Sororities capitalize on Welcome Week

This yearâÄôs sorority recruitment class saw a 30 percent increase from last year, which many believe is thanks to the added exposure that came with Welcome Week. The UniversityâÄôs National Panhellenic Council affiliated sororities had a formal recruiting class of 212 , giving the University its largest sorority community since 1998. The University has nine NPC sorority chapters and three chapters that are affiliates of the UniversityâÄôs Panhellenic Council . Only the NPC chapters were allowed to participate in formal recruitment and fully take advantage of Welcome Week. Tracy Hoffman , president of the UniversityâÄôs Panhellenic Council, said the NPC-affiliated sororities wanted to capitalize on Welcome Week because the community was ready to grow. In addition to Welcome Week, Hoffman also attributed recruitment success to University support. Hoffman said that at the University there is a stigma that goes along with being in a fraternity or sorority, and greek community members wanted to use Welcome Week to portray the community positively. Erin Cohen , a graduate assistant in the Office for Student Affairs , worked with the fraternities and sororities to plan for Welcome Week. âÄúOur message was to be as involved as we possibly could in everything that the office of first-year programs offered us,âÄù Cohen said. Cohen estimated that 200 greeks volunteered during Welcome Week. However, the impact of Welcome Week might be overestimated as it pertains to sororities. In a survey filled out by all women who participated in the recruitment process, 16 percent said they found out about sorority recruitment through Welcome Week. The large recruiting class has left four sororities full. Cohen said Alpha Chi Omega , Alpha Omicron Pi , Alpha Phi and Kappa Kappa Gamma all exceeded the maximum of 75 members. Going into formal recruitment, each NPC chapter receives the same number of new members, regardless of the size of a current chapter; this year each chapter received 22 new members. The chapters that exceeded the maximum number of members canâÄôt participate in informal recruitment, which usually takes place throughout the fall semester. In addition, if not enough members in the full chapters graduate this semester, the chapter will not be able to participate in informal recruitment this spring. Hoffman said that some prospective members prefer informal recruitment because they get to spend more time with the chapters, while formal recruitment is a lot more structured. For women who were hoping to participate in informal recruitment this semester, there are fewer spots available than in past years. Cohen said her office forwards the names of those interested in informal recruitment to the houses that still have spots left. Fraternities also took advantage of Welcome Week. Dustin Norman , president of the Interfraternity Council , said the awareness of fraternities increased because of Welcome Week. Norman said two years ago IFC spent $2,500 on house tours and only one new member joined. This year, he said, IFC pushed house tours during Welcome Week, and 200 men showed up on Labor Day for the tours. Cohen said there are already 160 new fraternity members this year.