Sorority recruitment reaches record numbers in 2009

The University has seen almost a 30 percent increase in Panhellenic membership in the past two years.

Sorority recruitment reaches record numbers in 2009

Lolla Mohammed Nur

First-year nursing major Kelly Hitzeman is a new member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She said she joined the sorority, regardless of the financial cost, because she wanted to volunteer, be involved and gain connections for a future job. Hitzeman isnâÄôt the only student who thinks paying sorority dues of at least $1,000 per semester will provide long-term benefits. This fall, 253 women âÄî the largest number of new sorority members in the UniversityâÄôs history âÄî joined a greek organization during the University of MinnesotaâÄôs formal sorority recruitment. This year the UniversityâÄôs sorority quota, or maximum number of new students allowed to become a member of each chapter, reached 27 âÄî an increase of five from last year and nine more than the year before. Nine out of the 10 chapters that implement formal recruitment met quota this year. âÄúItâÄôs absolutely incredible that we have a lot of new members this year, especially with the economic situation a lot of people are in,âÄù Panhellenic Council President Sarah Shoo k said. The PHC focused on explaining the financial costs associated with being a sorority member this year in anticipation of studentsâÄô concerns due to the recession. The PHC also provided information about scholarships for members during recruitment. Lisa Balzo , PHC vice president of recruitment, said the effort paid off. âÄúStudents realize that the job market is incredibly competitive right now, and they want to network, boost their resumes and get leadership opportunities,âÄù Shook said. Kris Bridges, chairman of the College Panhellenics for the National Panhellenic Conference, said the number of pledged sorority members nationwide is the highest it has ever been in history, reaching 88,780 âÄî an increase of 12,000 members âÄî in just one year. Although there has been a decline in those signing up at the beginning of the recruitment process, Bridges said the overall trend has shown an increase in the number of students who follow through once theyâÄôve signed up. âÄúStudents see the value of the membership, leadership and volunteering involved. A lot of sororities have done a great job telling that story,âÄù she said. Nikki Deyle is an alumna at the UniversityâÄôs Lambda Delta Phi chapter. She said she employed a University student who was also a member of a sorority because her resume âÄústood out.âÄù âÄúI would encourage students to get involved with a greek organization because in the long run itâÄôll make it worth your time and your money,âÄù she said. There are about 1,700 greek members at the University and about 800 are sorority members. Although fraternity recruitment data will not be available until October, Interfraternity Council vice president of public relations Jake Schwartz said the IFC also anticipates successful fraternity recruitment this year.