February 1, 2012

Sigma Alpha Iota: Short life, long art

Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI) differs from most other organizations in the realm of Knox Greek Life in the common interest that brings its members together: music.
In order to join SAI, a professional women’s music fraternity, one must be a female from Knox College involved in a music-related activity or enrolled in musical studies as a music major or minor.
But most members of SAI at Knox are not music majors or minors. Instead they are students seeking to keep music in their lives in other ways. Most members are in choir, take music or voice lessons or play with a Knox music ensemble.
Knox’s ten-member PSI chapter of SAI recently recruited four additional members for 2012. SAI refers to these new members as “members in training” instead of as “pledges.”
Sophomore member Caitlin Stone explained that this is done in an attempt to differentiate SAI recruitment from the “rushing” done by many social women’s sororities.
Vice President of Membership for SAI senior Rita Mertens enjoys life as a member of Pi Beta Phi as well as a member of Sigma Alpha Iota.
“Pi Phi is more social and enabled me to meet people with a variety of interests,” Mertens said. “Then SAI gave me a group of girls who have a shared interest in music.”
A major goal of current SAI members is to build their profile at Knox.
“We are trying to make people aware that we are here,” Mertens said.
SAI hopes to achieve this with tabling and activities. Most recently they sold hand-knit scarves and hats for their “Warm Fuzzies” drive and starting next week they will be tabling for singing Valentines.
Proceeds from these and similar events go to “Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, Inc.” which is then dispersed to various music-related charities.
“The basic goal of SAI is trying to keep music in everyone’s lives — everyone should have access to music,” Stone said. These philanthropic endeavors embody the SAI motto: “vita brevis ars longa” or “life is short but art is long.”
“We’re also working on putting together a scholarship for voice or music lessons for students,” Mertens said. Some of the money they raise goes toward this fund, which will allow Knox students interested in music to develop the skills they need to get into performing groups such as the Jazz Ensemble or Knox College Choir.
For information, contact Mertens at rmertens@knox.edu.

Camille Brown
Camille Brown is a junior majoring in English literature and double minoring in educational policy and journalism. Previously, she served as editor-in-chief of her high school paper and a reporter for TKS. She spent the summer of 2012 freelancing for The Peninsula Gateway and is currently pursuing an independent study concerning the media’s influence on education.


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