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Iota Chapter


The first chapter was established in 1930 as the Lambda Chapter.

The current, Iota Chapter at Potsdam/Clarkson was established in 1989.

Arethusa Lambda at Potsdam Normal School established March 8, 1930. Folded 1932

At Potsdam Normal, Arethusa was absorbed by the local Kappa Chi Delta in 1932 due to the Great Depression but a chapter was again chartered in 1989.


In the spring of 1989 there was a small group of women at the State University of New York at Potsdam and Clarkson University campuses that wanted to rush a sorority and pledge together. They rushed and didn’t care for what the houses all had to offer, … After rushing they wondered why they couldn’t create their own sorority?


Ed Weaver of the fraternity Sigma Pi - SUNY Potsdam (and friend of the women) was … asked if he knew of any way they could start a sorority, … , and if he could recommend a sorority.  Ed’s sister, Penny Perez, was a sister of Arethusa at the SUNY Geneseo chapter, and he knew that she loved being a sister there. He suggested they get in touch with her.

Bid Nite for the Founding Sisters of the Iota Chapter

The Greek association at SUNY had previously regulated that at least 25 women would be needed to start the chapter.  All appropriate rules and regulations had to be followed—all women needed to rush each and every house on campus before having their own founding bid night.  Before the rush parties began the women had a misfortune—a couple of the women’s grade point averages had fallen below the school’s designated allowance to pledge during the past semester, and one woman did not return to school … 

The needed number of 25 was not there—only 22 were available.


The women got together and thought about their predicament.  They decided to hold an informal interest party to see if they could find more women who might be interested in starting a new house. 


On a rainy Wednesday night in September 1989, a group of about seven women found their way to the Barstow Apartments on Market Street in Potsdam, some alone, some in groups.  There they found 22 women on a mission - to start a new sorority on the campus… Six of them decided to be part of this historical event.  28 potential Arethusa pledges and founding sisters were ready to go!


Gamma Sisters with some of the Iota Alpha Class

… On October 14, 1989, 28 women became theAlpha class, founding sisters of Arethusa! The charter date of  October 14, 1989, for the Iota Chapter of Arethusa was born.  Bid night progressed; pledge pins were put on, big sisters from Geneseo given to the Potsdam pledges. 

… For many, many weeks the women learned a great deal about their sorority.  A road trip to Geneseo to learn about the Gesneeo chapter was very educational.  To see where and how another chapter lived was unbelievable! How thankful all of the Iota girls were to be able to see another chapter.


Due  to restrictions by the Greek association  in Potsdam, the pleading period was limited to a certain number of weeks.  That time came and went and still the sister of Geneseo chapter did not allow the founding sisters in Potsdam to wear their letters yet…


The Potsdam Greek association reluctantly allowed the pledging to go on in secret … Finally, in mid-December 1989, after about three weeks of having all other Greek societies induct their new members, the women of the Iota chapter… took it upon themselves to ‘get in’ and wear their new letters!  The women met and handed out the jock shirts to one another and the new sorority was indeed in place.


... not all the information and history had been learned, but they knew deep in their hearts that there wasn’t another pledge class as close and full of love as theirs was... The remaining history could be learned along with their next pledge class.


Although the Geneseo chapter was not happy with the Iota chapter’s actions, the dust settled and they  agreed to come up in January 1990 to initiate the new Iota chapter sisters. 


In one of the meeting rooms at the Potsdam Student Union, 27 sisters were made members of Arethusa….”

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