After nearly 100 years on campus, the Hillsdale chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota women’s music honorary will disband at the end of the semester due to low membership.
SAI has had a nationally-recognized chapter at Hillsdale since November 1925, according to president and senior Sydney Crawford.
“Recruitment has been very difficult over the past few semesters and our numbers have just been steadily declining,” Crawford said.
Currently, there are only six active members of the group which does not meet the minimum requirement to maintain the chapter.
“We came to a decision that it was in the best interest of the remaining members to close the chapter instead of them trying to balance running the chapter on their own alongside their other extracurriculars and classes,” Crawford said.
The chapter is closing in coordination with the organization’s national headquarters, Crawford said.
“It is a bit unfortunate, but it’s better to end when the time is right than prolong a thing past its natural lifespan,” senior Caroline Welton said.
Sophomore Emily Willis explained the circumstances that have made recruitment and member retainment difficult.
“Perhaps we could continue if SAI was the very first priority in all our lives, but we have school and theater and other responsibilities,” Willis said. “We all agreed it was better to let SAI disband rather than put time and effort into keeping it going, only to fail anyway.”
Many members said they have enjoyed the time they spent in SAI.
“It’s nice to have a community of like-minded women and I really love that we can work on common goals and interests together with music,” Welton said. “Getting to learn from other people’s strengths and talents is really cool.”
Crawford said the members of SAI have been wonderful friends.
“I can’t even begin to count the number of times they’ve been my rock to stand on during some rough patches throughout the year,” Crawford said. “I’ve had the blessing of a wonderful support system in all my SAI sisters.”
Every current member has had a chance to serve in a leadership role because the chapter is so small. Crawford said the opportunity has been valuable.
“Being the president of SAI has been a wonderful but challenging experience,” she said. “This position has offered some unique challenges, like guiding the chapter through internal strife and shrinking numbers, but it’s also been a blessing. I have gained a lot of valuable experience.”
Crawford said SAI’s legacy can continue on campus even when the chapter has dissolved.
“The best way I think SAI’s legacy on campus could be preserved is a continued encouragement of musical excellence among the women of Hillsdale College. That’s what we stand for in SAI,” Crawford said.
Welton said the end of SAI is not the end of Hillsdale’s women’s music community.
“For the musical women on campus, don’t lose hope,” she said. “Clubs come and go, but you can always find people and make music together.”