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Delta Gamma chosen as U.’s newest sorority

Chosen by committee of students, faculty, new chapter created to address shortage in sorority spots

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Panhellenic Council will welcome the Delta Gamma Fraternity as a fourth sorority this spring, addressing a shortage in sorority spots available to potential new members. It will be one of four that the women’s fraternity opens this year, joining its 149 active collegiate chapters.

The new chapter will not use the traditional recruitment process  the three sororities currently on campus — Alpha Chi Omega, Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Delta — to create its founding class, said Lorie Holt, director of extension and consultants for the national Delta Gamma Fraternity. A team of volunteers and staff members from the national fraternity will conduct information sessions and “get-to-know DG” events on campus.

The team will then host a series of one-on-one conversations with potential members, followed by an invitational preference round, Holt added. A local Delta Gamma chapter will be brought to campus to perform a preference ceremony, and the process will end with a community-wide bid day.

Delta Gamma was chosen by a committee made up of faculty members, staff members and students from the Office of Residential Life, Panhellenic Council and Student Activities Office, among others, said Claire Walker ’16 MA’17, the Greek life and program house coordinator for the 2016-17 academic year.  The selection was then approved by a voting body made up of one representative from each of the three existing sorority chapters.

The Panhellenic Council decided a new chapter would create a more inclusive rush process, as the number of women rushing sororities has far exceeded the number of spots available to new members in recent years, Walker said. As a result, it has been difficult for sororities to find meeting space without exceeding room capacities and has created potential housing shortages.

During Walker’s time as an undergraduate, the number of women rushing sororities increased from 95 in 2013 to 293 in 2016, The Herald previously reported.  The rush process was “very stressful for a lot of young women” because many potential members did not receive bids from any of the three sororities.

“As the number of people who go through the recruiting process increases, it triggers … (an) automatic discussion of whether another sorority should be added,” said Katherine Jenks ’19, the Alpha Chi Omega representative on the confirmational voting body.

Following the Panhellenic Council’s decision to open a new chapter, Walker assisted in preparing a bulletin that detailed the University’s Greek system and its reasons for expansion. That bulletin was distributed to all 26 member organizations of the National Panhellenic Conference, and interested sororities began communication with Walker.

Nine or 10 sororities applied for consideration by the Extension Committee, and the committee chose to invite Sigma Delta Tau and Phi Mu along with Delta Gamma to visit the University’s campus. Delta Gamma was eventually chosen because of its enthusiasm for the University’s community values and extensive but optional leadership opportunities, among other reasons, Walker said.

While the Extension Committee invited Delta Gamma to campus, opening a new chapter was a mutually selective process.

“We are kind of a selective establishment. We don’t just go everywhere. We really look for campuses that uphold our values as an organization,” Holt said. “We get a lot of opportunities to extend, but we don’t take all of them.”

Delta Gamma was drawn to the University’s community values, which include “the empowerment of women, dedication to academic success, investment in leadership development and striving for the promotion of greater good through service and advocacy,” Holt added.

“I think that Greek life is really thriving, and it’s really exciting to see people find a community … at Brown,” Jenks said.

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