I was dreading disaffiliation. I wasn’t quite sure how I would possibly survive without being around my sisters. I was giving up the letters that meant so much to me.
However, the week of Rho Chi training, I found myself giggling with girls from different houses like they were my own sisters. Then it occurred to me that truly, they were my sisters. Regardless of chapter, we are part of a larger sisterhood. But oftentimes we get so caught up into segmenting ourselves into individual houses we forget that we are all Greek women. We allow the spirit between chapters to become competitive rather than cooperative.
Truthfully, every woman who joins a sorority has some core truths about her.
We are intelligent, involved women committed to our educations and careers. We like to have fun. We value friendship above all else. We all share these attributes. We have many diverse, unique girls in our houses, but we all share these values. The divide we put between houses is useless and irrelevant. Why should we be anything but sisterly to one another when we have so much in common? Every Greek woman in a different house is a potential friend.
After disaffiliation and being on Panhellenic, I can honestly say I have a friend in every house. When I did walkarounds for Panhellenic Pride Week, I was terrified to face almost 200 women in each chapter and ramble around the yellow ribbons I was distributing. But I could always find a smiling, familiar face in the crowd, a wave, a mouthing of “good job” after I finished. The support was universal across chapters. I felt like I had sisters in the room regardless of which letters were plastered on the exterior of the house.
When my chapter lost two sisters within one heartbreaking month, we had the support of the entire community. The sisterhood extended far past our own. The overwhelmingly kindness from every other chapter truly kept my chapter going during one of the hardest times in our lives.
When you go Greek, you don’t just get one chapter of sisters. You join a community of sisters.
Lesson Two: Serving on Panhellenic Executive Board is different than being on your own chapter’s executive board.
After serving Vice President of Public Relations for Kappa Delta, I thought I was 100% prepared for Public Relations Director for Panhellenic.
I was wrong.
They are both time-consuming, rewarding and challenging positions, but the actual functions differ immensely. Being on Panhellenic Executive Board allows you to inject as much creativity as you want into the position. Sometimes on Chapter Executive Board, there’s the pressure to do things the way they’ve always been done. For Panhellenic, you have your position and your essential duties, but you also get to make it whatever you want it to be.
Coming into the position, there was a lot of bad media circulating regarding our community, as well as sororities nationwide. Greek life was almost always associated with negativity, which skews our community's image away from what we're really about. I really wanted to give the women of Panhellenic a voice, an outlet to tell our side of story, a mouthpiece to communicate all the amazing things we Greek women were doing. So I created a blog on the website and enlisted bloggers from chapters to write for it. The posts about sisterhood, philanthropy and values provide a honest voice for our community that is so constantly bashed by media.
Many other members on my Panhellenic Exec board have done the same, taking their position and putting tons of creativity into it, leaving their legacies. The creativity and leadership from the women surrounding me on Exec Board truly amazes and inspires me.
Lesson Three: Supporting One Another is Critical
Being on Panhellenic consists of about half your own duties and half helping with your fellow Executive Board members' events, projects or initiatives. Panhellenic is a very collaborative environment. The women on my board are always volunteering to help out with whatever it is you need assistance with. You can ensure that someone will be there to help you with your own position if you need. You can’t make every event, but you make it to the ones you can and provide a helping hand and a smiling face. And you can trust your fellow Exec board members will do the same.
Lesson Four: It’s more than a position. It’s an unforgettable experience.