25-year-pin This year, I went to Boston for Founders’ Day to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Theta Lambda chapter at MIT. I guess you could say we had a double ceremony since we were celebrating the founding of both our sorority and our chapter. (Point of pride: I was a member of the colony there, which makes me a founder — with a small f — too.) I was proud to receive my 25-year pin along with a number of other women who joined Sigma Kappa that year when it became the third sorority at MIT.

One of the most popular events on the agenda was lunch with members of your family tree. Many of our members were excited to see how their family trees had grown since their time as collegians. As we started talking about who was related to whom, and whether anybody had the information stored digitally, we realized there isn’t an app out there for creating sorority family trees. Ancestry We’ve gotten around this for years by using what’s out there (see the many options, above) and just tweaking them, as needed. Many sisters said they use genealogy apps like Ancestry.com, but adjust certain things for sorority relationshps. (Others use flowchart software like MS Visio.) As one sister said, “Sometimes you have to enter somebody as your uncle or whatever.”

OSIThis made me start thinking… in this day and age, isn’t it just silly that we have to make do with software that doesn’t do exactly what we want it to? Shouldn’t there be an app specifically for making sorority family trees? There are so many businesses in America that cater to NPC and NPHC organizations, you’d think there would be one that offers a Greek family tree app.

If it doesn’t already exist, we should simply write the software ourselves! And we could make it a Panhellenic project. I know a number of sorority women who know how to write code! And it’s not a problem if they don’t live near each other, or if they’ve never met at all. Websites like SourceForge, GitHub and CodePlex make it easy for people to collaborate on open source* software projects.

So who’s with me? Who wants to help write a piece of software that could help thousands of sorority women visualize their legacy? (I know I already have the interest of some Theta Lambdas, as well as some members of the National Capital Region Alumnae Chapter.) Please comment below or write a note to me on Twitter or G+ if you’re interested in participating. Maybe our work will inspire other women to learn how to program. If we get enough interest, we could even hold regional Panhellenic hackathons, where women could gather in person to work on the code and/or teach others new programming skills.

Hey, Miss America is a Sigma Kappa sister and a spokeswoman for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition. Perhaps she’ll spread the word about our endeavor — and maybe even participate after she finishes with her year of Miss America duties.

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One Response to Open Source Sisters?

  1. Teri Centner Teri Centner says:

    This video mentions open source. It shared a statistic that only 1.5% of open source coders are women. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxv0-sggnqA#t=54

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