In this paper, I will be talking about a discourse community that is important to me and that I have been wanting to be a member for a long period of time. Tri Delta sorority is a women’s assembly in the University of Central Florida. Being a member of this discourse community, we have always remained brave, kind and bold. They are guided by the mission of being passionate about serving others, committed to ensuring they become the best version of themselves and dedicated to helping the interested women live, learn and lead with purpose all through their life. Our guiding motto is “let us steadfastly love one another.” They are driven by the main duty of establishing a perpetual bond of friendship amongst member and developing a stronger and womanly character with a broad moral and intellectual life. On enrolling to the community, you become a full member hence awareness is created about the community’s motto, goals, mission, set of rules, lexis as well as genres important for proper communication within the community.
Tri Delta has been a source of pride for the university for many years since it was established. It is founded under the Beta Lambda chapter which has a known history in the University of Central Florida. The chapter is featured by a different group of young women who enjoy serving others, taking pride in their academics and making long-lasting memories with their sisters. The community aims at making new friends in order to enrich the experience as collegiate women and to serve as a strong foundation for supporting the dreams and future of Tri Delta. All through our purpose has been assisting members in every way possible. Tri Delta achieves this purpose by raising and awarding funds to the undergraduate and graduate for the provision of scholarships. Moreover, they are focused on helping members in the financial crisis as well as supporting the innovative and creative educational programs for the sorority.
An activity system is very similar to a discourse community, it is a group of people that gets together by the same goal. They are “an ongoing, object-directed, historically conditioned, dialectically structured, tool-mediated human interaction” (Russels cited in Kain and Wardle 398). Many programs run in the tri delta discourse community. Among the many include the Crescent Fund Program which is the most significant as directly assist the members. The funds from the program offer emergency assistance to collegiate and alumnae members experiencing crisis, for example, natural disasters, job losses as well as unexpected medical bills. It is with this program that the foundation has been able to achieve its purpose of ensuring the comfort of members throughout their lifetime membership as noted by Freeman (122).
The scholarships in the tri delta sorority are based on live, learn and lead where the foundation creates a lot of undergraduate and graduate scholarships each year to assist members in their education journey. On the side of academic progression, the community fulfills its purpose of broadening the moral and intellectual life of its sisters who are in pursuit of educational advancement. Apart from funding the scholarships, the community funds educational initiatives aimed at enhancing the lives of the members as well as helping them develops qualities of unselfish leadership.
Some of the effective foundation-funded programs include the advocacy efforts at Capitol Hill. This program assists the Tri Delta members to work with the legislative body responsible for advancing the sorority’s experience and higher education. Also, of importance is the educational track at tri delta’s annual leadership conference which provides professional and personal development. The various leadership programs such as the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) which all the collegiate members must attend for five days.
Becoming a part of the team is very nice but is not for everyone. The Tri Delta is very welcoming and any woman that is interested is more than welcome to join. Johns suggests that it is significant for groups in a discourse community to be seeking advice from the outside concerning their flaws or how they can make things better in the group as it can be hard to understand such things when one is on the inside (339). What they value above everything is anyone who is brave. For this reason, the executive board members elected after every two years must be visionary leaders as they entrusted with all the operations within the sorority. Hierarchy is always the key within the community. The president and the vice president are in the highest position. Other major positions include the Executive Board director, Board President of the Center for a living, collegiate chapter coordinator, collegiate district officer, housing and recruitment specialist as well as a chapter development consultant among other positions. For this reason, the Leadership Development Committee nominates the board after which members vote into office.
Each sector is assigned its roles to ensure the smooth running of the activities of the sorority. The board is made up of members who are structured to ensure consideration of all viewpoints in decision making as well as confirming that the sorority remains a viable and premier organization for women. The executive board is responsible for what the sorority is, what it does and whatever it achieves. The members of the board exercise their responsibilities with the focus of having strategic conversations aimed at aligning tri delta for success in the current and future world.
The dedicated board of trustees serves the ever-changing needs of the Tri Delta sorority by achieving the purpose of the organization. The National House Corporation board of directors is described as industrious since they are responsible for mapping strategic direction and implementing activities for the properties of Tri Delta in North America. The Leadership Development Committee is accountable for evaluating and cultivating leaders of the organization for service in the various positions. The committee comprises of eight alumnae members elected by the convention body after every two years. Majorly, the task of the committee is to ensure all the Tri Delta women develop as brave, kind and bold leaders within and outside the sorority.
The Tri Delta foundation is philanthropic and firmly supports the virtue of life. Since it is driven by the statement, sisters giving back to the sisters, it highly supports St Jude children’s research hospital. Initially, our philanthropy as an organization has been children’s cancer charities. Apart from other charitable organizations, tri delta as a whole continued to volunteer time, hold fundraisers and donate resources for the research and treatment of children with cancer. (Appendix 1 shows how they interact and support children at the hospital). Since 1999, Tri Delta has nationally partnered with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital with the aim of philanthropically saving children by finding cures. This is the mission of St. Jude. To ensure achievement of this mission, Tri Delta organization has raised more than $45 million for the hospital. It is still committed to supporting the hospital more as recently promised $60 million within the next 10 years to help children live, scientists learn as well as St Jude be at the forefront in finding cures and saving children.
In the organization, communication is very important. Because they are so used to talking between them, they have their lexis. When they talk, they don’t even notice that some people might not understand. However, I noticed that when I talked with my mom, she was very confused and did not understand most of the expressions and symbols they used, I have a really close friend inside this sorority which is why I know all of this. For example, when I told her that they advise the new members joining the organization to be pearls, she was inquisitive of how people can be pearls. It is after I related the symbolic meaning of this that she agreed with me. This is because she is not oriented to the emblems and symbols for the organization.
A pearl is the jewel of Tri Delta because a jewel grows and develops from a tiny grain of sand into something of value, beauty and valor. This symbolically shows what is needed for the new members joining the sorority. The organization also uses pine tree to symbolize the collegiate members who should grow and develop with lofty aspirations. Dolphin is also a symbol used in the Tri Delta sorority due to its smooth sailing. It is a symbol for rebirth, friendship and leadership needed to be embraced by the organizational leaders. Other symbols and emblems mostly used in the genre of Tri Delta include the coat of arms, the colors, the flag, the flower (pansy) and Poseidon which have unique meaning among the members thus ease communication and makes it confidential as non-members are not likely to derive meaning from them. Apart from the symbols and the emblems, the organization has traditions and rituals hence celebrate the National Ritual Celebration Week (NRCW). This week includes a lot of activities all aimed at reflecting and exploring what it means to live, learn and lead with the purpose for a lifetime.
Overall, Tri Delta is a very close community which prides itself in developing bold and kind women in the University of Central Florida. It is involved in some activities and traditions which prides the university. For example, its humanitarian assistance to St Jude children’s research hospital gives great honor to the school for being highly concerned with the needs of the community. Moreover, the ritual of Tri Delta is founded on keeping the virtues such as self-sacrifice, truth and friendship alive with the members bringing the best version of themselves to better sorority, communities and the whole world. The organization is growing faster with the women being optimistic of a bright future. The whole society enjoys the benefits of the Tri Delta sorority as all the society members believe in the statement that liberates one woman and you will have liberated the whole society.