Panhellenic Council works to improve sorority recruitment and campus life

Out of 138 applications from 48 colleges, the Willamette Panhellenic Council will be one of the 15 Panhellenic groups from across the country to receive a National Panhellenic Conference award.

Willamette’s Panhellenic Council comprises members of all campus sororities — Alpha Chi Omega, Delta Gamma and Pi Beta Phi. The councilwomen collaborate on recruitment, philanthropy, scholarship and community building, and they also serve as unbiased resources for both affiliated and non-affiliated women.

The National Panhellenic Conference will honor the council with an Annual Biennial Progress Award for its recent work to strengthen and refocus recruitment and to increase campus presence through philanthropic service.

Within the last two years, the women have also hosted a blood drive and introduced the Rummage Sale – a fundraising effort to offer a scholarship to Greek women to offset the cost of dues. The council is also responsible for the tradition of the “Serenades” dance concert, which raises funds for Marion-Polk Food Share.

Working toward an effective balance

Sarah Sonnenfeld ’12, Panhellenic vice president of recruitment, says that the council has been working to achieve parity among the three sororities’ recruitment processes and to focus on year-round recruitment, as opposed to the traditional idea of “rush.” The Panhellenic Council also voted to open sorority houses to women during the fall semester — a move that, according to Sonnenfeld, allows interested students to more accurately evaluate the values they share with the sororities and to establish relationships with active members.

“What’s great is that, while the award was based on the previous two years of recruitment, we’re still moving forward,” she says.

This spring, the council will implement its newest change; recruitment will move from the first to the second week of spring semester to allow both women who are interested in recruitment and affiliated women to participate in the annual MLK Celebration’s many activities and service opportunities. 

Leading with values

“We’re moving toward a more values-based recruitment, emphasizing the many impressive talents, varied activities and personal values that sorority women on our campus have,” says Sonnenfeld.

In October, Panhellenic president Jessica Meyers ’12 will travel to Austin, Texas, to receive the award on behalf of the council, taking the opportunity to attend related workshops and network with other Panhellenic leaders.

“This award is a significant achievement for Willamette’s Panhellenic community,” says Meyers. “It serves as affirmation that our Panhellenic is in fact strong, thriving and headed in the correct direction for our campus.”

For more information on these and other organizations, please visit the Willamette Greek Life website.