COLUMBIA - A record number of potential sorority members in pale blue shirts lined the streets of MU's Greektown for the first day of Panhellenic recruitment Monday.
More than 1,300 women are registered to participate in the weeklong formal recruitment process - 200 more than registered in 2007, director of Greek Life Janna Basler said.
Basler said the record number of women registered is because of Greek Life's visibility at MU.
"The Greek community is very large for a land grant university," she said.
Both Basler and Audrey Danner, vice president of public relations for the Panhellenic Association at MU, said there was a correlation between the large freshman class admitted this year and the jump in registrants for recruitment.
Changes in the format of recruitment and the addition of a new sorority on campus are ways that the Panhellenic Association has tried to make recruitment smoother, Danner said.
For example, this year the first round of recruitment - when every woman visits with all 14 sororities - will be two days instead of one. There are also 18 groups of women visiting each house instead of the 16 groups there were in 2007. These changes will allow the potential new members to have shorter days, and the new sorority will hopefully allow for smaller pledge classes in all of the sororities, Danner said.
In 2007, the average pledge class was about 70 women, Danner said. There were 13 sororities in 2007.
Even with the large number of women participating in recruitment, Danner said so far it was going smoothly.
"With the mutual selection process, we hope to place as many women in chapters as possible," she said.
About 200 men participated in formal fraternity recruitment in June, which was also the highest it's ever been, Basler said.
Roughly 4,700, or 22 percent of students, were involved in Greek life in 2007 at MU, Basler said. At MU, 2,664 women were members of Panhellenic Assocation sororities, according to Greek Community Membership Statistics collected in June 2008.
These numbers do not include sororities and fraternities associated with the Multi-Cultural Greek Council or the National Pan-Hellenic Council - which preside over multi-cultural and historically black Greek organizations respectively.
Recruitment ends with Bid Day on Saturday, when the women will find out which chapters they will join.