The Panhellenic Council at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has been selected to receive the College Panhellenic Excellence Award from the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), one of the nation's largest advocacy organizations for women, affirming the university’s standing as a leading institution for women's development.
WPI was one of just 14 colleges nationwide to receive the award.
NPC has recognized student-managed college panhellenics with awards of excellence and achievement for more than 50 years. With organizations located at more than 600 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only the top scoring groups are recognized each year with these honors. NPC will present the excellence award to the WPI Panhellenic Council on Friday, Oct. 4, at 4 p.m. in the Campus Center Odeum.
"NPC received scores of nominations to recognize the outstanding work and achievements of undergraduate sorority women who are working together," said Nicki Meneley, executive director of the National Panhellenic Conference. "WPI clearly stood out in our minds for following the exemplary standards set for Panhellenic women."
Emily Perlow, director of Student Activities at WPI, was pleased with the recognition.
"This award is testament to the hard work of our Panhellenic community striving to create fraternity and sorority experiences that are consistent with their espoused values," said Perlow. "This recognition further supports our continued drive toward ongoing improvement and positive experiences for WPI women."
Other leaders at WPI agreed. "I believe this award embodies the culture of WPI, where we are constantly improving ourselves by being passionate and exceeding expectations of what we can accomplish together as a community," said Diana Nguyen, a senior who is president of the Panhellenic Council at WPI.
The news comes as WPI recently welcomed a new sorority, Chi Omega, to campus. Joining five other WPI sororities, it is expected to become a chartered chapter on campus in March 2014.
"The addition of Chi Omega to our college Panhellenic community increases the number of opportunities for leadership development and brings meaningful strides for women at WPI," said Perlow. "I think this new sorority will enhance opportunities we provide to women on campus and create a community of like-minded sisters."
Perlow said WPI initially solicited materials from 22 groups before narrowing the field to two. WPI was impressed with Chi Omega in part due to its establishing successful chapters at area colleges, including Tufts University and Babson College. "Their track record across the board was the best fit for us," she said.
The rise in the number of sororities at WPI also speaks to a growing female population at WPI along with other innovative programs that drive interest among young women. For example, the Class of 2017 has 371 women, the largest ever for the university. Also, WPI has mentored young women in other areas as well. WPI's Camp Reach program, for instance, has introduced 7th grade girls to principles of engineering via hands-on experiences for the past 17 years.
And now, with the combination of the award and the new sorority, WPI remains committed to women's development.
"Our Panhellenic community is very successful," said Perlow. "It’s gratifying to win awards and to do things that foster growth and positive experiences for women."