Delta Delta Delta

Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta coat of arms.png
Founded 1888
Boston University, (Boston, Massachusetts)
Type Social
Scope International
Motto Let us steadfastly
love one another
Colors      Silver
     Cerulean Blue
Flower Pansy
Tree Pine
Jewel Pearl
Mascot Dolphin
Patron Greek divinity Poseidon
Publication The Trident
Philanthropy Children's Cancer Research; Partners with St. Jude Children's Hospital
Chapters 138
Members 186,000+ collegiate
Headquarters Arlington, Texas, U.S.

Delta Delta Delta (ΔΔΔ), also known as Tri Delta, is an international sorority founded on November 27, 1888, the eve of Thanksgiving Day. With over 200,000 initiates, Tri Delta is one of the world's largest NPC sororities.



Member Badge

Delta Delta Delta was founded by Sarah Ida Shaw, Eleanor Dorcas Pond, Florence Isabelle Stewart and Isabel Morgan Breed at Boston University. Three women's groups were already represented at Boston University in 1888 (Kappa Kappa Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta and Alpha Phi). Shaw enlisted the help of Eleanor Dorcas Pond and told her "Let us found a society that shall be kind alike to all and think more of a girl's inner self and character than of her personal appearance."

The two young women began the work of creating a new national fraternity. Later Sarah wrote "...The two enthusiastic friends were unaware of the fact that there was something stupendous about the task they had set hands, heads and hearts to accomplish. They were working for a principle, and it never occurred to them that there could be such a thing as failure. Earnestness of purpose, energy and enthusiasm had brought them both success in college and why should not these same qualities bring assurance of good fortune to the new venture."

Shaw and Pond wrote the rituals and constitution and designed the emblems. Choosing the name was a mutual decision. Pond suggested a triple letter while Shaw chose the actual letter and developed Greek mottos and passwords. Inspiration came from Egyptian Lore, Hindu mysticism, Greek and astronomy, reflecting Shaw's wide and various interests.

The Founders of ΔΔΔ:[1]

Sarah Ida Shaw
Eleanor Dorcas Pond
Florence Isabelle Stewart
Isabel Morgan Breed

Tri Delta firsts

Tri Delta was the first sorority founded as a national organization with complete plans for governmental structure and expansion. It was also the first sorority founded without the help of a fraternity.

Tri Delta was the first to:

  • regularly publish its quarterly magazine, The Trident, published continuously since 1891.
  • plan and perfect an alumnae system.
  • pioneer chapter visitation in 1905, appointing an officer to visit all chapters.
  • publish a book-length history: A Detailed Record of Delta Delta Delta, 1888-1907.
  • hold a national Leadership Conference.
  • finance proper housing for collegiate chapters and has a large investment in houses, lodges and suites.
  • concentrate its national philanthropic efforts on higher education through the Founders' Anniversary Fellowships, the Zoe Gore Perrin Scholarships and the endowment of the National Humanities Center.
  • adopt a central accounting system for its collegiate chapters.


The PURPOSE OF DELTA DELTA DELTA shall be to establish a perpetual bond of friendship among its members, to develop a stronger and more womanly character, to broaden the moral and intellectual life, and to assist its members in every possible way.

IT SHALL ALSO BE THE PURPOSE OF DELTA DELTA DELTA to promote and develop mutually beneficial relationships between the Fraternity and the colleges and universities where the Fraternity has established chapters, to develop qualities of unselfish leadership among its members, and to encourage them to assume, with integrity and devotion to moral and democratic principles, the highest responsibilities of college women.

Traditions and legacy


The coat of arms consists of a shield quartered, first and fourth quarters in blue on each of which is a silver trident, second and third gold on each of which is a green pine tree. Above the shield, the crest, consisting of a torse with six folds alternating gold and blue, from which rises a white, gold and blue pansy. Below the shield the open motto, "Let us steadfastly love one another," is inscribed in Greek on a scroll.

The colors of Tri Delta are silver, gold and cerulean blue. Green is also a significant color, symbolizing the union of the three colors.

Using the Greek alphabet the name Delta Delta Delta is depicted above. The Greek letter Delta is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet and is commonly seen as an isosceles triangle.


