Despite extending 43 bids for their charter class nearly two weeks ago, Yale’s newest sorority will continue to accept members on a rolling basis to interested students throughout the rest of the fall semester.
In late April, Yale Panhellenic announced that Alpha Phi would come to campus as Yale’s fourth sorority to accommodate increased demand for Greek life among women at Yale. For the past few weeks, the sorority has been recruiting sophomores, juniors and seniors to be part of its charter class. Freshmen will then be able to join during the standard spring rush process, which is also when all the other sororities will officially begin recruiting.
Members were officially offered bids at an event on Sept. 12. Since then, Alpha Phi has been functioning as a regular sorority: It has held mixers, chapter meetings and sisterhood events. Still, they are looking for more members to be part of the charter class before official rush begins in January.
“Many women were unable to attend our recruitment events due to conflicts with shopping period or because of prior commitments,” said Lauren Drewniany, a representative from Alpha Phi’s national headquarters tasked with helping establish the Yale chapter. “Now is a great opportunity for the women who were in those situations to still have a chance to learn more about Alpha Phi.”
Though Alpha Phi is currently reaching out to even more students, dozens of women were turned away during the initial round of recruitment earlier this month. Over 70 students interviewed for spots in the charter class, and only 43 were ultimately offered bids, Drewniany said.
Jéssica Leão ’16, president of Kappa Alpha Theta, said keeping Alpha Phi’s initial class small would help to facilitate close relationships among new members. Pi Beta Phi and Kappa Alpha Theta both had 53 members in their most recent new member classes.
Although Yale does not allow Greek organizations to organize formal recruitment during the fall, Leão said that having a base of members was necessary for Alpha Phi to participate in formal recruitment in January. They were therefore encouraged to recruit a class of upperclassmen informally this fall, she said, instead of doing all of their recruiting through the official spring process.
Despite the advantages to having a small chapter, Alpha Phi’s most recent outreach may be an attempt to take the maximum number of students they can. According to Leão, sororities at Yale may not accept more than a certain number of members, which is set by the National Panhellenic Council based on factors like average chapter size and number of rushees. When that number is not met after initial bids are issued, they can choose to recruit informally to get up to the quota.
Since many women have already been inducted into Alpha Phi, Drewniany said the sorority will work hard to integrate those members who join later in the semester through additional recruitment.
“We have prioritized planning sisterhood events throughout the semester so all our sisters, whether they joined in the initial recruitment process or after, can bond,” Drewniany said. “A lot of women who we have reached out to after our initial recruitment process already know women in Alpha Phi.”
Alpha Phi maintains a very active social media presence. Yale Alpha Phi’s Facebook page has over 800 likes, and their Instagram account has over 350 followers. In addition, Alpha Phi representatives have been using Facebook to directly get in contact with students who they believe may be interested in joining Greek life.
Drewniany said Yale Panhellenic provided Alpha Phi with a list of students who withdrew from formal recruitment last year. In addition, she said, they have been receiving recommendations from current members, other Greek organizations and clubs on campus.
“We are reaching out to women via Facebook because it is simple, easy to use, and more often students check social media more frequently than emails,” Drewniany said, adding that there has generally been a positive response to their messages.
Caroline Colwell ’18 said she received a Facebook message last weekend from Jillian Knowles, another Alpha Phi representative managing recruitment. In the message, Knowles asked if Colwell was interested in learning more about Alpha Phi and invited her to get coffee if she wanted to discuss Greek life at Yale.
“I think it’s great that they’re reaching out to people and making sure that everyone feels included,” Colwell said.
She suggested that Alpha Phi’s efforts may encourage people who would like to join, but might not have thought of it themselves.
Until Alpha Phi, Yale had not added a new sorority since Pi Beta Phi came to campus in 1989.