By Steven Viera, News Editor ||

The College recently extended invitations to Alpha Xi Delta and Phi Mu women’s fraternities to colonize and establish chapters on campus in 2014 and 2016, respectively. These invitations come as the result of an extension process by F&M Panhellenic Council’s (Panhel) in order to expand the number of sororities on campus.

“Alpha Xi Delta is excited and honored to be invited to join the fraternity and sorority community at F&M,” said Lauren Felts, director of communications and marketing for Alpha Xi Delta women’s fraternity. According to a press release on their website, Alpha Xi Delta maintains chapters at over 121 colleges and universities across the nation and has initiated over 150,000 members.

Both Alpha Xi Delta and Phi Mu received invitations as the result of a process known as extension, conducted by Panhel as a means to bring an additional sorority to campus. According to Rhya Ghose ’15, president of Panhel, extension began this year so that sorority sizes at F&M could shrink to a more manageable size and female students interested in pledging a sorority could have more options available to them.

Ghose explained that an Extension Committee was formed, made primarily of students: two from each sorority and another two from Panhel. Beyond student representatives, the Committee included Jean Grader, a representative from Kappa Delta, who served as the alumnae adviser. Stuart Umberger, interim director of fraternity and sorority life at F&M, also worked with the Extension Committee, but he explained that his role had less to do with helping to select which organization to invite and more of making sure that certain rules and guidelines were being upheld throughout the process.

The Extension Committee selected four national sororities — Alpha Xi Delta, Phi Mu, Sigma Sigma Sigma, and Delta Phi Epsilon — to visit campus and give presentations to both sorority women and unaffiliated women explaining the merits of their organization. Then, the Committee deliberated, eventually choosing to invite both Alpha Xi Delta and Phi Mu through a method called “stacking.”

“We were looking for an organization that would tap into a different part of campus that hadn’t found their home yet,” Ghose said. “And we really felt that way with both of the organizations, and particularly with Alpha Xi Delta.”

Now that Alpha Xi Delta has accepted the invitation, the fraternity will need to begin the process of launching their new colony at F&M.

“A national team of Alpha Xi Delta alumnae and staff will visit campus this spring to meet with campus administrators and key student leaders,” Felts said. “A full, [Alpha Xi Delta]-coordinated colonization effort will occur in the fall of 2014, followed by a five-year period of extra care as the new chapter’s success is fostered and assured. Alpha Xi Delta will select members for the new colony during the Fall 2014 semester.”

Expanding on this, Umberger noted that after building an initial base of members in Fall 2014, they will participate with the other sororities on campus — Kappa Delta, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, and Alpha Delta Pi — in Formal Recruitment in Spring 2015. Throughout that time and beyond, Alpha Xi Delta’s colony will have a full-time consultant living in the area to help the new chapter develop.

“[Adding a new sorority] creates a positive buzz for the entire Greek community,” Umberger said. “And it’s also giving another choice to women on this campus.”

Representatives from Alpha Xi Delta will be tabling in the Steinman College Center on April 17, 19, 21, 23, and 25. They will also hold info sessions for students on April 23 and 24.

Anyone interested in learning more about Alpha Xi Delta’s events and colonization efforts on the F&M campus can follow the organization on Twitter at @FandMAXiD and on Facebook.

Sophomore Steven Viera is the News Editor. His email is