The University of Missouri’s Alpha Chi chapter of Sigma Alpha sorority was honored with six 2011 national awards. Sigma Alpha is a national professional agriculture sorority with 53 chapters across the country. They have been on the MU campus since 2002 and have been growing steadily over the years.
“The Alpha Chi chapter is honored to be recognized for the excellence of leadership, professionalism and passion of the women in the sorority. It is especially exciting to be recognized for multiple awards given the high quality of Sigma Alpha members in other chapters across the nation,” said MU chapter President Emily Brundick.
The recent awards received by the University of Missouri’s chapter include Outstanding Sisterhood Program, Outstanding Public Service and Outstanding Professional Development (2nd place).
“Since the convention was so far away [Arlington, Va.] and conflicted with a major sisterhood event, we couldn’t send anyone this year. Typically, we send four or more girls to experience the convention!” said senior and former Vice President Sami Jo Freeman. “Our alumna Tiffany Thornton accepted the awards for us. She spoke on behalf of Pioneer Seed that night and has always been a great supporter for us at convention.”
The Outstanding Sisterhood program looks at the sorority’s top sisterhood activity, why it is successful and other events the chapter does to promote sisterhood. The Alpha Chi chapter puts on one social event a month. Events include a semi-formal, formal, sisterhood retreat and a regional convention that unites sisters from other chapters across the state.
The Outstanding Public Service award is given to the chapter that completed the most significant and beneficial service projects as part of their service program; at least one of the projects must focus on the sorority’s national philanthropy, agricultural education. Members of Mizzou’s Sigma Alpha chapter are required to complete eight hours of community service each semester and one hour of ag in the class room education a year.
“Our largest Ag in the Classroom project was spending several days with students afterschool at a local Columbia elementary school,” Brundick said.
The Outstanding Professional Development honor is awarded to the chapter submitting the most successful professional development program and takes into account the various related activities the sorority puts on. Mizzou’s Sigma Alpha chapter holds a professional development event each month, which includes presentations by various speakers and businesses.
“Our biggest event of the year is the Annual Women in Agriculture Symposium where we invite students, faculty and professionals to campus to socialize, share appetizers and listen to a keynote speaker,” Brundick said.
Senior Sami Jo Freeman was honored with the Outstanding Leader award. According to the award application, the Outstanding Leader award is presented to “an individual member who has displayed an ongoing commitment to leadership and organizational involvement, both within and outside of Sigma Alpha.”
”I am the person that I am because of this sorority and the opportunities it brings to me, and I do my best to give back to it,” Freeman said. “Sigma Alpha has always been a top priority to me and I love that my sisters can share this award with me. It was categorized as an individual award, but my sisters deserve it just as much as I do.”
Recent alum Erin Mohler was recognized with the Outstanding Senior award, which aims to “recognize extensive contributions to Sigma Alpha in scholarship, leadership, sisterhood and service.”
Jane Loudermilk received the Outstanding Advisor award. This honor is based on the advisor’s “level of participation, contributions to Sigma Alpha and overall commitment to the ideals of the sorority.”
There are 69 active members and membership candidates in Sigma Alpha’s Alpha Chi Chapter at the University of Missouri. They host approximately 40 activities a year including professional development events, social gatherings, philanthropy events, and Ag in the Classroom.
“Since I was a freshman member, I knew that this club had something very special about it,” Freeman said. “I can practice professionalism, stay connected with agriculture, learn how to be a leader and make the best friends who will stand by my side for the rest of my life.”