The search for Yale’s fourth sorority has been narrowed down to just two potential organizations after a seven-month process.
National representatives from Chi Omega and Alpha Phi will come to campus this weekend to present their bids to come to campus next fall. The sororities’ visits come several months after this year’s rush process exceeded capacity for the second year in a row. Students currently involved in sororities at Yale have been invited to attend the presentations, which will be held in LC 101 on Friday and Saturday afternoons.
“We fully intend to bring one of the two to campus next fall,” Yale Panhellenic President Emily Luepker ’16 said in an email. Luepker declined to specify when a final decision would be made.
In January, Yale Panhellenic made an announcement to the 26 member sororities of the National Panhellenic Council, saying Yale was open to having another sorority on campus. The announcement formally invited the 26 member sororities to submit materials for review. According to Luepker, Chi Omega and Alpha Phi have been selected from a group of nine interested sororities.
Luepker said that the Yale Panhellenic Council is evaluating the local alumnae base, new member programming and support from the national organization of each sorority.
Kappa Alpha Theta President Jess Leão ’16 echoed Luepker’s sentiments, saying that she does not think that the decision will be difficult since all three current sororities are looking for the same qualities.
“I don’t anticipate any controversy or fight over which sorority we choose,” she said.
The decision to bring either Chi Omega or Alpha Phi to campus will be decided by representatives from Yale’s selection committee, which will include students from each of the three sororities and several members of Yale Panhellenic’s executive board. Luepker said University administrators would also be involved in the selection, but declined to specify who exactly would serve on the committee.
Representatives from Alpha Phi and Chi Omega both emphasized their strong alumni networks in Connecticut and the sense of partnership they wish to cultivate with the other sororities on Yale’s campus.
Megan Bouche, director of collegiate extension for Alpha Phi, said the organization wanted to be a part of the Yale community largely because of the University’s reputation and prestige, but also because of the quality of the women who are attracted to the Yale undergraduate experience.
“For us, the most important part [of the extension process] is the discussion that we’ll have with the Panhellenic women this weekend,” Bouche said.
In a Tuesday statement to the News, Payton Gartman, director of extension for Chi Omega, said Yale’s campus environment and student-centric approach mirrors the sorority’s values. Gartman added that Chi Omega has strong ties with Yale’s three other sororities at the national level, as well as a strong alumni network active near Yale. She said Chi Omega shares 49 campuses where Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Beta Phi — the three sororities with chapters at Yale — are all present.
Bouche said that, if chosen, Alpha Phi would not have an issue attracting women to join the sorority during next year’s rush because the demand for sorority spots at Yale already exceeds the number of those available.
“That’s a new member class for another chapter,” she said of the group of students turned away by Yale’s sororities. “It’s a really great time to be joining the community because that interest is so high.”
Gartman said that making the sorority’s presence known on campus and advertising their mission might be a challenge, but that she was confident Chi Omega could be successful in recruiting a new member class during the sorority’s first year.
Leão said she was happy that in the future, fewer women will be excluded from Greek life. She said that though sorority members were encouraged to attend this weekend’s presentations, anyone who wants to learn more about Greek life at Yale is welcome.
The last sorority to come to Yale was Pi Beta Phi in 1989.