After months of preparation, Alpha Phi, Yale’s newest sorority, is set to welcome its charter class this weekend.
In late April, the Yale Panhellenic Council announced that Alpha Phi would come to campus as Yale’s fourth sorority to accommodate increased demand in Greek life among women at Yale. The sorority is recruiting sophomores, juniors and seniors in the fall to be part of its charter class at Yale. Freshmen will then be able to join during the traditional rush process in January. The sorority was originally planning to take 40 members during the fall semester, but that number may change, according to Lauren Drewniany, an Alpha Phi representative who has been helping to manage recruitment on campus.
“We don’t necessarily have a number set in stone,” Drewniany said. “We were hoping to take 40 members during the fall semester, but we have had so many great, quality women come through. It is now more about finding which women are the best fit for Alpha Phi.”
Roughly 60 interested students attended each of Alpha Phi’s two recruitment events in September. While it is unclear how many of those will proceed with the formal recruitment process, dozens could still be turned away.
Over the past week, representatives from Alpha Phi have conducted interviews for potential new members. The interview process is scheduled to finish today, and successful candidates will be invited back for an event on Friday. Finally, bids will be offered on Saturday to prospective members of the sorority’s charter class.
The addition of Alpha Phi to the sorority scene at Yale was meant to mitigate competitiveness in the rush process, but a large number of students considering Alpha Phi did not take part in the rush process last year. Of 11 attendees interviewed, only two said they had previously been to an official sorority rush event.
Michelle Lapadula ’18 said the recruitment event on Monday differed from previous sorority events that she had been to in that it focused more on communicating information to the attendees instead of just socializing. Students at traditional Panhellenic rush events were already sold on Greek life, she said, but the Alpha Phi session drew people who were more skeptical about joining a sorority.
Some attendees came just to hear what the new sorority would be like. Alicia Lovelace ’17 said she was not interested in joining, but attended the event out of curiosity.
For many, Alpha Phi’s appeal stems largely from being a kind of blank slate that the founding members can then mold into an organization that fits their vision. Carol Finke ’18 noted that she was interested in joining Alpha Phi because it offered the opportunity to set the sorority’s culture.
“I want to be part of a sorority that reflects the Yale student body,” Finke said. “I would like for it to be something like a residential college — something that doesn’t have a reputation other than that it brings together people from all walks of life with different perspectives from all areas of the world.”
Still, other details are yet to be worked out. For instance, the sorority is still searching for a house for the Yale chapter, Drewniany said. She added that the goal is to acquire one during the school year, and that they are looking in areas of New Haven where other Yale Greek organizations have their facilities.
Though Alpha Phi chapters at Stanford and Harvard offer financial aid to cover dues, there is currently no such policy in place for the Yale chapter. However, Drewniany said there will be installment plans available for members who need help financing their experience.
“We want to make sure finances aren’t a deterrent from joining Alpha Phi,” she said.
Founded in 1872, Alpha Phi has chapters on 168 campuses in North America.