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Panhel sees record registration numbers for third year

510 women signed up for Panhellenic recruitment this year, an increase attributed to improved public relations and positive word of mouth.
510 women signed up for Panhellenic recruitment this year, an increase attributed to improved public relations and positive word of mouth.

More than 500 women registered for Panhellenic recruitment this year, surpassing last year’s mark by 76 students.

For the third consecutive year, the number of registered women has set a record. Last year, 434 girls signed up for recruitment, which was an 18 percent increase over the previous year.

Of the 510 women who are signed up this year, 46 are sophomores. Recruitment begins tomorrow and will conclude Jan. 23.

Administrators and students attribute the increase to better communication and public relations on behalf of the Panhellenic Association. The later registration date also gave women more time to sign up, said Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek.

“In the past years, after the window closed, there were a number of women who wanted to register and had missed the deadline,” Wasiolek said. “Panhel did a better job of capturing all the interested women this year.”

Delta Gamma President Becki Feinglos, a senior, also noted that sorority philanthropic events on campus may have played a part in increasing freshmen interest.

“I would love to think that the positive things that sororities have been doing on campus such as better PR for philanthropic events... might have been better seen by freshmen and sophomores planning on going through formal recruitment,” Feinglos said. “My hope is that that has had a positive effect this year, that we’ve done better jobs of getting our names out there.”

Pi Beta Phi President Rose Sheela, a junior, said that the increase may be due to positive word of mouth, as many freshmen come to Duke knowing girls in sororities nationwide. She noted that their positive experiences may have encouraged other students to join a sorority.

Panhellenic Association President Bogna Brzezinska, a senior, wrote in an e-mail Wednesday that she is not surprised that interest has increased.

“The Panhellenic community at Duke has grown stronger and more prominent on campus, particularly over recent years,” Brzezinska wrote. “We are involved in many visible ways on campus.”

Sheela also said one of the strengths of the recruitment process is that it brings women together and gives them the opportunity to meet new people.

“I just realized the majority of my friends are in my class [are participating], and joining a sorority would allow me to meet upperclassmen and underclassmen,” said sophomore Gini Li, who is currently registered.

Freshman Gabrielle Hodgins said she thought much of the interest may be due to the influence of family members and friends who are in sororities.

Both Feinglos and Wasiolek, however, hesitate to draw any definite conclusions from the increase, saying it will be more significant to look at the number of girls who actually join.

Last year, the nine Panhellenic Association sororities offered 311 bids to the 434 women who rushed, an increase from the 260 bids offered in 2009. Feinglos said her chapter has made logistical preparations to accept 40 women into this year’s pledge class, five more than last year’s 35.

Sheela also said that this increase most likely means a bigger pledge class for her sorority.

Not all women who rush will ultimately decide to join, however.

“Women just might not find that sorority life and greek life is for them after the recruitment process,” Feinglos said. “Women drop out every year at different times for different circumstances.”

Wasiolek also noted that Duke offers a wide ranging and vibrant social scene in that students have the option to go greek, but it is not the only choice.

“It is an enhancement to a student’s overall experience here if they want that,” Wasiolek said. “I like the fact that it is a choice, an option. It is not necessarily a dominant feature. It can be an interwoven aspect of their life at Duke.”

Sheela echoed Wasiolek’s statement, adding that the process is less formal at Duke than at other schools. And though Sheela believes greek life is a big aspect of the Duke community, she said students do not necessarily have to go greek to be a part of the Duke social scene.

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