Danielle Cooney was set on joining a sorority before she ever set foot on a college campus.
"When I was little, I knew it was something I wanted," says Cooney. "I was really excited about the sisterhood and the bonding. I had one sister already and I wanted more."
But when Cooney arrived on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus with a two-year-old son, she found Greek life incompatible with her busy parenting schedule. Evening meetings and events, she says, "don't fit into a parent's work and school schedules."
So Cooney created a way for mothers to share in the Greek life experience: a sorority designed to meet the needs of student parents. She began recruiting members in August 2005 and officially founded Mu Tau Rho in November 2006. The sorority now boasts 16 members after initiating its newest pledge class last month.
With children in tow, Mu Tau Rho meets every Saturday morning. While moms discuss anything from daycare to dieting tips, the kids work on activities such as coloring and making placemats.
"Most of our kids are between three and five and they have a blast when they get together," she says. "It gives the moms a stress reliever. When you go to the meeting you know the kids will be playing and you'll get to talk to some adults."
Mu Tau Rho's weekly meetings may not resemble standard sorority events, but Cooney has found that they provide the bond of sisterhood that she had been searching for.
"Sometimes you feel like you're going through stuff completely alone," she says. "I spent two years at home before I started school, thinking I was the only one doing this. I've learned that other people think the same way. By talking with other members, I know I am not alone."