After the sad removal of Pi Beta Phi sorority from campus at the start of this semester, it is encouraging that Alpha Xi Delta sorority will be joining the University’s Panhellenic ranks this spring. While adding yet another organization to the Greek system on campus seems like it may increase the overall Greek presence on campus, it may accomplish more positive goals than negative ones.
“The goal of extension is to increase the opportunity for interested women to become affiliated and to slightly decrease the average sorority chapter size,” Kevin Pons, assistant director of sorority life, said.
This goal of greater opportunities is right in line with perceived needs of the Greek system. We see a major disadvantage of sorority life compared to fraternity life at the University in the sororities’ significantly larger sizes. With approximately 135 members per sorority compared to about 70 per fraternity, the sororities can’t offer the same kind of intimate relationships the fraternities are able to cultivate. The boys’ smaller pledge classes provide them with more intimate settings to get to know each other and form a common bond.
In addition to the more intimate relationship opportunities, a smaller chapter size allows for more leadership roles. With fewer girls vying for limited positions, more women can benefit from the leadership aspects of the Greek system. The smaller chapter size will also help with individual accountability of the members. With the current sizes, it’s easy for members to get lost in the shuffle and not be missed from mandatory events, like chapter meetings, philanthropy events and speakers; with a smaller size, it will be more difficult to bail on these things.
Fraternities will also benefit from the additional chapter in social and philanthropic opportunities. With another organization to participate in events, we believe the fraternities will be given more women to interact with and have the chance to meet another group of women with their own personality.
Beyond the benefits from changes in chapter size and relationships with fraternities, the addition of AZD will bring a new sense of attention to next fall’s formal recruitment. The increase in competition from the new chapter will force all of the sororities’ recruitment chairs to up their game and fight for their ideal pledge classes.
Hopefully, these benefits will pan out over the next year and the University will have the opportunity to open the campus for extension again to accomplish the same goals, continuing to propel Greek life to success.