The number of first-year women rushing sororities is up 10 percent from last year at the University of Richmond, said Alison Keller, who has been the director of Greek Life for the past 27 years.

"This year, 56 percent of first-year women are registered and last year there were 46 percent," Keller said.

Female students were required to register and attend sorority interest socials, which acquainted them with the Greek system at Richmond.

Keller attributes the increase in sorority interest to the sororities' ability to lead, encourage, be philanthropic and embody sisterhood, she said.

Women find out their bids, or sorority offers of membership, the week after returning from winter break.

"It is a mutual selection process," Keller said. Each woman will receive a bid from a sorority and will then decide if she wants to be a part of the organization, she said.

Women who want to be a part of the Greek system must meet the academic standard before even being considered, Keller said.

From there, interested students are randomly assigned to a Rho Gamma after attending information sessions. Rho Gammas serve as confidantes, counselors and educators in the large realm of Greek life to guide women through the recruitment process, Keller said.

"They can be the single most important component of the Greek-life experience for women," she said. "They set the tone and foundation for beliefs at the very onset of an individual's experience."

Keller handles everything from leadership and development to disciplinary issues in the Greek system, she said. "Anything that has Greek letters on it; I usually end up handling."

Senior Brittany Brady has been president of the Panhellenic Council since January 2011. The Panhellenic Council is the umbrella organization that governs the sorority system.

"We're up in our numbers, which is exciting," Brady said.

There were three information sessions made available, two of which were mandatory, for first-year women to attend, Brady said.

"We went to the freshman dorms and put a flyer underneath each door, which we have never done before," Brady said.

Danielle Gordon, executive member of the Panhellenic council, and Sara Porter, vice president of recruitment, played major roles in setting up information sessions, Brady said. The success of these information sessions is a possible reason the number of rushees has increased, she said.

The Richmond Greek system has been nationally recognized as the first to incorporate philanthropy into the recruitment process, as well as inclusion of "Sisterhood for Life," a program involving alumni which shows that Greek affiliation continues after graduation.

Contact staff writer Laila Hart at laila.hart@richmond.edu