I met Razi Shadmehry when she was a freshman in 2012 and have had the pleasure of watching her grow into different leadership roles offered at Georgia College. Razi, a junior English major with a concentration in Creative Writing, is currently involved with GC’s Panhellenic Council. Here at GC, Greek Life—especially sorority life—is a little bit different compared to the larger universities around us: we strive to stay connected and support one another. Recently, Razi was elected President of Panhellenic. I had the pleasure of being a Pi Chi (recruitment counselor) with Razi for GC’s formal recruitment in 2014, and I’m not surprised. She has an liveliness about her that is infectious, and she is always positive and upbeat. After having the chance to ask Razi a few questions about her goals, I believe that the Panhellenic Council is in good hands.
HC: You were recently elected President of GC’s Panhellenic Council. How does it feel?
RS: Flattering and humbling to say the least! I’ve seen the women who have led the Panhellenic Council before me, and to share the same light as them is truly an honor. As a freshman, if you told me I would be Panhellenic President one day, I probably would have laughed at you. It’s not typically in my nature to take charge or be the one who makes final decisions, so every day is a new adventure and challenge for me. It’s really weird because sometimes at random moments it’ll hit me that I’m President, and I’ll get a little bit overwhelmed because there are a lot of people counting on me for the daily ins and outs of their organizations, but also for the grand scheme of Greek Life as a whole. Luckily, I have a really fantastic council and great advisors, so it’s definitely not just a one woman job. I am thrilled about it though, and I’m feeling really excited and optimistic about this upcoming year.
HC: How were you involved in Delta Zeta before coming into the Panhellenic Delegate position?
RS: During my sophomore year, I was the assistant to the Panhellenic Delegate. I went to every meeting with her and got a feel for what it took to hold the delegate position. The previous council was made me feel like I had a voice during their meetings even though I was just an assistant, and I really liked that. I’ve also worked on multiple philanthropy committees in DZ and made sure events ran smoothly. I participated in formal recruitment my sophomore year, and my sisters made me be Ursula from The Little Mermaid on Skit Night. People still ask if that girl with the purple face was me! I also was one of DZ’s Pi Chis during this past recruitment. I’d like to think another big part of my involvement with Delta Zeta is contributing really great dance moves and jokes at formals and socials.
HC: What’s the most important part about being a part of Panhellenic?
RS: I think the most important thing about being part of Panhellenic is keeping in mind that we really are all more alike than we are different. It’s so easy to get caught up in your own letters and let the stereotypes that come with other letters affect how you see the woman wearing them, but it’s absolutely vital to try and break through those kinds of barriers. With competitive events like Greek Week, the claws tend to come out and I think people forget we’re all just humans who are all working really hard towards the same goal. Every chapter puts in so much work to represent their letters well, and it’s something we can’t afford to tear down with negative vibes. We can accomplish so much more and have such a positive Panhellenic spirit if we’re united. On our council, we have a Courtesy Chair who has implemented something we call Iris notes (Iris was the Greek messenger goddess who brought everybody together). Essentially, each chapter writes notes to another chapter with encouraging things in them before big Greek events. It’s just a way for us to remember that we’re all united under a big Panhellenic umbrella, and in the end we’re all sisters—it’s cheesy, but it’s true.
HC: What’s your favorite part about being involved with Panhellenic?
RS: I have to brag on Georgia College for a second, because I really believe we have something unique and wonderful in our Panhellenic community here. I think every chapter on our campus genuinely has a mutual respect for one another, and even though we engage in friendly competition, I really don’t sense any bad blood between anyone. I can’t take any personal credit for this because I’ve known it to be true since I’ve been at Georgia College, but I really see healthy communication and relations between chapters all the time. Because of that, it’s hard to pick a favorite thing, because the list really goes on and on. But if I had to choose, I’d say my favorite thing about being part of Panhellenic is the friendships it’s given me. As soon as I got involved with Panhellenic, I started noticing just how wide my network was becoming. Being a Pi Chi this summer was one of the best experiences I’ve had in college so far because we really all became genuine friends, despite being from different chapters. Towards the end of that week, a girl from a different chapter said, “I made 50 new friends this week just by being myself. I didn’t even have to try to be cool.” I’ll always remember that. She was so right. Recruitment was so eye-opening to how similar we all. I wish that everybody involved with Greek Life could experience something similar.
HC: What goals have you set for yourself as President?
RS: Like I said earlier, I’ve never been a natural leader. However, I’m trying to challenge myself to stop seeing me that way and to believe that I can be somebody people trust to follow. My council really rocks, and they’re really good about making me feel confident in my abilities. We get along really well and I want to be sure we’re always working as one unit and that everybody knows they have an equal voice. I completely trust each individual woman on it and have no doubt in my mind that they can fulfill all of their duties, so it’s nice to know that there is no slack to pick up. I also really want every chapter to know that Panhellenic is here for their best interest. Though it’s impossible to try and please everyone, I want to always be sure we are making decisions that are fair and will benefit as many people as possible. I hope that every sorority member feels that our council is approachable because I want us to be a tangible source of guidance and assistance. Also, formal recruitment is a huge part of Panhellenic’s job. Our Vice President of Recruitment has so many awesome ideas for recruitment in the fall, and I want to be sure I’m supporting her every step of the way because when her visions become a reality, the new girls coming into sorority life on our campus are going to have a really positive experience right out of the gate. Our campus has really wonderful Directors of Fraternity and Sorority Life, so I want to be sure I’m utilizing their knowledge and assistance whenever needed. Overall, proud doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel about the Panhellenic community at Georgia College. If I can leave my term knowing that I kept this community at the standard it is now, or even improve it the least bit, then it will have been a success in my book.