Sorority chapter prepares to disband

Eric Swanson

Because of low membership, the University could have one less greek organization on campus this summer.

The members of the Theta chapter of Delta Delta Delta sorority could officially close their doors May 17, unless the local chapter makes an effective appeal to the national chapter’s executive board in Arlington, Texas.

“This (was) extremely sad news to hear, because we’ve been around for so long,” said Jennifer Pundt, collegiate chapter president for the sorority.

In October, the sorority’s executive board voted to close the Minnesota chapter because of declining membership in recent years. The sorority would have been at the University for 110 years Feb. 21.

Low membership usually causes problems for sororities, said Jessica Chapman, a spokeswoman for the sorority’s executive office.

“Continuous membership recruitment places strain on members’ time and energy,” Chapman said.

Sororities might also experience financial tension when membership is low, she said.

To prevent these problems, the board decided to close the Minnesota chapter, she said.

However, closure will not occur without a fight from the girls, local chapter adviser Karen Bundy said.

In an attempt to thwart the board’s decision, several of the local chapter’s sorority members and alumnae will be packing their bags and heading to Texas to plea with the board this weekend.

“(The executive board) feels they are not providing a positive experience for the girls,” Bundy said.

The chapter plans to present a proposal to the executive board explaining the viability of the chapter’s future.

Mandi Sauro, director of the University’s Student Activities Office, said a decision like this is “very rarely overturned,” but she said there has been a lot of support from the greek community.

“The greek community has really rallied around this house,” Sauro said.

If the board decides to close the sorority, Delta Delta Delta’s national housing corporation, which oversees the sorority’s housing nationwide, could choose to sell the house, said Karen Amundsen, co-chairwoman of the local housing corporation.

The local corporation that maintains the house does not have control over the sale of the house.

If the house is sold, the chapter’s nearly 30 members will not only be without a sorority but also without a place to live next fall.

Several women in the house have already found alternate housing for fall semester, Pundt said.

The closure of the sorority’s Minnesota chapter would not mean the sorority is gone from the state permanently.

The sorority could be reinstated in Minnesota, Chapman said, but it would need an invitation from the Panhellenic Council, which oversees University sororities.

To receive an invitation, the sorority would need to meet several requirements, including alumnae and campus support, interested University women and a place to live, she said.

However, according to Minneapolis zoning law, a greek organization cannot purchase just any house, a greek organization must have lived in the house.

Including Delta Delta Delta, there are 34 greek houses at the University.

If a house remains uninhabited by a greek organization for more than 12 months, fraternities and sororities can no longer live there.

– Anna Weggel contributed to this report.