Committee to choose new sorority for WU
Move over AOII, there’s going to be a new newest sorority in town.
The Women’s Panhellenic Association and the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership (Greek Life) have announced the addition of a new sorority to the Washington University campus.
The decision was prompted by the steady increase in the number of women registering for formal recruitment and the need to compensate for growing chapter size, said Coordinator for Student Involvement and Leadership (Greek Life) Lucy Morlan.
“Having 150 women in a chapter makes it difficult to get to know people—having numbers come down would make it more intimate for members,” Morlan said.
She says that it has also become difficult to find rooms large enough for sororities to hold chapter meetings.
A Panhellenic extension committee has been formed to review the applications of interested sororities and narrow it down to one organization to recommend to the Panhellenic board, which will vote on whether or not to accept the addition. The University will sign off on the final decision.
The committee is made up of one delegate from each of the University’s seven sororities, a fraternity male, a non-Greek University student, the Panhellenic president and one staff member.
According to Morlan, the reason for the diverse committee is to make sure that all opinions on campus can be heard, not just those from the Panhellenic community.
She said that having the chapter representatives is important because the addition of a new sorority will have the most impact on the existing chapters on campus.
“The sororities here rely on and work closely with each other” Morlan said. “We want to bring in someone who will work with the others, not just compete and be a stand-alone chapter.”
The non-Greek member and the male fraternity member were chosen to provide different perspectives.
Morlan emphasized the importance of finding an organization that will not only contribute to and improve the Panhellenic community, but also to the Washington University community as a whole.
“The impact will not just be on the Panhellenic community but also on the fraternity community and the larger community in terms of the non-Greek student,” Morlan said. “It’s important to take into account the academic standpoint or things that are important from the University’s mission standpoint.”
The committee reviewed applications from eight different sororities and graded them based on elements like programming, future national goals and alumni strength.
It focused on whether the organizations would bring programming that is relevant to members and to the larger student community and whether their policies would mesh with the religious and cultural diversity on campus.
The committee also investigated the organizations on the national level, looking at what their decision-making processes and officer structures are like, which Morlan said can provide a lot of insight into how the sorority would operate on campus.
Sophomore Reyshma Cragg, the committee delegate from Delta Gamma, is excited to be a part of the decision-making process.
“We may need another sorority to control numbers, but adding a new chapter will add so much more to our community through philanthropy and their energy,” she said. “It’s exciting to have a say [in] how Greek life is going to be shaped for the future.”
Morlan agrees that the decision making process is important for the sorority delegates not only because it will greatly impact them, but also because they get the chance to learn about how other organizations work.
“When they see what other organizations are doing, they can maybe take some of those ideas back to their own chapters,” Morlan said. “The process infuses some really cool ideas.”
According to Morlan, the process will differ from the colonization of Alpha Omicron Pi in 2009, because the new sorority will have over a year to prepare before doing any actual recruiting. AOII had much less time.
“After Formal Recruitment in 2013, they’ll bring in a lot of volunteers and do info sessions about philanthropy, programming, etcetera,” Morlan said. “Their alumni and national office staff will be doing one-on-one interviews to start with their initial class.”
According to Morlan, after the sorority’s initial class is chosen, its members will be eligible to participate in formal recruitment.
The committee has narrowed the pool down to three organizations: Kappa Alpha Theta, Alpha Delta Pi and Kappa Delta. Each will be coming to campus for day-long presentations about their respective organizations. The presentations will be open to all students.
“The Panhellenic community the past couple of years has focused on not resting on the fact that we’re a solid community, but really trying to push ourselves,” Morlan said. “Bringing a new chapter brings new people, new ideas and new perspectives, something that’s important to the community as a whole.”