Panhellenic Association closer to selecting new chapter

Correction appended
The Panhellenic Association announced Feb. 10 the three chapters in the running to become GW’s 11th social sorority.

After months of reviewing 12 applications from chapters across the country, Panhel narrowed the candidates for colonization to Kappa Alpha Theta, Zeta Tau Alpha and Kappa Delta.

Panhellenic President Marta Cofone said an extension committee, which included a representative from every chapter on campus, scored each potential chapter “based on their values and characteristics deemed important and similar to GW.”

The committee also considered the number of nearby chapters, alumnae groups and chapter leadership qualities, Cofone said.

Representatives from the three chapters will visit campus between Feb. 15 and March 2 to present to Panhel’s extension committee. The group will make its final selection March 10.

Valerie Berg, vice president of recruitment for Panhel, said the selected chapter would likely bring in new members next fall, but she does not know what its recruitment process would look like.

Chi Omega’s first recruitment was held in October 2008, a few weeks after the other nine chapters gave out their bids, and included information sessions for women interested in joining.

“My goal is to work with the new chapter to develop a plan for their first recruitment that will best suit both GW and the needs of the chapter,” Berg said.

When the committee voted last October on the idea of bringing a new chapter to campus, two chapters voted against it. Cofone said those two, which she declined to name, have since reversed their opposition to the expansion.

“Everyone is now on board because we have a growing community with an increasing number of girls going through formal recruitment each year,” Cofone said. “To sustain these numbers, a new chapter must be brought campus to join our GW Greek life community.”

In the last five years, the percentage of GW women involved in Greek life has nearly doubled, swelling from 15 percent in 2006 to nearly 30 percent in 2011 – a spike that has pressured existing chapters “to exceed their capacity and take unprecedentedly large new member classes,” according to an October report from the extension committee.

Kappa Alpha Theta was active at GW from 1946 to 1976, when Greek life participation started to wane on campus. The group was considered for recolonization in 2008. The organization is also colonized at the University of Maryland.

Kelley Galbreath Hurst, director of chapter services for the sorority’s national organization, said the chapter would be “delighted” to return to GW.

“It would be a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to bring that back to those women, as well as the Panhellenic community at GW,” Hurst said.

Zeta Tau Alpha, which had been a chapter at GW briefly in the 1920s, was invited to recolonize in 1995. The chapter declined the invitation, citing lack of housing and multiple chapters on campus that were below quota, according to the GW Greek life website.

Kappa Delta was colonized at the University from 1922 to 1968.

Representatives from the national organizations for Zeta Tau Alpha and Kappa Delta did not return requests for comment. Both chapters are also colonized at UMD.

The final chapters were scheduled to be named Feb. 3, but the announcement was postponed to allow the committee “more time to go over the applications to make sure we learn as much about each chapter as possible,” Cofone said.

This article was updated on Feb. 13, 2012 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Kappa Delta had not been colonized at GW. The chapter was colonized from 1922 to 1968. We regret this error

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