By David Terrell
David Terrell is the IFC Vice President of Community Service and Education.
Have you heard about the future addition to the Greek community? The Associate Dean of Students Office and its associates are delighted to answer anything on the matter of this expansion. At Sewanee, we have twenty Greek organizations, and about 85-90% of students are affiliated with a Greek-lettered organization. The student-to-organization ratio we have on this mountain exceeds those at bigger state schools like the University of Alabama, Auburn, and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. When sororities started to form at Sewanee, their capacity was not thought to ever be massive, nor could their housing handle a a large number of individuals. The University of the South’s plans for continuous growth has caused some sororities to grow beyond their limits. With big membership organizations, it can be hard for everyone to know each other. As the school prepares for the class of 2020, a class expected to exceed in size the class of 2017, ISC and governing sororities demanded an option for expansion. Hagi Bradley, Associate Dean of Students, contacted the National Panhellenic Conference through letter seeking responses for possibilities of a national sorority coming to campus. The letter garnered several responses and sorority expansion began. After IFC/ISC and governing organizations were informed of the news, they proceeded to tell their members. Just like the game “Telephone,” there has been some miscommunication. Students have flooded the Office of Student Life with questions, conspiracy theories, and fallacies. As the IFC Vice President of Community Service and Education, I was elected to clarify facts and lay to rest the false assumptions.
The National Panhellenic Conference is the governing body for national sororities. Its members total twenty-six sororities including Kappa Delta. The conference’s mission is to “advocate and support organizations for the advancement of the sorority experience.” Once the NPC approved expansion on our campus, sororities offered their bids to be chosen for presentations. ISC has selected the bids of two hopeful organizations, Alpha Omicron Pi (AOPi) and Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi). As the process continues, only one will be installed on campus.
The new sorority will be chosen by a panel of sorority-affiliated students. Once a new sorority has been chosen by the panel of sorority-affiliated students, their council will become established alongside IFC/ISC councils. The selection panel and the Greek community recently welcomed AOPi’s presentation on Monday, April 18. They will do the same with ADPi’s proposal on Monday, April 25. The panel will make its decision before the academic year ends, in order to inform the community.
At this time, all sororities have declined the previous offer to become a national sorority. If members from these organizations choose to leave, they have the option to apply for the new sorority’s experience. Please be cautious with this decision, it is not encouraged that anyone drop their respective sisterhoods. Female students with upperclassmen status, in good standing, and have never been initiated in a national sorority can sign up for recruitment. National sorority members cannot rush another national sorority because of bylaws, creeds, and rituals. National organizations bind members by contract. If broken, penalties could be issued.
The new organization will send consultants to recruit members in the fall to colonize for the sorority. The consultants will teach the values, rituals, constitution, policies, and, most importantly, how to recruit for the sorority. Just like everyone else, the additional sorority will have a budget for parties and social events. National sororities’ dues tend to be higher than most sororities here. The money collected for dues go towards insurance, membership, and other fees that operating Headquarters need to survive, such as upkeep protection of the sorority. No one knows what the future holds for Greek Life on the Mountain. The administration does not plan on expanding anytime soon. The National Panhellenic Conference has strict rules on expansion. NPC has policies stopping additional sororities, under its umbrella, from colonizing for two years after each other. This means the next national sorority could not come until fall 2018 at the earliest, and the campus might be near 2000 undergrad by then. Also, the administration is not forcing every sorority to become national. This is a plan from the past the Greek Advisor wishes would fade away, just like the person who was in the position before him. Plus, the uniqueness of the local sororities has historic importance to the community.
I hope this article will serve some purpose to those who have had questions and have sought clarification in the past semesters. If not, please continue to ask Dean Hagi, Interfraternal/Intersororal Council officers, and Greek leadership questions. On behalf of the Associate Dean of Students, IFC/ISC, and the Greek Community, we hope the new addition will continue to enrich Student Life at Sewanee and we believe that once the decision is made on the new sorority, the community itself will embrace the organization with open arms. Believing in the mission of the National Panhellenic Conference and selected sororities, we are excited for the entrance of a new venture in sisterhood.