Female Social Organizations See Boom Time
All-male final clubs often hog the attention given to the Harvard social scene, but it's the all-female organizations that are experiencing a surge in participation on campus. Ranks swelled during the fall, and group leaders say they expect even more women to join during the coming semester.
Much of the recent growth has been in the two Harvard-based sororities, Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta) and Delta Gamma (DG), which had extremely successful informal rushes in the fall.
"We gained more women than we ever had before through that process," DG Vice President for Membership Melanie A. Brennand '01 says of the 14 new members who joined in the fall.
Theta was restricted to admitting eight new women during the informal rush, since accepting more would have pushed the group above its membership cap of 45. But the sorority can expand beyond that cap during formal rush, which begins Feb. 13 for both sororities.
"People are beginning to see us as a legit social organization," Brennand says. "It's the change of the image--they know we're not just about getting drunk on weekends."
Theta President Suzanne M. Pomey '02 says her group has become more popular as the organization has gotten older.
"We've only been around since 1993," she says. "The longer something's been around, the more people are interested."
If interest continues at this level, Brennand predicts a third sorority may come to Harvard within a few years.
But the interest in women's social groups is not confined to the Greek system.
The Seneca, the women's club founded last year, held a month-long application process in the fall for its first round of prospective members and currently boasts a membership of 43.
Although they had planned on repeating the application process this semester, the club voted to postpone it until next fall.
"A lot of the new members felt we needed to consolidate and get to know each other better," Seneca Co-President Alexandra B. Seru '01 says.
Even the Bee--which feared its lack of a house facility might discourage prospective members--has never drawn so many new members.
According to Bee Alumni Coordinator Caroline J. Keany '01, half of the club's 60 members joined this fall.
"People know about us more because we've grown as a presence," she says. "People who were hesitant at first became increasingly interested."