February 5, 2014

Panhel Welcomes Sorority to Campus

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With recruitment beginning in Fall 2014, Phi Mu will be the next sorority to colonize on campus, the Cornell Panhellenic Association announced Wednesday. Phi Mu, a women’s organization founded in 1852, aims to provide “personal and academic development, service to others, commitment to excellence and lifelong friendship through a shared tradition,” according to the organization’s mission statement.

In April 2013, after reviewing recruitment statistics and campus trends, members of an extension committee of the Cornell Panhellenic Association voted in favor of inviting currently unrepresented organizations in the National Panhellenic Conference to apply to colonize at Cornell, according to Katherine-Rae Cianciotto, assistant dean of students.

Panhellenic selected Phi Mu because of the organization’s “passion for growth, sisterhood, and philanthropy,” Panhellenic President Erika Whitestone ’15 said in an email.

Panhellenic saw “record numbers” of women participate in formal recruitment, with 871 women signing up for formal recruitment this year — an increase from last year’s 823 registrants, the Sun previously reported. 676 of the female students who registered for formal recruitment received bids. New member class sizes have seen a steady increase over the past several years and are the largest they have been in the past decade, according Cianciotto.

“As chapters continue to grow, forming meaningful and close relationships amongst members becomes more challenging,” Cianciotto said in an email to the Panhellenic community. “By adding a new chapter, we hope to provide an opportunity for more women to join Cornell’s Panhellenic and Greek communities.”

Members of the Panhellenic community are eager about the addition of a new sorority to the University.

“I’m excited that we’re getting the chance to expand our Cornell Panhellenic community. I firmly believe that Greek life is a positive influence on the lives of Cornell women and I’m thrilled that it’s growing on this campus,” Corey Matthews ’16, president of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, said.

Other Panhellenic women said they feel adding another chapter on campus will be helpful in reducing growing new member class sizes.

Elysha Rothenberg ’15, panhellenic vice president of recruitment, publicity and extension, said she will be working closely with Phi Mu representatives to “acquaint them with Cornell Greek life campus norms.”

Phi Mu consultants intend to raise awareness of the recruitment on campus before conducting interviews to select women for their primary class, according to Rothernberg. Phi Mu plans to start recruiting new members in Fall 2014 and will participate in formal Panhellenic recruitment in January 2015.

According to Cianciotto, Phi Mu is currently researching housing options and will likely have a house beginning in Fall 2015.