10 Questions With New Panhellenic President Rachael Cook
Sigma Delta Tau’s Rachael Cook was recently elected president of the Panhellenic Council.
As Cook gets ready to embark on her new role, we sat down with her to talk about her sorority experiences, goals, and plans for improving the Greek community.
Onward State: Why did you decide to run for Panhellenic Council president?
Rachael Cook: I am just coming off my term of being chapter president for Sigma Delta Tau, and it was honestly the most incredible experience I have ever had in my life. I see the amazing benefits that Panhellenic has to offer, and I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to be able to give back to a community that gave me so much.
OS: Why did you want to join Greek life?
RC: Sisterhood has always played a huge role in my life. I grew up with four older sisters, who I am extremely close with. I went to an all-girls school from 6th to 12th grade, and I went to an overnight summer camp for ten summers. I was always used to having a solid group of girls to rely on in my life, and I wanted this to be continued in college. My sorority has offered me an incredible sisterhood where I found my best friends that made such a large school feel a lot more like home.
OS: What changes do you intend to make during your term?
RC: I think the previous Panhellenic board has done an incredible job at creating more unity and collaboration between not only chapters but also all four of the Greek councils. I want to continue their work. I also want to keep pushing the women’s empowerment movement because we have an amazing group of over 3,000 women who are more than capable of changing not only Penn State but the world.
OS: How do you plan to work with the rest of the PHC executive board?
RC: I have so much trust in all of these women and their capability of fulfilling their positions. I know that we have the best group of women that will thoroughly serve our community as well as collaborate with one another.
OS: What do you feel your greatest challenge as president will be?
RC: A challenge that I could foresee happening is gaining member involvement. I know from firsthand experience that involvement from general members in chapters is hard to come by at times, and I know how extremely frustrating this can be. This is a challenge that I believe we will face in the coming year but will strive to overcome.
OS: What are you most excited about in your coming term?
RC: I was able to make such an impact for my chapter, and I am absolutely so excited to be able to do this on a larger scale — not only for Panhellenic but for the entire University. To be able to represent so many powerful women is truly such an honor. I am definitely most excited to be a voice and an advocate for these hard-working Chapters and to continue the work of previous Panhellenic boards in making Panhellenic a strong and loud voice on campus.
OS: What experience have you had that you believe makes you qualified for this position?
RC: Definitely my experience as chapter president. During the past year, I have changed not only my chapter’s standards of excellence stats but also our overall standing with the university. I improved membership involvement, participation, sisterhood, values, and overall attitude. This has been the most rewarding year for our chapter.
OS: What advice would you give to other chapter presidents and their executive boards?
RC: Trust your gut. There were a lot of times I had to make decisions that I knew weren’t popular and that I knew would not gain me popularity. But I knew they were right and at the end of the day, I was appreciated by my chapter for putting us in positive and safe positions throughout my term. Also, and this took me a while, separate your position from your personal life. There would be nights where I would feel stressed and lost but it’s always important to take time to focus on you and your friends. Put your position aside for a little.
OS: What has been your favorite Greek life moment so far?
RC: Bid day, for sure. I remember the second I opened my bid and felt so much excitement and nerves all at once. I remember running outside to be literally welcomed with open arms by so many girls and it was just crazy to think that within a week or so, they would all be my best friends. I genuinely do not know what I ever did without them, and for that, I can honestly say it has been my favorite Greek life moment. It was so amazing to be welcomed by so many women into their chapters and to automatically have gained so many sisters.
OS: Finally, per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur what would you be and why?
RC: Majungasaurus because they have the biggest appetite…and anyone who knows me will knows how accurate this is for me.
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About the Author
What would you do if someone interrupted your class to make a panini?
“What’s truly important is, obviously, faith, family, and friends, and today we woke up with a great reminder [of that]. If you didn’t go home last night and hug your kids, you should’ve — that’s what I do. At any second, it could be gone.”
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