Despite the addition of a fourth sorority at Yale last April, more students signed up for sorority rush this semester than could be accommodated by campus sororities for the third year in a row.
From Jan. 13 to Jan. 22, roughly 250 female students registered for the rush process. This year, 164 women were offered bids to one of the four sororities, said a sorority sister who asked to remain anonymous. Although the Yale Panhellenic Council would not confirm, several sorority sisters confirmed that some students did not receive a bid. Last spring, 238 women registered for rush, and in 2014, 239 registered for rush with 30 ultimately not offered bids to any sorority. In response to increasing demand over the past few years, Yale Panhellenic announced last spring that Alpha Phi, Yale’s newest sorority, would come to campus. Multiple members of Yale’s Panhellenic Council declined to give the exact number of females who did not receive bids from any sorority.
“Since our members are the backbone of our organizations, this process is incredibly meaningful to all Panhellenic groups,” Skyler Inman ’17, president of Yale’s chapter of Alpha Phi and a staff reporter for the News, said in an email to the News. “After all, the new members we find this week might one day become leaders within the sorority and shape the future of our presence on campus.”
While the addition of a fourth sorority has given potential new sorority sisters more options to choose from, the overall process has remained the same. Sororities at Yale allow freshmen and sophomore women to sign up for recruitment, during which they attend a series of meet-and-greets, parties and socials with members of all four sororities at the beginning of the second semester. Inman said the size of new member classes for each sorority is determined based on the number of people who sign up for recruitment.
Many female students interviewed said they wanted to join a sorority to meet new people, both within and outside their classes. Lucy Friedmann ’19 said engaging with upperclassmen is the primary reason for her to join a sorority because outside of her sports team, many of her close friends are in her year.
“I’m going through recruitment because I feel that I want to meet more upperclassmen,” Friedmann said. “Although I am part of fencing, I feel like I mostly hang out with the freshman class and I think it’s a nice way to meet some more sophomores, juniors and seniors.”
With so many female students interested in rushing, some participants said the process may be too short for each student to become familiar with each sorority. Many students who rush only have the chance to talk to four sisters per sorority.
Still, many participants interviewed said they enjoyed the past week. Ruth Schapiro ’19 said that as a student from the South, she always thought that she would join a sorority. The highlight of the week was being able to meet and interact with other undergraduates, she said.
Other participants interviewed said they were less acquainted with Greek life and the rush process before coming to Yale, but they nonetheless reported an overall positive experience. Rebecca Persson ’19, who is an international student, said she felt a lot of anxiety going into recruitment, but the sisters and potential new members all had positive, open attitudes. She added that much of her support throughout the process came from her friends who also decided to rush this semester.
“Sororities aren’t really a thing in Taiwan, so I never had a lot of exposure to it and wasn’t sure if it was for me,” Persson said. “However, a lot of the girls I met through [the Model United Nations Team at Yale] were in sororities, and the way they described the friendships they’ve made and the amazing people they’ve met through recruitment and eventually joining a sorority convinced me to give it a try.”
The four sororities at Yale are Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta and Alpha Phi.
Cameron Hill contributed reporting.