LDS frats and sororities increase in size

They say they’re the oldest fraternity and sorority on campus, and they’re still growing.

Sigma Gamma Chi, the LDS fraternity, and its female counterpart, Lambda Delta Sigma, have been increasing in number every year since the organizations’ current administration took office, Sigma Gamma Chi president Spencer Thompson said.

“I like it because the U is so huge, and it’s a good way to meet people,” said Emily Castleton, a senior in human development and family sciences. “I can’t afford to do greek.”

Members of the LDS fraternities and sororities pay $35 a semester.

Sigma Gamma Chi added a chapter last year to accommodate the number of men who wanted to be involved, while Lambda Delta Sigma added a new chapter this year.

Each chapter usually has between 30 and 50 members. In total, there are about 500 members of Sigma Gamma Chi and 876 members of Lambda Delta Sigma.

Both groups rushed more members this year than they did last year.

Thompson attributes the steady increase in numbers to an excitement in the program, as well as a sense of tradition.

“It’s been around as long as I can remember,” he said.

The different chapters consist of members from many different schools, including students from Westminster, Salt Lake Community College and LDS Business College.

But enrollment in a school is not a requirement for membership.

For example, Jeremy Sharp works at an elementary school in West Valley and is still a member of the Phi chapter.

Membership in the LDS Church is not a prerequisite for association in the fraternity and sorority programs.

To join, however, a person has to agree to live by the standards of the LDS Church, said Thompson.

Being around people with similar beliefs is one of the perks, and one of the attractive features, of the program for many.

“My favorite thing is being able to come and be surrounded by girls with the same values,” said Heather Tingy, an interchapter officer for Lambda Delta Sigma.

After choosing a chapter, students take a pledge class and become official members, usually in September.

LDS fraternities and sororities are only found at the Salt Lake Institute. Thompson said.

Around 1995, the LDS church disposed of the Sigma Gamma Chi and Lambda Delta Sigma programs at institutes around the world, replacing the programs with a mutual program.

Thompson said that the LDS church chose to keep the program at the U because it was successful and had been around for a long time.

Recruitment took place in August, but people can still join because rush runs all semester long.

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