Concluding a year-long search for the newest addition to Harvard Greek life, the Cambridge-Area Panhellenic Council announced Monday that the Alpha Phi sorority will begin recruitment next spring.
Alpha Phi will join Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Gamma, and Kappa Alpha Theta as Harvard’s fourth sorority. Harvard is also home to three male fraternities—Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Sigma Chi.
Last April, The Crimson first reported that the three present sororities were in the process of choosing a new sorority to join their ranks after more than 10 percent of Harvard’s female freshmen, sophomores, and juniors chose to rush sororities for the past two years.
In 2011, a record-high 268 women rushed, the largest rush class in the College’s history. This spring, the number dipped slightly to 250.
Alpha Phi International Fraternity Executive Director Linda Kahangi said that the organization submitted a written proposal last year to join the Cambridge-Area Panhellenic Council. Last fall, Kahangi said, the sorority was invited to campus to participate in the final round along with two other sororities.
Kahangi said that the organization is thrilled to join the Harvard women’s social scene.
“We have wanted to be there since the Greek system expanded at Harvard,” Kahangi said.
Since there are no current Alpha Phi members on campus, the recruitment and rush process this spring for the new sorority will be different than the one for the other three sororities. Kahangi said that this fall Alpha Phi will use focus groups to connect to undergraduate women and get to know the campus.
In January, it will move two full-time consultants to campus and conduct a marketing campaign for several weeks to reach out to the student body and interested groups. Alpha Phi will also hold a series of events designed to introduce interested women to Alpha Phi and to one another, according to Kahangi.
“What we are really trying to do is get women who blend well together,” she said. “We will be watching the group gel together and creating a really good group that is the core of the new chapter.”
Alpha Phi will also seek out upperclassmen to act as leaders of the new Alpha Phi chapter. The new sorority will work with the established sororities on campus to market the organization and tailor it to match the interests of Harvard women, Kahangi said.
In April, then-Dean of Student Life Suzy M. Nelson told The Crimson that the new chapter, like existing single-sex social organizations, will not be recognized by the University. Representatives from the Office of Student Life could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
The presidents of all three current sororities—Sarah L. A. Erwin ’13 of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Molly A. Wehlage ’13 of Kappa Alpha Theta, and Carolina I. Ragolta ’13 of Delta Gamma—could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. President of the Cambridge-Area Panhellenic Council, Taylor A. Compton ’13, did not respond to requests for comment.
Alpha Phi already has five chapters in the Boston area and a 1,700-person alumni base within a 30-mile radius of Harvard, according to Kahangi.
—Staff writer Melanie A. Guzman can be reached at email@example.com.