Michelle Foley

After voting unofficially to disaffiliate from their national organization last month, Yale’s chapter of Pi Beta Phi rebranded as Aeris, an independent social and philanthropic group. 

Last week, Aeris and Yale’s three Panhellenic sororities — Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Alpha Phi chapters — simultaneously held their spring 2024 rush cycles for first years and sophomores, seeing increased participation from the 2023 cycle.  

Despite the decreased number of Panhellenic sororities, the three groups saw an increased number of bids across the groups as opposed to the four sororities that participated in Panhellenic recruitment in 2023. Aeris did not share its recruitment numbers with the News. 

Aeris members disaffiliated from their national organization after holding an unofficial vote to disaffiliate in early December. Pro-disaffiliation members of Aeris told the News reasons for disaffiliation included a lack of financial aid, debt to the national organization and cultural traditions some members said they found “uncomfortable.” The vote was unofficial, as a national representative needed to be present for an official vote. 

“It’s exciting to see the changes we have been working towards come to fruition over these past few weeks,” Sasha Post-Lais ’26, Aeris vice president of member experience, wrote to the News. “It feels like a renewal in the heart of our organization and we hope to pass that same energy down to our newest class.”

Charlotte Lisa ’25, Aeris’ vice president of growth and development, told the News that there was not an official disaffiliation vote with a national chapter representative present — a measure that nationals require for formal disaffiliation. 

Therefore, former Pi Phi members either resigned their membership or requested undergraduate alumni status, which were all approved by the national organization. Currently, there are no operations or undergraduate members for the Connecticut Beta chapter of Pi Phi. 

The first round of Aeris rush took place on Jan. 22 and lasted until bid night on Monday, Jan. 29. Panhellenic rush followed a similar schedule, starting with the “frills” round on Jan. 23 and going until Sunday, Jan. 28. 

Panhellenic recruitment saw an increase in the number of students who signed up for rush this year, with over 250 people. Last year, 236 people participated in the Panhellenic rush process, and the 2022 recruitment cycle set a record with 276 participants in its virtual rush process.

In 2022, most participants were from the class of 2025, Yale’s largest class, and may have partially explained the increased numbers. This year’s rush cycle may have been influenced by the large size of the class of 2027.   

Isabel Leka ’25, Yale’s Panhellenic president, wrote to the News that over 150 potential new members received bids from one of Yale’s three Panhellenic sororities. In 2023, 120 students received bids and 181 got bids in 2022.

“Panhellenic rush was an outstanding success this year,” Leka wrote. “At first, there were some uncertainties about how rush would function with the absence of Pi Phi in our recruitment process, but it ended up working similarly to how rush has functioned in the past with other social clubs on campus.”

Aeris had 230 people sign up for its rush process, according to Skylar Kronrad ’25, Aeris’ vice president of recruitment. Per Aeris’ Instagram page, members of Aeris cannot be members of any other social organization on campus.

“Because we are a new organization, we certainly recognize that there are areas for improvement in the current structure of our process, as there are with many structures that stem from Greek life,” Kronrad wrote to the News. “Feedback from our members and those who participated in the rush cycle will therefore be essential for shaping our future processes.” 

Members of Aeris’ executive board wrote to the News about changes to the organization post-disaffiliation, including lower dues for members and guaranteed financial aid for members who receive aid from the University. Sofia Manriquez ’25, the organization’s president of internal affairs, added that Aeris will have a house near campus in fall 2024. 

Post-Lais, the vice president of member experience, also wrote that there is a new pledge process this year for members with “far more frequent activities” which will help create a “tighter-knit class and Aeris community.”

“As Aeris, we have much more creative and financial freedom and are able to provide more transparency with our dues, budget, and philanthropy than when we were associated with our former sorority,” Dorothea Robertson ’25, president of external affairs, wrote to the News. “We have been able to drastically increase our philanthropic budget and projected donations, and we look forward to working with organizations and building meaningful partnerships within the New Haven community.”

Aeris’ disaffiliation process came amid multiple Greek organization disaffiliation in recent years. LEO, formerly Sigma Alpha Epsilon, broke from their national organization in 2018. The Edon Club, formerly Sigma Phi Epsilon, disaffiliated in 2020 and became the second co-ed social club on campus after Fence Club. 

“There has already been a cultural shift away from Greek Life both at Yale and universities across the country,” Robertson wrote. “I believe this trend will continue.”

Aeris voted to disaffiliate unofficially on Dec. 6, 2023.

Tristan Hernandez covers student policy and affairs for the News. He is also a copy editor and previously reported on student life. Originally from Austin, Texas, he is a sophomore in Pierson College majoring in political science.