Panhellenic Association decides finalists for new sorority

The Panhellenic Association, the group that oversees the eight sororities on campus, announced Saturday the three organizations that are finalists to become GW’s newest sorority.

The three finalists are Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi and Chi Omega. These organizations were chosen from the 15 national Greek-letter organizations that applied. The Panhellenic Association’s Student Activities Commission will have oversight in choosing the one sorority that will be welcomed to campus in a few months.

“I am extremely pleased with the selection as all three chapters would bring a valuable presence to this campus,” said junior April Black, president of the Panhellenic Association.

The GW Panhellenic Extension Committee, made up of one representative from each sorority chapter, met Friday night and narrowed the field to three finalists. Black said adding another sorority to campus will further diversify and strengthen the existing Greek-letter community under the jurisdiction of the Panhellenic Association and the Interfraternity Council, which has eight sororities and 12 fraternities.

In November, the Panhellenic Association voted to expand and began accepting applications from sororities. The national Panhellenic Conference represents the 26 national sororities; of the 18 sororities who do not yet have a chapter at GW, 16 organizations inquired and 15 applied, said Dean Harwood, Student Activities Center assistant director of Greek life.

“There is a lot of interest in GW and Greek groups see it as a good place to be,” Harwood said of the number of organizations that applied to open a chapter at GW.

Numerous factors are taken into account when deciding which organization to invite to join the GW community, Harwood said, including the strength of the national organization and any history the organization has at GW.

The three finalist sororities will be invited to make formal presentations in late February. Afterwards, the groups will give open presentations with national officers and headquarters staff, where the entire GW community will be welcome. The Panhellenic Extension Committee will make a final decision on which organization to invite in April, and the sorority will be able to begin the colonizing process in September.

Kappa Alpha Theta, described as “The first Greek-letter fraternity for women” on its Web site, was a member of GW’s Greek community from 1946 to 1975. Pi Beta Phi, on its Web site, claims to be the first “national secret college society of women.” Chi Omega claims to be the largest women’s Greek organization nationally, with 169 collegiate chapters.

The decision to expand is partially due to an increasing demand for sorority participation among GW’s women. Currently, seven out of eight women’s Greek groups are at their full capacity for membership. Additionally, the sorority system at GW consists of eight groups, while the fraternity system has 12 groups and is soon to have 13.

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