This month Ohio State’s Panhellenic Association will recognize a new chapter as Zeta Tau Alpha recolonizes on campus.
ZTA originally colonized in 1921 but decided to close its OSU chapter in 1991 because of low membership compared with other chapters on campus.
“We have been patiently waiting 25 years for the right time to return, and 2016 is definitely that time. We can’t wait for ZTA to be back at Ohio State,” said Brooke Bahlinger, a traveling leadership consultant for ZTA.
ZTA participated in the first round of the PHA’s formal recruitment that took place in late January with OSU’s 16 already-established PHA sororities. ZTA presented during the first round of formal recruitment, but promptly dropped out as part of the colonization process, and will continue its own recruitment process in February.
There are currently eight consultants on campus in charge of recruitment, which involves more than three events, said Heather Giovenco, a traveling leadership consultant for ZTA.
“The first one is called Experience ZTA, which is pretty much an open house for interested students to learn about the basics of Zeta. The second is Think Pink, Think Zeta, based on our philanthropy of breast cancer education and awareness. The final event is our preference round,” Giovenco said.
The events are set to occur next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and they will run similar to PHA’s formal recruitment of “infoviews,” events in which students can learn more about ZTA, and ZTA can learn more about them.
ZTA’s recruitment process will wrap up with its bid day on Feb. 11. Bahlinger said the amount of bids the fraternity plans to give out will be “comparable” to the sizes of other chapters.
“We don’t know that number specifically, but it will probably be between 160 and 200 girls,” Bahlinger said.
Although the women’s fraternity will begin anew at OSU, it has a history of being colonized at other Big Ten schools.
“We have 166 collegiate chapters. We are located at all of the Big Ten schools, so we’re really familiar with how Big Ten football is and how academic it is, so we’re super excited to bring that full circle here at Ohio State,” Bahlinger said.
Although the new members will not be welcomed into a house this semester, the women’s fraternity is planning to have a house by next fall.
“We know that housing is a big part of being Greek at Ohio State, and we are not oblivious to that fact,” Bahlinger said. “But the girls will have enough sisterhood activities in the (Ohio) Union and fun stuff planned for them. We will have a house in the fall.”
Some current members of PHA said they feel having ZTA on campus will enhance the Panhellenic and Greek communities at OSU.
“Zeta really stands out because of their values and amazing local alumni support,” said Carla Ibarra, vice president of recruitment for OSU’s PHA and a fourth-year in strategic communication. “The consultants that are helping Zeta recolonize are also incredible women, and I would encourage anyone that isn’t currently in a chapter to go through their recruitment process.”
Gamma Phi Beta recolonized on OSU’s campus in 2014 after leaving in 1967. Gamma Phi Beta Standards Chair Nicole Huser, a third-year in strategic communication and political science, said her experience with the chapter has been “amazing” and a “really unique experience.” She added that she was excited to hear that ZTA was coming to campus.
“I think they’re going to bring their own special element to PHA that will end up enriching the community overall … I would definitely recommend looking into ZTA,” Huser said. “If it’s anything like what it was for me with Gamma Phi, it’ll be something that’s super rewarding for them.”
ZTA consultants said leadership potential within the chapter is very high since they will need to fill all positions. They added that ZTA is a special opportunity because new members can build the chapter from the bottom up and create its reputation.
“The members that we’re recruiting get to make Zeta at Ohio State whatever they want it to be, and they get to do it as a group, which honestly makes their bond even stronger,” Bahlinger said.