New Member Summits bring Greek community together

Panhellenic followed in the Interfraternity Council’s footsteps and hosted its first New Member Summit this past Saturday. Approximately 140 new fraternity members and 400 new sorority members attended their respective New Member Summits. 

The Interfraternity Council began hosting its summit three semesters ago as an initiative to get educational seminars and vital information from the university to the fraternal community as well as skills that are needed to be successful throughout college. It was also created as a way to promote unity, cohesion and communication amongst the various fraternities on campus. 

“While members of the Panhellenic and IFC council are planning the event, the programs are focused on the entire new member community,” said Micki Estuesta, campus life advisor. 

All new members who accepted their bids and pledged their membership into any SSU fraternity were invited to gather together for a day of various seminars. This year’s New Member Summit included seminars about the necessities and tools needed to succeed scholastically, time management skills, interview skills, resume building, gentlemen’s etiquette, sexual assault awareness and alcohol education led by the professional crisis advocate group Verity. Along with Verity, volunteers from the Interfraternity Council lead workshops, as well as the opening guest speaker Rudy Porchivina, of Phi Delta Theta, who spoke about what it means to be a fraternity man. 

“What we’re trying to do as a fraternal community is get all of our new members together and acquainted with not only their fraternity but other fraternities as well. We’re making sure that they are successful with their time here at Sonoma State,” said Ace Vindiola, the scholarship chair of the Interfraternity Council. 

The two summits occurred on the same day, with some similar key components. Panhellenic hosted three break out sessions, one through the same company, Verity, about safety, a jeopardy-style seminar about risk management which focused on alcohol education, and finally a team-building exercise known as “cross the line.” Led by Panhellenic President Andrea Ott, cross the line is an icebreaker in which people cross an imaginary line if they agree or share in an experience. 

“We’re trying to create bonds with girls across different sororities. Right now since they are still new, they don’t have these preconceived notions about who’s friends with who. If you have a personal connection to someone in a different organization, you’re more likely to support them as the year goes on,” said Panhellenic Programming Coordinator Mary Gannon. 

The six Panhellenic sororities- Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, Gamma Phi Beta and Phi Sigma Sigma attended the event along with local Greek sororities, Kappa Delta Zeta and Lambda Kappa Pi.

“I thought it was really cool that they were able to get all of the new members in one place because I never really realized how many members there were. I got to talk to them about their different processes and really get a feel for how all Greeks are Greeks, no matter the different letters,” said Simone Landis, a new member of Alpha Delta Pi.  

With the success of the first Panhellenic New Member Summit, Gannon believes that this event will become an annual tradition that will continue every semester. 

“An overwhelming amount of girls said that they felt more connected with members from other sororities after participating in the New Member Summit. I look forward to watching it grow,” said Gannon.