Hundreds of brightly dressed, sign-waving women packed University Yard on Tuesday to greet their chapters' newest crop of members, which for the first time in several years halted growth.
Chapters gave out 17 percent fewer bids, or formal invitations, to join a sorority this year. A total of 408 women received bids Tuesday, the final day of fall recruitment. Last year, about 512 women received bids.
Eight out of the 10 chapters participating in recruitment this year reached the Panhellenic Association's chapter quota, which is based on the level of potential new member interest on the final day of recruitment.
Chapter quota was set at 42 members this year, and the average chapter size was 41. Last year, that figure was close to 50 new members.
A total of 610 women registered for recruitment, meaning 202 women dropped out throughout the process, similar to past years.
Chapters did not have to report the number of women who accepted bids by publication time, Valerie Berg, Panhel's vice president of recruitment said.
GW has 11 chapters, but Kappa Delta, the University’s newest sorority, will hold recruitment later this month.
Tuesday, known to chapters as Bid Day, marked the end of recruitment, an intensive weekend-long process that acquaints potential new members with each of the University's chapters.
As chapters greeted their new members for the first time with balloons and new t-shirts, singing and chanting could be heard from blocks away.
Marta Cofone, president of the Panhellenic Association, said she is looking forward to seeing the new members gel with their chapters. She said the new members should feel proud for completing the stressful recruitment process, which she said she began planning in January.
“Bid Day is just so great when you get here and you meet with your new chapter, and it’s just such a warm feeling,” Cofone said at the event.
Angela Link, a freshman who will join Phi Sigma Sigma, said initially said she was not sure if she wanted to join a sorority, but said she is excited to get to know her sisters better.
“I’ll have connections and be able to ask for advice from people who are older than me,” Link said.
Megan Lehrer, who decided to join Sigma Delta Tau, said she was a little overwhelmed by the chaos of the event. She said she was excited to see the benefits of Greek life, calling it a "lifelong sisterhood."
After welcoming the pledges, Pi Rho Chi members, or Panhellenic Recruitment Counselors, rejoined their sororities after temporarily disaffiliating from May to October to serve as unbiased representatives of Greek life,.
About 25 percent of students are involved in Greek life. The Panhellenic community has more than doubled in the last decade.