Greek organizations are recruiting new members and growing in popularity at Harvard despite the University's official nonrecognition of such groups.
Kappa Alpha Theta, an "all-female fraternity," and Sigma Chi, an all-male group, began their rush processes this weekend, while Delta Gamma, a new "fraternity for women," held two open houses for Harvard student at the Advocate building.
An estimated 50 prospective members attended Sigma Chi's "pre-rush event" at the Crimson Sports Grille Saturday night, Eli W. Bolotin '98, who attended the party, said yesterday.
About 30 students expressed their interest by attending an introductory meeting for Kappa Alpha Theta on Sunday afternoon, according to Jennifer R. Brosnahan '95, the president of the fraternity.
And roughly 30 students total attended the open houses for Delta Gamma, which is open to any interested women.
"Our point is not to be exclusive," said Brooke E. Winkle'95, a future Delta Gamma member.
The Harvard chapter was begun this year by Sara M. Mulholland '95.
"I wanted to provide an avenue for women to bond while making a difference in the Harvard and Cambridge communities," Mulholland said.
The newly created chapter of Delta Gamma symbolizes a growing Greek system at Harvard.
Sigma Chi founded its Harvard chapter in 1989, and currently boasts around forty members, said Eric K. Brown '95, the president of the fraternity.
The Kappa Alpha Theta chapter began in 1993 with eight members and now has thirty, Brosnahan said.
"We are definitely growing," she said. "We're very new and hope to continue to grow until we find the largest number we can accommodate."
The growth of Greek organizations has come despite a longstanding University policy against sanctioning fraternities or sororities.
"It is the position of the University not to support single-sex social institutions," Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III said yesterday. "Harvard students in outside fraternities may not conduct activities on campus."
Epps also cautioned students against joining fraternities.
"They have a general reputation of being anti-intellectual and involving students in unfortunate incidents," he said. "Also, it's ironic that Harvard students would be interested in them when most colleges are trying to get rid of them."
But Melissa A. Rohrbach '95. Theta vice-president of public relations and service chair, said she was not concerned with the lack of University recognition.
"Even though we, as a single-sex institution, are not recognized by the University, there is no antagonistic attitude between us," Rohrbach said.
"We don't meet in Harvard buildings, and we don't claim to be the Harvard chapter," she said. "We're content to work within the rules."
Rohrbach lamented the lack of unity in the female community at Harvard, saying that this had motivated her to join Theta.
"Women tend to be especially competitive here," she said. "We have only been a part of Harvard since the 1970s, and we continue to occupy a unique place on campus. Everyone here seems so busy, so much on her own track.