Fewer students participate in sorority recruitment

Media Credit: Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Members of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority greet new members on the National Mall Tuesday. Fewer women went through recruitment this year than in recent years.

Fewer than 600 women participated in sorority recruitment this year — the lowest number since at least 2010.

Of the original 572 women who registered for recruitment, 467 received and accepted bids this week. Despite the drop, the director of Greek life said the University still needs to add more Greek chapters.

Earlier this year, leaders in the Panhellenic Association — one of GW’s umbrella Greek life organizations — said they would form an exploratory committee to consider bringing two new chapters to campus, citing a high level of student interest. This year’s recruitment numbers are the first to break the upward trend in recruitment numbers in recent years.

Christina Witkowicki, director of student involvement and Greek life, said student interest in Panhellenic organizations has remained consistent over the past six years.

“Because interest has remained consistent, we need to add chapters to ensure each chapter can remain smaller and, therefore, can be sustained on our campus,” Witkowicki said.

Delta Gamma sorority was shut down by its national organization last year, just days before recruitment began. Kappa Delta was the latest social sorority to come to campus in 2012.

Fraternities on campus have also lost chapters in recent years. At least two fraternity chapters have shut down since 2014, and the national organization of Phi Kappa Psi suspended its chapter at GW until at least spring of 2020.

Delta Sigma Phi fraternity started its a chapter on campus last year, and two more fraternities have been selected to start at GW this academic year.

The recruitment process had been steadily climbing in popularity in recent years: In 2014, nearly 600 women received bids. That number was eclipsed last year when 573 of the 727 women registered for recruitment received sorority bids – the highest number ever.

Meaghan Wade, the chapter advisory board chair for Kappa Delta, said she thought chapters ended up being about the same size as they were last year, even if fewer people went through recruitment.

“We are at Panhellenic total which is a great size to be, and we are really excited about our new members,” Wade said.

Last year, social Greek organizations went through training to learn how to identify potential new members — who went through similar trainings – that best fit with their group’s values.

This also marked the last fall recruitment for freshmen: Starting next year, students will have to earn at least 12 course credits on campus before going through the process to join a social Greek organization. Officials said at the time the change will give freshmen more time to acclimate to campus before committing to Greek life.

Justine Coleman contributed reporting.

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