This year’s sorority recruitment experienced a larger turnout than past years, with 511 women embarking on a four-day process spent mingling with Loyola’s six sororities, according to Katrina Spontak, the vice president of recruitment on the Panhellenic Executive Board.
Last spring saw just under 500 applicants, while nearly 440 women were accepted.
The six sororities that have chapters on campus are Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Alpha Chi Omega, Phi Sigma Sigma and Alpha Sigma Alpha.
The process began Jan. 25 and ended this past Sunday with “Bid Night,” where the remaining participants were given a “bid” letter from the sorority that selected them. The night ended with new members socializing with their chapter for the first time.
The Panhellenic Council is the body which oversees the six female sororities on campus. The council fosters “the ties of sisterhood” through philanthropic and community projects, among other activities, according to its website.
The Panhellenic Council lengthened the recruitment process to facilitate the jump in interest, according to Reka Slater, president of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
The council extended the first of the three recruitment rounds from one to two days, expanding the overall recruitment process to four days. They also planned for longer events on Saturday and Sunday, Slater said.
The Panhellenic executive board was expected to be larger than years prior, Spontak said.
“The quantity of potential new members that went through recruitment was within the range we anticipated based on the incoming class of first years expected,” Spontak said.
This past year, Loyola’s Class of 2021 enrollment overshot expected numbers for the second year in a row, making for Loyola’s largest incoming freshman class ever.
“As Loyola admits larger classes each year, the interest in the Panhellenic community remains strong,” Spontak said.
Sorority hopefuls undergo three rounds: scholarship, philanthropy and preference. During each round, participants engage in conversation with members and learn about the characteristics and missions of each chapter. The philanthropy and preference rounds are invitation only.
Slater said she hasn’t observed an increased level of competition among recruits despite this year’s slight boost in applicant numbers.
“The Panhellenic community really wants people to be able to find their home and we are really not about kicking people out,” Slater said.
There isn’t a set limit on the number of girls accepted each year, according to Spontak.
As recruitment just ended, Spontak was unable to provide an accurate count of how many girls completed recruitment and enrolled in sororities.
However, the process was hectic at times, Emmi Dempsey, a 19-year-old first-year and English major, said.
“It was a lot more hectic than I think they anticipated it to be,” Dempsey, who recently underwent the recruitment process and joined Kappa Kappa Gamma, said. “There were a lot of times when we had to run places across campus. I feel like planning things could have gone a little bit better.”
Catherine Best, an 18-year-old first-year Advertising and PR major, also participated in recruitment this past weekend and is now a member of Alpha Chi Omega. Best agreed the large number of participants might have been a contributor to an occasionally chaotic feel at the event.
“When we were upstairs [on Bid Night], we had to sit on our letters for a really long time,” Best said, as she described that not all of the bid letters had been completed at the time of the event.
“[Recruitment] was definitely more fast-paced than what I remember from last year,” Alyssa Maly, president of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, said.
Maly, a junior entrepreneurship major, added that space was an issue and that behind-the-scenes felt like a “scramble.”
Spontak said that recruitment is traditionally known to be a frenzied time, but more than a year of planning goes into the recruitment process.
“Unfortunately, when coordinating more than 500 people for event, things come up that are not planned for and we did our best as an executive board to rectify these situations,” Spontak said.
Looking ahead, Maly said the Panhellenic community is expecting even more women to undergo recruitment next year.
This expected increase is predicted to be due in part to a new sorority that the Panhellenic Council is planning to welcome on to campus next year, Maly said.
Spontak said three chapters will be visiting campus in the future and it’s still undecided when this new chapter will enter campus.
“Our new member classes have dramatically increased over the past 5-plus years,” said Spontak, who said the new chapter is being added “in order to preserve the community.”
This will increase the number of social sororities at Loyola to seven, in comparison to the four fraternities and seven multicultural sororities and fraternities on campus.
Slater said she believes this year’s rise in interest says a lot about Greek Life’s positive presence on campus.
“I think that a lot of freshmen and other potential new members have seen all the great work that the sororities on campus are doing in terms of our philanthropies,” Slater said.
Maly said she believes Loyola’s support of its Greek Life population is making for a unique and positive panhellenic community on campus.
“[Loyola] is becoming more accepting … and I do really enjoy the Panhellenic love that they always preach, Maly said”