fraternities, which had gained a strong foothold in Old Asbury,
grew even more important in the new DePauw University. By 1918 seven
new fraternities had been organized on the DePauw campus, though
only three proved permanent additions. These were Delta Upsilon
(1887), Sigma Nu (1890), and Lambda Chi Alpha (1915), the last of
which had originated as the Darsee (DePauw Rooming) Club in 1912.
Even more sororities were organized at DePauw during these years,
six of which have persisted to the present. The first was Alpha
Chi Omega (1885), which began as a group of music students but widened
to include others; a second musical sorority, Phi Mu Epsilon, was
founded at DePauw but disbanded in 1905. Additional permanent sorority
chapters appearing on campus before 1918 were Alpha Phi (1888),
Alpha Omicron Pi (1907), Alpha Gamma Delta (1908), Delta Delta Delta
(1908), and Delta Zeta (1909).
In 1889 Phi Kappa Psi became the first fraternity to rent a whole
building as a chapter house rather than simply meet in rented rooms
on the courthouse square. The next year Beta Theta Pi took the further
step of purchasing the home of a departing professor, which 13 years
later was incorporated into a brick fraternity house, the first
such on campus. Shortly afterwards Sigma Chi built an entirely new
chapter house. By 1918 most fraternities and sororities either owned
or rented such residences to house their members.
Although membership in the social fraternities was growing, they
still composed only a minority of the student body. Competition
for new members was fierce, and the pledging process largely unregulated.
Rushing was called "Spiking," and often consisted of active
members going to the railroad station with a carriage to meet incoming
trains and seizing upon unsuspecting freshmen whom they took back
to their chapter houses, where the newcomers were promptly pledged.
attempt to keep spiking under control was one of the factors behind
the organization of both men's and women's Panhellenic societies
in the 1900s. As early as 1887 a men's Panhellenic banquet was held,
and in 1890 there was founded an organization called the Skulls,
composed of two senior members of each fraternity and later known
as Kappa Phi Omicron Kappa. A similar organization for women was
Ribs and Jawbones, also known as Gamma Tau Pi. Both eventually disbanded
without having served any very significant purpose. Kappa Tau Kappa,
founded in 1902, survived almost to the present as an important