Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Sororities explore possibility of future extension

With initiation complete for Whitman sororities, greek women are now looking ahead towards their spring activities. While none of the three sororities on campus, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Delta Gamma, will be holding formal recruitment this spring, they are collectively exploring the possibility of bringing a fourth sorority to campus in the near future.  

Delta Gamma and Kappa Kappa Gamma initiated nearly all of the women that they pledged this fall and only Kappa Alpha Theta experienced retention problems. In consequence, Panhellenic Council, the governing body for sororities, mandated an informal recruitment this spring.

“The process may vary between each chapter,” said Emily Ufheil-Somers, Vice President of Recruitment for Panhellenic Council. “So, while some groups may hold small gatherings, others may extend bids without hosting an event.”  

“If we ran a formal recruitment this spring, we would have to turn girls down,” said junior Rachel Constantino-Wallace, Panhellenic President.

Informal recruitment allows sororities to meet potential members and to extend invitations in whatever manner they choose, without the involvement of Panhellenic to officially match interested women with a house. “It gives groups more flexibility to recruit around their schedule, their needs, and their organization,” said Associate Dean of Students and greek Advisor Barbara Maxwell.  

An informal spring recruitment process adheres more closely with national Panhellenic guidelines, which state that it may only conduct one formal recruitment per academic year.

The large size of each group’s pledge classes and successful recruiting efforts enjoyed by the sorority system in the past couple of years also raise questions about the need for a fourth sorority.

“The answer to the likelihood of it happening is somewhat multifaceted,” said Delta Gamma president, sophomore Brianna Jaro.  

“The sorority system is considering adding a fourth sorority, though it will not be in time for this fall’s recruitment,” Wallace said. “Ideally, we will be inviting the sorority to participate in their first recruitment by fall of 2010.”

All three sororities passed the proposal of adding a fourth sorority, and the decision now lies in the hands of the Panhellenic Council.  

Currently, the council is awaiting college permission to begin the research stage of the process. All three chapters voted overwhelmingly in favor of going ahead with the search process, which consists of whittling the 23 national Panhellenic Council member organizations that are not currently on campus down to three to interview in person.  

A packet will soon be sent to the national sororities that may be interested in having a chapter at the college.

From that point, the interested sororities will look closely at their chances of having a successful chapter on campus.  

“We are too far away from any concrete action beyond research at this point to predict whether a fourth sorority at Whitman will be a reality,” Wallace said. “There are many more resolutions that must be passed and many more points at which we could remove ourselves from the hunt to know the outcome of the extension process.”  

Personally, Wallace supports the addition of a fourth sorority for several reasons.  

“First, the chapter facilities are well above the capacity at current membership levels…Second, all chapters are above chapter total. Chapter total is a number that the College Panhellenic sets as the ideal number of members for each chapter…Third, with pledge classes in the upper 20s and lower 30s, the opportunity for pledge class bonding and unity is significantly lowered,” Wallace said.

“Adding a fourth sorority is a big process but will take time,” Jaro said. “If it does happen during the next couple years we are here, it will be a neat thing to experience.”      

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