Students to create sorority
Clarification appendedJaclyn Weinstein '12, Stephanie Plaine '12 and Allison Maresca '12, are leading an effort to bring a new sorority to Brandeis. In an interview with the Justice, Weinstein said that they are working to establish the sorority, which does not yet have a name or a chapter assigned to it, and they hope to have it up and running by spring 2011 or fall 2011 at the latest.
Fraternities and sororities are not recognized by the University. According to Appendix B of the 2010-2011 Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, the University only recognizes "organizations which are open to all students on the basis of competency or interests." The handbook explains that fraternities and sororities are "inconsistent with the principles of openness to which the University is committed" because they practice exclusivity and are therefore banned from using campus facilities for their organization. However, there are still five fraternities-Zeta Beta Tau, Phi Kappa Psi, Sigma Alpha Mu, Alpha Delta Phi and Alpha Epsilon Pi-and two sororities-Delta Phi Epsilon and Sigma Delta Tau-that exist for Brandeis students.
According to Weinstein, their new sorority will be non-denominational, as opposed to Sigma Delta Tau, which is nationally Jewish. Delta Phi Epilson, the other existing sorority on campus, is also nondenominational.
Weinstein explained that the group had met with the Associate Dean of Student Life Maggie Balch, who Weinstein said gave them the "green light ... to begin the process with nationals." Weinstein said that the group will then proceed to coordinate with one of the national sorority umbrella organizations to pick a chapter of a sorority they would like to implement.
"It's a little ambitious [to start a new sorority by next semester]," said Weinstein, "but if not [by this semester], definitely by next year. We have a lot of work to do, but there's a lot of girls splitting up the work."
Weinstein explained that the group was involved in managing a Facebook group to see how many students were interested in a new sorority. The group currently has more than 80 members and organizes events to gauge the level of student interest, get to know students on campus and fundraise in order to pay for any events or activities the sororities set up since they receive no funding from Brandeis. She said the group is looking at sponsorships from companies but is waiting until the sorority is officially established before speaking with more local companies.
By creating a new sorority, Weinstein said that she, Plaine and Maresca hope to include students of different backgrounds. "We really just want to add more diversity," said Weinstein, who noted that the sororities available to students were outnumbered by the number of fraternities, and by creating another sorority, they would add to the number of sororities available to female students.
"We have a very different range of girls interested," said Maresca in an interview with the Justice. "We have people from all different majors and all different parts of the country," added Plaine in the interview.
The creators said their recruitment for the sorority will be heavily aimed toward first-years. Weinstein, Plaine and Maresca explained that the sorority would be an opportunity to bridge the gap between younger students and upperclassmen who generally do not take classes together and who may not be involved in the same clubs. "It's a great option to meet new people," said Plaine.
"It's a small campus. ... It's kind of hard to branch out when your group [of friends] is established," added Maresca, saying Greek life was a good way to "expand your social circle."
When asked about the negative stereotypes that are associated with Greek life organizations, such as alcohol abuse and exclusivity, Plaine responded, "[To] people who might look down upon Greek life at Brandeis, it's not really fair to judge us yet because they haven't seen what we've done or what we're capable of."
Added Maresca, "More than anything I just want it to be something that a group of girls can get together and just become friends and have a great time."
Clarification: The article originally attributed a quotation in a possibly misleading fashion. Jaclyn Weinstein had said in an interview with the Justice that Associate Dean of Student Life Maggie Balch had given the sorority the "green light ... to begin the process with nationals." The quotation is not from Balch herself.
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