What began as nothing more than a simple idea now has the potential to change the lives of thousands of women across campus. Penn State’s Panhellenic Council recently voted to create a new health and wellness position on its executive board, demonstrating the organization’s dedication to the health of women everywhere. In her first term as vice president of health and wellness, Alexa Ain hopes to serve as a resource to women who are trying to improve their physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Former Panhellenic Council Executive Vice President Maddy Gist took the reigns in taking the position from idea to reality. When Gist discovered various councils across the country already included a wellness position, she suggested implementing a similar position to the rest of the executive board after benchmarking with Virginia Tech’s council.
Panhellenic Council President Amanda Saper believes creating this new position was truly imperative. “This position focuses on issues affecting women, including sexual assault and violence, mental health and healthy living, and more,” Saper said. “As the largest women’s organization on campus, this position was needed. Penn State is beginning to create a larger dialogue around issues affecting women. As Panhellenic Council, I believe it is our duty to not only be in on that conversation, but also to be committed long term.”
During Panhellenic Council elections last semester, Alexa Ain of Alpha Delta Pi became the first official vice president of health and wellness. Excited about the position and the opportunity to help Panhellenic women, Ain is already planning a Women’s Empowerment Week for late March. She’s also working on bringing The Body Project to Penn State to help improve women’s health and self esteem.
“The Body Project is a program that has had huge success in preventing eating disorders and promoting positive body image. Throughout our lives, girls are taught that they need to live up to the appearance ideal of the ‘perfect woman.’ This ideal is so dangerous and has affected young girls and women across the country,” Ain said. “This program, however, has been able to combat these issues and it’s life-changing in my opinion. I’ve recently been taught to facilitate the program, along with a few other young women. After I select my wellness committee, I hope for the girls to encourage their individual sororities to become involved.”
Individual chapters are already beginning to get more involved with similar initiatives. Several chapters have programs that encourage women to attend fitness classes together, choose healthy eating options, and emphasize the importance of mental health awareness. Ain hopes to use this interest to create a newsletter for the Greek community that will include a variety of healthy lifestyle tips for women to implement in their own lives. With the help of the Panhellenic Council, Ain will encourage chapters to take on even more wellness initiatives and to create their own health and wellness positions.