University leadership has denied a request from Greek life to extend recruitment of another sorority on campus next fall.
“The answer wasn’t ‘no’, it was just ‘not right now,’” said Amy Coles, the Director of Student Activities.
Greek life has been working closely with Student Activities for eight months to try to get another sorority to come to Belmont to better manage the size of current organizations, Coles said. The idea of recruitment extension was proposed to Student Affairs by Belmont Panhellenic in October and went through multiple revisions before being formally submitted to senior leadership.
Panhellenic proposed recruitment extension because of the challenges they face with accommodating the growing number of women interested in Greek life.
“We wanted to make sure that all of the women had equal opportunities to grow individually,” said Kevin Reynolds, the Coordinator of Student Activities who handles Greek life recruitment. “Aside from that, logistically we’re just too big and there isn’t enough space for everyone.”
According to Panhellenic’s recruitment extension review, an ideal chapter size should range from 85 and 100 members but not exceed 100. Belmont chapters have grown from an average of 90 members to an average of 153 members from 2010 to 2012. In 2012, they had to adjust to the largest-ever groups of pledge classes and potential new members.
Larger numbers are harder to deal with because there are a limited number of meeting spaces able to accommodate such groups that size, according to the recruitment extension review.
“We don’t just want one, we want multiple. One more won’t solve the problem,” said Coles.
With more sororities, there will be smaller groups which would make it easier for members to get to know each other and build a sense of community, Reynolds said.
This is not the first time that recruitment extension has been proposed. In 2010, a request for recruitment extension was approved, and in 2011, Kappa Alpha Theta came to campus as Belmont’s fifth sorority. The addition of Theta to Belmont’s campus caused a 45 percent increase in women who wanted to “go Greek” and helped even out the amount of women each sorority selected.
“We called it the Theta Effect, it was such a solid choice. There was so much more diversity and so many more women interested,” said Coles.
Adding another sorority would not only allow for a greater level of distribution, but also provide more chances for their members to serve effectively, Reynolds said.
“Greek life promotes community service and fundraising for their members,” said Reynolds. “More organizations mean more money and more hours of community service, which contributes greatly to the community and Belmont.”
While there will be no addition of a new sorority in 2013, that does not mean that there won’t be one in the future. Coles plans to bring up recruitment extension once again in the coming weeks.
“We will keep proposing the idea. I give weekly reports, and Greek life is always in them. Student Activities is one of Greek life’s biggest fans, and we are ready to give them all the help they need,” said Coles.
In the mean time, Student Activities plans to work with the individual chapters to handle the large amount of new members expected in future semesters. Coles and Reynolds both agree the Greek community will be able to handle them, however.