Opinions

Panhellenic and the Furman Community

By: Panhellenic Executive Council

To Our Furman Community,

Although the primary purpose of our Furman University collegiate experience is academics, the average Furman student boasts far more involvement than attending classes alone. Our community at Furman is made up of a unique body of men and women, who exemplify not only high scholastic standards, but also exude interest and passion in extracurricular, volunteer, and social activities.

One opportunity that combines each of these factors in our Furman community is that of Greek life; for women specifically, Panhellenic sorority membership. Panhellenic is the overarching umbrella organization for sororities, so in essence, it is the united front of our seven sororities at Furman. The opportunity for Panhellenic sorority membership is one that is enthusiastically selected, year after year, because it provides the potential for participation in many extracurricular categories. It is not purely a social opportunity, but also one of leadership, service, and scholarship.

As Panhellenic women, we are openly grateful for the contribution our women make to the Furman community. Our all-sorority grade point average is consistently high, boasting an impressive 3.3. Our volunteer hours are short of neither quantity, nor dedication, as we all enthusiastically participate in both local and national philanthropic organizations as part of our individual chapters. In addition, our Panhellenic women come together, united, to serve Circle of Sisterhood, an organization committed to shattering global educational barriers for women. Circle of Sisterhood is an organization served by Panhellenic women internationally, as it is the National Panhellenic Conference’s philanthropy, and even still, our campus was recognized this year at the Southeastern Panhellenic Conference for incredibly devoted involvement. Our community has also uniquely risen to the occasion of servant’s leadership by collaborating with our Interfraternity Council on an all-Greek local philanthropy, called Greeks for Greenville, benefitting Alexander Elementary with fundraising events, volunteer hours, and an annual Day of Service.

As wonderful as our community is for those involved as Panhellenic women, we also understand that Greek letter organizations are not for everyone. After all, no extracurricular activity on our campus is able to boast the participation of the entire student body. Because our campus is made up of such a unique body of men and women, we have the utmost respect for women who have no interest in Panhellenic membership. As a result, we not only respect these women, but have also dedicated ourselves to serving these women, as sisters of Furman. We work each year to collaborate with Greeks and non-Greeks to put on events that serve the entire community of Furman, not Greeks alone.

This year, our Greek Week (a week of events that one might imagine is exclusively for Greeks) encouraged participation from all students, asking for their collaboration on the philanthropic and social pursuits of the week, and especially their attendance of our SGA co-sponsored celebratory event at the end of the week. Other events planned and endorsed by the Panhellenic Council, such as our annual “Be Bold Month” in April, our “How About This Party?” sexual assault awareness program, and our freshmen reach-out event “Confidence as a Collegian” are not only open to Greek and non-Greek collaboration, but highly encourage it, and are advertised as events that welcome participation of Greek and non-Greek attendees alike. Indeed, the position of Vice President of Community Relations on Panhellenic Executive Council is one designed purely to bridge Panhellenic with other groups on campus and in the greater Greenville community, so that we are able to best serve all Furman students, not solely Greeks.

We believe that our contribution to campus as Panhellenic women is strong. However, we candidly recognize that our partnership with non-Greek members of the Furman community serves as a binding force, one that improves our community experience. We love our Panhellenic membership, and we believe that it has enhanced our Furman experience, and challenged us to serve as upstanding members of the Furman community. The central focus of Panhellenic as an international organization is to love and serve one another, despite individual organizations and individual letters. We as Panhellenic women readily believe in that principle, as it applies not only to other Greek women, but also more largely, to our entire campus. We look forward to continuing to strengthen and partner with all students, faculty, and staff as the collective Furman community.

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