December 17, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: Going Greek with Panhellenic Love

When I was a freshman at Cal Poly, I was convinced that I would always be involved with the Executive Board of the Epsilon Chi chapter. I wanted to make a difference in my chapter and be recognized for the contributions and leadership roles I played within my house. This year, however, my mindset changed. When the applications for Cal Poly’s Panhellenic Council, the governing board for sororities, came out, I started wondering, “Could I be a part of something bigger than solely Alpha Phi? Could I make a difference to Greek Life as a whole and focus on the bigger picture?” As the month went on, I became more and more interested in joining Panhellenic and standing up as a leader in the Greek community, and my friends and family encouraged me to follow this interest. Eventually, I applied for Panhellenic Council. The interview was nerve racking and a bit intimidating, and my heart pounded as I sat in front of the entire board, but their obvious enthusiasm made me sure that I was making the right decision. Hours later, I received a phone call offering me the role of Vice President of Communications - the position that I felt was built for me.

I've officially held my position for about two weeks, and already feel the impact that Panhellenic has had and will continue to have on me. I have had the privilege of working with talented and intelligent women from all different sororities - women I most likely wouldn't have met without Panhellenic. It has already opened doors for networking with companies, news agencies and especially school officials. Through my communication with these individuals and organizations I feel that by the end of my term, I will have gained numerous opportunities and a vast array of knowledge that will benefit my professional career in the future.

As VP Communications, it is my job to plan and design Panhellenic's theme for Cal Poly’s Open House, the weekend built to show prospective students all Cal Poly has to offer. At this event, it is our job to effectively show potential new members the beauty of “Going Greek,” and I am so excited to display to these thousands of young women how Greek Life has been such a tremendously positive experience for myself, and how it can be for them as well. Without Panhellenic, I would not have the opportunity to do this on such a large scale.

Being a member of Panhellenic is not always easy. It takes time and effort that is uncompensated except for your own pride, and often it requires an unbiased opinion, which can be difficult when you love something as much as I love Alpha Phi. Formal recruitment in the fall, for example, is a period during which Panhellenic board members must disaffiliate with their chapters, say good-bye to their letters (just for a while!) and be Recruitment Counselors. Disaffiliating can be difficult, as you cannot contact any of your friends in your sorority, but if I can help another woman find what I found when I joined Alpha Phi, it makes it all worthwhile. If we as a board can successfully place over a thousand women into houses that will turn into homes, then we are doing our jobs right, and that is all the reward we need.

The Panhellenic board encompasses women from all chapters, allowing us to be defined as sorority women rather than categorized by each of our individual chapters or houses. Panhellenic is about serving every single woman in every single sorority. It is a board of committed leaders dedicated to improving their communities and the lives of women around them. So Go Greek, and spread some Panhellenic love. 

Claire Lindsey is a collegiate member at Cal Poly (Epsilon Chi). Learn more about Claire by clicking here.

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