National and Chapter Levels
Phi Sigma Rho National Sorority was founded in 1984 by Abby McDonald and Rashmi Khanna at Purdue University. The Sorority was founded due to the fact that traditional sorority recruitment was inaccessible for those in STEM. The Sorority was further founded to make space for women in a male-dominated field. Phi Sigma Rho is a space for members to create a community in which we can celebrate our accomplishments in STEM. Above all, the Sorority strives to uphold the ideals of friendship, scholarship, and encouragement.
The Phi Sigma Rho Nu Chapter at UCLA, was founded in 2003 by Christina Yang and Vivian Ku and continues to be the only sorority for engineers at UCLA. The Nu Chapter is dedicated to upholding the same values that Phi Sigma Rho National Sorority was founded on. However, we must acknowledge that these values must be accessible to all members of our chapter.
Strong Stance Against Exclusionary Practices
In solidarity with historically marginalized communities, the members of Phi Sigma Rho Nu Chapter at UCLA have and will continue to make it a priority of ours to call attention to the history of exclusionary practices carried out within Greek life as an institution and reflect on the manners by which we as a chapter have contributed to it. As a chapter, we celebrate diversity and are making active strides to uplift the voices of communities of color. In spite of our status as the associate STEM chapter of the Panhellenic community at UCLA, we hold full accountability for our past exclusionary practices including, but are not limited to, the following: implicit bias in member selection, financial requirements that have perpetuated classist ideals, ableist practice of mandating meetings, and the use of gender exclusive language.
As a collective, we cannot promote the ideals of equity, diversity, and inclusion without being intentional in acknowledging who is currently included in our organization in order to understand the demographics of those excluded. As a chapter, we are committed to rectifying both ourselves as an institution and more importantly as individuals partaking in this establishment that was founded to perpetuate homogeneity. Together, we will move forward with the key principle of transparency in mind in order to hold ourselves accountable to our commitment to change.
Future: A Commitment to Reform
As of the Spring Quarter 2021, our chapter has been working with EDI representatives from each Panhellenic and associate chapter at UCLA to communicate our progress, share our successes and failures with individual chapter initiatives, and collaboratively establish quarterly expectations of EDI work to be met by each chapter. Our current Panhellenic Accountability Tracker can be found here. As an individual chapter, we have institutionalized brief weekly educational trainings that are held at chapter meetings on ableism, allyship, the differences between race/ethnicity/nationality, and we have developed the content of these presentations assuming no level of expertise. Additionally, we have and will continue to host a quarterly discussion on EDI topics for members to discuss in a safe space, and we have provided presentations on our exclusionary history to potential new members (PNMs), candidates, and actives.
Currently, our EDI committee meetings are hosted on a weekly basis by our EDIC chairs and are open for all members of the Nu Chapter to attend. At these meetings, we discuss who we want to feature for our BIPOC of the week spotlight at chapter meetings, weekly training topics, book club topics, and review and suggest revisions to our chapter by-laws.
Created as a community for women historically excluded in STEM, the Phi Sigma Rho Nu Chapter at UCLA will continue to reflect on the communities that we have both knowingly and unknowingly excluded in order to guide our actions to provide a safe space for the communities we want to uplift.