The spring Panhellenic Sorority recruitment period ended Tuesday, Jan. 26, representing the start of an incoming class for six sororities on the river campus.

On Jan. 22, 167 women entered the recruitment process, and 126 were offered invitations to become a member of one of the Panhellenic Association Chapters. Both of these numbers are down from 2009, when a record number of women (195) entered the pledge process, and 139 received invitations to become members.

For some women on campus, the sorority system is an attractive way to assimilate into and absorb a new culture that might otherwise be out of reach.

‘I’m an international student, so I don’t really have a lot of American friends here,” sophomore Hua Zhu, a recent invitee of Gamma Phi Beta, said. ‘The whole rush thing really helped me make contacts with everyone.”

Others, like sophomore Allison Marsh, wanted to expand their reach on campus by solidifying a new group of friends.

‘I rushed because when I was a freshman … I really wanted to expand my circle and I thought that being in a sorority was the best way to do it,” she said.

Despite the decline in the total number of women entering the rush process, there were a number of positive signs for the Panhellenic Association.

Over the past four years, there has been an increasingly high percentage of students who started the formal recruitment process receiving invitations to become members of a sorority. This retention rate grew to 75.5 percent due to last week’s formal recruitment. This year, there was also an increase in the number of sophomores entering the rush process.

Panhellenic Association Recruitment Chair and Take Five Scholar Deborah Philbrick was pleased with this year’s progress overall.

‘The fluidity of everyday logistics functioned to a degree unlike anything I have ever seen on this campus,” she said. ‘In particular, the communication between the chapters and the Recruitment Team increased tremendously.”

Philbrick thinks there are many reasons that explain the decline in total participation numbers. The current freshman class is significantly smaller than the class of 2012, which is on pace to be the largest graduating class in University history. More students entered this year’s rush process than in 2007 or 2008, indicating growing popularity in the recruitment process over the past few years.

Further, the prospect of the creation of an additional Panhellenic chapter may have deterred some students from entering the rush process this year.

‘With the continued strength of recruitment this year I am excited for the opportunity the Panhellenic Association has to invite another sorority to join their council within the next year,” Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Monica Miranda Smalls said.

Looking to next year’s recruiting efforts, Philbrick believes that the best might be yet to come.

‘I am absolutely certain that next spring, all seven Panhellenic chapters will have a very successful recruitment weekend that will add to the largest women’s organization on campus,” she said.

Wasserman is a member of
the class of 2010.

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