Photo courtesy of Leslie Merritt
The MTSU College Panhellenic Council recently received the National Panhellenic Conference College Panhellenic Achievement Award, which is an honor that was earned by 42 colleges across the country for the 2016-17 year.
According to Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Leslie Merritt, the council, which serves as the governing body for sorority chapters at MTSU, received the award from the National Panhellenic Conference due to “thoughtful” programming that the council organized in the last year.
“The 2016 executive board took a step back to evaluate the programming we have always done and, from there, made decisions to get rid of some programming that wasn’t adding values to our community,” Merritt said. “Additionally, we either changed or added new programming to ensure we were meeting the needs of the Panhellenic women at MTSU. The 2017 executive board has continued with this same mindset.”
When giving the award to various colleges, the NPC focuses on several areas, including Recruitment, Panhellenic Structure, Judicial Procedures, Communication with NPC Area Advisor, Panhellenic Programming, Academics and Panhellenic Comunity Impact and Relations.
“This honor to me is incredibly humbling,” Merritt said. “Of 670 campuses with College Panhellenics, MTSU’s was one of only 42 recognized with this honor. Everyone in Panhellenic, FSL and MTSU should be proud of this accomplishment. I think for us, it’s a new challenge – we’ve won the award once – now how can we be even better next year?”
Merritt also stated that last year, the overall recruitment numbers for MTSU Fraternity and Sorority Life were higher than previous years and that there were zero recruitment infractions.
Panhellenic Council President Hannah Leyhew explained that one of the ways the council displayed excellence in programming was through their commitment and assistance to the men involved in fraternities at MTSU. She stated that the fall 2016 all fraternity men GPA average was below the all university men average. In the spring of 2017, the all fraternity men GPA average rose above that of the all university men average.
“One of the areas that the Panhellenic Association looks for is academics,” Leyhew said. “We intentionally programmed more for how our women can help our men.”
Leyhew stated that because the award is provided for the 2016-17 school year, there were essentially two different Panhellenic councils that worked toward the achievement.
“I think both councils consistently had the same vision to make our council a little bit more legitimate and important and to make it award-worthy, which is why we received it.”
Leyhew said that one of the main weaknesses of the council is that, generally, students at MTSU do not see it as legitimate and that the award will change some of those views.
“I think that the work shows that when we come together, we can do awesome things and get recognized on a bigger scale,” Leyhew said.
Leyhew said that the council will continue to strive to uphold the success that was achieved and recognized in the 2016-17 year.
“We know that we have a lot of things going for us, and we are always looking to be slightly better,” Leyhew said.
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