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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Bringing back the Divine Nine

Ruffin+is+committed+to+trying+to+bring+back+the+Divine+Nine%2C+a+group+of%0Ahistorically+Black+Greek+organizations.+She+is+the+current+president+of+Delta%0ASigma+Theta+at+UNI%2C+and+wants+to+bring+that+opportunity+to+more+students.
COURTESY
Ruffin is committed to trying to bring back the Divine Nine, a group of historically Black Greek organizations. She is the current president of Delta Sigma Theta at UNI, and wants to bring that opportunity to more students.

“Intelligence is the torch of wisdom.” 

Delta Sigma Theta’s open motto depicts what makes a Delta Sigma Theta woman. A dedication to public service, high intellectual standards and a commitment to one’s chapter is the image of a Delta Sigma Theta soror. Kaylynn Ruffin, double major in digital media production  and business administration, and the president of the Tau Chi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta at UNI, is focused on bringing back the Divine Nine and cementing Delta Sigma Theta at the University of Northern Iowa. 

Currently, on UNI’s campus, there are five Panhellenic sororities and two Interfraternal fraternities. The Divine Nine is a group of nine historically Black Greek organizations that exist within the Pan-Hellenic. The Divine Nine consists of five fraternities and four sororities, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. 

In the future, Kaylynn Ruffin envisions Delta Sigma Theta hosting events for women, by women, including events geared towards women’s health and hygiene. (COURTESY)

On UNI’s campus, there’s a rich history of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities. In addition to Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity have also held charters on UNI’s campus, and impacted many people in their times on campus. Ruffin’s goal is to bring back that strong Divine Nine presence on campus.

Prior to becoming a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Ruffin went through primary recruitment here at UNI. This was a very different and new experience for her. “None of my family went Greek, none of them have been in a fraternity or sorority. I was really interested in it because I see the impacts that Greek organizations can have on a community.” 

Ruffin chose not to complete the primary recruitment process, and explored information about Delta Sigma Theta. “When I was going through recruitment, I didn’t know that Delta Sigma Theta wasn’t on campus. Since then, my goal has been to build up Delta, I want to get things in the works for us and build a community here on the University’s campus.”

While Iowa legislators repeal DEI initiatives and departments at regent universities, the space for students to step up and make room for multicultural organizations is needed now more than ever. According to Ruffin, that’s where the Divine Nine can step in and step up. “I’m in various student organizations like the Spectrum Project, Shine On and Women in Business, so I get to meet a lot of people.” 

I hope people can look at the Divine Nine and Delta Sigma Theta and think, ‘Oh, that’s interesting. Maybe I should join,’ You’re looking at making lifelong friendships, impacting the Black community, supporting Multicultural student organizations and eliminating some misconceptions around Greek life.

— Kaylynn Ruffin

The campus recently has lacked in their multicultural Greek organizations, as the sole multicultural sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha, has also seen membership dwindle. But for Ruffin, it’s important to not just create these spaces for students of color, but to nurture these spaces. “These clubs, organizations, sororities, fraternities, those things are needed for minority students in general …Students feel more comfortable in their own skin on campus or have a place to confide in organizations to help you build those lifelong connections that are needed on a college campus.” 

Ruffin wants students to know how being in a Divine Nine sorority has impacted her, and how those impacts can be felt by any students wanting to take advantage of the opportunities in front of them. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for women to meet on campus and learn and grow together. Meet other women challenging you to maintain your GPA and volunteer, but also have fun with a sister. It will help amplify Black Greek undergraduate culture on a predominantly white campus. This is a unique experience that we’re offered and you’re able to make unique connections you might not otherwise have. I am truly honored to be a part of the organization.” 

In the future, Ruffin envisions Delta Sigma Theta hosting events for women, by women, including events geared towards women’s health and hygiene. She also envisions Delta Sigma Theta cementing itself on campus, connecting Black women and building a community within Fraternity and Sorority Life on UNI’s campus. 

“I hope people can look at the Divine Nine and Delta Sigma Theta and think, ‘Oh, that’s interesting. Maybe I should join,’ You’re looking at making lifelong friendships, impacting the Black community, supporting Multicultural student organizations and eliminating some misconceptions around Greek life.” Ruffin is a Delta, but she wants students, specifically women, to believe this is an opportunity they can partake in. “This is a commitment to public service, our education, and it’s led by strong women. We’re committed to public service, sisterhood and scholarship.”

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BAILEY KLINKHAMMER, Campus Life Editor

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  • L

    Louis ByrbFeb 15, 2024 at 3:23 pm

    Yes! the Devine nine Z-phi all the wAy

    Reply
  • L

    Louis ByrdFeb 15, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    Keep doing good thang Z-phi all the way,God Bless

    Reply
  • N

    NBTFeb 15, 2024 at 11:42 am

    Great job Soror especially at a PWI!

    Reply
  • A

    aDeltaFeb 15, 2024 at 10:52 am

    If there was no chapter on the campus, how and when did she become a member?

    Reply
  • A

    Angelo R ChaversFeb 15, 2024 at 9:43 am

    0mega Museum Committee Inc

    Reply
  • D

    DeniseFeb 15, 2024 at 8:21 am

    She is correct. Delta’s have a life long commitment, and bonding for life. ❤️

    Reply
  • P

    Pat JacksonFeb 15, 2024 at 7:03 am

    Keep up the great work Soror.

    Reply
  • K

    KHAFeb 15, 2024 at 3:12 am

    These are the Most Powerful Organizations in America. Get those Fraternities and Sororities involved in this political catastrophe all the way to the college level. “SKEE WEE”
    Kamala Harris. AKA

    Reply
  • V

    Vanessa WeathersbyFeb 15, 2024 at 1:06 am

    You have enthusiasm, commitment and great vision, Soror Ruffin. Wishing you much success in your endeavors to return the Divine 9 to UNI.

    Reply
    • J

      Jacquelyn ShropshireFeb 16, 2024 at 4:45 am

      Divine 9 should focus more on children especially boys. We raise our daughters to excel. Boys need more help. Divine 9 never mentioned children at a 2 hour public pm meeting I attended ❤️ in Baltimore at the Alpha Phi Alpha Natl. Convention several years ago. It was disturbing…Help the boys please to become better fathers and husbands!! Seventy five percent of Black households are single parents…primarily women!!

      Reply