Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Alpha Phi finalizes bids, selective about members

With the colonization of an Alpha Phi women’s fraternity chapter on the Whitman campus this fall, Greek life is changing. The new sorority, invited by the Panhellenic council last fall to colonize at Whitman, ended its recruitment process at the end of September and began sorority activities last week.

“The Panhellenic community is excited to get the year started,” said Allie Winkelman, Alpha Phi’s main leadership consultant from the international office. “We’re super excited to have members. We are going to continue to get more members throughout the semester hopefully, so we’re really excited for that too.”

The women’s fraternity commenced with about 35 members from all four grade levels at Whitman. The majority of the girls are first-years, which Winkelman says is important for building a strong base, but the addition of the upperclassmen will help Alpha Phi start off strong.

“We’re excited for having the five seniors and the upperclassmen who might not have had a chance to do Greek life before and to show us the ropes at Whitman,” said Winkelman. “It’s great for [seniors] because they get to experience Greek life before they leave and leave such a great mark for their last year. We’re really happy with it.”

So far, Alpha Phi has had its official bid night, its first function and chapter meeting, and a few informal get-togethers.

“I feel like we haven’t gotten to know each other that well yet, but everyone I’ve met is really great,” said first-year Julia Thompson, a new pledge. “[Everyone is] really down to earth, and as someone who went through formal rush, I feel more comfortable with this group of girls.”

The first chapter meeting went over much of Alpha Phi’s history both nationally and at Whitman and discussed the sorority’s national philanthropy. According to Thompson, the chapter was present at Whitman for about 30 years beginning in the 1940s, but died out in the 70s because of lack of demand.

Rumors surrounded the chapter’s reformation this fall, but mostly people questioned what the goals of the reinstatement of the women’s fraternity were going to be.

“A lot of the girls in [Alpha Phi] didn’t rush the first time. It’s not like they went in expecting to join a sorority,” said new pledge and first-year Louisa Rogers. “I think what’s appealing about Alpha Phi is that we can make it whatever we want.”

Winkelman said the organizers had no expectations for the number of pledges the sorority would get, because colonization is such a unique process. She was not directly involved with the selection process, but the organizers were looking for a cohesive group of women to represent Alpha Phi well.

“I’ve been pretty happy so far,” said Thompson. “I think that there’s a good mix of girls. I think that the demographic is maybe a little bit different than the other sororities on campus, and we can make it basically whatever we want.”

“We don’t have a stereotype to fit, and we don’t have to pick a group we feel like we identify with the best,” said Rogers. “We’re kind of starting a group and so we get to define it because it hasn’t been defined.”

According to Rogers, some girls who participated in recruitment for Alpha Phi were not offered bids.

“We had a meeting to talk about how we’re trying to stay away from the really exclusive ‘Oh, we’re a sorority,'” said Rogers. “That being said, there were some people who just didn’t get in to Alpha Phi.”

Rogers said the bid process really looked at the individual girls, and tried to make sure they would work well with the sorority.

“They were looking at the girl, and not like, ‘Oh, you’re not good enough for Alpha Phi.'” said Rogers. “It was more like, ‘You don’t really seem like the kind of person who would really enjoy this.'”

With the new beginnings now, the small women’s fraternity will include leadership opportunities for all members. Each member will be assigned to a committee to help plan events for the year, and in November the sorority will hold formal elections for official officer positions along with the other three women’s fraternities.

“It’s not all me,” said Winkelman, speaking about the organization tasks for the sorority. “I’ll give [the members] advice and generate ideas and help them implement things, but it will be a lot of the girls’ jobs to get things done as well.”

Winkelman has an apartment in Walla Walla and is stationed here all year to help with the transition and building phase.

“My job is technically to be a traveling consultant,” said Winkelman. She will go back and forth between Walla Walla and national headquarters in Chicago, but Whitman is her primary focus for the year.

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