By Lauren Atchley | Contributor
It has been 33 years since a new National Panhellenic Conference sorority chapter was introduced. A few weeks ago, Baylor’s Panhellenic Council unanimously voted in Alpha Phi as the newest chapter to be represented on our campus.
Having served as Pi Beta Phi’s Panhellenic Delegate since January of this year, I was involved in a lot of the in-depth conversations about what this addition would bring to campus. This idea was first introduced to our community in January and henceforth, began the long road to creating an opportunity for a new sorority to join.
From the start, it only seemed natural for this expansion to take place. Suite 117 in the Stacy Riddle Forum has been empty ever since Baylor’s Kappa Delta chapter disbanded in 2010. Desperately waiting for a new chapter to come and fill its spot, the room will welcome Alpha Phi to call it home this coming January.
In addition, our chapter sizes are too big. This is particularly true in the case of Pi Phi — we are one of the largest chapters in the nation behind schools such as The University of Arkansas and The University of Alabama (Mary-Catherine Crutchfield). At these universities, they are more equipped to have “mega chapters” due to their accessibility of houses. It is difficult for each of our chapters to simply fit into the rooms due to lack of space.
We need to be able to do more than fit in these rooms. The spaces were created for us to be able to come together, for things such as All-University Sing practices and recruitment events. With the addition of Alpha Phi, we will be able to reduce new member class sizes while still keeping the number of women going through recruitment. You could almost say that they are the “great equalizer” for Baylor’s sorority life.
Due to Greek life’s rich history and influence on campus, it is essential to understanding how difficult it will be for Alpha Phi to integrate into everything that Baylor has to offer to such organizations. Their organization’s national executive board members are very aware of how hard this transition onto campus will be. Each of the eight established chapters boast significant and very involved alumnae, large endowments and years worth of experience being involved on Baylor’s campus. With this incredible undertaking, Baylor is currently the most equipped it has ever been in order for this change to occur.
The many different facets of Greek life, such as Sing and homecoming, will present an incredible opportunity for the National Panhellenic Conference and Interfraternity Council organizations to come together and help guide this chapter in its foundational years.
Additionally, Alpha Phi’s philanthropy will give students more opportunities to get involved on campus through their events, as well as bringing awareness to women’s heart health. Due to how different their philanthropy is from the rest, it will encourage students to become more aware of what each one represents and how they help impact the Waco community.
Our sorority life has become stale and redundant; Alpha Phi will provide a fresh breath into our community. This new organization will force Greek life, and Baylor, to join together in order to ensure that this expansion is successful.
Lauren is a sophomore public relations major from Colleyville.