10 Questions With PHC President-Elect Madeline Strasser
Madeline Strasser was elected the President of Penn State’s Panhellenic Council for the upcoming year. The sister of Alpha Chi Omega and current Panhellenic Delegate will begin her term in the coming weeks and is actively preparing until then. We sat down with Madeline to ask her a few questions regarding her experience with Greek Life, what has prepared her for this position, and her plans for the coming year.
Onward State: Why did you decide to join a sorority here at Penn State?
Madeline Strasser: Both my parents were part of Greek life when they were in college, so I have known what a sorority is since I was a kid. I was one of the girls who registered for sorority recruitment the first day the sign up started. I wanted to be a part of a group that shared similar values and interests with me. I also knew joining a sorority would help me be involved in the community through events, community service, and THON. I am so grateful I joined a sorority and have my home away from home in Panhellenic.
OS: What inspired you to run for a position on the executive board?
MS: I loved serving on my sorority’s executive board as Panhellenic Delegate (the liaison for my sorority to the Panhellenic Executive Board). I wanted to be more involved in the Panhellenic community and serving on the executive board seemed fitting. Something that is unique about president from the other executive board positions is that I get to interact with other student leaders around campus. This was an aspect that compelled me to run. I am excited to serve as president and give back to a community that has given me so much.
OS: Which experience do you feel has best prepared you to be Panhellenic President?
MS: This past year I served as Alpha Chi Omega’s Panhellenic Delegate. Being Panhellenic Delegate gave me a glimpse behind of the scenes of what the Panhellenic Executive Board does. I am very informed on all of Greek life’s major issues and accomplishments because of this experience. I am also very close with leaders in other sororities and Greek organizations because I was a delegate. I hope to use my knowledge and relationships to help represent and improve the Panhellenic Council.
OS: Do you have any specific goals you hope to accomplish for Penn State Greek Life?
MS: I have a lot of goals and ideas for improving the Panhellenic Council. One of my major goals is to for the Panhellenic executive board, individual chapter executive boards, and all the Panhellenic members to have clear and effective communication. I think it is important to minimize the communication gap between all these parties because in a large organization, like Panhellenic, information can get lost. I want to keep all members informed on things like policy changes, upcoming events, and what the executive board is doing. Members will be informed and will be comfortable voicing a concern or comment to the Panhellenic Executive Board.
OS: What are your favorite aspects of Greek Life?
MS: My favorite aspect of Greek life is that at a big school, like Penn State, being a member of the Greek community makes a big school small. Greek life opens so many opportunities for members to meet students similar to them not only within their own respective sororities and fraternities but also with other members of the Greek community.
OS: Is there anything specific that you hope to learn from this experience?
MS: Through this experience, I will be able to learn more not only about the Panhellenic and Greek community, but also about other organizations at Penn State. I am excited to be able to give back and interact with other student leaders to improve a place I love so much: Penn State.
OS: Do you have any advice to give to chapter presidents and their executive boards?
MS: My advice is to not let your friendships get in the way of your job and don’t let your job get in the way of your friendships. What is unique about serving on a sorority executive board is you were all friends before elected to your positions. Be supportive of one another but also don’t take it personally when you have disagreements. Working with friends can be tough and I suggest finding the balance between work and friendship early. Always keep the best interest of the whole community in mind rather than just a few individuals who you might be friendly with.
OS: Which event or events are you most excited for in the coming year?
MS: It’s hard for me to pick just one but I am excited to be able to see all the events individual chapters will plan for their philanthropy events. I think community service is very important and a large part of being Greek. This year, one of my goals is to encourage sororities to include members of the non-Greek community in their philanthropy events. I hope sororities embrace my suggestion and plan events the whole Penn State community can enjoy.
OS: What does Greek Life mean to you?
MS: Greek life has provided me with a home away from home. I think being a part of Greek life provides you with opportunities to get involved in many different aspects of Penn State, like homecoming and THON, all through one organization which is pretty cool. Being a Greek member holds you accountable to something larger then yourself and surrounds you with people who have similar values to you like leadership, scholarship, service and friendship. I strongly believe I am a better leader, friend, and student because I am a Panhellenic woman.
OS: What do you believe to be the most important value Greek Life members should stand for?
MS: As I mentioned, Greek life members value leadership, scholarship, service and friendship. This is why I love being a part of this organization. I think it is unique that, as Greek life members, we focus on all four of these values and not just one. Greek life members are better leaders, students, community members, and friends because of all the opportunities Greek life offers to improve all four of these areas.