Phi Lamb: the new group on campus
Rather than meeting in a big brick house with pillars out front, the sisters of Sigma Phi Lamb meet for small group chats over coffee or worship services in Perkins Chapel. Focusing on spiritual growth and developing a close relationship with God is the sorority’s goal.
Sigma Phi Lambda, or ‘Phi Lamb’ as it is known, is SMU’s newest sorority. The Christian sorority colonized in January 2014 with 26 members. It has grown to 50 members in less than a year.
Phi Lamb is not Panhellenic and its formal recruitment is very different than the typical sorority. Instead of several days of parties that result in dropping some women from the process, Phi Lamb welcomes anyone with a genuine interest. Its slogan is “We don’t choose you, you choose us” because they don’t want anyone to feel like they’ve been turned away.
“We want to build a fellowship and we want who ever is passionate or even just interested,” said Walker. “We don’t want anyone to be turned away so we open our arms to everyone.”
After expressing interest in the sorority, women must attend chapter meetings, prayer nights and events. At the end of the semester the new members are initiated after receiving points for the numbers of events they attended. In November, the group initiated 24 new members.
Phi Lamb had multiple recruitment events this fall and will have more in the spring. Having recruitment in both the spring and the fall creates opportunities for women to try out and experience Phi Lamb.
“It’s a great opportunity for those who realize that Panhellenic isn’t a fit,” said Aubrey Chapman, sophomore and founding member of Phi Lamb.
Some women have joined Phi Lamb because after being bumped out of the Panhellenic house they wanted, others join because they have no interest in the more typical sorority culture in the Panhellenic houses.
Sigma Phi Lambda was originally founded at the University of Texas in 1988. Since then it has spread to over 30 college campuses throughout the South. More information on Sigma Phi Lambda can be found on their national website or the SMU chapter’s Facebook page.
The founding members wanted a place where they could gather together to worship and develop a sisterhood at the same time. One founding member is sophomore Tori Walker. She said that during her freshman year it was hard to find a group of girls that were devoted to their faith.
“I was searching and hoping for a group of girls, similar and different from me to learn from, teach to, grow with,” said Walker.
Walker is grateful to have found that in her Phi Lamb sisters. She says that the wide variety of girls bond over their faith and keep it their focus while living everyday college life.
“College can become overwhelming, challenging, and stressful; however, my sisters have been beside me, helping me, comforting me, and loving me through the stresses and challenges of life,” Walker said.
The leaders of Phi Lamb have worked skillfully to get a strong footing in the SMU community. They put on a number of social events, from country barn parties to ice skating date dashes, this semester and worked to strengthen their relationships with other organizations, most notably Beta Upsilon Chi.
Beta Upsilon Chi, or BYX, is the Christian fraternity on campus. The two are independent of each other but have had mixers, been partners on the Boulevard and most recently co-hosted with Light the Night, an open worship service for the campus.
BYX member T.I. Adkins says that he has many friends in Phi Lamb and is impressed by the women that founded the chapter and those they have recruited.
“Phi Lamb represents a budding sorority of upstanding and driven women passionately in pursuit of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Adkins said.
Adkins is also impressed with the chapter’s growth over the last year and the impact it has had on campus.
“I think especially in these first few formative years it would be a tactical mistake to underestimate them for being a new, smaller sorority,” he said. “The chapter has taken off and is growing impressively.”
Hailey Phelps is a sophomore Alpha Chi Omega, a Panhellenic sorority, who thinks that Phi Lamb’s presence on campus is great for girls who want to keep religion their main focus while getting involved on campus.
“I think it is a great option for women on campus who are looking for a faith centered environment,” said Phelps.
Phelps has heard about their events on campus and through social media and believes they are a needed addition to the social scene at SMU.
“They seem like fun wholesome events for someone who wouldn’t feel as comfortable at a big fraternity party,“ she said.
Besides social events, the women of Phi Lamb also volunteer around Dallas. Phi Lamb’s members give hundreds of hours volunteering at soup kitchens and preparing bags of items to give to the homeless.
“They have very driven leadership and they are not afraid to hang out with other groups, whether it is social or philanthropic,” said sophomore Alex Porter, who is a member of Beta Theta Pi, which is part of the traditional Greek Interfraternity Council. “This gives them the opportunity to be helpful in the community and encourage philanthropic work.”