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A Candid Interview with Panhellenic Association President, Maddy Bruffy.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.

Maddy Bruffy

Year: Senior

Major: Psychology

Chapter: Sigma Kappa

Panhellenic Association Position: President

Being the President of any organization is difficult, but try leading 16 different sororities, and being in charge of an entire Panhellenic board. Maddy Bruffy should be the most exhausted person I’ve ever interviewed, but I find her to be quite enthusiastic about her position, despite being more than halfway through her term.

We sit in Sigma Kappa’s date room on comfy purple couches, as Maddy informs me that this is the second time she’s been at the house today. Even though she is already so involved on a large scale, within Sigma Kappa she has been appointed skit chair for the homecoming season. 

What is your favorite thing about being PHA president?

I think my favorite thing about PHA President is being able to build relationships with girls in other chapters. You really get to expand your sisterhood, and let in girls who may not share the same letters as you but share the same core values. There’s closeness between sorority women, and the community really comes together on the PHA board. 

What was your motivation to run for your position?

I was chapter president of Sigma Kappa before I was on PHA. There is a class that chapter presidents take that discusses leadership skills, and how to better your chapter through good leadership. By taking the class, and getting to know the other Greek presidents, it opened my eyes to how I can get my hands into bigger aspects of the community and develop closeness between all of the Greek leaders.

Going into your presidency, what were the three goals that you wanted to accomplish as a PHA board?

I had some really general goals. But, the role of president is an interesting position, because you may have overarching goals, but your job isn’t to carry out your own agenda. Like, I had the goal that I wanted to bring all of the councils closer together, such as IFC, MGC, MPHC and build a relationship there. But the job is mostly keeping up with all of the different board members’ projects. I think as a council, we had the goal to become closer, and unite everyone to look past her letters and see everyone as a member of PHA. One of my other goals was to help Greek life look into our culture, and see if anything can be done to address our social lives and party atmosphere. We want Greek life to be safer and less stigmatized.

It’s not like I have an entire game plan to fix our entire culture, nothing will ever be perfectly fixed. However, there are things we talk to other sorority presidents about, and programming that we fund to work towards those goals or ideologies.

What would you say is the biggest challenge that the PHA board faces?

I think the hardest part about PHA is really the size of the community, because it’s so big. Every chapter on the campus has really excellent leaders, but there is the challenge of taking what PHA is trying to do and communicating it to every member of each chapter. Specifically, getting the message to members that really need to hear it, and aren’t directly involved with some type of executive position. It’s a matter of taking the programs and initiatives we work on and making them reach as far as they can go. We just want everyone to hear the message and actually listen.

Tell me a little about Circle of Sisterhood, and what PHA is trying to accomplish with the philanthropy?

For sure! So, Madeline Roesler is our VP of Membership Development. She is phenomenal. She drives the efforts of Circle of Sisterhood.

Basically, we are raising money to build a school in Malawi, Africa for girls. It only takes $30,000 to send a girl from each chapter to Africa so they can be a part of building the school. The caveat for Circle of Sisterhood and raising this money is really to improve women’s education in developing countries. So, one of the rules is that the school has to have 50% female enrollment. In a lot of these developing countries there’s a lot of negative connotations with female education, especially after a certain age. So we, as philanthropic women, are trying to really empower women across the world to take the opportunity to learn and thrive.

We welcome the support of all UMD organizations; I know we are working on getting IFC involved, like “Brothers Helping Sisters” type of thing. There are fundraising events that students outside Greek Life can donate to, and join our efforts.

Are there any issues that PHA uniquely faces, as opposed to IFC?

I think there’s a stigma that men’s groups get away with more than women’s groups, and that’s a tricky issue. I think its more that woman’s groups, such as sororities, are more willing to blindly follow policy and bylaws, and we don’t question them. Whereas I feel like fraternities are more prone to question things. We tend to be more understanding and think of rules less as punishments.

Well for example, I know a lot of people question why IFC has the official tailgate, and PHA doesn’t, is that an indicator that fraternities are given more leniencies or is it something else?

That’s actually a good example. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that the IFC tailgate is special privilege. That’s really not the case. The reason IFC has that official tailgate is because they budget and fund the tailgate 90%. They put thousands of dollars into establishing that event, whereas PHA only cosponsors maybe a quarter of that. 

