updated 1:50 a.m. Wed. Oct 24
Duke Panhellenic Association announced Tuesday that it will be looking to add a tenth chapter.
Panhel voted last Spring to create an exploratory committee to look into the possibility of expanding. The proposal for expansion comes in response to large recruitment numbers over the past five years. The committee has held weekly meetings throughout the Fall semester in the hopes that a new sorority will be on campus by Spring 2014.
The committee is led by senior Hannah Hayward, vice president of recruitment and membership for Panhel, and consists of one member from each of the nine current Panhel sororities.
“Essentially we’re just really big right now,” said senior Kelsey Woodford, president of Panhel. “We can’t even fit into rooms anymore during recruitment.”
Woodford noted that Panhel was considering expansion even before she became involved with the organization last year. The exploratory committee accessed the data from recruitment, which showed that several of the pledge classes were at their maximum capacity.
“I know a lot of girls that didn’t even make it into a sorority because they can only take 40 girls each,” said sophomore Cara Williams, who went through the rush process last Spring. “I think adding a new sorority is a great idea.”
Last Spring, 504 women participated in Panhel sorority recruitment, but only 373 received bids, The Chronicle previously reported.
Panhel is currently accepting applications for review from various organizations throughout the country. They plan to select three chapters to give presentations on campus in March and will vote to officially accept the new chapter to Duke this coming April, Woodford said. The new chapter will then begin recruiting members on an open basis by Spring 2014, with official recruitment with the other Panhel sororities starting in Spring 2015.
One national sorority specifically interested in expanding is Kappa Delta, said Heidi Roy, director of communications at Kappa Delta national headquarters.
“We look for universities that share our values,” Roy said. “I’m assuming that Duke would be a place that we would want to have a chapter.”
Roy added that they look to add chapters in places within the vicinity of existing chapters, where there are alumni that can provide support. Kappa Delta recently installed a new chapter at University of North Carolina at Charlotte in January.
Woodford cautions that no chapter will be given preference during the selection process.
“We have no idea which chapter this is going be,” Woodford said. “We don’t even know which chapters are going to send us packets at this point, let alone which ones we’re going to choose.”
Though there are still several logistical points to work out, Woodford said that Panhel is optimistic about expanding.
“It’ll be really good for the community,” Woodford said. “We’re really excited about it.”