Pledge class sizes, construction, split sororities

By Laura Fitzgerald, Senior Staff Writer

Living on a designated dorm floor is an experience that sororities tout as a bonding opportunity for sophomore sisters. For some women, though, that experience has been compromised.

Four sororities have members living in two or more dorms: Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi and Pi Beta Phi.

Sophomore Hannah Hendricks is a member of Alpha Delta Pi, which is split between two floors of Porter Hall and one small floor in Scott Hall. Hendricks lives with the smaller portion of girls in Scott Hall, which is primarily a co-ed dorm housing  first-year students.

“I do like my room, and I like the girls who live in Scott, but I wish we were all in one hallway,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks said she chose to live in Scott so she could live on Central Quad and have air conditioning in her room.

“I probably should have weighed that we wouldn’t be with as many girls,” said Hendricks.

The split housing, Hendricks said, diminishes her ability to bond with all of her sisters.

“I think it divides you just because the idea of a corridor is to be like a house, but when you’re all split up it doesn’t give you the chance to have that house feel,” she said.

While sorority women have been divided across dorms for several years, the growing number of women in sororities is impacting the placement of women in the dorms. Jenny Levering, director of the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said finding a single space large enough for all of the women in a sorority is challenging, and, for some sororities, there is simply not a floor large enough to accommodate all of the women in a pledge class.

“There’s not many places you can keep 80 women,” Levering said.

The number of women living in sorority corridors have increased from 811 in the 2013-14 school year to 923 in the 2016-2017 year, according to director of housing contracts and meal plans Brian Woodruff.

The renovation of Hamilton Hall, once designated as sorority housing, is also impacting the amount of beds that are available on Central Quad for sorority women, some of whom have been relocated to rooms in  Etheridge, Scott and Porter halls.

The process for placing women in sorority dorms is student-driven. Senior Katie Cross, Vice President of Member Education, said all sorority women are eligible to apply for a spot on a housing committee, which works  with members of Miami’s Panhellenic Association to assign sororities to dorms.

The housing committee chooses the dorms and placements for each sorority according to the number of women in the pledge class, while taking into secondary consideration  suite placements and special requests, such as  for a single room or walkways.

“It came down to the number of beds,” Cross said.“Some building literally did not have a single bed left over. There was no wiggle room.” 

Cross said the committee tried to keep as many women together as possible and to distribute women equally between the dorms.

“I was still trying to keep that meaningful experience of having as many girls as possible in the same area, because I think that was the most impactful experience,” Cross said. “If you can’t be surrounded by 80 girls, at least you could be surrounded by 25 or 35 of them.”

Sophomores Katie Schelli and Stephanie Ryan said they opted for sorority housing so they could live with as many fellow members of Alpha Delta Pi as possible. It’s harder for the women in Scott to socialize with women in Porter, they said.

“The people in Scott just don’t have as much opportunity to find other people in three seconds,” Ryan said. “They have to call people or text people.”

The women in Porter have ID card access to Scott, but not the other way around. Ryan said that if women in Scott had access to Porter, they could see their sorority sisters more easily.

Sophomore Lexi Sloan-Harper said she enjoys living in Richard Hall with a small group of women from  Delta Delta Delta. She is close with her roommate and neighbors, but she has not yet visited Porter, where all but 12 of the Delta Delta Deltas live.

Sloan-Harper said she would like to get to know her sisters better, which has been difficult while so many more live in another dorm.

“I think living in the corridor with all your sisters is how you get to know them.” Sloan-Harper said. “And if most them are at the other dorm, it sucks.”