Members of Harvard’s three sororities stood in clusters alongside the Charles River chanting and cheering in the cold Thursday evening. At 5:15 p.m. the soon-to-be sisters, waiting a distance away, opened their bid letters and rushed over, screaming with excitement, to join their new sisterhood.
At this year’s bid day, sorority leaders extended bids to 199 Harvard women, 27 more than were offered last year. Both Delta Gamma and Kappa Kappa Gamma extended bids to 66 Harvard women, while Kappa Alpha Theta extended 67 bids.
After accepting their new members, the three sororities separated to hold their own celebrations.
Araba A. Appiagyei-Dankah ’12, vice president of recruitment for the Panhellenic Council, said that the coordinating body for campus sororities makes an effort to “try to accommodate as many girls as possible into each chapter.” Appiagyei-Dankah, who is also an inactive Crimson arts editor, added, “We don’t like to release girls who go through the process.”
This year about 250 Harvard women rushed sororities, a figure just under last year’s record-breaking rush class of 268.
But of the roughly 50 women who registered for rush and were not extended bids, Appiagyei-Dankah said the “vast majority” withdrew voluntarily during rush week. Appiagyei-Dankah declined to provide the number of women who withdrew from the process.
With the rise in popularity of Greek life on campus, some students are advocating the creation of a fourth sorority.
“At most schools the rush process is about finding a place that fits for you, rather than a competition to get the very small number of spots,” said new DG member Harleen K. Gambhir ’14. “I think a fourth sorority would make [Harvard] more of the former.”
Helen C. Clark ’15, a new Theta, said she thought a fourth sorority would open the doors for more women to join a sisterhood.
“It’s sad that some people weren’t able to participate in Greek life, not because they weren’t fantastic people but because there just wasn’t enough room for them,” Clark said.
Thursday’s events marked the end of a nearly week-long process, which included a series of meet-and-greets at the Sheraton Commander Hotel. Appiagyei-Dankah said that all events were moved off campus, including bid day, to avoid any conflicts with University administration, which does not recognize the groups on campus.
Last year, bid day was held outside the Science Center. Appiagyei-Dankah said it “didn’t really go over well [with the administration], so we moved everything off campus this year.”
This was the first year bid day was held on the grass beside the John W. Weeks Bridge.
Appiagyei-Dankah said that the sororities would like to gain recognition from the University, but are not dependent on it.
“We’re okay with doing everything off campus. We all have our spaces now,” Appiagyei-Dankah said, referring to the off-campus spaces each sorority has now acquired.
Kappa President Sarah L. A. Erwin ’13 and Theta President Molly A. Wehlage ’13 declined to comment for this article.
—Staff writer Nathalie R. Miraval can be reached at email@example.com.
—Staff writer Rebecca D. Robbins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.