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The rush of sisterhood

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Sorry, boys, you missed it—and you weren’t invited anyway. But last Thursday, UM’s sororities kicked off five days of recruitment events with a barbecue in the Oval. Members dressed by color—Kappa Alpha Theta in yellow T-shirts, Delta Gamma in pink, Kappa Kappa Gamma in blue and Alpha Phi in maroon—and about 55 freshmen paid a $10 registration fee to participate in the festivities (the money goes toward supplies used by the recruitment staff at the Office of Greek Life, said Greek Adviser Lea Hanson Leier).

Waiting in line for barbecue chicken and potato salad, freshman Emily Hoover said she’s an only child and has known for the past three years that she wants to be in a sorority so she can have some sisters. Next to her, freshman Kylie Wilken from Lake Oswego, Ore., said she has two brothers and wants some sisters, too.

But recruit Meredith Maienza, spiky blonde ponytail atop her head, said she hadn’t decided yet whether to join; her mom had just urged her to participate.

The freshmen didn’t seem nervous on their first night—which isn’t surprising, explained Panhellenic Council President Kate Monroe, because sorority recruitment at UM is smaller, and thus more relaxed, than at bigger schools. With just four sororities, UM’s Greek sisters accounted for only 153 of 5,499 female undergraduates last spring, according to the Spring 2004 Greek Community Academic & Membership Report.

Lower numbers also mean that most, if not all, of the 55 recruits should be accepted to a sorority, said Leier. Low grades are one of the few reasons a girl wouldn’t get in, she said. Each sorority has its own GPA requirements for sisterhood; the average requirement, according to Leier, is about 2.5.

But would these freshmen be happy joining just any sorority? Kappa Alpha Theta VP of Membership Heather Gates insisted the houses are unburdened by stereotypes. But some freshmen on Thursday were buzzing with opinions about which sorority is most popular (no comments for the record). And the frat boys, said one excited recruit, have also shared their two cents about which sororities are cool. Again, though, the verdict was secret. Apparently, only the boys know for sure.

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