By Samantha Sock, FAU College Panhellenic president
Like many College Panhellenics, here at Florida Atlantic University we are continuously trying to advance our community. In spring 2016, then Panhellenic President, Ashley Nalven, saw many areas for growth and improvement but didn’t know where to start. With the help of our advisor, who suggested we apply for a Consultant Team Visit (CTV), a request was made at the end of the spring semester for a visit for fall 2016. Consultant Team Visits are a resource offered by NPC where members from the team visit your campus and talk to stakeholders in the community. They evaluate what is working well and what could be improved, and provide you with on-site suggestions as well as a full report of recommendations after the visit.
In November 2016, we welcomed Julie Bunson and Betty Quick to our campus for the CTV. They spoke to active members in the community, including new members, chapter officers, recruitment chairs and recruitment counselors. They met with IFC members, chapter advisors, university staff and administrators, including our vice president for student affairs and others that interact with our Panhellenic community to give them a full picture of the College Panhellenic Association at FAU. From these meetings and discussions, they gave us some immediate feedback in the form of an executive summary of things we could begin working on right away, and later we received a comprehensive final report on the visit that outlined their suggestions in multiple areas such as recruitment, inter-sorority relations and marketing. We began implementing some items immediately and the new executive board that took over in the beginning of the year was able to continue working on these areas for improvement using the CTV report recommendations.
The CTV also had some additional ripple effects. After the visit, the Panhellenic chapter advisors scheduled another meeting of their own to continue discussing things that were brought up in the meeting they had with Betty and Julie. Our Panhellenic strengthened relations with university administration since their involvement in the CTV, as they saw the efforts of our Panhellenic officers in not only coordinating and hosting the CTV but also the implementation of the recommendations that came from it.
One of the first recommendations that Betty and Julie provided was for the Panhellenic executive board to conduct introductory visits with each member chapter. What amazing advice! This allowed women in our community to meet the executive board officers and know who they are and their roles, which started off our term on a positive note. Other ideas that came from the CTV included the creation of a Junior Panhellenic and development of what we call an ‘All for One’ program. Junior Panhellenic (or ‘JPAN’) got started in spring 2017 and allowed new members to get involved in leadership and cultivate Panhellenic spirit. JPAN hosted a Panhellenic Pride Week (another recommendation from the CTV!) in the same semester. Through JPAN, I have seen so much growth in these young members, and as a result of their efforts, an increase in Panhellenic unity among our member chapters. The ‘All for One’ program was designed to help all member chapters satisfy a core requirement of their national organizations; for the first one, we hosted a Panhellenic self-defense class where we brought together members from all chapters to bond and receive some safety tips and training.
Our Consultant Team Visit inspired Panhellenic leaders on our campus in many ways and was a significant factor in some of our recent accomplishments. We even received our first NPC College Panhellenic Achievement Award from NPC this summer. The CTV program is an amazing resource that is well worth the investment and will have continued positive effects on your community.