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Sororities welcome 61 new members following first ever virtual recruitment

DG, AXO, KD offer bids after three rounds of virtual recruitment, Theta declines to participate in formal recruitment

Sixty-one undergraduate students accepted bids into three of the University’s four nationally recognized sororities following four days of virtual recruitment from Feb. 11-14, according to Megan Fox, assistant director for Greek and program house engagement. After a majority of their chapter disaffiliated in the fall, Kappa Alpha Theta declined to participate in formal recruitment this year after the first introductory round, and did not extend any bids to potential new members.

Alpha Chi Omega welcomed 25 new members, the most of the four sororities. Kappa Delta recruited 19 new members and Delta Gamma recruited 17, Fox wrote in an email to The Herald. 

Theta — still a recognized sorority on campus, albeit much smaller than in previous years —  is “focusing on internal matters and restructuring,” wrote President and CEO of Theta Paris Winkler ’21 in an email to The Herald. 

Last October, 70 of Theta’s 77 then-members voted to disaffiliate from the University’s chapter due to concerns over sororities’ historic exclusion of women of color and students of non-affluent backgrounds, The Herald previously reported. Seven members voted to stay and reform the chapter from within. 

Theta may elect to use continuous open bidding to reach its allowable chapter size, a process used to recruit new members after the conclusion of the formal recruitment process, but has not yet decided whether to use it, Fox wrote.

A group of women who disaffiliated from Theta in the fall recently formed a new program house, Brown Womxn’s Collective, which held its first recruitment this month. Without the constraints of a national organization, BWC hopes to better address diversity and inclusion internally, specifically through education and financial accessibility. Ultimately, BWC extended bids to 65 students — exceeding the number of newly recruited members of AXO, DG and KD combined.  

The first round of recruitment for the four sororities involved an orientation introducing the recruitment process, during which each sorority presented a video that showcased the organization and their philanthropic efforts. This was the only round in which Theta participated. 

After a day off, potential new members cycled through Zoom breakout rooms with members of each of the three sororities that participated in the second round. During the third round, students met with up to two of the three sororities for another series of breakout rooms. 

In other years, each night of recruitment had a theme: philanthropy, sisterhood and preference. This year, however, “recruitment rounds didn't vary much day to day,” said Katie Lee ’22, president of KD. 

In total, 92 students signed up for virtual recruitment, 78 attended sorority orientation, 68 accepted an offer to continue after the second round and 61 members ultimately accepted a bid, Fox wrote.

Both current and new sorority members said that recruitment was a positive experience and ran smoothly despite the virtual format.

Anya Li ’22, president of DG, said the virtual format was a “little bit less distracting than having everybody in the same room,” which “helped facilitate a closer, more intimate conversation.” 

Lee said that KD felt it was more important than ever to build a welcoming community for current and new members during recruitment, especially considering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We really felt this collective purpose in opening up our community to new members, more so than other years because of how isolated people are feeling,” Lee said. Current members “really appreciated having this network in place” and were glad to have an opportunity to expand it to first-years who have not yet had many chances to build community. 

Both KD and DG prioritized building a welcoming sorority community during recruitment. These efforts included an elevated focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), especially after October’s reckoning with Greek life’s historical exclusion of Black, Indigenous and people of color and lower-income students. 

KD recently elevated its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion chair to a council position, which has allowed conversations on DEI to “trickle down right into everything that we do, including recruitment,” Lee said.

This year, DG’s national chapter eliminated preferential treatment for legacy students, wherein relatives of a DG member would be ranked higher over potential new members with no familial relations to DG. This is “definitely a step in the right direction” toward inclusive recruitment, Li said.

Sororities at the University already have some structures in place to foster a more inclusive community compared to other colleges and universities, according to Fox, including free recruitment registration and financial assistance to Greek life members.

In addition, the Panhellenic Council, which is composed of members from various fraternities and sororities at the University, created a DEI committee to support leaders of each Greek life organization in its efforts for increased inclusivity, Fox wrote.

Danna Ofek ’24 “did not arrive here with sorority recruitment on (her) radar whatsoever,” she  said. But, seeking a “strong social foundation of women” at Brown similar to the one she had in high school as a member of an all-women’s choir, Ofek went through the recruitment process, ultimately receiving and accepting a bid from KD. 

Ofek said that while it was sometimes difficult to distinguish between the different sororities after meeting only a few members from each, recruitment was “super accommodating (and) comfortable” in the virtual format. “I think they did a really great job considering the circumstances,” she added.

In the end, DG attracted more interested members than they were ultimately able to offer bids. “We met so many amazing girls throughout the recruitment process and would have loved to welcome all of them into DG,” Li said. 

“We were able to have a good recruitment this year,” Lee said. “I’m really, really proud of all the people who participated and engaged and contributed.”


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