When most people think Greek they may imagine scenes from the film Animal House, but Jill Wang believes there is something more to sororities than toga parties. This member of Kappa Alpha Theta has gained a lot from her sisterhood and now as the president of the Panhellenic council, she looks to make other girls’ experiences in their sororities just as memorable. As president of Panhel there are a lot of duties to uphold, but showing by the recent success of Greek Week, Jill is definitely up to the task. Her Campus chatted with Jill about her position, Greek Week, and the myth around sororities.
What is the best part about being in a sorority?
The friendships and connections I have made with not only girls in my sorority, but also with the men and women who are Greek across campus.
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Why do you think sororities are important to Penn?
Sororities provide a social outlet from the day-to-day life of a student. They help women to foster bonds that enrich us both academically and emotionally. Sorority women are some of the best and brightest leaders on campus, and as a collective we are able to accomplish great things to positively impact the Penn and local community.
What does sorority membership provide for its members?
Sorority membership promotes life-long bonds between sisters. In addition to social events, sororities also provide opportunities to engage in philanthropic service. By joining a sorority, you gain access to a network of talented, strong women who want to see you succeed both socially and academically, while in school and beyond.
Are there any downsides you've seen caused by having sororities on campus?
Not in my opinion--unless you call anything about sisterhood, scholarship, service or leadership a downside!
Do you think sororities get a negative stereotype? Why do you think that is?
It is inevitable that when an individual misrepresents a group, outsiders generalize his or her actions to the entire group. Unfortunately, sororities sometimes fall prey to such generalizations. Something one girl does is not necessarily what the entire group stands for!
What is the Panhellenic Council?
Panhel is the collaborative body that presides over all 8 of the sororities
As the president of Panhel what is your job?
Some of my official duties as Panhel president include calling and presiding at all regular and special meetings for the University of Pennsylvania Panhellenic Council, acting as a liaison and representative of the Panhellenic Association to the University Community and to the University Administration especially regarding issues pertaining to the members of the Panhellenic Association and communicating on a regular basis with IFC and MGC presidents.
Basically, I oversee the operations of the entire council, helping to plan programming, philanthropy/service events, etc.
What's the best part about being president of Panhel?
Representing a body of some of the highest achieving, hardworking, dedicated, passionate women on campus. I love the fact that I can help to make their experience in a sorority continually rewarding.
Do you have any exciting events coming up?
Though the school year (and Greek Week) is wrapping up, in April we have a couple of events planned. We hope to throw a Senior event where graduating sorority members can celebrate their achievements at a social brunch. The council also is planning a philanthropy kickball tournament to support the B+ foundation, a local cause. Finally, we are in the midst of putting together a workshop for advice on how to dress for a summer internship. This last event is part of our "Pump it up with Panhel" initiative, which is a series of events designed to promote mental and bodily health for women across campus. Any proceeds from all Pump it up with Panhel events go directly to our newly founded scholarship fund, which will help to open up Greek life to a more diverse body of students.
How is Greek Week going?
Great! We had Powderpuff football and a post-game celebration at City Tap House on Friday, where we provided free wings and pizza to Greeks. On Saturday, we hosted a president's service event at Penn's Relay for Life. Presidents from both fraternities and sororities across campus will be hosting a booth where Relayers can write cards of encouragement and hope to cancer patients. Finally, Sunday is our carnival--an event open to the entire campus. We will have free food, games, a 50/50, and even a charity eating contest where both boys and girls will have a chance to win prizes!
What is your favorite Panhel event of the year?
My favorite Panhel event really is a week of events: Greek Week, in both the fall and the spring!
How do you think your experience as Panhel president will help you in the future?
Being President of Panhel has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my Penn career. I am glad to give back to the community and sisterhood that has already helped to shape the person I am today. The skills I have learned may help me with my career in the future, and I will carry this leadership experience with me for the rest of my life!