Chapman’s Greek Fam Just Got Bigger

From left, Tania Michelle, Kiana Cablayan, Ashley Chiate, and Laura Christensen pose together after becoming new members on Alpha Chi Omega Bid Day. Photo courtesy of Cablayan.

On preference morning in January, freshman Kiana Cablayan found her worst fear of the weekend had come true: she hadn’t been invited back to any of her preferred sorority houses. 

She wasn’t planning on joining a sorority at first, but after attending recruitment and feeling the energy in the room, she felt it was time to find her group of people.

But no group came calling.

For weeks, she tried to dismiss her desire to find connections in Greek life, but the feeling persisted. Finally, a light in the darkness came: an email from new sorority Alpha Chi Omega giving her one more chance. She took it. And to her surprise, it was nothing like she thought it would be. 

“It’s the anti-sorority sorority,” said Cablayan. “A lot of us dropped formal recruitment; we’re not sorority-type girls.”

Left, new member Kiana Cablayan stands with Kappa Alpha Theta member Lexi Carranza, who celebrates her joining Alpha Chi Omega. Photo courtesy of Cablayan.

After nearly seven years of the same affiliates, Chapman’s Panhellenic announced a new sorority has joined the university’s Greek life, with the potential for another next spring.

Alpha Chi Omega (AXO) is the first official addition to campus, having taken a new pledge class this year. The other is Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), the first intercollegiate historically African American sorority. 

Alpha Chi Omega’s letters. Screenshot of graphic from Google Images.

The new additions would make 10 sororities and 10 fraternities at Chapman. According to Panhellenic, about 31% of students participate in Greek life.

The last sorority introduced to campus was Pi Beta Phi in 2015, which took several years to become established. So why did Chapman make the decision for more?

 “The sorority community unanimously voted to add a new chapter to our campus back in 2019,” said panhellenic president Anna Cordes. “It was postponed one year due to COVID.” 

Alpha Kappa Alpha’s letters and crest. Graphic by Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Alpha Chi Omega amassed new members quickly, welcoming 85 this February. 

While its presence has been made widely known on campus, many haven’t been able to gauge its vibe. 

Alyson James, a recruiter for AXO, said that the sorority was a place that “values each member for who they are, either through leadership opportunities or individual passions.”

Not particularly revealing. But new members have high hopes.

“I feel like it’s an opportunity to make something new,” said Cablayan. “Make a sorority that matches your vibe.” 


Nearly 85 of Alpha Chi Omega’s new members line up together for a photo commemorating their arrival. Photo courtesy of Cablayan.

Although new, the chapter’s “Bid Day” on Feb. 28 was a success. Some of the new members had previously been introduced to Alpha Chi Omega during formal recruitment.

“During the zoom crap or whatever, Alpha Chi Omega was a part of it,” said Cablayan, a new member. “When we did the rankings, it was actually pretty high on my list.” 

Alpha Chi Omega new members pose alongside the active members who held their signs for them as they ran home on Bid Day in February. Photo courtesy of Veronica Matranga.

Only Alpha Chi Omega has been officially welcomed to Greek life, but talks of adding a new sorority opened the door for Alpha Kappa Alpha. Its inclusion is highly anticipated by Chapman and likely to occur next year. 

Gamma Phi Beta Panhellenic vice president Berkana McDowell. Photo courtesy of McDowell.

The chapter specializes in admitting women of color and is well-known in the Black community.

Unlike Alpha Chi Omega, not many students on campus seem to be aware of its impending arrival. The sorority has held a few interest meetings, but isn’t an official part of Greek life yet. 

“There hasn’t been any evidence of anyone who represents that chapter at meetings,” said junior Berkana McDowell, panhellenic vice president of Gamma Phi Beta. “The only thing I’ve heard is that some students, including myself, fear that [their arrival] will limit the amount of diversity we see in other chapters.”

BSU Vice President Maddie Wright. Photo courtesy of Wright.

However, Maddie Wright, vice president of Chapman’s Black Student Union (BSU), said she sees the addition of Alpha Kappa Alpha as a positive change to sorority life on campus. 

“Diversity within other chapters on campus is not solely a ‘Greek life’ issue; rather, a university-wide issue,” said Wright. “Through AKA’s presence, the Panhellenic community will seem more welcoming for women of color, and their chapter will promote Black excellence on Chapman’s campus.” 

With fresh sororities in the mix, it’s hard not to think other chapters don’t feel at least a bit threatened. Is there possibly competition in the works? 

“It won’t contribute to any more competition than already exists,” said McDowell. “It’s really just another place for girls to find their people, and I think that’s a wonderful thing.” 

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Hannah Nazari is a junior communication studies major with a minor in visual journalism. She is a self-described creative with a passion for writing and art, but mostly, she’s just a goof.