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Number of tech women in Greek life increases

3/14/2012

Greek letters are not an uncommon sight on campus, and they will continue to have a strong presence with sorority recruitment on the rise.

In recent years, there has been a considerable increase of women joining Greek life on college campuses, and Virginia Tech is no exception. Spring sorority recruitment at Tech has shown a steady increase in numbers since 2005.

The average chapter size has grown from 152 women in 2011 to 183 this year. Seven years ago, there were 116 women per chapter, said Heather Evans, director of fraternity and sorority life.

Incoming freshmen and upperclassmen have showed a profound interest in sorority life, resulting in more women registering for recruitment — last year, there were 10,000 full time female undergraduate students, and 19.6 percent of that group joined a sorority.

This interest fueled the initiation of a new chapter at Tech, Gamma Phi Beta, which was put in place two years ago.

Women can explore the possibility of joining the Greek community through promotional booths scattered throughout campus and at Gobblerfest.

However, word of mouth has been the most powerful mechanism in attracting women to sorority life, said Ashley Burke, vice president of recruitment for the Panhellenic Council, or PHC.

Because each sorority met its quota for this year’s spring recruitment, a new chapter will be brought to campus, Burke, a junior communication and psychology major, said.

Kappa Alpha Theta will be the next sorority to join the Oak Lane Community, as decided in fall 2010. The PHC is partnering with the sorority to eventually bring it to campus, which would be in 2014 at the earliest.

Tech isn’t the only university experiencing an increase in students joining Greek life. The National PHC recorded an overall increase of 6.2 percent of female students rushing a sorority compared to last year, according to a press release. It also reported a rise in numbers for the past four consecutive years.

“In general, there are more women going to college and the National Panhellenic Conference makes changes to the way recruitment is done so the placement opportunity for formal recruitment is higher,” said Nicki Meneley, executive director of the National PHC.

The University of Arkansas, for example, has seen large recruitment numbers for the past two years, Meneley said.

“We are thrilled that the women who are in college continue to see the sorority experience as a positive and valuable student engagement opportunity,” she said. Students at Tech, such as Jen Richman, a freshman university studies major, seem to share the same opinion about being in a sorority.

“I like seeing people on campus who I know through my sorority,” Richman said. “I also enjoy participating in a philanthropy.”