Extension committee invites 3 sororities to present on campus

Members of an extension committee voted to invite sororities Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Delta Delta and Gamma Phi Beta to the next round of the chapter application process. Invitations were extended this morning.

The committee—which is composed of current sorority women, alumnae from sororities and Washington University staff members—received applications from 13 out of the 18 national organizations that are not currently present on campus. It voted on Tuesday night to invite the three groups to present on campus, and extended invitations to each group Wednesday morning.

The Women’s Panhellenic Association voted to invite a national sorority to establish a chapter on campus in March. Panhel executive members said they hoped adding a new chapter would help keep chapters at a manageable size as more women joined sororities. One of the three organizations invited to present will be chosen to colonize, or start a chapter, at Washington University after formal recruitment in spring 2016.

In reviewing applications, the extension committee focused primarily on each chapter’s plans for membership development, diversity and inclusion and alumni support, according to David Stetter, a coordinator for Student Involvement and Leadership who oversees Greek life, and junior Ally Brabant, the current president of Panhel. Stetter and Brabant each stressed the importance of each chapter having a unique plan relative to what already exists on campus.

“We wanted to make sure the chapter would have a niche,” Brabant said. “So we wanted to look for something that was slightly different or a different way of doing the things that we already do.”

Stetter provided the example of Gamma Phi Beta, whose application involved a particularly compelling plan for membership education on “sexual responsibility.”

“[We were looking for] an educational approach that was not just the standard educational focus,” Stetter said. “So sexual responsibility would be understanding consent, understanding sexual assault, understanding how to protect yourself—which I think is a very big topic across college campuses. And that made that group stand out.”

Stetter mentioned Kappa Delta—the last sorority to establish a chapter on campus—as an organization that stood out with an especially strong approach to an issue.

“Look at Kappa Delta: they presented a very unique approach around confidence in women that no sorority was doing. It’s not that the sororities weren’t doing it, it’s just that the way they packaged it was a little different,” Stetter said.

The committee opened the campus to exploratory visits and discussion around three weeks ago, so that each applicant could better understand the Washington University campus. These optional meetings were conducted by Stetter, who is not a part of the extension committee; members of the committee were not privy to the content of the meetings as these conversations were not intended to influence the committee’s final decision. At the end of the two-week visitation period, each applicant submitted an extensive written application—Delta Delta Delta’s, for example, spanned 150 pages.

Representatives from each sorority will now meet with University representatives in addition to publicly presenting later this month. According to Brabant, the presentations will be open to the entire Washington University community, and attendees’ opinions will be collected at the presentations.

“When you’re there, you can fill out a review sheet and the extension committee will take those into account when making our final recommendation [to the University staff],” Brabant said.

Alpha Delta Pi will present on April 20; Gamma Phi Beta, April 21; and Delta Delta Delta, April 22. Each presentation will occur in Holmes Lounge at 7 p.m.

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