“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” This Ayn Rand quote was on Alexis DiMarzo’s, Sigma Sigma Sigma chapter at Coastal Carolina University, sister Jessica Garner, thought of as she watched DiMarzo go through the process of getting a sorority house bill passed in South Carolina.
DiMarzo is a member of Coastal Carolina University’s (CCU) delegation and secretary of state to the South Carolina Student Legislature, which is appointed by the governor. The legislature is a student-run mock legislature sponsored by the South Carolina General Assembly. Colleges and universities in South Carolina send delegations to two annual sessions to debate bills and further their knowledge of parliamentary procedures and state government. CCU’s delegation is made up of students who take a high-level political science class taught by two professors. Each student is required to write a bill based on South Carolina Code of Laws.
DiMarzo has created five bills and two of them have passed. Her most recent bill focused on sorority houses. The purpose of the bill was to eliminate sexual violence discrimination in the state by allowing sorority houses in all counties and distinguish them as separate entities rather brothels.
Defending Her Bill
With a string of pearls and a purple dress on, DiMarzo defended her bill in South Carolina. She began with a short opening statement and then moved into a question and answer discussion. After five minutes expired, votes extended time for more questions. Once the question and answer portion concluded, a pro/con debate began. A student from another university rose to filibuster the bill. Since DiMarzo couldn’t defend her bill under the conclusion portion, she decided to do something she had never done before. She walked out of the room to ensure the student’s time was up to end the debate.
Once the debate concluded, DiMarzo came back into the room to give her a conclusion. DiMarzo expressed how Tri Sigma’s eight Founders were alive during the women’s suffrage movement which has allowed women to practice politics and hold public offices now. She also mentioned how living together in a communal space would allow sisters to look out for one another. DiMarzo removed the stigma about sorority houses being solely used for social purposes, such as a venue for parties, and elaborated on the service to the community, her college campus and other organizations her Tri Sigma chapter helps to support and impact yearly.
DiMarzo was successful in having her bill pass in both the House of Representatives and the Senate on the same day in the fall of 2017. DiMarzo’s bill went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, in Horry County in South Carolina.
DiMarzo will continue to push boundaries and represent Tri Sigma well on her campus and through her role within the South Carolina Student Legislature. She has made a legal change for the future of our sisterhood in our state.