It isn’t always easy being Greek – just ask Corinna Romantic ’12, the current President of Cornell’s Panhellenic Council. Corinna’s term thus far has had its fair share of unexpected twists and turns: a one-year speed-up of the university’s implementation of the new recognition policy for fraternities and sororities, the arrival of Phi Sigma Sigma, the newest addition to the Panhellenic community, and increased pressure from the administration to end dangerous pledging practices have left Corinna with little downtime. Despite all the curveballs, this collegiette™ is still a champion for the system and its betterment – and wants you to be, too.
Corinna, a native Ithacan, has come a long way since the shy days of her freshman fall semester. She decided to go Greek that spring because it seemed like the perfect way to find a niche on a campus where it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Corinna’s father is also a member of the Greek community, and served as his chapter’s president while in college. She reflects, “It was something I always thought I wanted to do – I wanted to make the long-lasting friendships we’re all told you get when you join a sorority.”
When sophomore year rolled around, Corinna decided she wanted to get involved as a leader within the community. “I wanted people to love it as much as I do!” she says with a laugh. During the 2010 calendar year, Corinna served as the Panhellenic Vice President of University and Community Relations (VP UCR), a position she found particularly rewarding because of her ties to the Ithaca area. During her term, Corinna planned philanthropic events with the full backing of the 1500-member Panhellenic community. “You could see the difference you were making – we made an impact in areas I wasn’t able to in high school because of the size of our network,” she says.
Now that she’s President, Corinna is the main liaison between sorority chapter presidents, active members, the Interfraternity Council, alumnae, and the administration – all while balancing the course load of a biology major and involvement in various other organizations including student advising, Mortar Board (the senior honor society), and serving on the Convocation Committee. Her involvement and leadership haven’t gone unnoticed by those she works with. “Corinna is a passionate leader with the ability to bring about change using her patient and personal approach to relationship building. She has gained the trust and respect of her peers by involving them in discussions of important topics," says Laura Sanders, the advisor for Panhellenic.
Corinna has clearly taken great care in gathering her thoughts on the hot topic at hand: the various changes headed the Greek system’s way in the coming months, including a completely dry new member education period and the end of “pledging” as we know it. “The changes being made are to make our system better, and they’ll be easier to make once we can all work together. We’ve gotten away from the values we were founded upon, and these changes can help get us back to those – my letters mean so much to me, and people forget why those letters are there in the first place. We need to focus on what they are, where they came from, and what the people who founded them intended.” Corinna speaks with a graceful wisdom that makes it clear she cares deeply about the future of the Greek community. She also takes note of the way Greek women will be perceived moving forward – “we’re getting away from negative stereotypes and connotations that are made because we are involved in sororities. We do a lot of positive things for our community and have incredible support systems for one another.”
It’s clear that with someone like Corinna leading the way, the Greeks are in good hands – no matter what comes their way next.
Just the Facts
Favorite class and why? BIOMG 3350 – Principles of Biochemistry. “I liked it because it integrated everything I’d learned so far as a bio major – everything came together and I felt like I understood everything for the first time.”
Favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy. “I know! [laughs] I’m a loyal fan, even through the weird episodes.”
Choice Ithaca hotspot: “Home. I like going home on the weekends to grab dinner with my family – it’s nice to visit my dog and my parents.”
Favorite Purity Ice Cream flavor: “Chocolate chip cookie dough!”
Future plans: Not completely certain, but something involving “nursing and pediatrics.”
No. of 161 Things completed: “Somewhere in the 80s! My roommate and I have a checklist going – my goal is to finish it by the end of senior year.”
Favorite thing about attending Cornell: The diversity – “I’ve loved getting to know so many different people from so many different places.”
Best memory at Cornell: “Panhellenic elections my sophomore year.” Corinna and her sisters came back to their house and had a dance party in the parking lot to celebrate her win!
Why should a freshman girl rush in January? “To take part in something that is truly so much bigger than herself, and that will help her come into her own. She will make such good friends and learn so much about herself through her friendships with her sisters. True fact!”