each sorority has a unique design that often incorporates the organization’s symbols, letters and jewels. In the past some sororities allowed members to design their own badges with the help of a jeweler. Now, sororities use one particular jeweler and one specific design.

Pictures of badges from sororities at the University of Kansas can be found below.

Alpha Chi Omega: The badge of Alpha Chi Omega is a golden lyre with three strings and a black scroll emblazed with the Greek letters “Alpha Chi Omega” in gold. The lyre was chosen as the fraternity’s symbol because the organization was originally founded in the school of music. According to Greek mythology, the lyre, a three-stringed harp, was the first instrument played by the Gods on Mt. Olympus.

Alpha Delta Pi: The badge of Alpha Delta Pi is gold and diamond shaped with a black center. The center features clasped hands, two stars and the fraternity’s Greek letters. This design was adopted at the fraternity’s first convention in 1906.

Alpha Gamma Delta: The badge of Alpha Gamma Delta is a monogram of the fraternity’s three Greek Letters with the Delta plain, the Gamma engraved and the Alpha superimposed on the two. The badge is usually gold and can be encrusted in pearls, the fraternity jewel.

Chi Omega: The Chi Omega badge features the fraternity’s Greek letters as well as the organization’s symbol, skull and cross-bones, and their mascot, an owl. The letter “Chi” is set with fourteen stones, which are either pearls or diamonds. Dr. Charles Richardson crafted the first badge out of dental gold.

Delta Delta Delta: The badge of Tri Delta includes three stars set with pearls within a cresent. The Greek letters Delta Delta Delta are in black enamel. Initiates receive a badge with her initials, the Greek letters of her specific chapter and her initiation number engraved on the back. A gold trident may be worn as a badge guard.

Delta Gamma: The badge of Delta Gamma is an anchor wrapped with a piece of rope and includes the Greek letters Tau Delta Eta. The sorority’s original badge was the letter “H”, which stood for hope, the watchword of the founders. The badge was later changed to incorporate the anchor, which is a common symbol of hope.

Gamma Phi Beta: The badge of Gamma Phi Beta features a black crescent moon cradling the Greek letters, Gamma, Phi and Beta. The design has not changed significantly since 1874. However, the badges worn by International Council members differ slightly from those worn by collegians. These badges are larger and feature white crescent moons instead of black. The international president's badge is set with diamonds on the Greek letters whereas other international officer's badges are set with pearls.

Kappa Alpha Theta: The badge of Kappa Alpha Theta is kite shaped with a pearl border. The center is black and white enamel featuring twin stars and the Greek letters Kappa, Alpha and Theta. The four founders proudly wore their black and gold badges for the first time to Asbury's chapel service on March 14, 1870.

Kappa Delta: The badge of Kappa Delta is a gold pin shaped like a diamond, with an emerald at each of the four points. In between each emerald are pearls. The pearl and emerald are the official stones of Kappa Delta. In the center of the pin are the Greek letters Kappa and Delta and the dagger along with the letters "AOT". To those in Kappa Delta the badge not only signifies membership in the sorority, but also represents a commitment to the values of the organization. For this reason, the badge is worn on the left side of the chest and close to the heart. No other pin is to be worn above it or even at the same level.

Kappa Kappa Gamma: The badge of Kappa Kappa Gamma is one-inch long and is a golden key sometimes inlaid with pearls, sapphires or diamonds. The sapphire is the official jewel of the fraternity and is recognized as a symbol of truth, sincerity and constancy. On the stem are the Greek letters Kappa, Kappa and Gamma, on the ward are the Greek letter Alpha, Omega and Omicron. The initials of the badge owner and her initiation date are often engraved on the back.

Pi Beta Phi: The badge of Pi Beta Phi is a golden arrow with the Greek letters Pi, Beta and Phi on the wings. A chain connects the wings to the tip of the arrow. This chain is limited to 12 links, one for each founder. The badge is worn over the heart with the tip of the arrow pointing up. The first badge created by the founders in 1867 featured the letters “IC” on the wings. At this time the sorority was a secret society named “I.C. Sorosis” with the motto of Pi Beta Phi.

Sigma Delta Tau: The badge of Sigma Delta Tau is a gold torch featuring the Greek letters Sigma, Delta and Tau as well as six pearls and a diamond. The torch is meant to illustrate a sense of leadership and enlightenment. The six pearls represent the six cornerstones of the Sigma Delt Tau new member program; Sisterhood, Health and Social Awareness, Alumnae, Retreat, Panhellenic, and Philanthropy. The diamond sits in the flame at the top of the badge This jewel represents scholarship, the most important of the new member goals.

Sigma Kappa: The badge of Sigma Kappa is a one-inch jeweled triangle with the Greek letters Sigma and Kappa in the center. The badge is set with pearls, which was adopted as the organization's national jewel at the 1915 convention. This triangle design was chosen in 1894. Prior to this the members wore a badge with a snake in the form of the Greek letter Sigma, intertwined with the letter Kappa. The serpent can also be found on the Sigma Kappa Coat of Arms. This original badge is now worn by the new members prior to initiation. Sigma Kappa also has four other types of badges. One for alumnae who have participate in the Order of the Triangle ceremony, anniversary pins of 25 and 50 year denominations and a Pearl Court pin given to recognize alumnae with outstanding service to the organization.

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