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Panhel Executive Officers Are Elected

By Rosa Cao

The MIT Panhellenic Association held executive officer elections last month. The incoming executive slate includes Heather M. Pressler ’07 for president, Jamie L. Karcesky ’07, executive vice president, and Shannon N. Nees ’07, VP of recruitment. Cabinet elections were held last Sunday, but results have not been officially approved and have not been released by Panhel.

The new executive board will take office on Feb. 6 next year, following formal recruitment and a transition and training process.

The incoming executive officers expressed their plans to make Panhel a larger presence on campus, rather than an isolated body.

Sherry Xie ’08, incoming vice president of programming, said that as the largest female organization on campus, Panhel needs to address “not just sorority issues, but women’s issues as well.”

Pressler, who previously served as vice president of recruitment, said that Panhel will focus on reaching out to a broader community, including Panhellenic members at other Boston area schools, all women at MIT, and Panhel alumna who might be interested in mentoring. She said she hopes that “Panhel will be not just the governing body for the sororities at MIT, but a leader of women’s services at MIT.

Issues for Panhel to take on next year include improving women’s services at MIT Medical, support networks in the community for academics and scholarship, and “the environment for women in general at MIT,” Pressler said.

Joy M. Dunn ’08, the Undergraduate Association senator for Panhel, will work on putting together programs in dormitories to try to bring together dormitory life and Greek life, Pressler said.

Karcesky plans to establish a database with contact information for alumna who would like to become involved. Another item on the agenda is a possible alumna networking event around the time of the fall career fair.

Alyse Wu ’08, incoming vice president of recruitment programming, emphasized the value of Panhel beyond the chapter level. “Being part of the Greek society gives you a voice,” as together the sororities represent a large presence on campus, she said.

As overseer of Panhel’s ad hoc committees, Karcesky would act as the liaison between individual committees working on specific projects and the Panhel executive committee. “My main goals are to improve alumni relations, faculty relations, and to implement additional feedback mechanisms for Panhel,” she said.

Since Panhel has only been running for a year in its current form after a major reorganization, “it’s important that we get feedback” and suggestions on how to improve, Karcesky said.

Nees said the restructuring included the creation of ad hoc committees and streamlining of cabinet positions.

Pressler, Karcesky, and Wu all cited the new women’s bathroom in the Infinite, and the changes in Saferide over the past year as examples of the kinds of improvements they would like continue effecting.

Referring to her goal of strengthening faculty relations, Karcesky said that “Undergrads should have one member of the faculty they can connect to,” whether it be their own UROP advisor or a favorite professor.

A new ad hoc committee would try to “provide that opportunity for all the sisters in Panhel.” A stronger relationship with the faculty could bring faculty advisors to the chapters, where they could help with programming ideas, mentor students, and advise students on how to approach the MIT administration, she said.

Wu said her main goal for the term would be to make recruitment a less stressful time by increasing the training for Panhellenic recruitment counselors. “Joining a sorority should be a happy thing. Recruitment is an extremely emotional time”; counselors should “make girls more comfortable in their choices.”

A possible switch to fall recruitment will be voted on Dec. 5, Pressler said. “Bonding within chapters and the general health of the system is better with fall recruitment,” she said, citing studies from the national sorority organizations.