The Panhellenic Council has replaced its vice president of standards position with the new vice president of health and wellness position, in a move to increase awareness of mental health in sororities.
Wharton junior Mackenzie Lukas, who holds the current position, said the previous title held negative connotations because the job entailed conducting disciplinary actions. Lukas, an editor for Under The Button, said that with this name change, she hopes to bring a more positive spin to her job.
While the VP of standards has historically been in charge of disciplinary action against its members, last year was the first that Panhel incorporated the mental health and wellness aspect to the position.
“So we decided to change the name. The name ‘standards’ [wasn't] really encompassing of what I really do,” Lukas said. “VP of standards has a negative connotation and I wanted to make sure my name has a positive connotation and focus more on what I actually do.”
“By changing the name, it allows more opportunities to expand,” Panhel President and College junior Kaylee Slusser said. “So the position last year was the first one to have the wellness week. It was such a great thing and we wanted to be able to have her name reflect what it did.”
Lukas emphasized mental health as a priority among sororities and the need to ensure that all the women are trained to react to mental health-related issues.
College junior and co-president of Penn Benjamins Peer Counseling Gabby Rothschild said that there is a demand for greater mental health resources within the Panhel community, and that the move to incorporate wellness into the new title was a great idea.
Rothschild added that Panhel has reached out to Penn Benjamins to speak to more chapters about the work that they do and how "friends can help their friends."
"I think the future of advancing mental wellness at Penn lies with the student groups and working together to promote mental wellness in every individual group will lead to an overall better and healthier culture surrounding this topic at Penn," Rothschild said.
As the vice president of health and wellness, Lukas said she plans to expand mental health and make sure that individuals in each chapter are holding workshops and facilitating discussions, especially since she sees the expansion being the most effective at the hands of individual sisters within sororities.
So far, Lukas said she has held various new member education workshops that focus on mental health and wellness during the beginning of the semester. She has also executed Wellness Week. In the future, she hopes to implement wellness chairs within all sororities to further increase mental health awareness and collaboration with other mental health organizations, including Penn Benjamins and CAPS.
“We want the women to come to our organizations to leave as better leaders and to be more educated and nothing but a positive experience. The change of this position can really lead to that happening,” Lukas said.
College freshman and Alpha Phi member Madison Jaffe said that she appreciates the shift in focus in the new title.
"I think that this newer focus on wellness is going to be a really positive thing for the Panhellenic community," Jaffe said. "Being a student at Penn is very demanding as is and adding extracurriculars, including Greek life, is just another element that students have to balance. Also, because Greek life is so social, finding a balance between school and fun is super important."