10 Questions With Incoming Panhellenic President Samantha Browne

Delta Zeta’s Samantha Browne was recently elected president of Penn State’s Panhellenic Council.

Before she fully transitions into her new role, we sat down with Browne to learn more about her goals, what she brings to the table for Greek life, and how she’s gotten involved in the Penn State community.

Onward State: Why did you decide to join Greek life?

Samantha Browne: I grew up in a very small town in central New Jersey with only 600 students in my high school. Coming to Penn State was an exciting yet scary change. Suddenly, I was surrounded by 40,000 other students and not a single one was from my graduating class. Not having the safety net of a group of friends from high school, I knew I really had to put myself out there to make this large campus smaller. Greek life did just that for me. I was able to make genuine friendships with others who shared values of philanthropy, sisterhood, and service. Seeing familiar faces on campus and knowing I had a group of women who supported me helped make this campus feel more like my own.

OS: Why did you run for Panhellenic Council president?

SB: About a year ago I was scrolling through my chapter’s Facebook group when I saw an opening for a wellness position. I was looking for a way to get more involved with my sorority and thought my experience with working on mental health and wellness on campus fit well for this. When I was elected, I was ecstatic, but also nervous. I was only a sophomore and still had a lot of learning about the community to do. I watched as the amazing women on my board were able to accomplish so many initiatives and really make an impact on the Greek Community. They continuously inspired and challenged me, and I knew if I had the opportunity to continue to make a positive impact on the community, I could not pass it up.

Fast forward to today, and I am more confident than ever in deciding to take on this role. I hope to shed light on all of the positive aspects of Greek organizations. These foster confidence, sisterhood, philanthropy, inclusion, and so much more. I want to bring everything I have learned this past year into my new position to continue to better the community and continue to grow.

OS: What are you most excited about in your new position as president?

SB: I am most excited about working with each chapter’s president! It is such an amazing opportunity to lead a group of women who are motivated and caring. I want to create a close bond with each president so they feel supported and know someone is in their corner. This community is meant to inspire and support, and I cannot wait to see that happen among all of the chapters. I look forward to pushing them and also learning from them to uplift our entire community.

OS: What changes do you intend to make during your term?

SB: During my term, I hope to continue to change our approach to diversifying the community. The past board has made amazing strides by implementing a vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as a related scholarship. We also have implemented DEI several training sessions for all leaders across the community and for every person involved in the recruiting process. I plan on continuing this initiative by ensuring not only the VP of DEI is working with outside organizations and resources to continue to expand our community, but that each position on our board is implementing their own DEI practices so we can continue to better ourselves internally.

OS: How do you plan to work with the rest of the PHC executive board?

SB: I plan on working with each member of the executive board very closely. Every person brings a unique thought or idea to the table and through collaboration and communication I believe we can come up with the best decisions to better the entire Panhellenic community.

Being a member of the board last year, I have a great base understanding of each position. I already have ideas on how we can improve each role, and how we can collaborate more as a board on each of their responsibilities. The women that were elected have truly blown me away with their dedication and innovation for their positions. It’s important to me to create an uplifting and positive group culture and I cannot wait to get started to do just that!

OS: What do you believe makes you qualified as president?

SB: Over this past year, I have learned and changed more than I thought I would. I took on several leadership roles that have prepared me for this position. I am the Family Relations chair for my dance team, the chair of the Student Life Committee in UPUA, and the vice president for wellness on the Panhellenic Council. Serving as the vice president for wellness on the executive board has taught me so many lessons. I have learned how to create relationships with other student organizations and university offices such as CAPS, Health Promotion and Wellness, and the Gender Equity Center. I learned how to represent Panhellenic’s voice in different spaces such as the Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Roundtable and the Women’s Empowerment Roundtable. Most importantly, I learned how the executive board should function.

I believe having this pre-existing knowledge of each position, their general duties, what we should be accomplishing in a year, how meetings are run, and so much more, will be a huge asset for the new council. I can be a resource for any position if they are confused in their role as I have watched my amazing council accomplish it. I want to foster a comfortable and successful environment, and I think my experience on the council will ease that goal.

OS: What do you think will be your greatest challenge as president? How will you attack that challenge?

SB: I believe my greatest challenge as president will be increasing participation. From moving to completely virtual and now slowly moving back to normal, turnout at in-person events has not been what it should be. It’s difficult getting used to moving back to regular campus culture, but I plan on holding each chapter accountable through required attendance for Panhellenic events. It’s extremely important we are continually engaging with the communities around us, and are supporting other women and chapters within our community.

OS: What has been your favorite Greek life moment so far?

SB: My favorite Greek life moment so far is definitely THON 2020! It was my first THON experience and my first time really getting to know girls in my chapter. Even through graveyard shifts everyone still had a smile on their face and was ready to support our dancers. It made me fall in love THON and appreciate the entire Greek Community coming together and prioritizing such an amazing cause.

OS: What advice do you have for chapter presidents and executive boards?

SB: Advice I would give to chapter presidents and their executive boards is that empowerment is a chain effect. If you lead with confidence and uplift each other, that will shine through, and your chapters will follow by example. It’s also important to value collaboration. Take into consideration every voice and viewpoint. Being able to put aside personal desires to better your community is the true meaning of being a leader. Finally, use this role to make a difference! You have been chosen to be an advocate for your chapter and for your community. Take this year to really step out of your comfort zone and make a change. The positions you are stepping into are not easy, but just remember you are benefiting your own community and the Penn State community along the way.

OS: Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur what would you be and why?

SB: My favorite dinosaur is the Pterodactyl because they can fly, which I think is cool. The silent “P” is a fun little addition.

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About the Author

Mackenna Yount

Mackenna is a junior food science major from Manitou Springs, Colorado, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She loves food, is addicted to coffee, and can give you random facts or bad jokes that you didn't ask for. Ask her to bake gluten-free goodies so she has an excuse to try out new cupcake flavors. Mackenna can be contacted via Twitter @mackennayount (especially if you want to show off your best dad jokes) or you can shoot her an email at [email protected].

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