For the second year in a row, more students have signed up for sorority rush than can be accommodated by Yale’s three on-campus sororities.
On Jan. 16, 238 women signed up for the rush process, according to Yale Panhellenic Council President Emily Luepker ’16. Last year, 239 women registered and 30 were ultimately not offered bids to any sorority, rekindling discussions about bringing a fourth sorority to campus. By comparison, only 199 students signed up to rush a sorority in 2013.
To respond to the increasing interest, the Panhellenic Council voted earlier this year to approve bringing a fourth sorority to Yale, most likely within the next two years, according to Jéssica Leão ’16, who belongs to a sorority.
But Pi Beta Phi President Caroline Pringle ’16 said she thinks the addition is probably going to happen within the next year.
“My understanding is that next year during recruitment there will be a fourth sorority at Yale,” Pringle said.
Leão said that the council has not reached a decision yet on which organization will be brought to campus.
Luepker said that one of the main reasons for looking to add another sorority is to lower the number of new members in each chapter, which would also decrease the total number of women in each chapter so as to more easily accommodate them in their facilities.
Though the council was not ultimately able to accommodate all the women who signed up for rush this year, organizers did introduce some measures to respond to the large group undergoing recruitment.
Luepker said the Panhellenic Council has added more recruitment counselors and an additional social event on the last day of recruitment, to accommodate the additional women in the system.
“It is a little stressful because obviously a lot of girls are rushing and they only take a certain amount of people,” said Sydney Marks ’18, who participated in the recruitment process.
Victoria Hunt ’18 also said she rushed and was worried that she was not going to get a bid at all because of the apparent competitiveness of the process.
Leão said that despite the heightened competition, more women than ever before advanced to the last round of selection this year and attended the final recruitment event on Sunday. Sororities do not want to turn people away, she said, but practical constraints make cuts necessary.
“The purpose of sorority recruitment is definitely not to have this exclusive atmosphere where people don’t get bids,” Leão said. “The reason why people won’t get bids is because each house cannot accommodate that many extra people. Next year the process will be as inclusive as possible.”
However, Leão said having an extra sorority might not necessarily lead to smaller classes in each one, and that there might actually be increased interest as a result of a larger Greek presence on campus. Pringle agreed with Leão, adding that the increase in interest over the past few years could be due to more people being exposed to the positive aspects of sorority life.
“I think people are just catching on that it’s a really great thing to be a part of,” Pringle said.
However, she said the new sorority would not immediately build up the membership that the other established sororities have.
Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway said that he has no opinion on adding another sorority.
Founded in 1986, Kappa Alpha Theta is Yale’s oldest sorority.