After registering students in Lobby 10 for the past two weeks, new sorority Pi Beta Phi will give bids this Sunday to 60–80 undergraduate women.
Pi Phi, which is new to MIT this year, did not participate in regular recruitment with the other five sororities earlier in September, but is holding its recruitment now. All MIT undergraduate women who have not already pledged can participate in Pi Phi’s recruitment events.
Those who want to join Pi Phi can also complete their registrations online at http://www.pibetaphi.org/pibetaphi/MIT/. All day today, Pi Phi will host Conversation Cafes in W20-491, where current Pi Phi members will answer questions about their sorority. Pi Phi members from the University of Connecticut will also be present at the event to answer provide a national perspective of the sorority.
The preference ceremony will take place on Saturday, and there will be a Bid Day Celebration on Sunday to inaugurate the new Massachusetts Gamma chapter.
The addition of Pi Phi into the Panhellenic Association represents a growing demand for sororities at MIT. Kaya Miller, assistant dean of FSILGs, said that the new sorority was added to ease overcrowding at MIT’s other five sororities, some of which exceed 120 members. According to Miller, it is difficult for such a large group to establish the “familial atmosphere” that sisters want.
MIT is one of the few private institutes that is willing to reach out to new sororities, said Miller. She said she will be proud to help Pi Phi settle in.
A Pi Phi alum, Luisa Badaracco, is organizing the recruitment and will stay on year-round to get the chapter started. Originally from the Boston area, Badaracco said that she has always been impressed with greek life at MIT. “Pi Phi is privileged and lucky to be selected as the newest member of the MIT greek system,” she said. By next year, Badaracco hopes to get a house for the new chapter.
Panhel made the decision to add a new sorority last year, sending out twenty-one invitations. Tiffany Guo ’09, president of Panhel, said that eleven sororities applied for the opening at MIT, and after researching the core values, histories, and backgrounds of these sororities, Pi Phi earned the nomination.
According to Guo, it can take anywhere from two to five years for a new sorority to become self-sustaining and completely integrated into the Greek system. “After that,” Guo said, “Panhel may consider adding another sorority to MIT.”
Founded in 1867, Pi Phi has established 133 chapters across 43 states and Canada. This year, Pi Phi also established chapters at New York University and Mississippi State University, and will be the sixth sorority to join MIT’s greek system.
Pi Phi’s mission statement reads “to promote friendship, develop women of intellect and integrity, cultivate leadership potential and enrich lives through community service.”
Along those lines, the sorority’s philanthropy goal is to promote literacy within the local community. Pi Phi’s Champions Are Readers program is a national volunteer effort that places sorority members in elementary schools where they mentor children in reading.
Pi Phi is also partners with First Book, a non-profit organization that donates children’s books to low-income families that cannot afford books for their children. Throughout the year, Pi Phi and First Book work together to organize ‘Speed-Read’ challenges, where local celebrities read short texts as fast as they can in front of an audience of children. All proceeds from the event are donated to the purchase of books for low-income families.