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Mace & Crown | February 20, 2018

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Strong Sisterhood in Returning Women’s Reception

Amy DeLaura
Contributing Writer

The Women’s Center and Delta Sigma Lambda took an afternoon to celebrate brave and determined women with the Returning Women’s Reception on Thursday.  The catered luncheon and networking event allowed for women over the age of 25 to take an hour to relax and meet with others facing the same back to school struggles.

A representative from the Women’s Center spoke briefly about the upcoming programs they offer around campus and the accessibility of their office. Delta Sigma Lambda also took the time to explain a little more about their sorority.

Delta Sigma Lambda was originally created in 1956 for women who felt they did not fit in with the younger traditional female students on campus.  The group was formed to provide caring support and encouragement for women going through difficulties returning to college.

The same is still true today. Delta Sigma Lambda still creates a mature supportive environment for returning women.  Members meet together for social outings such as holiday tea, wine tastings and camping trips.

For community service, Delta Sigma Lambda works with H.E.R. Shelter in Portsmouth. The shelter provides a first step for women who’re escaping domestic violence.

The women of Delta Sigma Lambda understand the pressing responsibilities of work, family and school. Unlike a traditional sorority there is no hazing and attendance to social events is not required.  Though there is a small fee to help pay for events and prizes it is still one tenth of the cost for a traditional sorority.

“We are here as a support group and just to have fun,” Tonya Schmehl, Delta Sigma Lambda president, said.

“Some people do not understand how difficult school can be. People will say ‘oh it is just a couple classes’ but for us it is classes, family, and a full time job,” Schmehl said.

One member stated that the women were there for her while she was going through a divorce. Little gifts and positive reminders from fellow sisters helped her on her worst days.

A handful of Delta Sigma Lambda alumni were present for the reception, explaining how the original members from 1956 still meet together once a month for events.  Members were encouraged to attend in hopes of joining them after graduating.  The alumni also awards two scholarships each year to one undergrad and one graduate member.

Finding a place on campus can be difficult but if you are over 25 years old. Delta Sigma Lambda offers a strong, steady foundation for women years above the typical college age who may be dealing with pressures or struggles from their lives outside academia.

The ODU Women’s Center also provides areas of support for women who could be dealing with similar problems, as well as risk management for potentially harmful attributes to relationships such as divorce or domestic violence.