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The Phi Sigma Sigma house, located at 4032 Walnut Street, will be the new home of Sigma Kappa, though Phi Sig may re-establish a chapter at Penn. [Julia Zhou/DP File Photo]

Phi Sigma Sigma, the sorority whose members either resigned or took alumni status last fall, will be re-established on campus sometime next year as Penn's eighth sorority. And the house that they once occupied -- located at 4032 Walnut Street -- will soon house Penn's newest sorority, Sigma Kappa, said Sigma Kappa President Rea Harrison and Panhellenic Council President Elizabeth Kimmelman. According to Associate Director for Programming for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Lea Shafer, the Phi Sig national headquarters "made the sorority's charter dormant" in November 2002 for a variety of reasons. Low membership caused the national headquarters to take action. The national Phi Sigma Sigma organization and the local Penn chapter came into conflict, and when the national organization opted for re-establishment, the sisters elected either to take alumni status or to resign completely from the sorority. "The undergraduate chapter and the national organization had several differences between them and could not reach amicable relations," Shafer said. As a result, the chapter is currently slated for re-establishment. "They are scheduled to come back within a 12-month period under the National Panhellenic Conference membership growth plan," Shafer said. "Re-establishment is an offer to all NPC sororities. When Phi Sigma Sigma -- the national organization -- chose this option, they made the charter dormant, meaning the chapter is not active and does not participate as part of the college Panhellenic." A representative from Phi Sigma Sigma headquarters could not be reached for comment, and no target date for the re-establishment could be pinpointed. Kimmelman speculated that the group will return next spring. "As of now, it would be next rush," Kimmelman said. "Girls who took alumni status will be able to go back into the organization, but girls who deactivated will not." Shafer, however, said she was not as certain about the date of Phi Sig's return. "I think they'll have an information session during the spring 2004 recruitment, but I can't be positive about that," Shafer said. "They will be active at some point next year, they will be taking in members -- whether that's in the fall or spring I'm unsure." Complicating Phi Sig's return is the issue of housing. Harrison confirmed that her chapter will take over the house previously occupied by Phi Sigma Sigma for next year. This is the first year that Sigma Kappa has been on Penn's campus, and the sorority did not have a chapter house this year. "We are extremely excited to be living in our own chapter house, and we were very fortunate to have been presented with such an opportunity within our first year of being on Penn's campus," Harrison said. "Having a chapter house will strengthen our sisterhood, unify us as an organization and allow us to have a more established presence on campus," she added. Harrison could not confirm or deny rumors that Sigma Kappa would only occupy the house for next year, returning it to Phi Sigma Sigma upon its re-establishment. "There is no definite answer as to what the future holds," Harrison said. Former members of Phi Sigma Sigma would not comment on the matter, but some have openly opposed the return of the sorority at Penn. In light of this, it is unclear how easy the re-establishment of Phi Sigma Sigma will be. "I think it's going to be difficult, but if they work really hard and have a lot of support, I feel like it's possible," Kimmelman said. "It's going to be a learning experience for a lot of people." "I definitely see them being successful," Shafer said. "It's very attractive for women to join a group that they can start themselves. "They'll definitely have support from Panhellenic and the seven other chapters, and I think that through a lot of support from many very interested alumni that they'll be just as strong and successful as our seven other groups."

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