Alpha Phi to join Baylor greek life

Alpha Phi is set to join Baylor’s Panhellenic Council this January. Founded in 1872, Alpha Phi has Greek involvement in 171 campuses across the nation and over 200,000 sorority members. Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

By Maya Butler | Reporter

Alpha Phi will be the newest addition to Baylor Greek life, as the Panhellenic Council voted to accept the national sorority on Tuesday.

Dakotah Lindsay, director of marketing and communications for Alpha Phi International Fraternity, responded in an email after being notified of the approval.

“Alpha Phi is thankful for the opportunity to join the established sorority community at Baylor,” Lindsay wrote. “These women have taken time to strengthen their community to prepare for a new chapter, and we look forward to our future partnership.”

Founded in 1872, Alpha Phi has Greek involvement in 171 campuses across the nation and over 200,000 sorority members. On its national webpage, the organization’s mission statement states that it is “a sisterhood of women supporting one another in lifelong achievement.”

Ashley Fitzpatrick, assistant director of Greek life at Baylor, explained the qualities the extension committee which was formed by the Panhellenic Council.

“It was a pretty extensive process to determine qualities that met both a national standard and also aligned well with Baylor’s mission and values in the community,” Fitzpatrick said. “Alumni engagement and involvement is really important, so that’s an area that we focused on — ensuring that any group that we invited to present had a strong alumni basis, either in Waco or in the surrounding community, so that they could have a support system.”

The approval was a long time coming for the Panhellenic Council, the governing body in charge of the current eight sororities at Baylor. They began searching for a new sorority last spring after five years of close adherence to the National Panhellenic Conference guidelines, including a chapter needing to match a specific quota and College Panhellenics sponsoring only one recruitment per academic year.

Student Activities and the Panhellenic Council began the lengthy process with the formation of the Panhellenic Exploratory Committee, composed of a student and adviser representative from each of the eight organizations that make up sorority life on campus. The committee compiled research to determine the necessity of a new sorority and cited the overwhelming number of members in the existing chapters as one of the reasons for expansion.

“We want to really focus on that value of sisterhood,” Fitzpatrick said. “The more members that you have in your new member class, the harder it is to really create that sisterhood and get to know everyone, and so having more options can help adapt to that.”

The creation of the Extension Committee this fall led to the next step. Eleven chapters visited campus and met with Fitzpatrick; nine of them later submitted applications for consideration as a candidate, with three eventually chosen to present: Gamma Phi Beta, Alpha Phi and Kappa Delta, which had previously been a Baylor organization until its disintegration in 2010 due to low membership.

Besides the approval of Alpha Phi, this fall semester has seen the return of some familiar faces. Interfraternity Council fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon returned from suspension and the National Pan-Hellenic Council reinstated sorority Sigma Gamma Rho since its deactivation 15 years ago.

Dr. Matt Burchett, director of student activities, revealed the common goal behind all the different Greek organizations.

“One of our aspirations is to create opportunities for students to connect,” Burchett said. “One of the things that make any Greek community on the college campus, but ours in particular, is the diverse opportunities to be involved in any number of different types of organizations that…you believe in. Our hopes is to continue to expand our community to meet as many students’ needs as we possibly can.”

Starting in January, Alpha Phi will join the ranks of the eight organizations currently under the Panhellenic Council: Alphi Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi and Zeta Tau Alpha.