True leadership is cultivated through experience. Sorority membership empowers women to impact their communities, developing critical leadership skills that continue to aid them post-graduation. Today’s employers seek individuals who have been involved on campus and experienced working as a team, managing resources, and communicating with peers and administrators. Chapter leadership offer numerous ways to gain these abilities, from treasurers working with budgets exceeding 200,000 dollars, to chapter philanthropy chairs planning large-scale events for nationally-recognized organizations. Chapters offer a variety ways to become involved including serving on the executive board, heading a committee or holding one of many minor positions. There is also opportunity for leadership on the community wide scale through serving on the Panhellenic Association Executive Board, the umbrella organization of the twelve Northwestern chapters.
Beyond the Greek community, sorority women participate in more than 300 student organizations, frequently holding leadership roles. These experiences not only shape their undergraduate experience, but also prepare them for success in post-graduate endeavors. The Panhellenic Association, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL), and other national organizations sponsor leadership development opportunities for collegiate students of all ages and levels at no cost to themselves. These programs include:
Greek Emerging Leaders, held every year during fall and spring quarter, develops skills of new fraternity and sorority members hoping to pursue leadership roles in their chapters and community. Two sections of the program meet weekly to learn about personal leadership styles, discuss pressing issues affecting the Greek community and network with other rising leaders. The class, taught in partner by a student facilitator and OFSL staff member, provides participants with ample opportunity for mentorship. Up to four nominated members from each chapter may participate each year.
Each April, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life sponsors a weekend retreat that brings together Greek leaders of both the council and chapter level. All four councils send their executive boards and chapter presidents, in addition to leaders of the Greek honors societies and GreekBuild. The retreat serves as a forum to build relationships and foster open discussion regarding the Greek experience at Northwestern. Two outside facilitators lead students through the curriculum, and eight senior leaders serve as small group facilitators.
Throughout the year, OFSL holds programming targeted at juniors and seniors relating to career planning, alumni involvement, and life transitions. OFSL also recognizes seniors who have been active in the Greek community by inviting them to serve as facilitators for Greek Emerging Leaders and Greek Leadership Retreat, holding a dinner with the University President, and presenting various awards at the spring Order of Omega Awards Ceremony.
AFLV, the largest four day gathering of undergraduate fraternity and sorority leaders from councils across the country, takes place each February. The entire Panhellenic Executive Board attends this conference along with executive board members from the other councils and OFSL staff to learn about issues impacting the Greek community. In 2011, nearly 2,000 participants came together for the conference, creating the ideal setting for networking and collaboration.
Regarded as the premiere Greek Leadership Academy in the country, this 5-day national Greek leadership academy in Indianapolis takes place each summer. Greek students from Northwestern have attended the program on scholarships from their local and national chapters, the Panhellenic Association, and local alumnae organizations.