Panhellenic Council approves sorority extension
Published: Monday, December 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, December 10, 2012 15:12
The Panhellenic Council (PhC) last month approved a plan to bring a fourth sorority to campus in light of rapidly rising recruitment numbers in the past few years, according to PhC President and senior Carolyn Pruitt.
Pruitt said that the presidents of the three sororities on campus, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Phi and Chi Omega, unanimously voted in favor of the extension after hearing recommendations from their respective national chapters, the PhC executive board and an exploratory committee composed of various Greek life representatives and staff members.
Both the fraternities and sororities know that this is going to be the right step for the community, Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Su McGlone said.
The new sorority will be chosen from applications submitted by members of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), according to Pruitt.
“We’re looking for a sorority that’s going to be a good fit for Tufts, that their ideals and values fit sort of the general Tufts mission statement, Pruitt said.
An official bulletin announcing the extension was sent out to the NPC on Nov. 27, inviting the 23 NPC sororities to apply for the new spot, according to Pruitt.
According to McGlone, the application cycle will remain open until the end of January, at which time a Tufts extension committee will review and interview all applicants. The top three sororities, chosen based on a quantitative scoring system, will then be invited to present on campus in March before PhC delegates from each sorority make the final vote.
Pruitt said that the new sorority will be eligible for a house on campus after three years.
Extension has been informally discussed for years but without practical traction due to a lack of precedence, Pruitt said. The most recently established sorority chapter at Tufts, the Alpha Phi chapter, came to Tufts in 1978.
Last spring, the PhC formed an exploratory committee to assess the issue before opening the vote to the wider Panhellenic community, according to Pruitt. Topics under consideration included the history of Greek organizations on campus, the availability of space and an analysis of recruitment numbers.
According to Pruitt, chapter sizes at Tufts range between 80 and 90 in the fall and add over 30 new recruits in the spring, causing capacity issues with groups of over 100.
“For a campus our size, we’re on the larger end,” she said.
Another factor contributing to the decision was the current imbalance between the number of fraternities and sororities at Tufts, Pruitt said.
“It’ll help the balance,” she said. “It’ll be nice to have more women and even numbers.”
McGlone noted the hope for the new sorority’s role in fostering greater inter-Greek community life.
“We’re looking for an organization that can be a part of our community but also bring something new to the community,” she said. “New programs or new initiatives that can help continue to elevate the fraternity and sorority community.”
Pruitt estimated an expected 40 to 50 new recruits for the new sorority in the first year.
“Ideally the new chapter should within a few years be able to conceivably reach an equivalent size to the sororities that are already here,” she said.
Chi Omega President Linzy Prudden said she is excited that Greek life is expanding on campus.
“Having the average chapter size grow smaller is [also] more reflective of what the Greek community strives for [at Tufts],” Prudden, a junior, said. “Smaller communities where people can really foster closer relationships.”