This past May, five panhellenic women represented the Ppanhellenic Association at Leadership Connection, a leadership summit hosted at Camp Michigania by the Center for Campus Involvement. Leadership Connection brought together fifty student leaders from nineteen different student organizations across campus. Organizations represented ranged from Central Student Government and Circle K to the Society of Women Engineers and the Vietnamese Student Association. This unique event brought together leaders of our campus and created a space where collaboration and creative ideas were abundant.
The Panhellenic Association was represented by Megan Taylor, VP Finance of the Panhellenic Executive Board, Mariel Geron, VP Internal Affairs of the Panhellenic Executive Board, Asja Kepes, a chapter president, Breanna DeCocker, a Rho Omega, and Allison Powell, a SRC Member. Panhellenic was thrilled to have a diverse representation as we had leaders ranging from our current executive board, to chapter presidents, to incoming and future leaders. There were several other panhellenic women present, who were specifically representing other organizations, but in all, there were ten panhellenic women represented!
Leadership Connection provided a great experience for our women to gain confidence and inspiration and allowed us to connect with and form relationships with countless other student leaders across campus. Throughout the week, organizations participated in “collab sessions”, in which representatives from two organizations would sit down and take time to intentionally brainstorm how they could collaborate. In these sessions, Panhellenic met with Central Student Government, LSA Student Government, Circle K, SAPAC, Society of Woment Engineers, the Engineering Honors Program and Tau Beta Sigma. These collaborative sessions were each unique and led to inspiring and productive conversations about how we can improve in areas such as Greek service day, tailgate safety, and events promoting women’s wellness. These collaborations set a foundation of friendship and respect that will continue when we arrive back on campus this fall – making our organizations stronger as we strive to support one another. As the fall semester draws near, Panhellenic is excited to continue these conversations that begin at Leadership Connection and continue to seek out ways to engage with other student organizations across campus.
Throughout the week, breakout sessions based on varying topics took place and on Thursday, the Panhellenic women had the opportunity to lead a breakout session that sought to confront and breakdown organizational stereotypes. In this session, organizations shared the stereotypes that they face in their organization, these ranged from cultural stereotypes, stereotypes of exclusivity and our own stereotypes that are assumed of Greek students. This session was empowering because we noted that stereotypes are harmful for all involved and we brainstormed how as student leaders we can bond together as allies to help breakdown stereotypes across campus. We recognized that we are stronger when we stand together and that breaking stereotypes begin with friendships and collaboration.
Leadership Connection was an invaluable experience that gave us space to clearly identify and remember our values, our purpose and the power of friendships and alliances across organizations. Panhellenic was grateful to have the opportunity to learn from and meet so many passionate leaders of our campus and it was an incredible experience!