Pearl The pearl is the jewel of Tri Delta. The one jewel that grows, it symbolizes the new member, developing from a tiny grain of sand into a thing of great value and beauty.

Pine tree The pine tree is a symbol of Tri Delta's collegiate members. As a tree able to grow in very challenging conditions, it represents the collegiate members ability to thrive in hard times and adversity.

Pansy The pansy is Tri Delta's flower. It is a symbol of alumnae membership and the third step in the lifetime development of Delta Delta Delta’s members.

Dolphin The dolphin is recognized as an additional symbol of importance.

Official insignia:[4]

Tri Delta member badge
Tri Delta new member pin

New member pin

The new member pin is worn prior to initiation. It is a green and silver enamel badge described in the 1888 constitution as an “inverted Delta, surrounded by three Deltas.”

The Trident The trident symbolize the first degree of initiation and is returned prior to initiation into the Stars and Crescent degree. A gold trident may be worn as a badge guard.

The Stars and Crescent Three golden stars, crown set with pearls, within a gold crescent of three hundred degree bearing three deltas in black enamel is the official badge of the Fraternity. Tri Delta initiates receive a Stars and Crescent Badge with her initials, the Greek letters of her chapter, and her chapter Initiation number engraved on the back. The badge belongs to Tri Delta and is lent to each member during her lifetime or as long as she remains a member.


In the early 1970s, a national survey established that Tri Delta chapters were interested in children, hospitals, and cancer. At the 1974 Tri Delta Convention the three were combined to support Children's Cancer Charities as the designated philanthropy.

Many chapters observe "Sleighbell Day" on the first Tuesday of December, following the tradition of Sleighbell Luncheon, first held in the 1940s by 13 Southern California chapters to benefit a doctor researching blood diseases at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

In 1999, Tri Delta partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. St. Jude (through the fundraising branch, ALSAC) assists Tri Delta chapters in planning philanthropy events that benefit the children and subsidize research costs at St. Jude. Many chapters coordinate fundraising activities such as pancake breakfasts and football tailgates on their campuses each year.

In 2002, Tri Deltas committed to raising $1 million to build a Teen Room at the St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Tri Delta fulfilled the commitment in 2005.

In July 2006, Tri Delta committed to raise $10 million in 10 years to build a new patient treatment floor focusing on brain tumor research at St. Jude. Tri Delta instead raised $10.4 million dollars in 4 years, which caused the title to be changed to $10 million by 10.

Tri Delta's new philanthropic goal is to raise $15 million in 5 years, by 2015.

March has now also been designated as St. Jude / Tri Delta month.

In addition to the national partnership, Tri Delta continues to raise money for local Children's Cancer Charities, including the long-running Sleighbell Luncheon.

Notable members

Reflections: Body Image Program

Reflections: Body Image Program began at Trinity University when Dr. Carolyn Becker and an undergraduate student conducted a small study investigating a cognitive dissonance-based eating disorders prevention program with the local sororities on campus.[12]

Dr. Becker and Delta Delta Delta Fraternity formally partnered in 2005 to expand the program’s reach. After piloting Reflections in twelve chapters over the next three years, Tri Delta moved to implement the program on college campuses nationwide. Tri Delta collaborated with Oxford University Press and Drs. Becker and Stice to create the first published version of the program for wider dissemination.

As part of Reflections Tri Delta launched the first Fat Talk Free Week in 2008. Fat Talk Free Week is a five day public awareness effort sponsored by Tri Delta, The Center for Living, Learning and Leading, and many other generous partners. The campaign was intended to draw attention to the damaging impact of fat talk and the “thin ideal” on today’s women, and its slogan is "Friends don't let friends fat talk."[13]

References in popular culture

The sorority were famously parodied on Saturday Night Live in 1992 in a series of sketches written by Beth Cahill and Melanie Hutsell.[14] The skit angered many Tri-Delta members, with its executive director sniping that the show did not seek the sorority's permission beforehand to use its letters.[15] Hutsell defended the work saying "People who are secure with themselves can laugh at themselves."[15]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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