"There is an unmet need," said Dean of the College James Larimore about current opportunities available for female students interested in becoming involved in Dartmouth's Coed, Fraternity and Sorority (CFS) system. "In recent years, participation levels between men and women have equalized, but the number of fraternities on campus is still more than double the number of sororities. To meet the demand, sororities have had to admit more women than what is practical."
To help ease the burden, a group of students and administrators is beginning the process of establishing the College's seventh Panhellenic sorority. "We are taking the first step in bringing the opportunities available for men and women in the CFS system more into balance," said Larimore.
Christina Jimenez '06, a member of Delta Delta Delta, is helping with the effort. "I found that the sheer size of my sorority class was overwhelming," she said, remembering her term as summer president after her sophomore year. "I spoke with [members of other sororities] and learned that they had similar issues." Jimenez said she expects that adding a new sorority will make a noticeable difference on campus.
A group of '08s is currently working with student advisers and College administrators to put the framework into place. "The Panhellenic system needs more options for potential new members," said Jimenez, "more options may draw in women who had not previously considered the process and retain those who drop out of recruitment."
The plan to add a new sorority comes in the wake of a decision by Dartmouth's Board of Trustees to lift a moratorium that has restricted establishing new organizations within the CFS system since 1999. Lifting the moratorium returns to the Dean of the College the responsibility of determining whether new CFS organizations should be granted recognition on campus.
Originally planned as a way for the College to reexamine the impact of the CFS system, Larimore said that the moratorium allowed the College to improve its relationship with the CFS organizations.
"The College now has a much stronger working relationship with them," he said. "They have made a shift from the minimum standards that were once the expectation and are now setting much higher standards for themselves. The chapters are also drafting and implementing individually tailored action plans."
CFS organizations are now guided by commitments to six principles: scholarship, leadership development, brotherhood/sisterhood, inclusiveness, service/philanthropy and accountability.
Taylor Cornwall '06, a member of Phi Delta Alpha and next year's Greek Leadership Council moderator, said the decision to lift the moratorium "is a reflection of general improvements systemwide. [It] reflects an understanding by the trustees of the importance of the Greek system, and the actions of all of the organizations recently have shown that CFS organizations can play a very positive role within the Dartmouth community."
By JOEL AALBERTS
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Last Updated: 5/30/08