Committee to explore sorority expansion



Daina Amorosano

A proposal for an Exploratory Committee, which will be charged with determining whether to move forward with adding a new sorority to campus, was approved by a majority vote by two delegates from each sorority last Thursday — meaning the University could welcome a new chapter to campus as early as next semester, according to Catie Lundy, a senior and president of Villanova’s Panhellenic Council.

Students, staff and possibly chapter advisers will comprise the committee, the formation of which is the first step in the National Panhellenic Council’s extension process, according to Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life Phil O’Neill.

The proposal to form the committee came after increasingly popular recruitment and the loss of one sorority in the past year, as well as limited facility space for the growing membership, according to O’Neill. 

“After taking feedback and looking at historical numbers over the past few years, we decided it was time to consider expansion,” he said.

 Director of Student Development Tom Mogan concurred that enrollment statistics support a look into expansion.

“We’re in favor of looking into it,” he said. “We’ve reached a point where sorority numbers warrant bringing another chapter to campus to enhance the sorority experience for women who wish to join.”

The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life projects that chapters could grow to 140 members or more after formal recruitment this spring.

“From an organizational standpoint, expansion might make sense,” O’Neill said. “Most of the chapters are on the larger side and experience popular recruitment, so managing them is becoming difficult for the chapter presidents, especially with the limited number of rooms with that capacity and increased involvement on the part of the chapters.”

But the Exploratory Committee must now compile an official report based on enrollment and recruitment statistics, interviews with students and alumnae members of the Panhellenic community and opinions from University officials, according to Carole Jones, chair of the extension committee for the National Panhellenic Council.

 “It is then that the Panhellenic Council votes to either open for extension or not,” she said. “But an Exploratory Committee is not usually established unless there is strong evidence that the Panhellenic community is ready for extension.”

The entire process from establishing the Exploratory Committee to inviting a group to colonize could take as long as one year, according to Jones.

“The process really varies in length,” Lundy said. “We used to think we’d have to wait until next fall, but it sounds like if we get the ball rolling with this committee, start letting all the sororities on Villanova’s campus know we are doing this, host reps from different national sororities come and tell us about themselves and narrow it down to see who would be best on Villanova’s campus, we could potentially bring on a new chapter as early as this spring.”

The new chapter would not be a part of the formal recruitment process, according to Lundy. After formal recruitment, anyone interested in joining would be placed in the sorority, so it would provide a second chance for the women who did not receive a bid or dropped during the recruitment process.

“There are also women who don’t want to come back the week before second semester for recruitment but then regret it when they see their girlfriends [join] and want to get involved somehow,” Lundy said.

The time frame for becoming an active and well-established sorority can be fairly short, according to Lundy.

“You would have never known that Kappa Delta was a brand new sorority on campus six years ago,” Lundy said. “Today it is just as big and established as the other chapters, so really it only takes a short while. Everyone wants to be a part of something new and exciting.”

The only downside Lundy could cite was that some chapters might view the new sorority as potential competition. Alpha Delta Pi was one of the University’s oldest chapters and had been on campus for 15 years before having to decolonize after recent struggles, according to senior and former member Katie Eder.