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Student club petitions to become college's first Greek organization

For the first time in college history, a student club has been granted permission to petition to become a colony of a Greek organization. This fall, the Sisterhood of Professional Ladies (SPL) has submitted a petition to become a colony of Gamma Sigma Sigma, a national service sorority whose mission is "to assemble college and university students in the spirit of service to humanity and to develop friendship among students of all races and creeds."

If their petition is granted, SPL will be the first Greek student organization at Penn State Berks. The effort was spearheaded by SPL president Jenai Gaines, a junior majoring in Communication Arts and Sciences, and former SPL president Jumah Tahweh, Communication Arts & Sciences 2010, after receiving approval from Chancellor Susan Phillips Speece and Dr. Blaine Steensland, Senior Director of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

SPL was formed at Penn State Berks in the fall of 2008 and since that time, the club has facilitated fundraising events, helped Health Services to raise breast cancer awareness, and collaborated with other clubs to organize World AIDS day on campus. They work closely with the student club "We Are ... Helping Haiti @ Berks." In addition, they developed the college's first Phenomenal Woman Award and held an event in the residence halls to honor the recipients.

Since its inception, SPL has been interested in joining a Greek organization. After researching a variety of organizations, they decided that Gamma Sigma Sigma was a good match for them. Gamma Sigma Sigma currently has more than 70 chapters and colonies throughout the United States, including a colony at Penn State Behrend and a chapter at Penn State University Park. In 2007, Gamma Sigma Sigma chapters reported an average of 1,700 hours provided to service on campus and in the community.

Yuriko Beaman, SPL adviser and Disability Coordinator, commented, "The Sisterhood of Professional Ladies has worked very hard to become a positive organization on campus and I'm happy they are moving to the next step of colonization."

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