Sorority Offers Spots In Inaugural Class To More Than 100 Women

Sarah Sumadi

By Sarah SumadiThe Daily Northwestern

More than 100 Northwestern students joined Zeta Tau Alpha Sunday, in a ceremony at 710 Emerson St., which will house the sorority starting next fall.

While most of the new Zetas are freshmen, women of all classes joined, including two seniors.

“The most exciting part of this is for the juniors and seniors who thought they missed the opportunity to be Greek,” said Karen Mills, Zeta’s extension director.

About 200 students signed up for “infoviews,” one-on-one conversations with Zeta officers. Zeta extended bids to about 115 of them. Mills said they looked for students interested in leadership but also took into account graduation year and time availability.

“We couldn’t pledge 100 freshmen, because the whole pledge class would graduate in one year,” Mills said.

Two national Zeta representatives will stay on campus for the rest of the year to teach the new members how to run the sorority. Officer elections will be held next week.

“We really wanted to bring in leaders, because 10 days into joining, someone’s going to find themselves the president,” said Deb Ensor, Zeta’s executive director.

Communication freshman Alyssa Greiman said she is considering running to be Zeta’s philanthropy chairwoman. One of Zeta’s main charitable focuses is raising awareness about breast cancer.

“I noticed a lot of NFL teams work with our philanthropy, and I’d like to work on the Chicago Bears, getting them involved in the fight against breast cancer,” Greiman said.

Zeta representatives encouraged the upperclassmen to take leadership roles.

“I also think it’s important for the younger girls to step up and nurture the sorority,” said new member Brittany Ladd, a Weinberg junior. “They’re the ones who are going to make a difference with recruitment and instill a legacy here.”

A snowstorm engulfed NU during Zeta’s two days of infoviews, but nearly all students came to their scheduled meetings despite the weather, Ensor said.

“We were amazed at the turnout and that the weather didn’t scare anyone away,” Ensor said. “It really shows that when Northwestern students say they’re going to do something, they do it.”

Bid night, held Friday evening in Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Levere Memorial Temple, 1856 Sheridan Road, marked the first time all the new members were together in one room.

“Most of them accepted their bids on site, and everyone was so enthused,” Ensor said.

Their first chapter meeting is tonight, and next fall about 35 new members will move into what used to be the Alpha Delta Pi house at 710 Emerson St. Representatives from Zeta’s national housing corporation will visit campus in March to finalize details with the undergraduate housing office.

Zeta opened a chapter at Duke University in 2005 and at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania in 2006. Zeta’s next colonization will be in fall 2007, when it opens a new chapter at Saint Louis University.

NU students who regretted missing formal recruitment in January said they saw Zeta as a second chance.

“I realized joining a sorority was a huge part of the social scene at Northwestern, and this seemed like a good opportunity to get back into it,” said McCormick freshman Christine Liu.

Some Zetas said they felt pressure being the sorority’s first pledge class.

“I’m realizing whatever stereotypes are created will be because of us,” Greiman said. “But nationally, (Zeta) has a wonderful reputation. It’s intimidating but refreshing at the same time.”

Reach Sarah Sumadi at [email protected]