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New sorority to debut at Lehigh

Members of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority relax in their house. The university will gain a new sorority when Zeta Tau Alpha begins recruiting efforts in January 2011.

A new sorority will join Lehigh’s Greek community this spring, according to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) will move into the Upper Centennial Thornburg building by the start of the 2011-12 academic year.

Founded in 1898, ZTA is the third-largest National Panhellenic Conference group, with 151 active collegiate chapters and 206,000 members. Regionally, it has established chapters at the University of Pennsylvania, Moravian College and Kutztown University.

“The addition of ZTA to Lehigh’s Greek community is definitely a step forward for our fraternities and sororities,” says Veronica Hunter, Greek Life coordinator. “ZTA’s national programs in bystander intervention, hazing education and risk reduction will advance our community for the better, and we are very excited about it.”

While ZTA is not a culturally based sorority, Hunter said the organization itself is very diverse, “and that is also a growing focus of Greek life at Lehigh,” she said. Of Lehigh’s 31 fraternities and sororities, four of the newest chapters are culturally based.

Representatives of ZTA visited campus this past semester to conduct membership research and hold informational meetings, Hunter added.

“This is an important step in the process to make a seamless transition into the Lehigh culture,” Hunter said. “ZTA will not be participating in spring 2011 formal recruitment, but will have its own designated time later to recruit new members.”

A complementary philanthropic focus

An on-campus campaign to make students aware of the new sorority will be held the week of January 24. Interested students will have an opportunity to gather more information about joining the new sorority. ZTA will consider all classes when selecting members, Hunter said.

The new sorority was recommended by an extension committee that was convened to review potential additions to the Lehigh Greek system, said Meaghan Phipps ‘11, the Panhellenic Council’s vice president for recruitment.

“We believed that their organization would complement the existing chapters here on campus since ZTA holds similar values to other Greek chapters,” Phipps said. “Their philanthropic focus is Breast Cancer Awareness, which meshes well with other Panhellenic programs. ZTA will bring its strength in this area to our campus, introduce new ideas, and hopefully implement its own events to make our annual Pink Week even more successful in years to come.”

Lehigh’s fraternity and sorority community is in a constant state of self-examination, and expansion is a natural component of that process, said Tim Wilkinson, director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

“By bringing new chapters to campus, opportunities are forged for students not previously interested in the Greek experience,” he said. “This influx of students into a new organization forces other chapters to assess themselves and ask, ‘What is a new group offering that we are not?’”

 

Story by Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

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