Rituals

The series of ceremonies, beginning with the selection of new members and ending with the Gift of Fellowship, is intended to develop an appreciation of Lambda Sigma.

There are five steps in becoming a member of Lambda Sigma.

  1. The Gift of Acquaintance is the selection of the Lambda Sigma members. Each chapter may differ somewhat in the method of selection, but regardless of method, the goal in every case is to select to membership those first-year students who most clearly fulfill the society’s purposes and eligibility requirements as listed in the National Constitution and Bylaws, and to do this in a manner which is not self-perpetuating.
  2. The Gift of Colors is the public recognition of newly-selected members. This recognition can be achieved through honors day programs, breakfasts, sunrise ceremonies, residence hall surprise visits, and other means which are significant parts of a chapter’s tradition.
  3. The Gift of Choice is the opportunity for initiates to decide whether or not to accept the honor and responsibilities of membership.
  4. The Gift of Knowledge involves giving information about the meaning, purpose, history, ideals and responsibilities of the society. Other information which the chapter deems necessary may also be distributed at this time.
  5. The Gift of Fellowship is the initiation of new members. Please make copies of the ceremony to share with all participants. The script for the Gift of Fellowship is included below. Chapters should make copies for distribution at the ceremony.

It is also important to review and discuss each ceremony or step at the beginning of the year. Following is a brief summary of each of the steps necessary to become a member.


GIFT OF ACQUAINTANCE

The Gift of Acquaintance is selection. The selection process may include receptions, service projects, interviews and any other activities approved by the National Executive Board. The selection process must include an application and verification of the required grade point average. A grade waiver may be required on the application. Chapters should check with their respective registrar’s offices for policies and appropriate wording. Questions concerning the selection and ritual may be addressed to the contact person on the National Executive Board. This person is listed in the Diamond and on the Lambda Sigma web site roster. Members should be chosen according to a democratic election system approved by the National Executive Board and initiated in the spirit of the prescribed rituals of this organization.

Since Lambda Sigma emphasizes the four areas of scholarship, leadership, fellowship and service, the selection procedure should ensure that students who are chosen for membership exemplify high standards and performance in these four areas. Scholarship is obviously shown by academic performance; leadership by positions of responsibility in organizations and activities; fellowship by peer group acceptance, respect and compassion; service by unselfish and voluntary participation in activities which are oriented toward helping others by working in community, religious, or charity organizations. It is the responsibility of each chapter to formulate the specific procedures by which each student may be most effectively judged in meeting these criteria.

The Executive Committee of each local chapter has general supervision of the nomination and election of new members and is responsible to the National Executive Board for the procedures followed.

The Executive Committee shall elect or appoint a chair. It is the duty of the chair to compile a list of first-year student nominees. There are several methods by which a comprehensive and objective list can be compiled. These are:

Securing from the institution’s records office a list of students who rank academically within the highest 35% of the first year class.
Securing a list of outstanding students from campus nominators.
Soliciting applications directly from interested students.
Securing a list through a combination of the above.
The completed list of eligible candidates should be given to the Selection Committee.

The Selection Committee must include:

  • the committee chair
  • the president
  • the secretary
  • one junior advisor
  • one faculty advisor

It may also include:

  • active Lambda Sigma members elected by the active chapter
  • several outstanding junior leaders
  • several outstanding senior leaders
  • some faculty/ administrative advisors (either appointed by the Executive Committee,
  • elected by the chapter, or both)
  • the faculty advisors of Lambda Sigma Society

GIFT OF COLORS

The Gift of Colors is the notification to the initiates of their selection.

At this ceremony, the colors of the society are to be presented to each initiate. This can be done in the form of ribbons, flowers, or other appropriate symbols. The Gift of Colors should take place several weeks before initiation to allow time for organizational meetings for the new group.


GIFT OF CHOICE

After being fully apprised of the obligations and responsibilities of membership each initiate must be given the opportunity to sign a written statement of acceptance or rejection of the membership which has been offered.

