Olivia Keck: EPC, VP of Recruitment

Meet Olivia, a Senior in the College and Vice President of Recruitment for the Emory Panhellenic Council. Check out below for more of what Olivia works on!

Name: Olivia Keck

Year: Senior

Major: Environmental Science (B.S.)

Hometown: Manila, Philippines; Durham, NC; Farmville, VA

Extracurricular Activities: Recruitment VP, Emory Panhellenic Council; Sorority Member (sorry Greek neutral until after Primary Recruitment!!); Environmental Science (amateur) Blogger; Server at Wagaya (in Emory Village— come see me!)

 

Tameka: Describe yourself in 5 words.

Olivia: Passionate, Principled, Hard-working, Curious, Empathetic

 

T: What made you want to get involved with Emory Panhellenic Council (EPC)?

O: I became involved with the EPC Executive Board kind of all of a sudden. Fresh off writing the script for skit night (the former sisterhood round) for my sorority’s recruitment, I ran for a recruitment-related position in my sorority, but didn’t get what I wanted. Shortly after the president of my sorority at the time recommended me for the Assistant Recruitment VP position on EPC. I hadn’t really heard of EPC or understood what it was about, but agreed to apply and do an interview because I have an innate passion for and curiosity about sorority recruitment. When I met with last year’s Recruitment VP I realized how amazing this leadership experience could be. We really connected during the interview and she gave me the job on the spot. Near the end of my term as Assistant, I was asked if I would run for Recruitment VP next year and I quickly said yes. My time as the Assistant Recruitment VP was invaluable to my experience now as the Recruitment VP. I am able to anticipate so much more because I had complete behind-the-scenes access last year. The women on last year’s board were so supportive and I remember them asking me, “Liv, what would you do differently next year?” 

T: What does your role as VP of Recruitment entail? What do you enjoy? What has been challenging?

O: My role as the VP of Recruitment involves many things. The obvious one is the planning and execution of Novemberfest, all rounds of Primary Recruitment, Convocation, and the All Sorority Informational. I work closely with my assistants to coordinate the Pi Chi Program and strategize ways to have women sign up for recruitment. (Currently I am working with the Communications VP to completely revamp our website so stay tuned!). As being part of the Executive Board, I have many conversations with the Standards VP and President about the ethics of recruitment and how to strengthen our panhellenic community as a whole. I also attend meetings with Emory faculty and other Greek Life leaders discussing how to restore trust between Greek Life and Emory. 

My recruitment role is mostly behind the scenes work. This year I decided we were going to do something different. I drastically changed the way that we approach recruitment. Typically, the Recruitment VP and the Standards VP look at the recruitment rules document that has existed for probably decades and make small tweaks. Then they disseminate this list of “thou shalt nots” to the chapters and demand that they follow. I believe that many of those rules were affecting my organizations credibility in the community and ultimately holding us back, so I scrapped the whole document. Now I lead workshops with the recruitment chairs from each of our chapters on recruitment rules and goals biweekly. These are often long, challenging sessions but it has been rewarding to see everyone so excited about having a voice now. As Recruitment VP this also plays to my advantage because it would have been difficult to have these women memorize a seven page rules document and then come down on them with a strict fine if they messed up. Now that they are approving of each rule I propose, their involvement in the process means that it’s easier for them to understand the rules and why we have them. Everyone has a voice in this process because I ask that every chapter votes on changes, and we only adopt changes based on a majority vote from the chapters.The basic goal of the new approach to these rules has been to deregulate, but with a purpose. I’ve enjoyed seeing everyone in my community become more involved and tuned-in to shaping the direction of EPC thanks to this new format of recruitment rules.

 

T: What is you goal/hope for EPC and the Greek community within the next couple of years?

O: For sorority recruitment, the legacy I hope to leave behind is my new approach to the recruitment rules. We regulated ourselves so much, trying to predict and anticipate every little thing that could go wrong, and the result was we kept adding rules instead of reevaluating the ones we already have. I believe it was holding the community back. This year I decided to create a list of goals and have the rules be structured in a way that accomplishes those goals. I’ve made it clear to the recruitment chairs that recruitment is a team effort and we can only accomplish things by everyone bringing their A-game. I think the team aspect brings positivity to the experience and reduces the competition between chapters because recruitment is a naturally competitive process. Additionally, I decided that fining chapters from their mistakes was an ineffective means of punishment. Now I am working with the Standards VP to implement a process of mediation where we sit down the accuser and the accused parties and come to a collective solution. This holds the necessary people accountable for their actions instead of the whole chapter paying via fines for the actions of one. It’s very easy to get stuck in our ways, and slightly changing the goals and rules every year I believe will give the panhellenic community forward direction. It is my hope that each recruitment year recruitment chairs build on these goals and change rules once again to accomplish theirs. 

I am also excited that this year EPC has had a great focus on women’s empowerment. Each year we plan Women’s Empowerment Week and we learned so much from the one this year. For one of our events we brought together many women’s clubs on campus including Girls Who Code, Women Ready, Feminists in Action, and many more. We saw how amazing it was for these women to share their messages and talk with each other. In the future I would love to see EPC sponsor events for clubs like these and become involved year-round so that when Women’s Empowerment Week comes around we’ve already established relationships with these clubs and can plan events that reach more people.