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Alpha Pi Phi forms new chapter at Brandeis

By Emily Sorkin Smith

Section: News

January 15, 2016

A chapter of the sorority Alpha Pi Phi has formed at Brandeis, the first chapter at an American university. The Theta chapter has seven founding members who were initiated into the sorority in November 2015. Though Greek life is not officially recognized or funded by the university, around 10 percent of students are members of fraternities or sororities. Alpha Pi Phi becomes Brandeis’ fourth sorority.

The sorority began in Ottowa, Canada in 2009, and now has two chapters in the United States, at Brandeis and Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. In the seven years since their founding, they have chartered nine total chapters. By contrast, Sigma Delta Tau (which also has a chapter at Brandeis) has over 60 active chapters.

Members of the Brandeis chapter began their relationship with Alpha Pi Phi in the spring of 2015, when they reached out to the organization.

“What sets Alpha Pi Phi apart is that joining Alpha Pi Phi means being a part of the beginning of something special, both in the Brandeis community and the international community. The ability to shape our organization and to play a large role in decision making is an amazing and unique aspect of our sorority,” President Anna Craven ’18 wrote in an email to The Brandeis Hoot.

Alpha Pi Phi is one of two sororities at Brandeis that does not belong to the National Panhellenic Conference, an organization that supports and governs international sororities. Kappa Beta Gamma also does not belong to the Conference. Brandeis’ founding members explored the possibility of chartering a panhellenic sorority; however, universities with three panhellenic sororities must form a College Panhellenic Council.

The Theta chapter at Brandeis has a diverse composition, including several mid-year students and members of multiple varsity sports teams. Craven emphasized Alpha Pi Phi’s commitment to
sisterhood and the betterment of its members. “Alpha Pi Phi truly aims to help every sister become the very best version of herself that she can be,” she wrote.

Recruitment for the spring semester will begin on Jan. 20. To be eligible for a bid, students must come to at least one event. Though they are interested in growing their sorority, focus will be on recruiting women “who fit with our values of love, loyalty and friendship,” said Rush Chair Marissa Kaplan ’18. They have been in communication with other Greek organizations through the Greek Awareness Council (GAC) to set up rush week events. These mostly involve collaboration with other fraternities to host events, such as Alpha Epsilon Pi.

Other sororities and fraternities have been supportive of Alpha Pi Phi, according to Kaplan. “They have been very welcoming to us and it’s nice to see how they are incorporated a new sorority to campus,” said Kaplan.

Greek life is not officially recognized by the university, meaning that it does not receive funding and has no designated housing on campus. University policy as written in the 2015-2016 Rights and Responsibilities states that “exclusive or secret societies are inconsistent with the principles of openness to which the university is committed,” and therefore sororities and fraternities are not permitted to use university facilities.

The GAC serves as a liaison between sororities and fraternities and the university, hosting philanthropic events and organizing bystander intervention training. The GAC is able to use university facilities for events, provided they are not exclusive to one sorority or fraternity.

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