So even though we are allowed to attend and participate with our tents, it’s not like it’s a women’s rights issue- like the men are trying to control tailgates. If PHA budgeted for it, and wanted to host an event like that, it would be within our realm. But it’s just not something we prioritize. At this time, we can’t justify asking the chapters to raise dues so that PHA can have more money to give to the tailgate budget. It’s in no way an exclusive event; IFC just puts more money into it so it’s theirs in name.

What strengths do you feel that you’ve brought to your term as president?

I think my experience has brought a different perspective. I know the past few presidents have been a continuation of people on the PHA executive board, then moving up to president. So, I’m the first person, in awhile, that has been chapter president of their sorority. I think that allowed me to bring a different perspective, in the sense that I know what it’s like to be responsible for a whole chapter. I relate well with the different presidents a little more easily, because I understand what their doing and what they go through.

I definitely have a strong presence in the group. And, I’m really working on facilitation, and how to have more difficult conversations with my exec. board.

Is there anything that you still hope to accomplish this fall?

Oh yeah! There’s a bunch of new things we are trying this year. For PHA, fall is really our busiest time. We are working on expanding our spring recruitment public relations. So, instead of doing the standard social media pushes, we are going to look into yard signs and bus signs. We are going to try to see if we can reach out to groups that we haven’t tapped into before. We want PHA to feel more inclusive with our recruitment process.

Part of that is we are going to have a sorority open house. Think like ‘Meet the Greeks’ but in stamp during November, so potential new members can come out and meet all the sororities in a more informal setting. Something we are trying to do is be more transparent with PNM’s (Pontential New Members) right from the get-go. We want to communicate what the cost for dues is, what the time commitment is, and what it means to be Greek at UMD as opposed to what is on our social media. A lot of new members don’t know exactly what they’re getting into. So, we can do a lot better on that.

Other things we are doing are obviously homecoming, which will be huge. We have the emerging leaders retreat, which is a new thing we are doing. In the past its been ‘Impact’, and its been hosted by a company, but this year it’s going to be a retreat where any of the newer members can go and learn about leadership within the Greek community. It’s going to be cool now that we have full control, and we are hiring the different speakers and facilitators.

Recruitment is coming, that our last big thing! I’m still president until bid day, so I get to see that process through till the end!

When you leave your presidency what do you feel like you can take away from this experience that you can apply to your future?

If being president has taught me anything, it’s how important it is to get involved. I’ve grown so much as a person, as a sorority woman, and as a leader in my different positions. I would not be who I am today. I would not have gotten the internship I had, and my takeaway is really that I’m looking at the future of Greek life at Maryland and how I will fit into it. I’m hopefully applying for my chapters leadership consultant program, ideally to influence chapters across the country. That is my ultimate goal, and hopefully a takeaway. I think there’s a bunch of takeaways- the biggest thing I’m working on now is how to create sustainable change. There’s a lot that I can do, but ultimately I wont always be around to do it. So, it’s a matter of how can I inspire and enable others to continue making changes and to continue educating members.

There’s so much leadership experience that I’ve gotten, and within that learning how to live my values. The biggest takeaway is saying and doing what i’ll say i’ll do, and making sure it’s in line with who I want to be and who I say I am. On that note, I’ve taken away how to take a stand on what is right, even when it’s not the most popular opinion. I have learned how to communicate hard decisions within the community and stand strong.

There have just been a lot of experiences that challenge you as a person to think about who you are and what you’re representing. It’s a hard place to be as any chapter leader, because suddenly you’re not just Maddy Bruffy, a member of Sigma Kappa; you’re the face of Sigma Kappa. What you’re doing really directly reflects the organization. So. if I tell new members “don’t do this,” but I do it, then what does that say about me as a leader? I’ve felt that a lot in PHA. As a member of the community there are a lot of times where you can’t say “this is important” without showing that it’s important. Your actions speak a lot louder than your words, and you have to be true to yourself.

I’d like to give a special ‘thank you’ to Maddy for such a stimulating interview. Your introspectiveness was refreshing. For all the Her Campus readers considering spring recruitment, I highly recommend giving it a shot. And all of you Greeks out there get excited for what’s to come this semester!


Famously known for her R.B.F, and ability to convince guys to buy her Pizza Kingdom. She is a Criminology/Criminal Justice major, in the Pre-Law program; because all of her parents/teachers/adult figures told her as a child that she should put her argueing skills to good use one day. 
My name is Meghan Moriarty. I am one of the editor-in-chief's of Her Campus Maryland.