Panhel ups membership requirement

Julia Neyman

The Panhellenic Association informed sororities last week that the recruitment “total” — the number of members that a sorority must have before winter rush — will be increased from 85 to 100.

The change is made in hopes of accommodating the growing size of Northwestern’s Greek community, said Panhel president Kelly Shimizu. Sororities with fewer than 100 members can participate in continuous open bidding, an informal recruitment process designed to boost numbers before winter rush.

“Before recruitment, the total is set at 100, and for sororities under this total, they can accept sophomores, juniors and seniors informally this fall,” said Shimizu, an Education senior. “But freshmen are not allowed to be recruited this way.”

Although Panhel officials would not reveal which sororities will be participating in continuous open bidding, they did admit about half of their sororities were under total.

Panhel’s vice president of membership, McCormick senior Sarah McCracken, said the total number had not been adjusted in years.

“Raising ‘total’ is something every campus should re-evaluate every year,” said McCracken. “Due to the large size of our Panhellenic community it was suggested by our Greek advisers and the National Panhellenic organization to raise ‘total.'”

Last spring McCracken raised the issue in a meeting with sorority presidents and recruitment chairwomen. They voted to increase the total by 15 members.

Shimizu said she was happy the number was set at 100 because it gave more sororities opportunities to grow outside of winter recruitment.

“Almost every chapter is above 85,” she said. “But if every chapter is at total, they cannot accept any more women, and it’s harder for our Greek community to grow.”

Chi Omega is one of the sororities that will participate in fall recruitment. Recruitment chairwoman Emily Smith, a Weinberg junior, said she eagerly awaits recruitment because it will “make the entire process more friendly to upperclassmen.” Smith admitted she was unsure about the details of recruitment.

“We just don’t know if we will be participating in a single event governed by Panhel or if each chapter will be participating as a single group, and that will (be) decided on according to what’s better for Greek community and campus as a whole,” she said.

Shimizu said the chapters would not be forced to recruit members in a uniform way.

“It’s up to the chapters to go out and meet these women and do their own thing,” Shimizu said. “It’s not a formal process at all.”

McCracken said she believes many chapters will recruit by inviting women to their sorority houses to socialize informally. This is a strong contrast to the highly structured winter recruitment, in which prospective members must visit every sorority for a fixed amount of time.

Shimizu said she expects the casual nature of fall recruitment to draw students who may have been turned off by the strictness of winter rush.

“Hopefully the sororities will be able to bring in some women that they would not have met before, or who did not go through (winter) recruitment,” she said. “This will let more women see what sororities are about and get invited to join. It’s great on both sides.”

Reach Julia Neyman at [email protected]

Quick facts:

 The Panhellenic Association increased the number of members its sororities must have before winter rush from 85 to 100.

 Sororities under the total can recruit upperclassmen — but not freshmen — informally during Fall Quarter.