Lucas Holter, Senior Photographer
Twelve sophomore women have pledged to join the newest class of the Edon Club, the coed social group formerly known as SigEp. The organization, which disaffiliated from Sigma Phi Epsilon nationals last fall and reorganized itself under a new name, completed its rush process in early March.
“This is a brilliant opportunity for us to change the dynamic of social life at Yale for the better,” said Nathan Somerville ’22, Edon’s current president. “The classes below me have a lot of ideas about what they want the space to look like, and the energy to make it happen — I can’t wait to see them make this their own.”
These 12 women join a group of six juniors who were recruited last semester from the class of 2022 and formally initiated earlier this month. They form a cohort of 18 women in the new coed group. As full members upon acceptance, members of the cohort will be eligible to run for leadership positions in the Edon Club. Two of the six juniors were elected into executive board roles after they joined in the fall and others were heavily involved in the recruitment process, according to Somerville.
Lucy Minden ’22, one of the six women who joined in the fall, wrote in an email to the News that she joined when she realized that she could “have an actual impact and a voice in the direction and ethos of the group.”
She met with other members in the days after Edon was created and eventually became involved with the administration of the group as a development chair — a position responsible for building community within the new class and integrating them into the group.
Throughout the month of February, the recruitment process was conducted mostly through virtual rush meals and events as well as small, outdoor in-person events — like socially distanced campfires, according to Somerville.
“I joined Edon because Yale really lacks co-ed social spaces and it would’ve been hard for Edon to transition without the help of non-male members,” Amy Ren ’22 wrote in an email to the News. “It was intimidating to feel so outnumbered at first, but the existing members of Edon were really attentive and genuinely cared about getting our input before making any decisions.”
Ren is currently serving on the organization’s Recruitment Board and helped put together the rush process this semester. Ren, who was formerly a member of the sorority Alpha Phi, said that she appreciated that the rush process for the Edon Club was more casual and less hectic.
According to Ren, given that the group is still male-dominated, her class has been vocal in expressing their opinions regarding previous traditions they do not agree with. The group hopes “to make sure that everyone can see Edon as a safe space to have fun and build strong friendships,” Ren said.
Somerville explained that the organization is not setting any quotas for the ratio of non-male to male members.
“We have always prioritised developing a strong community of unique individuals that we are excited to spend more time with, and we are simply no longer constrained by gender while doing so,” he wrote in an email to the News.
Because most members of the class of 2024 are not enrolled on campus, Edon leadership decided to focus their recruitment efforts this spring on sophomores. Two rush processes are tentatively planned for the fall and spring semesters next year to accommodate interested students from the Class of 2024 and Class of 2025. Somerville indicated that rush opportunities for members of those two classes will be decided by the club’s next executive board and will remain contingent on COVID-19 restrictions in the coming academic year.
“I’m incredibly excited to be a part of one of the few all-gender spaces on campus, and I hope Edon is the first of many single-gender groups to make that change,” Minden wrote.
The last time a Yale fraternity disaffiliated from its national organization was LEO in August of 2018.
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