Minority participation continues to rise for UA sorority recruitment

Minority participation continues to rise for UA sorority recruitment

Jordan LaPorta

As new sisters ran toward their houses, The University of Alabama’s Greek system took another step forward with participation and acceptance of minority students on the rise for the third year in a row.

Over 246 minority women accepted bids to join a Panhellenic sorority at The University of Alabama this Saturday, a number up 15 percent from 2015. At 25, the number of African-American students receiving bids remained unchanged from the previous year.

Before 2014, only a single black woman, Carla Ferguson in 2003, had ever been given a bid from a Panhellenic sorority during formal recruitment at The University of Alabama. After The Crimson White published a story in 2013 detailing how black women going through formal recruitment had been dropped individually because of alumnae interference, the University has taken steps to increase diversity in Greek life.

The wave of change continued two years ago, as minority women began to receive an increased number of invitations on bid day. In 2014 the number of minority bids skyrocketed with 190 women who identify as a racial minority ran alongside their sisters to their new houses. And in 2015, the new trend persisted as the number of minority students accepting bids increased by 13 percent.

The number of women seeking to become new sorority members has been on the rise for the past several years. UA Panhellenic attributes the growth of the Greek system to its already immense size, reputation, and to the overall population increase at the University.

Holistically, 2,683 women attended the first round of events for sorority fall recruitment this year, making it the University’s largest such event to date. The 16 Panhellenic sororities accepted 93 percent of those students, for a total of 2,488. Both the number of women who registered and the total who ultimately received bids increased 10 percent from last year.

“It’s been a busy and fun week of recruitment for our sororities as they welcomed some of our newest students,” said Dr. Steven Hood, associate vice president for student affairs.

In more ways than one, 2016 was an unusual year for the sorority recruitment process. On Saturday, The Crimson White reported that bid day had been moved back from its usual 10 a.m. time slot to 2 p.m. due to a computer glitch affecting fewer than 100 upperclassmen. Weather concerns also forced the movement of the bid reveal from the traditional location of Bryant-Denny Stadium to the nearby Magnolia parking deck. These changes did not seem to temper the excitement of the thousands of girls ready to meet their new sisters.

“We appreciate the sororities’ dedication and enthusiasm. Recruitment is one good way to make friends and get involved, and our sorority and fraternity communities also provide many service and leadership opportunities for our students,” Hood said.