This is one statement which may be used:

I, __________________________________ (do/do not) accept the honor and responsibility of my selection to Lambda Sigma Society.

This statement should be signed and given to the president, to an active member designated by the chapter, or to the advisor.

Officers for the new group should be elected by the new members between this Gift and the Gift of Fellowship. This procedure is the Gift of Choice.


GIFT OF KNOWLEDGE

Members of Lambda Sigma must know the history and purposes of the society. In order to attest to the gaining of the knowledge imparted, an examination of some type must be administered to each Lambda Sigma initiate. The examination should include some facts about the national and local history, the national chapter roll, purposes of the society, and whatever else the chapter deems important.

Following is a list of questions which must be included on the examination:

  • What is the national founding date of Lambda Sigma.
  • What was the original name of Lambda Sigma?
  • What does the name “Lambda Sigma” mean?
  • What are the national colors and emblem of Lambda Sigma?
  • How many Lambda Sigma chapters are there in the United States?
  • What is the meaning of the national colors? The emblem?
  • Name the national officers and their positions.
  • What is the name of the Lambda Sigma newsletter?
  • In what year was your campus chapter established?
  • What is the purpose of Lambda Sigma?
  • Why did the original organization restructure under the name Lambda Sigma? (Why did they reorganize?)

THE GIFT OF FELLOWSHIP

This ceremony is the fifth and final part of the induction of new members. Most chapters conduct this ceremony at a banquet, but it may be held at a reception.

 

These are the procedures for the Gift of Fellowship and must be followed by all chapters:

In the room where the ceremony is to be conducted, a Lambda Sigma Banner and the Bond should be displayed.

Initiates are lined up alphabetically outside the room in which the ceremony will be conducted. Inside the room, the old members stand at their places. The secretary and treasurer stand at the entrance.

Entertainment may be held before or after the ceremony, whichever is more appropriate. Entertainment may include music, skits, etc.

Entrance of Initiates

SECRETARY:

Welcome, new Lambda Sigma members. You will enter one by one. As your name is called, a member will greet you at the door and escort you to your designated place.

The Treasurer and Secretary announce the names alternately while a current member comes forward to escort the new member to a seat. Soft music may be played throughout the entrance of the new members.

INVOCATION: Chapters should use the following non-denominational invocation. It may be read by an outgoing member of the chapter.

May we each in our own way be grateful for the joys of the world around us…for the bond of friendship that we form tonight with special people who share a love of learning…the gift of leadership and a willingness to serve – friends who understand that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. May we take the time to see the world around us with understanding eyes and bask in the beauty that is ours for the taking…the songs of birds, the cooling breezes in a secret meadow…the flaming sunsets at the close of day …soft music at night and moonlight on the sea…the beat of waves upon the shore…the faithful eyes of those we love… and treasured books that take us to uncharted worlds…and yes, may we be grateful for the pain…the heartache and the loneliness that is a part of all our lives…for it is through shared adversity that we grow to become stronger friends who are able to appreciate the marvelous diversity of human nature, and be loyal comrades to those who see the world through different eyes.

BANQUET (Music may be played throughout the banquet. As the meal is being served, welcoming remarks are made and the head table is introduced.)

CEREMONY

PRESIDENT:

Now, new members of Lambda Sigma, before you make your commitment and sign the Bond, we would like to remind ourselves of the history of Lambda Sigma, the demands membership entails, and the goals and purposes of our Society.

SECRETARY:

Lambda Sigma Society was founded on March 6,1976, in Atlanta, Georgia. This society originated as the National Society of CWENS*, a sophomore women’s honor society founded in 1922 at the University of Pittsburgh.

(*CWENS rhymes with rains)

A brief history of the local chapter is given.

TREASURER:

The cost of Lambda Sigma is much more than dollars can measure. Lambda Sigma requires giving–giving your time, energy, talents, experience, and enthusiasm unselfishly. This cost is an obligation to serve and share with others, that which is a part of you. It is a commitment that you make to each member that together you will spend your time and energies in the pursuit of excellence as together you fulfill the goals of our society. The demands of Lambda Sigma are great and the rewards are rich and full.

