Panhellenic Council conducts extension process to invite new sorority to campus

By Clarissa Grunwald, Staff Writer ||

The Panhellenic Council’s Public Relations Committee, during extension, hung banners in the Steinman College Center, promoting them to students. Photo by Scott Onigman '15

The Panhellenic Council’s Public Relations Committee, during extension, hung banners in the Steinman College Center, promoting them to students. Photo by Scott Onigman ’15

F&M’s Panhellenic Council plans to invite a new sorority to come to campus through a process known as extension. Possible sororities eligible for invitation are Delta Phi Epsilon, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Alpha Xi Delta, and Phi Mu.

In order to be considered for selection, each sorority gave a presentation in the Lisa Bonchek-Adams Auditorium in the Richard & Ann Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy building last week. Many members of the audience were current sisters involved in one of the sororities on campus.

In their presentations, sororities discussed their support staff, growth programs, and philanthropy. They also described plans for establishing themselves on campus.

To evaluate the potential sororities, the Panhellenic Council formed an Extension Committee, which began the process by inviting member sororities of the National Panhellenic Conference to apply. After that, the committee established guidelines for interested organizations, reviewed potential sororities’ information, and chose four sororities to give presentations last week. Now, the committee is in the process of making its final decision on which of the four sororities will be instituted on campus next year.

Whichever sorority is ultimately chosen, the Panhellenic Council hopes that a new organization on campus will help meet the demand brought on by the increase in Greek life at F&M. Students, particularly women, have been pledging Greek organizations at higher rates than ever, increasing the chapter sizes of the four sororities already on
campus.

“When I first got to F&M, sorority classes only [had] 20 to 30 girls,” said Moira Thompson ’14, a member of Chi Omega, and one of 10 girls on the Extension Committee. “Now, each sorority has upwards of 40.”

Bringing another sorority to campus means that the class size of each sorority would decrease.

“A new sorority would decrease class sizes and increase the intimacy of relationships formed within chapters,” said Laura Strode ’16 of Alpha Phi, another member of the Extension Committee.

Besides the chapter growth, Panhellenic Council also hopes that a new sorority will help Greek life meet the needs of more girls on campus.

“Beyond simple numbers, we believe that there are women here who simply have not found the right organization for them,” said Rhya Ghose ’15, president of the Panhellenic Council and a member of Kappa Delta. “We’re hoping that they do find a home in the new organization that we bring here.”

In evaluating the sororities, the Committee looks at their strengths and weaknesses in a number of areas, including the supportiveness of their national or international headquarters, the supportiveness of neighboring chapters and alumnae, the helpfulness of the sorority’s member development initiatives (such as a Big-and-Little program), and the organization’s success rate when establishing themselves on a new campus.

Aside from their merits, the Committee must consider how well the potential new sorority will fit in with Greek life on campus, and what they can bring to campus that is not already being provided by F&M’s current sororities.

“We expect them to contribute not only to the Greek community, but also to the campus community as a whole,” Ghose said. “We want them to promote campus unity, host open events, and be active, engaged members of the Franklin & Marshall community.”

 

First-year Clarissa Grunwald is a staff writer. Her email is cgrunwal@fandm.edu.

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