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Chi Omega, Phi Mu sororities to return to U of M campus

First Panhellenic sororities to formally join in more than 30 years

March 14, 2013

For the first time in more than 30 years, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities plans to welcome two new sororities to its campus - Chi Omega and Phi Mu.

"The Panhellenic community at the University of Minnesota is so excited to be welcoming Chi Omega and Phi Mu to our Twin Cities campus," said Julia Gross, the Panhellenic Council President (PHC). "I am thrilled to see what these organizations will bring to our campus. It is definitely an exciting time to be part of Panhellenic community."

The Pi Beta Chapter of Chi Omega, which was formally on campus from 1921-1989, will return beginning fall 2013. The Zeta Eta chapter of Phi Mu was on campus from 1925-1970 and will return sometime after fall 2015.

"Chi Omega, the largest women’s fraternal organization in the country, is thrilled and honored to receive the invitation to return to a nationally renowned institution for a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity," said Letitia Fulkerson, Chi Omega national president. "We look forward to partnering with the U’s outstanding PHC, InterFraternity Council and university administrators to make a positive contribution to the growth of the U of M Greek community."

"On behalf of Phi Mu's National Council and our dedicated Minneapolis area alumnae, we are thrilled for the opportunity to recolonize our chapter that was originally chartered in 1923," said Kris Bridges, Phi Mu national president. "The other national officers, alumnae and staff who joined me on campus were very impressed with the University’s strong support, the Panhellenic Council and the entire campus community."

Chi Omega and Phi Mu were recommended by the Panhellenic Council’s Extension Committee and received unanimous support from the nine voting chapters on the PHC.

"This is an incredibly exciting time, not only for our Panhellenic community, but for our entire Greek community at the U," said Matt Levine, director of the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life (OSFL). "Our chapters have seen incredible support from the university, alumna and their members during this process. The OFSL is excited about the new energy that is building within our community."

Chi Omega will be the 14th Panhellenic sorority currently on the UMTC campus, joining 13 other sorority chapters. Phi Mu will join no sooner than fall 2015 and no later than fall 2017, becoming the 15th sorority in the community.

More than 2,300 students – about seven percent of undergraduates - participated in the university’s recognized social sororities and fraternities in fall 2012.

The recently completed Greek Community Strategic Task Force Report included plans to increase that number by more than 1,000 students in five to six years. The report also calls for adding one sorority per year for the next four years.

"We have seen steady growth in the Greek community for several years," said Jerry Rinehart, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. "The Greek Community Strategic Task Force identified growth as a major theme and our Panhellenic community has made a firm commitment to growing their numbers. When compared to non-Greek students, members of the Greek have higher graduation rates and feel more connected to the campus community.  I am glad that women will now have more opportunities to benefit from engagement in the Greek community."  

Chi Omega will have its own period to recruit members, following the traditional fall recruitment period for sororities. They are also negotiating to use space at the university’s new 17th Ave. residence hall.

The Panhellenic Council voted to search for a new sorority in December 2012. Six organizations conducted exploratory visits in January 2013. While all six submitted applications to the U, the PHC was allowed recommend three – according to National Panhellenic Conference rules - for a second presentation. The final round of visits was conducted March 8-10.

Following the presentations, the U’s PHC ranked sororities based on academics, finance, future growth plans, housing, leadership development, long-term support, marketing, new member programming, recruitment plans, risk management, sisterhood and community integration.  Ultimately, the nine voting chapters unanimously selected Chi Omega and Phi Mu.

The Greek community has been part of the U for 138 years, chartering its first fraternity in 1874 and first sorority in 1880.

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