Members of Alpha Phi sorority celebrate the addition of new members on Panhellenic sorority Bid Day Sunday afternoon.
Members of Alpha Phi sorority celebrate the addition of new members on Panhellenic sorority Bid Day Sunday afternoon.

Panhellenic sororities extended slightly fewer invitations this year, despite recent discussions about creating a new chapter due to robust recruitment numbers.

Duke’s nine Panhellenic Association sororities extended invitations to 364 women on Bid Day, concluding a two-week-long recruitment process. That number represents a slight decrease from last year, when the groups gave out 373 invitations. A total of 475 women registered for recruitment this year, down from last year’s total of 504, wrote senior Hannah Hayward, vice president of recruitment and membership for Panhel, in an email Sunday.

Although the recruitment calendar, which began Jan. 11, did not change much, the process deviated from years past because it was held at the Durham Convention Center instead of on campus. Recruitment was previously held in the Von Canon rooms in the Bryan Center, but the space is currently undergoing renovation.

“The move to the Durham Convention Center posed some logistical challenges as far as transportation but streamlined the process overall,” Hayward said. “[Potential new members] no longer had to travel between campuses, and chapters had more comparable accommodations.”

More than 100 girls withdrew during the recruitment process, but each chapter met its 39-person quota, she noted.

Because of its large recruitment numbers over the past few years, Panhel is currently accepting applications for review from various chapters who are interested in colonizing at Duke. 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, The Chronicle previously reported. 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.

Senior Courtney Liu, a member of Alpha Phi, said it is possible that so many women participate in recruitment because greek life at Duke is low key, and members of sororities do not have to sacrifice academic success or extracurriculars to be involved. She also noted the significance of the new house model, which has clustered sororities together on Central Campus since the Fall.

“I also wonder if the house model we have now is attracting more girls,” Liu said. “It’s kind of nice that we all live together on Central now. It’s a guarantee that you’ll be with your friends.”

Freshman Claire Dubuque said her view on the house model changed over the course of recruitment, as members of sororities explained the benefits of having their own housing.

“At first I was very skeptical about rushing because I thought [living on] West would be much more convenient,” she said.

Some freshmen women said recruitment at the convention center was a positive experience.

“It was a lot easier to see all the sororities,” said freshman Diana Lam. “It gave me a chance to put a face to all the Greek letters that I’ve been hearing all semester.” Hayward said she does not anticipate any major changes to the recruitment process in the future, though she acknowledged that the process is “always being fine-tuned.”