Sorority to close before fall 2013
College and Greek life go hand-in-hand for many students, and getting accepted to a sorority is a dream come true for some members of the University.
For the sisters of the University chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, the dream will end after this semester.
Cassandra Kotsolakis, president of AXO, said the sorority will remain an active sorority at the University for the spring semester, but will close before the start of the fall.
Natasha Marchick, a member of AXO, said she was upset the chapter is closing after she joined last semester.
“I’m sad and disheartened that we are getting shut down,” she said. “My sisters and I were devastated when we got the news.”
Marchick said trouble arose for the chapter after recruitment and initiation in the fall of 2012.
“Headquarters flew in after the fall recruitment and said we were going to be shut down because we had a small pledge class,” she said.
After working hard during recruitment, Marchick said the news devastated the sisters at AXO.
“We worked so hard for formal recruitment, working in heels and inviting girls into our house,” she said. “We put all of our hearts into recruitment and this was not the planned outcome.”
The shutdown was a decision that was not made lightly, said Janine Grover, marketing and communications director at AXO headquarters.
“It is a very hard decision to take the steps to close a chapter,” she said. “It is one that is not made easily, but the members will continue to be valued members of the organization.”
Grover said the shutdown before the fall semester came as a result of efforts for recruitment from the sorority. The organization’s focus was more toward recruiting members and not on programs within Alpha Chi Omega.
“Primarily, they are not getting the experience we want our chapters to have,” she said. “We want them to focus on being leaders and better versions of themselves, as well as participate in programs our chapters are in.”
Marchick, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said she joined because she had friends in the University capter who recommended the sorority.
“They have always been warm and friendly to all the members,” she said. “They looked for unique qualities in all of their pledges.”
Marchick said she was happy when she became a member, as she was able to make friendships and network for future endeavors.
“I met a lot of friends and got a lot of best friendship experiences out of it,” she said. “They were always genuine and made me want to pledge with them.”
The decision to close the University chapter of AXO may have been given a lot of thought at headquarters, but Kotsolakis, a School of Engineering junior, said chapter members were never informed.
“We were never informed, and we were given the OK by our [headquarters] to initiate our new members last semester, which showed no sign of a shutdown,” she said.
Grover said there was not a singular reason that led to the shutdown of the chapter, but the decision had to be made.
“It is not something we want to do, we want to work out a way to keep a chapter open,” she said. “It comes down to asking ourselves ‘How long can we afford to support it?’ [and] ‘Can we better use the resources elsewhere?’”
The sorority became a target of ridicule on campus yesterday, when the University’s student-run satirical newspaper, The Medium, published a controversial article about AXO’s closing. The article caused many Greek-life organizations to speak out against the publication.
The Medium then issued an apology through its Facebook page and website, and removed the online version of the article.
“We are very humbled by the response from Alpha Chi Omega and the Greek community, and unlike other articles in the past that caused a controversy, we believe the student response was so unanimous that we couldn’t ignore it,” said Jordan Gochman, editor-in-chief of The Medium.
He said in the past, students broke into factions over controversial articles — some supporting them with others against them.
“The Medium will continue to take pride as the weekly humor magazine of Rutgers University, which is one of the only weekly college humor magazines in North America,” said Gochman, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.
While AXO will be closed by the upcoming semester, the current members will become alumni of the organization, Grover said. They will each have a lifetime membership in the organization, as well as access to various opportunities.
“They can join our virtual chapter along with graduates from Rutgers,” she said. “They can volunteer at our events, and they can apply for employment at our headquarters in Indianapolis. They can remain as active as they want to be.”
Grover said current members at the University are welcome to become active members again if they decide to join other areas’ members.
“As they move around the country they can network and build their own network within the organization to further themselves in their lives,” she said.