As the current Collegiate Panhellenic Council (CPC) President, Erin Kelly, a fourth year IE major, is actively involved in various aspects of Greek life, from assisting in programming initiatives to appointing a committee to research the viability of a possible new Greek chapter.
Tracing her interest in joining a sorority from her out-of-state status, she views the Greek system as her ultimate support system at Tech.
Technique: Why did you decide to get involved with Greek Life or, more specifically, CPC?
Kelly: So when I came to Tech I was coming from out-of-state and I wanted to join Panhellenic chapter because both my parents had really good, positive experiences with being Greek, and they showed me that Greek life would be a good support system.
My second year I wanted to get more involved and ran for Panhellenic delegate for my chapter, and through that experience I was exposed to CPC as it was my responsibility to be the liaison between my chapter and CPC.
Last year, I served on CPC as Programming Vice President and then this year I’m President; once I started, I could never stop doing it since I loved it so much.
Technique: What is the main mission or goal of CPC?
Kelly: On Tech’s campus, CPC plays a really unique role – more so than on any other campus – because Tech is such a male-dominated campus, and CPC is the largest women’s organization, so we are here to act as a voice for women throughout campus.
CPC also acts as a liaison between our seven National Panhellenic Chapters and the two Associate Chapters and the administration.
We are here for the chapters. If the chapters need any support or programming we are here to help. We are not here to shove any rules down people’s throats, we are just here to help everyone collaborate and get along and to make each other stronger by building a more tight-knit community.
Technique: Are there any specific initiatives you hope to implement as CPC President?
Kelly: We are currently looking into extension. At the beginning of my spring term, I appointed an exploratory extension committee to collect data to see if our campus would be viable to support another CPC chapter. That committee was made up of one representative per chapter as well as a representative from one of our associate chapters.
By the end of the semester, they came up with a recommendation that they think our campus could support another chapter.
We put out a report this summer with all the data, facts, and reasoning that we collected, and at the first open meeting of the semester, we presented it to everyone attending. Last night at the open meeting, it was on the agenda for unfinished business to vote, but the vote was tabled, so it is now on the agenda for two weeks from now. It is still up in the air if we are inviting another chapter on campus but it is a possibility and something we are exploring right now.
CPC also has taken a stand on sexual violence by supporting the white paper. We have also partnered with the Women’s Resource Center.
Our programming Vice President, Sam Wilson, has been working with other councils to create a sexual violence portion of training for the Greek Peer Education. We plan on doing a part two of Greek Peer Education to educate the new members on sexual violence. As the largest women’s organization on campus, we feel responsible because it is such a prominent women’s issue right now.
Technique: How has your involvement in Greek life influenced you personally?
Kelly: I honestly don’t think coming in my freshman year I could have imagined myself in this position. It was never an end goal to be President of CPC, but as I got more involved in my chapter and Panhellenic, it gave me the confidence to take on more and more leadership responsibility.
Greek life has been my home away from home, my support, and my backbone, and I would not have been nearly as successful at Tech as I have been without the support of my chapter and the support of all of Greek life.
Technique: What kind of responsibilities does your job entail?
Kelly: Our terms run from January to December so I’m in the middle of my term. I oversee the executive board and help them look at their goals to make sure they are achieving what Panhellenic has set out to do. I also attend Tech committee meetings, and I serve as the Greek life liaison between the higher up administration and Greek life. I manage the rest of the executive board, run the Panhellenic open meetings, facilitate discussions between the chapters and take part in any council wide initiatives.
Technique: When you went through recruitment and participated in Bid Day, did you have any specific memorable experiences?
Kelly: I remember embarrassing myself a lot. I was walking down some stairs in heels that were probably way to high and I fell almost a whole flight of stairs down on preference night. But the cool thing about that was the girl that was talking to me that night, she was not judgemental. She was honestly, genuinely concerned with how I was. She even told me I could cry if I wanted to, but I was like, “No! I’m good!”
I think my favorite Bid Day was this year and last year when I got to hand out bids to the new members. I got to see how excited they were and the relief that recruitment was over and that they had found their place. It reminds me why I took on this position.