The Cornell Panhellenic Association voted unanimously on Wednesday to invite Alpha Xi Delta Sorority to recolonize their Alpha Beta chapter, thereby filling the void left by the exit of Chi Omega last spring, after the group failed to meet quota.
The decision to reinstate AXD, which was originally installed at Cornell on May 21, 1918 and closed in 1964, was made after a group of assembled representative members of every sorority currently on Cornell campus heard AXD and Phi Sigma Sigma make presentations.
“We were pleased to see two wonderful organizations present on our campus; each organization had different strengths, and either one would be a welcome addition to our community,” said Meghan Dubyak ’05, President of the Panhellenic Association. “In the end, the Extension Committee recommended AXD because of the strength of their national organization and staff, their installation accreditation process, and the local advisory board [of AXD alumni] that they have already identified in the area.”
The Panhellenic Association voted to open the campus for extension last Spring after the loss of Chi O. At this Panhellenic meeting, held during study week, the Panhellenic Association voted on a long-term growth plan for the sorority community. This plan includes the colonization or recolonization of a national organization in January of 2004 and the colonization of another organization in 2007.
Chi O was offered either spot and chose to wait four years before deciding whether or not to return to campus. In the meantime, their facility, which is University-owned, may be used by the organization coming to campus in January of 2004.
Over the summer, all National Panhellenic Conference Organizations that are not currently on campus were invited to submit materials to be reviewed by the Extension Committee. After reviewing the submissions, the group decided to invite three organizations to formally present on campus. All three organizations accepted the invitation to present, but one organization had scheduling conflicts and could not formally present at Extension Weekend.
Last weekend, ten representatives from AXD and Phi Sigma Sigma traveled to Ithaca to meet with Panhellenic Association members. On Friday, the representatives attended a reception and met Extension Committee members, Panhellenic Association Executive Board members and staff members of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.
After a tour of the Chi Omega facility and a luncheon on Saturday, each organization was given two hours to present to members of the Cornell Community. Around 65 members of the Greek Community attended each presentation and filled out evaluation sheets with their impressions.
The Extension Committee paid close attention to the fact that the AXD has a stronghold at nearby Syracuse University.
“Phi Sigma Sigma seemed to require a lot of its members, and Alpha Xi Delta had a successful set up at Syracuse [which has a similar social system to Cornell]. So this made them very appealing,” said Kelly Robreno ’06, a Panhellenic representative for Sigma Delta Tau. “Based on the way they explained [their goals] during their presentation, AXD should do very well here because they are going after a different group [of women] than the 12 other sororities on campus.”
In terms of recruitment options, the new organization will present during the first round of Formal Membership Recruitment and then drop out of the process and begin their colonization the following week.
“The Panhellenic Association has taken on a number of initiatives to ensure the strength of all current chapters before the new organization comes to campus,” said Dubyak. “These initiatives included a moratorium of Continuous Open Bidding for the first three weeks of fall classes for all chapters making quota last spring, and the restructuring of our Fall Recruitment process to ensure that all prospective members visit all chapters participating in fall recruitment.”
AXD plans on using what they call “active and passive” promotion to attract students who may otherwise not be interested in Greek Life. Their plan includes the posting of banners at Hockey games and “getting where students are,” said one AXD representative.
AXD hopes that their advertisements will encourage more women to participate in the Panhellenic Association’s Formal Membership Recruitment process, thus diversifying the pool of potential members.
Over all, Cornell sororities are satisfied and excited about the introduction of AXD to the Panhellenic Association.
“I think [AXD] will bring more diversity to the Greek system, giving girls more of an option when choosing a sorority that best suits them,” said Stephanie Grossman ’06.
Archived article by Logan Bromer