Last weekend, University of Richmond’s Panhellenic Council, sorority presidents and Emerging Leaders from each sorority attended the Southeastern Panhellenic Conference in Atlanta, Ga. The conference brought together leaders from sororities at colleges across the southeastern United States.
At the conference, the women attended two days of sessions on various aspects of leadership, each led by a different speaker, said Erin Miller, vice president of recruitment for Panhellenic Council and a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Panhellenic Council and the sorority presidents had the opportunity to choose which sessions they attended, Miller said.
“I tried to pick sessions that were very applicable to our campus,” said Katy Norfleet, the president of Panhellenic Council and a member of Delta Gamma. “For instance, I attended two sessions on expansion because we’re looking to add a sixth sorority on campus.”
Norfleet said she did not know when the new sorority would be added.
Morgan McKee, the president of Richmond’s Delta Delta Delta chapter, said one of the sessions she found most helpful focused on encouraging involvement from sorority members who are not necessarily in leadership roles.
“We talked about the top third, everybody who’s an overachiever, wants to be at everything, the middle third who is happy to be there and happy to help and the bottom third who doesn’t want to go to anything,” McKee said.
She said sorority leaders often made the mistake of focusing on engaging the women who do not want to participate.
“We focus too much on the lower tier, but you can’t change that,” Norfleet said. “But you can change the middle men because they want to be more engaged and it’s just their personality that affects their level of engagement.”
The session encouraged sorority leaders to engage the members of their sororities who fell into the middle third.
Eight sophomore women from University of Richmond attended the conference as Emerging Leaders.
Emerging Leaders are women who have the potential to be future leaders in their sorority or on the Panhellenic Council, said Arden Anderson, one of the Emerging Leaders who represented Kappa Alpha Theta.
The Emerging Leaders did not choose sessions to attend, Anderson said, but spent their days discussing the qualities necessary for good leadership. In the Emerging Leader seminars, they identified their strengths and discussed how to capitalize upon those strengths in a group setting, she said.
“Being able to voice yourself as a leader among leaders, that’s a very different dynamic,” Anderson said. “To make yourself known for that among other leaders is really cool.”
Miller said the most beneficial part of the conference for her was the opportunity to bond with the other women on the council.
“We’re all from different sororities and we didn’t know each other before we started,” Miller said. “It was kind of awkward at first just because we didn’t know how to work together, but I think spending that entire weekend together just allowed us to bond and now hopefully we can work more effectively together.”
Panhellenic Council paid for the council members and the sorority presidents to attend the conference, McKee said. According to the Southeastern Panhellenic Association’s website, the registration costs for the conference were $355 per person. Each woman’s sorority covered the cost for the Emerging Leaders, she said.
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