For the second time in just two years, the Panhellenic Council at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has received the College Panhellenic Excellence Award from the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), one of the nation's largest advocacy organizations for women sororities.
WPI, which previously won the award in 2013, was one of just 21 colleges, out of the more than 600 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada that belong to NPC, to receive the honor this year.
NPC, which has recognized student-managed college Panhellenic councils with awards of excellence and achievement for more than 50 years, selects only the top scoring councils for recognition each year. Scores are based on seven criteria, including academics, programming and community relations.
"The WPI College Panhellenic Council received the Excellence Award because the women are not satisfied with the status quo," said Patty Gesell, College Panhellenics Committee chairman and area advisor for WPI. "They continue to challenge themselves, and they desire to provide a positive, values-based experience for all members of the Association."
More than 600 students, or 48 percent of the female student body, belong to WPI's six sororities, five of which are members of NPC. During the 2014–15 school year, sorority members contributed over 16,000 hours of community service and raised nearly $30,000 as members of Habitat for Humanity, PAWS, and Alpha Phi Omega. Sorority members are also involved in numerous campus organizations, including club and varsity sports teams, the Student Support Network, the Student Government Association (SGA), and the Student Alumni Society (SAS); members hold key leadership positions in both the SGA and SAS. In addition, they serve as community and resident advisors and Crimson Key Tour Guides.
"It is truly an honor for the WPI Panhellenic Council to receive this award and I am so incredibly proud of their efforts as a council this past year," said Christine Kobza, assistant director of student activities at WPI. "The NPC Excellence Award highlights and celebrates the number of great steps the council has taken to move the community forward—including, but not limited to, recruitment, programming, impact, and scholastic achievement."
Mitra Marvasti-Sitterly, president of WPI's Panhellenic Council, said "This award not only honors all of the hard work and success of a fantastic council, but also the work of our community as a whole. We as a council are fortunate enough to represent such an amazing group of woman who are passionate about furthering Greek Life. We are proud of this award and will continue to strive for more in the future."
In addition to the overall excellence award, WPI's Phi Sigma Sigma, Alpha Xi Delta, and Alpha Gamma Delta sororities received individual national chapter awards for academic achievement, recruitment and philanthropy. Alex Simpson '15 won the Individual Collegian Panhellenic Award for Phi Sigma Sigma nationally, and Brittany Rhodes ’15 was one of five finalists for President of the Year. Kate Beverage was named the Alpha Xi Delta National Advisor of the Year.