Goal is to add as many as five new sorority chapters to Greek life on campus
By Christina Huck, senior journalism major, Meek School of Journalism and New Media
At a time when Greek life is declining on some college campuses, fraternities and sororities are as popular as ever at Ole Miss, where recruitment and chapter expansions parallel the overall increase in Panhellenic numbers nationally.
Along with three new fraternity chapters added in the last year, two new sororities –– Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) and Alpha Phi –– will be active on the campus by 2015, with Alpha Delta Pi’s arrival to come as soon as this fall.
“The extension process is very much needed on our campus. The (enrollment) numbers are just too high for the current nine Panhellenic sororities to keep working with,” said Coulter Ward, the Assistant Dean of Students.
In 2012, roughly 1,300 girls participated in formal recruitment, compared to 814 in 2004 –– a 57 percent increase in a nine-year period.
Because of recruitment requirements and the need to find housing, new fraternity and sorority chapters don’t happen overnight. At Ole Miss, the extension process began last spring. As a first step, existing sororities had to approve the expansion move. Once Thomas J. (Sparky) Reardon, Dean of Students, was on board, an extension committee was formed.
A democratic process as practiced at The University of Mississippi, the committee was comprised of chapter advisors and UM staff members, as well as students from the individual chapters. The committee was charged with contacting the National Panhellenic headquarters to advise them that Ole Miss was in Greek expansion mode. National chapters not currently on campus also were notified directly.
Applications from interested sororities began to flood in, but only four chapters were invited to make presentations to delegates, advisors and the expansion committee as a whole.
As part of their presentations, the four, Alpha Gamma Delta, Delta Zeta, Alpha Phi and Alpha Delta Pi, lobbied the committee about their individual chapters in detail, not only explaining why they wanted to come to Ole Miss, but why they expected to be successful on campus.
After a vote was taken, only Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) and Alpha Phi were extended offers to colonize at Ole Miss.
ADPi plans to send representatives to campus this spring to promote their chapter and will participate in the first two rounds of recruitment. The chapter will continue to recruit members in the spring of 2014.
To Ward, new fraternities and sororities on the Ole Miss campus bode well for the health of Greek life in Oxford for the foreseeable future. “ADPi and Alpha Phi will be successful and pave the way for many more chapters to come to Ole Miss. We honestly need about five more.”