Panhellenic Association considers adding new sororities

Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor
The Panhellenic Association hopes to add two sororities to campus within the next five years.

One of GW’s official Greek life groups hopes to bring two more sororities to campus over the next few years.

The Panhellenic Association will form an exploratory committee early this semester to determine if GW needs more sororities to accommodate a larger number of students rushing for sororities. The group’s president says that is the first formal step in a process that she says will jump-start her plans to bring more Greek life groups to campus.

Rebecca Connolly, the president of the Panhellenic Association, said she expects to get the green light from the committee and wants to have at least one new sorority participate in a less formal recruitment process as soon as this fall. That informal recruitment would mean potential new members will not be required to visit each sorority or attend every event. Once one new sorority is chosen, the second chapter will not arrive on campus for another two years.

“It’s a long process, but we’re starting it this year and we’ll know, hopefully by the fall, one if not both of the chapters that will be coming to campus,” she said.

Connolly said the group had already planned to bring at least one chapter to campus this year, but after Delta Gamma’s national organization booted the group from campus in the fall, the group “really needed” two more sororities to accommodate a growing number of students who are interested in joining sororities.

Connolly said each sorority chapter on campus met quotas of 53 members in each pledge class in the fall, and one chapter accepted more than 60 new members.

“Those are really big pledge classes and a lot of chapters have expressed that that is not the number they wanted their pledge classes to be at,” she said. “They wanted them to be smaller and building more intimate relationships.”

The University’s 10 sororities gave bids to 573 women earlier this academic year, slightly fewer than the record-setting 600 bids given out the year before.

Kappa Delta is the newest social sorority on campus and recruited its first class of members in October 2012.

Director of Student Involvement and Greek Life Christina Witkowicki said in an email that the exploratory committee will be made up of representatives from each sorority, the Panhellenic Association executive board and alumnae.

She said the committee will analyze current chapter enrollment, recruitment, membership and housing, as well as campus history, before the Panhellenic Association can vote to bring new sororities to campus.

She said if the Panhellenic Association votes to “extend,” a new committee will determine the qualities needed in a new chapter. That “extension committee” will manage solicitations, review materials and invite organizations to campus. The Panhellenic Association will then vote based on the extension committee’s recommendations, she said.

“And ultimately, the University must approve any new student organization on campus,” she said.

The newest fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, participated in an informal recruitment process for the first time at GW in October. The Interfraternity Council voted to add a chapter after most students who completed the rush process did not join a fraternity in fall 2014.

Three Greek chapters have closed on campus since January of that year and at least one chapter, Phi Kappa Psi, is suspended.

Connolly said the Panhellenic Association will alert all 26 National Panhellenic Conference organizations if the committee votes to bring new sororities to GW later this semester.

“We’re going to let people approach us because we want chapters that are supported by national organizations to be really involved and excited about being on our campus,” she said.

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