By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
After much anticipation, Baylor’s newest sorority, Alpha Phi, handed out bids of invitation to the university’s founding member pledge class on Feb. 6. Of the over 300 young women who entered Alpha Phi’s recruitment process, 169 were officially invited to join after attending events between Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 and being interviewed by an Alpha Phi alumni.
Thus far, the sorority has had their first new member meeting and sisterhood event, and are organizing into committees, according to extension team lead Deana Gage. The new members plan to operate in their committees until the end of March, when elections for officer positions will be held.
“We do not have a definite date for initiation and installation yet but it will be this spring,” Gage said. “The members will be initiated and the chapter will be installed at the same time. The International President of Alpha Phi, Renee Zainer from Denver, Colorado, will be in Waco to conduct the initiation. It is very special for founding members to be installed by the International President.”
The chapter is also working to plan and set a date for their first philanthropic event, as well as partner up with other campus organizations for social events, according to Gage.
Exeter, N.H., sophomore Jessica Trumpler, a member of the new founding class, was inspired to join Alpha Phi after attending the first day of Baylor Panhellenic’s formal recruitment in January, which Alpha Phi presented at.
“They had a bunch of Alpha Phis from other schools come in and talk to us so we could get a feel for the type of girls that are in other chapters at other schools,” Trumpler said. “The girls were all so sweet and after visiting all of the other chapters, Alpha Phi genuinely stood out to me. Starting a new chapter on campus and being a founding member is a really rare opportunity, and it was something that I could see myself being a part of.”
Another aspect about Alpha Phi that stood out to Trumpler was the sorority’s involvement in philanthropy through the Alpha Phi Foundation, which supports women’s heart health and develops leadership, according to the chapter’s website.
“I feel like learning more about the Alpha Phi Foundation and how much it has benefited women across the nation was something that really stuck out to me,” Trumpler said. “Most sororities don’t have their own foundation where they are able to make a direct difference, but Alpha Phi does, which I find amazing.”
Granbury freshman Ashley Brooke Boyd also noted how Alpha Phi’s involvement in philanthropy stood out to her when attending the chapter’s recruitment.
“The thing that stood out most to me about Alpha Phi is that their philanthropy is focused on women’s heart health,” Boyd said. “I have a heart condition, so that is something that’s important to me.”
Boyd also appreciated that Alpha Phi’s recruitment process this year was separate from that of Baylor’s Panhellenic formal recruitment, allowing for the potential new members to focus on the chapter and get to know other students and Alpha Phi alumni better.
“Alpha Phi’s recruitment was different than formal recruitment in many ways, but the way girls were chosen— in my opinion— was very different,” Boyd said. “For formal recruitment, the sororities spent all of last semester figuring out who they did and did not want through sub mixers and Panhellenic Previews, whereas Alpha Phi had alumnae individually interview each girl that was interested in joining.”
Navasota sophomore Joleigh Pool also appreciated Alpha Phi’s separate recruitment process and enjoyed being able to interact with Alpha Phi members at other universities and alumni from the local area.
“Though I really enjoyed formal recruitment, Alpha Phi’s rush process was so much more relaxed — there was a lot more one on one time, and it was not as hectic or nerve wracking as formal recruitment,” Pool said. “I could really tell they were excited for Alpha Phi to be coming to Baylor.”
Alpha Phi has over 200,000 members nationwide and currently has over 170 collegiate chapters. With this being the first Panhellenic expansion in over 30 years on Baylor’s campus, Pool views this moment as a rare and exciting opportunity for the new founding class.
“It’s such a unique feeling to be a founding member of Alpha Phi’s Baylor chapter,” Pool said. “I’m so proud to have this opportunity, because how often do you hear someone say they helped get a sorority chapter started? I’m so excited to set the pace for Alpha Phi and can’t wait to see the amazing things this chapter will accomplish.”