Representatives of the newly reinstated sorority Alpha Gamma Delta have begun recruiting following the Panhellenic Council’s February decision to invite the sorority to reclaim its place on The Row after a 30-year period of dormancy.
National Alpha Gamma Delta Assistant Director of Fraternity Services Annie Raeder said Alpha Gamma Delta made the decision to close their chapter at USC in the mid-’80s because of low membership.
“We simply had a smaller group than most chapters at the time and were unable to give the experience that we wanted,” Raeder said. “We closed the chapter until a time where we can come back and provide a positive and enriching Alpha Gamma Delta experience.”
With a vote of 6 to 4, the Panhellenic Council elected to bring the sorority back on campus. The vote came after Alpha Gamma Delta reapplied and presented information about their sorority.
The house is currently used for meetings of the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, as well as some Sigma Delta Tau events.
PHC President Megan Lambert said the new sorority will bolster Greek life on campus.
“More and more girls are going to recruitment,” Lambert said. “We have some of the biggest chapters on the West Coast. There are a couple of houses with 230 to 250 members, which is too big. We felt a new sorority might alleviate some of those numbers.”
Though Alpha Gamma Delta will be officially established on The Row next fall, formal recruitment for the new chapter will not occur until 2014 in order to give smaller sororities a chance to reach capacity next fall. There are currently 11 sororities on The Row.
Many current sorority members had positive reactions to the news of Alpha Gamma Delta’s return. Megan Schutzler, a member of Alpha Delta Pi, echoed Lambert’s sentiments about the growing number of sorority members.
“I think a new sorority is a great way to accommodate the increasing number of girls going through rush each year,” Schutzler said.
Raeder said girls associated with the sorority at other schools are excited for the return of the chapter.
“We jumped at the opportunity to be at such a prestigious academic institution because we have such a great history at USC and our alumnae have been dying for the chapter to come back for years,” Raeder said.
Originally established at the university in 1928, Alpha Gamma Delta had ties to draw on as they began the process of reintroduction.
“They had been at USC before so they had almunae here to help them; they had a lot of local support,” Lambert said.
Raeder also stressed the influence of the alumnae in bringing the chapter back to the university.
“It’s great that we do have that prior history here and those alumnae that have been involved on campus and in the community who are ready to support the group upon its return,” Raeder said.
Raeder said renovations on the new house has already begun in preparation for new sorority members.
“Planning is underway to make the house beautiful, so that it is a beautiful thing for our new members to have and to hold events in once it’s all ready,” Raeder said.
Raeder said additional research was done to ensure Alpha Gamma Delta would be able to incorporate the unique aspects of Greek life at the university.
“We’re learning everything that goes into the traditions of the Greek community at USC. … Learning all the ins and outs of the culture so that once we’re on campus, we can really help the women integrate into the community,” Raeder said.
Though Alpha Gamma Delta will be newly instated on The Row, Raeder said the sorority is looking forward to create new traditions.
“Since we’re new, we’ll establish our own traditions and our own exciting events. … We want to be able to prepare our chapter to be a great group of women that have great traditions that fit in with the community,” Raeder said.
Raeder said the sorority will be focused on service-learning as well as supporting one another.
“We really pride ourselves on being an organization where our members live with purpose, which is the concept of really using the values in our purpose to try and be the best version of yourself,” Raeder said, “whether that is to get involved and be a leader on campus or to participate in community service events or to just be there for your friends and for your sisters.”
Some people, however, are concerned by the addition of a new sorority because it might add additional competition during the rush period.
“I’m a little nervous about it since a few Panhellenic sororities already have continuous open bidding and don’t have a large enough membership to support having houses on The Row, the introduction of an additional sorority hinders the growth of existing sororities,” said Megan Doyle, a freshman with Greek affiliation majoring in communication
In the meantime, Raeder said Alpha Gamma Delta will hold their own rush to get women acquainted with the new sorority and establish a foundation of potential new members in preparation for formal rush in fall 2014.
“We will host our own set of events for women to get together and get to know each other and learn about Alpha Gamma Delta,” Raeder said. “We’ll really be looking for women who share those same values, that really want to make a difference and that already are a big part of the Trojan Family in an exciting way.”