Campus sorority numbers to swell with upcoming Kappa Delta colonization

Courtesy of Alyssa Stein

Members of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority cheer during Unity Day festivites after the conclusion of formal recruitment. Kappa Delta will soon replace AOPi as the newest sorority on campus.

While Kappa Delta’s upcoming colonization will mean a potential 160-woman expansion of Washington University’s sorority system, a fewer number of active campus fraternities this semester will mean less opportunities for men wishing to go Greek.

Kappa Delta will be the University’s eighth sorority, following in the 2009 footsteps of Alpha Omicron Pi and the addition of Chi Omega in 2004. Meanwhile, the recent suspension of Sigma Phi Epsilon and the disbanding of Sigma Alpha Mu mean there will be ten fraternities participating in spring rush.

With a new sorority being added to campus every few years and on-campus facilities for Greek organizations largely exhausted, administrators say they are beginning to consider long-term plans for Greek Life at the University, though they have yet to settle on a definitive vision.

“Our men’s and women’s groups are at different places right now and so wanting to respect that, the conversations are kind of starting at what does our men’s community, and what does our women’s community need,” Lucy Morlan, assistant director of student involvement & leadership, said. “There’s no magical 10-year plan, [for] men or women.”

“The women’s [community] just seems to be growing at a little bit higher pace,” Morlan added.

Though some members of the Women’s Panhellenic Association thought Kappa Delta’s colonization, scheduled for January 25-27, might affect formal recruitment, organizers said this year’s recruitment had almost identical participation to last year.

“Individuals had the opportunity to pass on formal recruitment with the hope of joining Kappa Delta and therefore bypassing coming back early and having to go through the formal recruitment process, but no one seemed to really do that,” senior Carly Schulman, Women’s Panhellenic Association Vice President of Recruitment, said.

Kappa Delta’s colonization could not happen during formal recruitment because it is not yet an official Greek organization at the University.

Brianna Becker, leadership development consultant for Kappa Delta, said that the opportunity to join a new sorority is unique and likely what gets women who had not previously considered Greek Life interested.

“Colonization can look so different from [normal recruitment], starting traditions…and just being able to say you were a founding member,” Becker said.

New members will work to establish how the sorority’s philanthropy efforts fit into Kappa Delta’s national efforts, which center on female empowerment and focus on charities such as Girl Scouts of America, and the Greek community’s efforts as a whole. After approximately five weeks, the group will select officers, and after six they will become a fully established chapter, barring unforeseen circumstances.

“It’s a really cool experience. It makes me wonder if I hadn’t been Greek at this point in my college career, is this something I’d be interested in? Because as a senior, at least, you join this semester and then you have this lifelong international network as a result,” Schuman said. “I don’t think we’ve had a single senior go through formal recruitment this year.”

While AOPi recruited a few years before reaching its full capacity, an approach Morlan said worked out well for a new organization, Becker said Kappa Delta has seen a large amount of interest in just the first week of its recruitment efforts. Through outreach such as informal coffee dates, they hope to get approximately 160 new members, including both freshmen and upperclassmen.

Their recruitment will overlap fraternity rush, which begins with open houses on January 20 and continues through bid acceptance on Feb. 8.

Junior Ethan Goldstein, external vice president of the Inter-fraternity Council said they do not envision a lesser number of participating fraternities having any particular effect on rush.

“We don’t have official numbers yet but I don’t see it being any sort of issue that will decrease our numbers,” Goldstein said.

“[For] the guys who were interested in Sig Ep…it is unfortunate that they will have one less [fraternity], maybe one that they were very fond of, that they could be a part of,” Goldstein added. “But I don’t think that will mean by any means that any less guys will come out or that they’re restricted in any way. Each of the houses fills a very unique niche.”

Goldstein said that while they may want to start looking at possible expansions to the fraternity system at some point in the future, it isn’t a current concern.

“Where things stand right now, it would be best to solidify the base we have now; to take the ten fraternities we have now and make a solid community, not only of each house individually but as a whole,” Goldstein said.

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