More than 500 women go Greek in backdrop of Lincoln Memorial

Hundreds of sorority women welcomed new members with cheers and songs on the National Mall on Tuesday, bringing the female Greek population to its highest level yet.

Holding cutouts of their chapter letters and clad in neon t-shirts, nearly 25 percent more women received invitations to join one of Panhellenic Association’s 11 chapters this year after turnout slumped last fall.

About 40 more women participated in recruitment this year, with a far greater chance of receiving a bid. About 78 percent of the 650 women were invited to join a chapter, compared to 67 percent last year.

“I never thought being recruited for a sorority would be so much work. I have never experienced so many emotions simultaneously,” said Klaire Spielberg, a freshman who joined Alpha Delta Pi.

“Bid Day” was held on the National Mall for the first time. Dozens of tourists looked on as chapters greeted their newest members on a field near the Lincoln Memorial.

Rachael Abram, president of the GW Panhellenic Association, said the move made recruitment more of a GW experience.

“It made freshmen girls feel a little more welcome in DC and more, maybe, inclined to explore the city and feeling like D.C. is their home as much as GW is their home,” Abram said.

It was also the first fall recruitment with GW’s newest sorority, Kappa Delta. The year-old chapter offered 54 bids – the most out of any other sorority.

“We were brought here to add something to Greek life on campus. We want to stand out, not in a better way, but as who we are,” Kappa Delta president Joanna Rodriguez said.

Sororities invited an average of 46 members after the five-day recruitment process. Panhel added an extra day last spring to give new members an additional night to visit each chapter.

Like in years past, freshmen snatched the most bids, accounting for nearly 80 percent of all invitations. Sororities also offered bids to 93 sophomores, 11 juniors and one senior.

The high turnout came close to reaching the records sororities set two years ago, when 512 of the 715 women registered for recruitment received bids.

Phi Sigma Sigma extended bids to just 39 members, the least of all chapters.

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