By Brooke Hill | Copy Editor
A new sorority will be joining campus in spring 2019, the Baylor Panhellenic Council unanimously approved Tuesday afternoon.
In the fall, another committee will be formed to recommend which organization Baylor should invite to join, based on a number of factors, including which organizations show interest. This committee will consist of delegates from each chapter and advisers as well. The group will take part only in Open House day, which is the first day of recruitment. Once recruitment concludes, the organization will conduct continuous open bidding, a process that allows women to join Panhellenic organizations in a time frame apart from formal recruitment.
The council consists of delegates from each of the eight National Panhellenic organizations on campus, along with the Baylor Panhellenic Executive Board, which consists of an additional member from each organization.
Matt Burchett, director of student activities, wrote in an email to The Lariat that he is excited about the opportunity for Greek life involvement on campus to grow.
“The chartering of 15 new organizations this semester and the ongoing interest to bring new and diverse involvement opportunities to campus helps our community provide pathways for belonging and connection at Baylor,” Burchett wrote. “This includes Greek Life, where we anticipate adding multiple sororities to our NPC [National Panhellenic Conference], NPHC [National Pan-Hellenic Council] and MGC [National Multicultural Greek Council] communities.”
Burchett wrote that this would be the first successful National Panhellenic Conference expansion in over 30 years on Baylor’s campus. Burchett did not have information on the most recent attempt at expansion, as it was prior to his arrival in 2008.
“Our hope is that any addition of a new student organization helps to expand opportunities for students to belong and thrive on campus,” Burchett wrote.
One reason the committee recommended extension, which is the opening of a college Panhellenic council to add another organization, is that most of Baylor’s current sororities are known as mega chapters. This means there are far more members in Baylor’s chapters compared to other chapters around the nation. Some groups are the second largest chapters of their sorority in the nation, just behind schools like the University of Alabama.
Spring senior Morgan Bruce, Baylor Panhellenic president, said she thinks campus will benefit from a new group joining the Panhellenic Council because more women will be able to join.
“Right now we’re kind of at capacity with our suite rooms and then also just in our chapter sizes in general,” Bruce said. “By adding another sorority, we’ll be able to accommodate more women and give more women a place to find home on campus.”
Burchett said Baylor Panhellenic has followed National Panhellenic Conference guidelines over the last five years in preparation for this process. This semester, they formed an extension committee, consisting of delegates from each of the eight current organizations and two current advisers. The committee’s purpose was to research statistics from recent years of recruitment, including the number of girls who wanted to be a part of a Panhellenic group versus the number of girls that were extended a bid from a Panhellenic group. Based on their findings, the committee recommended expansion to the Panhellenic Council.
“We feel that right now is the right time to add another sorority really because we’re at a point in time where we just can’t accommodate everyone who wants to go through recruitment,” Bruce said. “It’s really been a long time coming, just growing as organizations, being a part of the campus culture, and we feel right now with having a new person just joining Greek life staff and having a lot of knowledge at our hands from attending different national trainings, we’re really ready to accommodate another chapter.”
The letters of Kappa Delta sorority still appear on Stacy Riddle Forum, but the sorority’s national headquarters made the determination to close Baylor’s chapter in 2010.
Beth Martin Langford, national president of Kappa Delta Sorority at the time, told the Lariat the chapter closed because the Epsilon Chi chapter of Kappa Delta at Baylor had struggled with membership for several years.