This past weekend, Chi Omega and Alpha Phi, the two sororities vying to come to campus next fall, introduced their organizations and outlined their plans for a potential chapter at Yale.
Roughly 25 students attended each presentation, which took place in Linsly-Chittenden Hall and ran approximately 90 minutes. The presentations focused largely on the sororities’ founding values and their respective service initiatives. Representatives from Chi Omega described the organization’s partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, while those from Alpha Phi discussed their own Alpha Phi Foundation, which provides yearly grants to support women’s cardiac research. Among those addressing the students were alumni, presidents of other chapters and the sororities’ respective executive boards, including each organization’s national president.
“They both had strong presentations,” said Jéssica Leão ’16, president of Yale’s Kappa Alpha Theta chapter.
She said she appreciated that both were committed to providing consultants — adults who live in the sorority to provide guidance to the sisters — in New Haven and that they each planned to set up a facility near campus like Yale’s other sororities.
Still, she declined to identify which sorority she favored,adding that it was too early in the decision process and that the question has not yet been put to a formal vote. The Panhellenic Council will vote by May 1 for which organization it will invite to campus, Leão said.
Payton Gartman, director of extension for Chi Omega, said the sorority is looking to recruit roughly 100 sophomores, juniors and seniors for its charter class in fall 2015. Then, she said, they could recruit enough freshmen to bring the chapter up to standard size during the traditional rush process in January.
However, Megan Bouche, director of extension for Alpha Phi, said it would take several years to get a new Alpha Phi chapter up to full capacity.
“We want it to grow slow and methodically, so that each formal recruitment class is an equal size as we develop the chapter,” Bouche said. “Our experience has told us that women at Yale are going to want to see what it’s like before a lot of them want to join. Women at Yale want to join established chapters.”
Cassidy Rosenthal, manager of collegiate extension for Alpha Phi, said the organization would work with the Yale Panhellenic Council to specifically target students who withdrew from recruitment this year, and to have channels through which students in Greek life could recommend women who are not in sororities.
While Gartman said a Chi Omega Yale chapter would be the sorority’s only expansion project this year, Bouche said Alpha Phi will be setting up chapters on three other campuses — at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Mississippi and the University of North Florida — in addition to a potential chapter at Yale.
Alpha Phi Executive Director Linda Kahangi said the organization has already started searching for a house for the new chapter and has identified some potential properties in New Haven. In addition, Kahangi said some chapters of Alpha Phi — including those at Harvard and Stanford — offer need-based financial aid to help students pay their membership dues.
At the event on Saturday, Tori Gill, a senior and president of Harvard’s chapter of Alpha Phi, shared her background as a founding member of the sorority, which she said enhanced the experience.
“I went from a girl who never wanted to be in a sorority to the president of a sorority, so I think that speaks to the power of starting [one],” she said.
The last sorority to come to Yale was Pi Beta Phi in 1989.