GW selects Pi Beta Phi as newest sorority

Greek-letter life officially expanded Monday with the Panhellenic Association’s announcement of its newest member: sorority Pi Beta Phi.

Pi Beta Phi is the second Greek-letter organization to join GW this year. The Interfratenity Council expanded in October by adding the Sigma Chi fraternity. The number of GW male Greek-letter organizations is now 13, and Pi Beta Phi is GW’s ninth sorority.

Pi Beta Phi is no stranger to GW. The organization was one of the Columbian College’s first Greek-letter organizations on campus in 1889 but left in the 1960s, according to a Panhellenic Association news release. GW formerly operated under the name Columbian College.

National members of Pi Beta Phi said they are excited to be given the opportunity to return to campus.

“(Pi Beta Phi) is a great complement to GW’s current Greek community,” said Luellen Smith, vice president of membership for the national Pi Beta Phi organization.

Smith said a GW resident graduate consultant will be hired by the national organization to oversee their colonization process at GW. In August and September the organization will be officially moved onto campus and recruitment will likely begin after the Panhellenic Association fall 2006 recruitment period this October.

“We are a great match for the University,” Smith continued. “We are focused on academics, have high moral integrity and high moral ideals, and we have a strong connection with GW.”

In November the Panhellenic Association, which oversees GW’s female Greek-letter organizations, voted to expand. After receiving applications from all but two national sororities for the open slot, Panhellenic’s Expansion Committee voted on three finalists last month. Based on presentations each organization made to the University as well as chapter history, the Expansion Committee, led by Panhellenic Association President April Black, a junior, selected Pi Beta Phi to be GW’s newest Greek-letter organization.

“The Panhellenic Association is looking forward to the re-colonization of Pi Beta Phi at GW, as they will certainly contribute to our thriving Greek community,” Black said in a Panhellenic Association statement on Tuesday.

“I am enthusiastic about the growth in the Greek community and believe that Pi Beta Phi will be a great addition to the Panhellenic Association,” said Dean Harwood, Student Activities Center assistant director of Greek life. “They will provide another great opportunity for GW undergraduate women to share in a sorority experience.”

Pi Beta Phi was started in 1867 at Monmouth College in Illinois. It is one of the few female Greek-letter organizations that still calls itself a fraternity. Smith said that when the organization was started the term sorority had not yet been coined and the organization has remained a female fraternity to honor their founding members.

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