WKU welcomes the first Delta Zeta pledge class

Destiny Stark, right, of Providence, Kentucky embraces her friend Dani Chavis, 21, of Belleville, Illinois, after Chavis, along with other women, was inducted into the new Delta Zeta sorority during their inaugural bid day, Sunday, Sept. 13. Stark acted as a Friends of Delta Zeta (FODZ) which is a position for friends, administrators and other greek members to support the induction of the new members. Katie Roberts/HERALD

Kalee Chism

For many WKU students, being a part of Greek life is being able to identify with a group of men or women close enough to call family. This year, a new sorority was brought into the Greek community in hopes of creating a home to more girls on campus. 

Delta Zeta, the newest chapter to the Hill, is a Panhellenic Association sorority with over 165 active chapters in the United States. The decision to add Delta Zeta to the Panhellenic community was finalized in April 2015. The decision had been discussed since September 2014.

According to Alexandria Kennedy, the coordinator of Greek Affairs at WKU, Delta Zeta was chosen for three main reasons: brand recognition, support for the chapter and compatible values.

“Brand recognition: The organization has many successful chapters throughout the state of Kentucky,” said Kennedy. “The sorority showed a vested interest in supporting a potential chapter by creating an alumnae club here in Bowling Green to directly work with the women. And the values of Delta Zeta aligned with the mission and values of our Panhellenic community and could fill a niche here on campus.”

Like the other Panhellenic sororities, Delta Zeta began recruitment during the formal process this August. Two educational leadership consultants, Brette Powell and Kathryn Malone, came to WKU from headquarters to assist with this process.

After attending the first round of recruitment, Delta Zeta dropped out to begin its own process. This process included information sessions and meet-and-greets starting on Aug. 28. After the meet-and-greets, the representatives met with the girls in one-on-one interviews. This process concluded with bid day on Sept. 13, when Delta Zeta welcomed 72 new members into its new chapter.

“It will be great to develop our Greek community,” Director of Student Activities and Organizations at WKU Charley Pride said. “Hopefully as they get established, they’ll give women an opportunity to be involved and be a part of the WKU Greek community.”

According to Powell, joining a new sorority on campus will offer the women an opportunity at leadership.

“The executive council will be selected per the national nominations and elections process just like all 165 Delta Zeta chapters,” Powell explained. “However, the women joining Delta Zeta at WKU all have a fast track opportunity for leadership.”

Adding another sorority to Greek life at WKU affects all chapters on campus, and the community has welcomed Delta Zeta with support. Some of the chapters showed their support by attending Delta Zeta’s bid day and helping to welcome these new Delta Zeta women into the community.

Kelley King, the membership director for WKU Phi Mu, believes Delta Zeta’s joining in the Panhellenic community is beneficial to the Greek community.

“I think for the first year, they will get started and girls will like them because it’s something new and there’s more opportunities, but next year there will be a spike in their numbers,” King said.

The 72 new Delta Zeta members were welcomed into the chapter this past weekend. New members included sophomore Shelby Harden from Campbellsville, who is excited to begin this journey to help establish the new chapter.

“I’m just excited to meet everyone here and develop this sisterhood,” Harden said. “I joined because I wanted to get more involved in community service. I wanted to have [a home] here at Western. It’s just a great way to develop and make connections.”

Delta Zeta is hoping to gain 158 new members by the end of this semester and finish the process with installation in December. They are hoping to continue the same process until they meet quota. According to Michelle Smith, the former national president of Delta Zeta, the sorority is excited to see the impact its chapter can make.

“We are so excited to be a part of the Western Kentucky University Greek community and for Delta Zeta to make its impact on the campus community and the community at large,” Smith said.