Current sororities vote no for Sigma Kappa interest group
After the addition of Delta Tau Delta to the Greek community, a sorority attempted to take the same steps to be recognized at Lafayette. Last month, a group of students tried to form an interest group for Sigma Kappa chapter on campus, but were deniedby the college.
Sigma Kappa was first recognized on Lafayette’s campus in 1978. The roughly 27 women interested in bringing it back to campus began organizing shortly after formal recruitment ended this fall. Most of the students had rushed and left the process unsatisfied, but some had never before attempted to join Greek life.
The group met with Advisor to Fraternities and Sororities Dan Ayala and the Lafayette’s Panhellenic Council to discuss the process of returning to campus.
“I was able to meet with him [Dan Ayala] and the Panhellenic Council who asked why we wanted to start a sorority and what it would add [to Lafayette Greek life] that they don’t have anywhere else,” said Ellen Armour ’18, a leader of the women who pursued bringing Sigma Kappa back to campus. “After meeting with him we wrote up a formal description of what we wanted to do and it was distributed to every sorority.”
The group of students wrote in their description that they would differentiate their group from other sororities by emphasizing their diverse philanthropy. The national Sigma Kappa organization participates in multiple environmental philanthropies that aim to improve local issues.
After this description was distributed, each existing sorority voted whether they saw a need on campus for a seventh sorority. Ultimately the vote was not in favor of those wishing to revive Sigma Kappa. The official decision to not move forward with the process was delivered to the group on Nov. 16.
According to Ayala, when the Panhellenic Council and recognition committee make decisions about whether or not to bring a sorority back on campus, they take into account the total number of people that have registered and the total number of people who have been placed into chapters. But the biggest factor, Ayala said, is whether or not chapter totals across the board for all sororities are going up down.
“And the truth is, for the past years they have been going down,” Ayala said.
According to Ayala, before the addition of a new sorority could be entertained, there would need to be a sustained trend of increasing chapter totals for at least three years.
“What I would like to see is we kind of stop and reverse that [downward] trend and work our way back up again before we would entertain adding a seventh sorority here,” Ayala said.“I don’t think that in the short term that this is something that can be feasible right now.”
Although Sigma Kappa will not be returning any time in the near future,Armour said the experience was still positive.
“Everyone on Panhel was very nice and open to us and talking about expansion which was very encouraging. It was nice to get our voices through,” Armour said. “I met a lot of really cool girls through this [experience] that I don’t know if I would have met otherwise which was really neat and we’re still friends.”
“A lot of people [who were interested in Sigma Kappa] are looking into participating in rush in the spring and some are thinking about next fall; others are just like,‘That’s okay, we can all just be friends and not be in a sorority,’”Armour said.Although she has yet to make a decision on her future plans, Armour is open to the idea of going through the rush process again.
According to Ayala, had the vote passed, it would have gone before the college’s recognition committee, and if it was endorsed, they would have had to consult with the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) to decide whether or not Sigma Kappa would be successful at Lafayette. The next step in the process would have been to reach out to any other former Lafayette sororities and give them the chance to decide whether they would be interested in regaining recognition at the college.