By Kaye Burnet | The Duquesne Duke
Duquesne will welcome a new sorority chapter to campus next fall to meet the needs of a growing Greek community.
Alpha Omicron Pi will join Duquesne’s Panhellenic Council, a representative body with members from seven sororities on campus.
A steady increase in University enrollment has led greater numbers of women to join Greek Life each year, according to Duquesne Director of Greek Life Rebecca Mickler.
According to Mickler, when she began working in the office six years ago the average sorority enrollment in the spring was 50 women per chapter. Now, the number is approaching 100. This presented a problem, she said.
“If it gets too big, you start to lose the sisterhood and camaraderie,” Mickler said.
The office began examining the possibility of a new sorority two years ago, according to Mickler. They pulled data from the previous 10 years of Greek Life enrollment and noticed an increase in class sizes by year, “which means more people wanting to participate in Greek Life,” Mickler said.
The decision to bring a new chapter to campus was ultimately given to the current sororities in the Panhellenic Council.
The process of bringing in a new chapter is called “extension,” according to AOPi Assistant Director of Extension Heather Hays. Hays works for the national office of AOPi in Tennessee, and helps establish new chapters of AOPi across the country.
An extension committee was formed with representatives from the seven already-existing sorority chapters at the University. The committee voted with a two-thirds majority to invite an eighth chapter.
“Every sorority headquarters received the information and got to decide if Duquesne would be a good fit for them,” Hays said.
Six sororities expressed interest in coming to Duquesne. The extension committee then chose three to make a formal presentation on campus.
AOPi made their presentation in November, according to Hays. Representatives from the sorority were given a tour of the campus and spoke to Greek Life members about what AOPi could bring to the Duquesne community.
Out of the three choices, the extension council voted unanimously for AOPi, Mickler said.
The sorority’s four leading values are college loyalty, scholarship, character and dignity. Their philanthropy of choice is arthritis research, and they host an annual “Strike Out” event to raise money for the cause.
To bring the sorority to campus next fall, AOPi’s national office will send two Educational Leadership Consultants to recruit members for the first class at Duquesne. This first class is very important, according to Hays.
“This group of women will, essentially, be the founders of AOPi at Duquesne,” Hays said. “I think they are going to build an incredible sisterhood, and it’s going to motivate and encourage the other sororities and bring the whole community to a new level.”