VICE PRESIDENT:

The Greek letters Lambda and Sigma are emblematic of leadership and scholarship. These are the goals we seek to achieve. Lambda stems from the ancient word for ‘lion,’ the most noble and revered of all creatures. As ‘king of the beasts,’ the lion is a symbol of leadership, that elusive ability to motivate and inspire others to strive for and ultimately attain a desired result. Without leadership we would wander aimlessly in myriad directions; with it, we are brought together in a coordinated drive, which can be directed toward the finer things in life. Sigma is derived from a word meaning ‘flooded garden. The members of our society feel that life blossoms and becomes more fruitful if it is bathed in scholarship, much like a garden prospers if it is flooded with water. We strive for scholarship, not as an end in itself, but rather as a means for pursuing loftier aims. So leadership and scholarship coupled together to cultivate the spirit of service are the goals of Lambda Sigma. These ideals will serve you throughout every facet of your lives.

PRESIDENT:

Through pursuing the goals and purposes of Lambda Sigma Society, we have found a deeper, stronger bond, which has grown between us, the bond of friendship and leadership. We wish to share our thoughts on this essential aspect of our honor society.

FIRST SPEAKER: (stands in place at table among new members)

This society is made up of members who, like yourself, have proven to this campus that they are using their talents to reach their individual goals. To reach our individual goals, an unknown author tells us: Our business in life is not to get ahead of other people, but to get ahead of ourselves. To break our own record, to outstrip our yesterdays by todays, to bear our trials more beautifully than we ever dreamed we could, to give as we have never given, to do our work with more force and a finer finish than ever -this is the true idea -to get ahead of ourselves.

SECOND SPEAKER: (stands in place at table among members)

All of you here tonight are individuals very much alike, in that all of you are setting goals for your college life and traveling down the road to achieve them.

‘The road of life winds on,
We know not where,
We cannot see the far-off mystic goal,
But still we follow on.
Each struggling soul striving to reach
The clearer higher air.
And there the secret lies;
For just to strive is in itself the meaning of the way;
The cloudy pillar guiding us by day,
The flame by night is that deep, inward drive;
Even in dreams the purpose labors on,
So that we wake with strength and hope renewed,
To take the road again
Till day be done.
Meeting each obstacle with fortitude.
The goal we may not see,
But this we know,
That only by our striving
Will we grow.’

THIRD SPEAKER: (standing in place at table among new members)

So today at our ceremony we begin our quest for friendship. You should feel glad that as a member of Lambda Sigma you can now engage in this close bond of friendship. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The glory of friendship is not the companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.

FOURTH SPEAKER: (standing in place at table among new members)

Lambda Sigma will provide you the opportunity to develop meaningful friendships, and our society also provides you with the opportunity to work with these friends you make as you strive to achieve our ideals.

Another author tells us:

‘Friendship is not merely one of life’s ornaments- It is one of the very essentials upon which life is founded. To have true friends is not a matter of chance. We have them solely because our character and actions are of such high standards that others are drawn toward us just as steel filings leap toward the magnet.

We cannot, however, be a friend to a stranger; we must learn through many contacts what people are like before we can commit ourselves to them. What must we know about a person before we can enter this bond of friendship?

At least this: that friends-to-be are trustworthy, sensitive, sincere, truthful and kind; that they stimulate us because in some ways they are wiser, stronger, nobler than we; that they always strive to improve themselves.’

And so must we be, too, if we want to form this bond of friendship with those who have been chosen to share a special year in Lambda Sigma.

PRESIDENT:

Now that we have shared the history, responsibilities, and goals of Lambda Sigma, we are ready to accept you into our fellowship. We hope you will accept the gift of friendship and fill your hearts and minds with its warmth and brilliance. It is the purpose of our society to foster a spirit of service within ourselves and in all with whom we share the bond of friendship.

