To promote inter-sorority bonding, two Penn sororities held what they described as the first "cross-Panhellenic" event last week.
On Oct. 22, Chi Omega and Sigma Kappa held a “Sweet and Savory” social event in the backyard of the Chi O chapter house. Nursing junior Amanda Sangston and College junior Kaylee Slusser, who are Panhellenic delegates for Chi O and SK respectively, organized the social.
According to Sangston and Slusser, this is the first time at Penn that a sorority has held a formal social event with just another sorority.
Slusser said she wanted to host this event after a leadership consultant from the national SK organization noted that it is more common for different sororities to host social events with each other in the South.
Sangston said Chi O had similar conversations with their national advisors about brainstorming ways to bring sororities together at Penn.
“Panhel has pulled away from having mandatory events for sororities on campus, so there are less requirements for interaction,” Sangston added.
Slusser said that she did not know of any sororities at Penn that had organized events with other chapters on campus, so she reached out to Sangston to organize an event with Chi O, whose chapter house is right next to the SK house.
SK President and Wharton senior Lindsay Stearns said the event was an attempt to “do more social events with sororities and not just fraternities.”
“Usually we just do date nights and formals where normally frats come," Stearns said. "We sometimes partner with frats to do philanthropy things, but usually it’s rare to have two sororities come together for any kind of purpose."
But President of Sigma Delta Tau and College senior Elizabeth Heit said there has always been informal interaction between members of different sororities within the Panhellenic Council.
“On a more microscopic level, the girls are very close with other girls in other sororities. I, for example, live with four girls; two of whom are in my sorority and two of whom are in different sororities,” Heit said.
She added that one barrier to having sororities formally interact is the amount of programming that chapters already plan for their own members, which can be difficult to manage on top of their student schedules.
Stearns agreed, adding, “We have so many different events every weekend it’s hard to find a time that works on both ends."
Elena Carrigan, executive vice president of SK and Nursing senior, said she appreciated the casual setting of “Sweet and Savory” and the opportunity to branch out from her chapter.
“I really love the concept of bringing together different people in Greek life. I wanted to bring that down to a smaller scale for people who maybe don’t do Panhel or Omega to let them get a taste of that,” Slusser said.
Sangston and Slusser said they plan to reach out to other sororities to organize similar socials, and Sangston added that Chi O has reserved a section of their budgetary funds to host more cross-sorority events.
President of the Panhellenic Council and College senior Caroline Ohlson said that she was glad to hear the event took place.
“I'm really happy to see cross-programming being planned between sororities and would love to see more events like this taking place throughout the Panhellenic community,” she said. “When someone joins a sorority, they are also joining the Panhellenic community at large, and events like this help promote that larger sense of community.”
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