Sorority recruitment explodes
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
Though initially intimidating, the sorority recruitment process was a fun and exciting experience, freshman Janine Wasek said. She said she did not put too much thought into the size of pledge classes when deciding whether to participate in Greek Life.
“I think a big pledge class is fine,” she said. “You can have more personalities and more people to get along with.”
An ideal size for a pledge class would be around 50 girls, Wasek said.
Wasek was one of more than 1,100 students who tried to join the ranks of the 11 Panhellenic sororities on-campus this semester, a new record for recruitment at Delaware, University Student Center Director Marilyn Prime stated in an email message.
Last year, 900 students came out for recruitment and the average turnout for sorority rush at the university is about 500 to 600 students, Prime said.
The size of the class of 2016, the largest freshman class in school history, probably affected recruitment numbers, Prime said.
“Sorority recruitment is increasing nationwide,” Prime said. “I am sure the larger freshman classes are a part of that trend here at the University of Delaware.”
The university’s sororities are trying to accommodate the larger recruitment pools by taking larger pledge classes, Prime said.
“It is our goal to place as many interested women as possible,” she said.
She said students are eager to participate in Greek life because university officials strongly encourage students to get involved, in extracurricular activities and expand their networks on campus. Sororities at the university are strong academically and do a wide range of community service and philanthropy efforts, she said.
Stefanie Spatola, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha alumnae chapter, said she also thinks the extracurricular opportunities that sororities offer are the primary reason students join.
“Students today want to be involved and sororities offer outstanding leadership opportunities,” Spatola said. “It is a great way to meet new people and create lasting friendships. There are also countless opportunities to get involved in efforts outside of campus.”
Spatola said national organizations help chapters when large pledge classes create a strain. Having such a large group of women coming in will alter how sororities run, Prime said. The university’s sorority chapters have been preparing for the larger pledge classes since the fall semester, she said.
While the number of students joining sororities is at an all-time high, Prime said she is interested in recruiting even more women. The university has added two sororities in the past three years, Gamma Phi Beta in 2010 and the re-instituted chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma this year.
“If a woman is unsure if a sorority is right for her, I would still encourage her to check it out. There is no harm in starting recruitment and participating in the process,” she said.