Excellence in leadership and scholarship achieved purely for personal gain is superficial achievement. But, when this knowledge is directed toward service to others, it acquires a noble character that enriches the lives of all who come to understand the ideals that form the foundation of our honor society.

Now, in acceptance of our bond of friendship and as affirmation of your commitment to our Society, please rise and repeat after me:

IN THE BOND OF FELLOWSHIP AND THE SPIRIT OF SERVICE, WE UNITE TO FOSTER LEADERSHIP AND SCHOLARSHIP. WE MAKE THIS COMMITMENT TO OUR FELLOW STUDENTS, TO THE COMMUNITY AND TO OURSELVES. WE PLEDGE OUR EFFORT AND TIME TO ATTAIN THE GOALS OF LAMBDA SIGMA SOCIETY.

As I call your name, please come forward and pledge yourself to the goals and purposes of Lambda Sigma by the signing of the Bond.

(Vice President stands by the Bond as each member is called forward to sign the bond)

PRESIDENT:

At this time I would like to introduce the officers of the 20_________ Chapter of Lambda Sigma Society. Will you please come forward as your name is called?

President
Vice President
Secretary
Treasurer

Addressing new officers:

Friends, you have been chosen by your peers to lead the ___________ Chapter of Lambda Sigma Society for the coming year. You are thereby honored, but you also have the responsibility that comes with this honor. You must motivate and inspire others to attain the goals of this Society. Therefore, we charge you to be the guardians of this chapter; to guide it with insight; to inspire it with brilliance and ingenuity; to lead it with the same commitment that led to your selection as a member of our society. If you accept this charge, please acknowledge by saying, ‘I accept.’

PRESIDENT: (addressing chapter)

Fellow members of Lambda Sigma, these officers whom you have selected for leadership have pledged themselves to the purposes of Lambda Sigma. However, they alone cannot carry the load. Your strength and energy are vital to the success of this chapter. Therefore, we charge you to aid these, your leaders, in all their efforts toward the attainment of our ideals, to willingly lend them support when they need it, and to enthusiastically participate in the activities of this chapter. If you accept this charge, answer by saying, ‘I accept.’

Addressing outgoing members:

Outgoing members of Lambda Sigma, our newfound friends have pledged one to another their time and effort to carry out the ideals that we have held close. We will now conclude our ceremony by passing our lights to the incoming leaders of our society.

PRESIDENT:

I pass the light from my candle symbolic of the responsibilities and privileges I pass to you as President. Lights new president’s candle.

VICE PRESIDENT:

As my light transfers to your candle, so too, transfers the honor of the Vice Presidency. Lights new vice president’s candle.

SECRETARY:

My responsibilities as Secretary pass to you along with the flame from my candle. Lights new secretary’s candle.

TREASURER:

Along with the light from my candle, pass the duties of Treasurer. Lights new treasurer’s candle.

PRESIDENT:

Will everyone please stand? Now let us give to each of our friends the light of friendship to bind them to us.

(As the candles are being lighted from guest to guest, the outgoing president may make final remarks to wish the new group a year of fun, fellowship and service. This should be brief and appropriate for the incoming members.)

We are all at the mercy of time…as we close our ceremony tonight, let us remember that this is only the beginning of one academic year…a few months when you have the time to make a difference on our campus…when you have the time to make new friends who share much in common with you…when you have the time to grow as you serve others in many different ways.

But, time is finite…these candles would eventually melt into shapeless masses of wax…changed forever by the fire. Your year in Lambda Sigma too will melt into a series of memories created and shaped by your fire of dedication.

I challenge all of you to be consumed by the fire of service to others; to make every day of your year count in some way, so that when your year is complete, you will know that you made the best use of your time in Lambda Sigma.

Some people come into our lives and quickly leave. That may be the case with some of you…but others stay a while, burning with enthusiasm to contribute to the world around them, leaving their footprints on our hearts…and we are forever changed.

May your year be one of warm fellowship, bright leadership, successful scholarship and dedicated service, all of which are fired by your desire to make a difference.

Again, my congratulations. Have a great year. Goodnight.