Three sororities have officially been invited by the Duke Panhellenic Association to present themselves as candidates to colonize on campus.
After voting to expand the council last Spring, Panhel’s extension committee reviewed applications from seven national chapters and has eliminated all but three options for the one available new charter. Representatives from Gamma Phi Beta, Phi Mu and Sigma Kappa will come to campus to deliver open presentations on different dates in March.
“We wanted to choose organizations that were in line with the University’s goals,” said Sarah Loge, program coordinator for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
The extension committee analyzed each organization’s attitudes toward scholarship, service and philanthropy. It also considered the overall quality of member education and leadership development of the organizations in addition to looking at their national organization structures, local support systems, colonization processes and risk management policies.
Beth Monnin, vice president for communications and extension for Phi Mu—which was previously at Duke from 1934 to 1987—said the organization is happy to have the opportunity of possibly recolonizing at Duke.
“We are excited that our values directly complement the mission of the college panhellenic to challenge and educate students in the areas of leadership, cultural awareness, personal and group development, scholarship and civic responsibility,” she said.
Representatives from the other two sororities could not be reached for comment. Once all the presentations have finished, the committee will make a recommendation to the Panhel executive board, which will then invite one organization to colonize on campus. The council hopes to charter the new sorority by Spring 2014.
One of the driving factors behind Panhel’s decision to expand was the fact that pledge classes are currently at capacity for all current chapters.
“Chapters felt that they were getting too large and couldn’t have as close of a sisterhood bond because they weren’t able to get to know each other as well,” said Panhel President Katie Howard, a junior. “Along with slightly decreasing incoming pledge class sizes, having another chapter opens up an opportunity for other women who haven’t found their match within the Panhel community yet.”
Sophomore Katie Shpanskaya, a new member of a sorority, said that she believes the new sorority will only increase the number of women involved in greek life and will not make pledge classes smaller. She said, however, that she does not think large pledge classes are an issue.
“I think a big pledge class might actually be a good thing,” Shpanskaya said. “You get access to a lot more people at Duke. I joined to become part of community, and a larger pledge class and sorority is very much beneficial to that.”
Kayla Hudson, an unaffiliated junior, was a participant in the “Science of Selection” discussion which took place Thursday and was hosted by the Kenan Institute for Ethics. The discussion brought together members of the greek organizations, selective living groups and independent communities to talk about the nature of selective groups on campus. Hudson said the discussion suggested that all Duke students crave a feeling of inclusion.
“[An additional sorority] is a good thing considering that I know that a lot of people who want to be in greek organizations get turned down,” said Hudson. “I feel like this sorority will provide more people with a sense of community and belonging.”
Gamma Phi Beta, Phi Mu and Sigma Kappa are scheduled to present March 26, 27 and 28, respectively.