With a new semester underway, the Penn State Panhellenic Council is looking forward to its new goals of effective communication, women empowerment and the establishment of a mental health awareness program.
Over winter break, Panhellenic Council members went on a retreat to get to know each other better, Panhellenic Council President Rachel Franceschino said.
Panhellenic Vice President for Finance Katie Gilmore said the seven Panhellenic executive leaders talked about their individual goals and planned the overall group’s goals for the semester.
On Jan. 6, Penn State’s Director of Greek Life Roy Baker organized a meeting of the four greek councils to review the standing policies, learn new policies and speak of any problems that can impact greek life, Gilmore (junior-accounting) said.
For the new semester, one of the goals of Panhellenic Council is to improve communication within the council and its chapters. Members are also seeking for sorority chapters to better communicate with the rest of the community, Franceschino (junior-political science, labor studies and employment relations) said.
Franceschino said the council wants to extend event planning to the other three greek councils, along with the Borough of State College and the Penn State community.
Executive Vice President Alexa Melucci also hopes to offer “valuable resources” for sorority leaders and the new executive board.
A goal for the council is for the chapters and the executive board to be comfortable enough with the council, so if help is needed, the chapters will seek it, Melucci (junior-biology) said.
A way for the Panhellenic Council to create this comfort level is through the planning of executive meetings and improving its social media presence, she said.
“We want to utilize the technology and social media resources available to us, such as the Panhellenic website, Twitter, Facebook and Google Calendars to better unite our chapters and share information,” Franceschino said.
Some of the events planned for the semester are Women’s Empowerment Week, Badge Day and Spring Recruitment, Franceschino said.
Gilmore said last semester Panhellenic Council held events for Women’s Empowerment week, which included body image seminars, adding that this semester, Panhellenic hopes to organize similar events.
Another goal for Panhellenic is to start a mental health awareness program that includes training, so members can recognize if others are in distress, Melucci said.
“The goal to become more aware, since it is prevalent among everyone,” Melucci said.
In light of Penn State’s chapter of Chi Omega receiving national attention after a photo depicting some members surfaced that the Panhellenic Council deemed, “offensive,” the council will continue focusing on efforts to foster positive conversation about diversity.
“Panhellenic is definitely taking diversity awareness seriously this year, and I am certain we’ll continue to do so in the future,” Franceschino said.
In the past, all Panhellenic chapters were required to take part in diversity awareness programs, but this year, Panhellenic is hoping to welcome other groups on campus into the program, Franceschino said.
Also, within the next two weeks, Panhellenic hopes to select a vice president of communications and vice president of membership, Melucci said.