Council to push academics, philanthropy

The Panhellenic Council is set to begin a push to increase its commitment to philanthropy and academics, as it ushers in the new executive board members for the 2010 calendar year.

The newly elected board, led by incoming President Laura Redfern and Executive Vice President Hilary Veit, was announced Nov. 23 and will be initiated Dec. 10. Next semester, the council will start reviewing the budget and the amount of money that each programming committee is allotted with a focus on making everything more efficient, Redfern said.

“We need to see where there are areas of the budget where funds are being underutilized so we can put them toward other activities,” Redfern said. “Once we recognize how much money we have, then we can expand our programming.”

Sorority recruitment is costing less each year despite an increase in membership, Redfern said, which has prompted plans to redistribute funds to philanthropy, marketing and scholarship programming.

This year the board, for the first time, offered five Greek scholarships, and the new board plans to add more or increase the amounts from $1,000 to $1,500.

“The first year scholarships were a success,” Redfern said. “Our efforts are trying to improve to meet the caliber of Greeks that we had, because there is also [more] need during the recession and more girls who need help paying for their dues.”

Ada Del Rosso, incoming vice president of finance, said the executive board should also focus on publicizing the scholarship opportunities and the financial aid options.

“We may see fewer people joining sororities next year, but there are ways of getting help, scholarships and financial aid,” Del Rosso said. “I hope in the future we can emphasize the fact that it is a financial cost but it is worth it in the end.”

Ayushi Gummadi, who was elected vice president of scholarship, said she also hopes to increase the importance that Greeks place on academics.

“I want to encourage scholarship chairs to have a bigger say within each house, and increase chapter scholarship chairs’ involvement with the Panhellenic board,” Gummadi said.

The new executive board also plans to increase the emphasis put on philanthropy events for students across the board, by increasing the number of service days held during the school year and moving from a national focus to more service for the local community.

“I would like to see us do more for the surrounding community as well, something that would make it a safe philanthropy for students, do something on campus to raise money to help out some kind of local organization that helps out with crime reduction,” Redfern said.

The new year also presents an opportunity to better utilize the budget beyond the major events that the council puts up, according to Tracy Moyers, the outgoing vice president of finance for Panhellenic.

“I want to encourage the new board to utilize the budget more efficiently,” Moyers said. “I hope to see them make chapter dues and individual member dues more affordable, and also ease in more scholarships.”

Moyers said she also hopes the new board will focus on increasing Greek unity on the Row and Panhellenic visibility on campus.

“I really hope that they can get the whole Row more involved in things as a whole,” Moyers said. “A lot of times we do great things but they are disjointed with each individual chapter. To move forward, we need to bind together more and sort of have a united front.”

The first major event Panhellenic will focus on for the upcoming semester is the annual spring Greek Gala, which will be held in March, Redfern said.