Panhellenic Association last expanded its sorority community in 1991, adding two sororities. Eighteen years later, as interest and popular demand continued to grow, the Panhellenic Association agreed to expand and seek additional sororities to add to the six existing chapters in the University.

With the collection of data and the support of the Fraternity and Sorority Management Committee, the Panhellenic Association deliberated last night and concluded that an additional sorority would be both feasible for the Greek community. A sorority chapter member of the National Panhellenic Conference is likely to join the River Campus as early as March 2010.

Before gaining FSMC’s support, the Panhellenic Association formed the Panhellenic Association Exploratory Committee to compile and distribute data to currently existing sorority chapters, as well as their national representatives. Some of the data that was used included an analysis of recruitment statistics for every spring semester from 2000 to 2009, University student population data, a forecast of the growth of Greek communities from 2009 to 2012 assuming that they will continue to grow at the same rate and overall Panhellenic Association recruitment statistics. The data was passed on to chapters and representatives to be used in their evaluation of the demand and impact of adding a seventh sorority.

According to Director of Sorority and Fraternity Affairs Monica Miranda Smalls, the data showed a considerable growth in the Panhellenic Association sorority community, specifically in the past five years.

The information was pivotal to the final decision, as well as to determining the maximum amount of women that should be in each chapter.

Panhellenic Association President and senior Ivy Giserman noted that since the spring of 2005, the number of potential new members participating in the Panhellenic Association’s recruitment has increased by 97 percent. Giserman suggested that the statistics not only indicated a need for expansion, but a responsibility to maintain the intimate size of UR sororities.

‘By adding a seventh Panhellenic chapter to our campus we can ensure that all women interested in joining a sorority will be able to do so, without compromising the current, intimate sizes of our chapters,” she said. ‘This philosophy of inclusion not only goes along with the values of the Panhellenic Association, but also matches the University’s mission.”

The agreement will allow for any of the 20 NPCs that aren’t currently on campus to apply to go through the University’s sorority and fraternity recognition procedure. The formal process requires applicants to correspond with Smalls, provide confirmation of national support from the sorority or fraternity’s chapter, a list of local chapter members and potential student members and an Expectations for Excellence Proposal.
The applying chapter’s Expectations for Excellence must explain the goals and educational characteristics that the chapter can offer to the campus and local community.

FSMC and the Panhellenic Association, however, are uncertain of which sororities will apply. Giserman speculated that the new sorority would either have a strong alumnae chapter and/or a strong undergraduate chapter at a nearby university. She added that it creates an element of surprise.

‘Several organizations have expressed interest in expanding to UR in the past however, we are completely unsure of who will apply this year,” she said. ‘The unpredictability of what’s to come, if the Panhellenic Association approves expansion, is extremely exciting.”

Smalls noted that the Greek expansion processes has been an ongoing effort.

‘Expansion of the fraternity and sorority system has been occurring through the revised process for the last three years,” she said. ‘We approved two new fraternities in the spring of 2008 [Omega Psi Phi and Lambda Alpha Upsilon] and approved one new sorority [Delta Phi Omega] in the spring of 2009.”

UR will be featured in the next NPC bulletin to advertise UR’s availability for expansion.

Nathaniel is a member of the class of 2011.

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