The voices of a crowd of women fell to a hush in the Mount Vernon Ballroom at the Sheraton Commander Hotel as the clock hit 7 p.m. 174 pairs of hands rushed to tear open envelopes containing cards revealing the identity of their new sisters. The women shrieked with excitement as they ran to locate their sororities.
At this year’s bid day, sororities at Harvard extended bids, or offers of acceptance, to 174 girls, a modest decrease from the 199 bids offered last year. Each of the three sororities on campus, Delta Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Kappa Kappa Gamma, met the limit of at least 54 new members.
Approximately 250 women—about the same as last year—attended the first recruitment event a little more than a week ago.
Many of the approximately 75 women who were not extended bids were not rejected due to lack of space in the chapters but rather chose to drop out of the recruitment process independently.
“The majority of them chose to withdraw on their own,” said Taylor A. Compton ’13, president of the Cambridge-Area Panhellenic Council.
Some of the women who removed themselves from recruitment have their eyes set on joining Alpha Phi, a fourth sorority open to College women. Alpha Phi is currently in the process of establishing a presence ahead of its inaugural year on campus.
“A lot of girls showed interest in Alpha Phi,” said Natalia Duarte ’14, vice president of recruitment for the Cambridge-Area Panhellenic Council.
Alpha Phi representatives from other colleges around the East Coast were present at the first two rounds of recruitment, but their formal recruitment process will take place later this month, with bid day falling on Feb. 28. Women who accepted bids from one of the other sororities may not continue with Alpha Phi recruitment, but those who did not participate in recruitment at all are still eligible to join Alpha Phi.
Members of the Cambridge-Area Panhellenic Council have worked to inform women about the addition of Alpha Phi to Greek life at Harvard by talking to students and sporting Alpha Phi memorabilia such as water bottles and pins.
“We’re all walking around and trying to spread the word on campus,” Duarte said.
After the women received the bids from their sororities, each chapter held their own festivities to welcome the new members.
This year’s recruitment activities were delayed by blizzard Nemo, which brought two feet of snow to Cambridge this past weekend.
—Staff writer Laya Anasu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LayaAnasu.
—Staff writer Elizabeth S. Auritt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @eauritt.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: Feb. 13, 2013
An earlier version of a teaser accompanying this article incorrectly indicated that 175 bids had been extended to women rushing sororities at Harvard on Tuesday. In fact, 174 bids were offered.