Michelle Georgette has been elected as Panhellenic President for the 2015-16 school year. Georgette is a psychology junior with a minor in communication studies and is originally from San Jose, Calif. She said she feels confident to take on the presidency after having been vice president of risk management (VPRM) for her sorority Alpha Phi. Mustang News sat down with Georgette to learn more about her and her plans for the year.
Tell me about yourself. What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to run, walk or fit in any cardio I can do. I love to be active. There’s so much to do around San Luis Obispo. I’m a huge foodie, so I love to explore food options around here, there are so many good places to eat. Other than that, I like to hang out with friends, go on hikes, things like that.
Why did you choose to come to Cal Poly?
I had an older sister who went here, and I just felt comfortable on the campus. It wasn’t too big of a school or too small and I felt like I could fit in. And it wasn’t too far from home. I felt like it was perfect all around.
Are you involved in anything at Cal Poly other than greek life?
I have a job with ASI (Associated Students, Inc.) at the children’s center, so I keep busy with that.
Were you on Alpha Phi’s executive board? How was that?
Yes, I served as Vice President of Risk Management. So basically, it was the safety side of things. Like implementing safety seminars and being in charge of all the social events, as well as making sure everything runs smoothly with things like transportation. It was a lot of event planning, but it was also cool because I got to see the other side of registering events with campus and doing all of that fun busy work.
Did you find it challenging?
I think it is challenging because we have so many members and it’s just a lot to keep track of, but I just stayed on top of things as best as I could. I actually really enjoyed it. I thought it was a really good position for me.
How do you think that position prepared you for being Panhellenic president?
I got to see a lot of behind-the-scenes work, such as registering events with campus. It was a lot of problem solving, like when things come up that you don’t expect. When it comes to day-to-day jobs, there are so many concerns for members and issues that come up that you have to deal with. So I think that prepared me for this role, just because it’s a lot of unexpected things that come up. It’s a lot of managing people.
Why did you decide to run this year?
I think I just wanted to expand my leadership experience, first and foremost. But I wanted to do something different than my own chapter. I wanted to branch out and meet new people and get more involved. I think Panhellenic in general is a cool system that’s in place, so I just wanted to learn more about it.
What is the election process like?
It’s an interview, that’s the determining factor. It’s with the Panhellenic Council, so the 10 members and then the greek advisor (Evan Razor). Before the interviews are conducted, you have to have a recommendation from your chapter president. I think there are around 28 applicants.
Did you only run for president?
I also ran for Judicial and Risk Management. Those two were my top choices.
Why do you think you’re qualified for the job?
I feel like I had so much experience with the risk management job I had with Alpha Phi. I think that’s a lot of experience with leadership. I really like that kind of work where it’s unexpected, and it’s about being on top of things and dealing with issues that come up. I like to think I’m a people person, too. I mean, there’s so many different people who are in greek life, not everything is going to run smoothly in your chapter. I think I got to deal with that side of things, so I think it prepared me well for Panhellenic president.
Did you always know you wanted to be Panhellenic President?
Well, I definitely got pushed by some of the members in my chapter, but it was always in the back of my mind. I always knew that I wanted to do Panhellenic in general, not necessarily president, but I wanted to be involved with it early on. This is just the right time and opportunity. I would have been happy with any position I got because I just wanted to be more involved with the council.
What are your duties as president?
Once a month, I host round tables with presidents from each chapter, so it’s a lot of communication. I also team up with (Interfraternity Council) IFC and (United Sorority and Fraternity Council) USFC to make sure everything is up to date. Like the STATUS plan, for example. That was a huge project that they took on last year. Basically, I am a liaison between greek life (specifically Panhellenic) and campus administration. So it’s making sure everything is running smoothly between those lines. It’s also keeping in constant communication with the presidents. I also have a hefty role with recruitment which happens in the fall, but it’s a year-long planning process.
What are you most nervous for?
Things do happen, like last year there were the sexual assaults that occurred. As a member of Panhellenic, we have to kind of be the face of sorority life, and I think that’s a big role to take on. I think I just want to make sure that the council is always on the same page with that and how we’re going to represent sorority life in the best possible way.
Do you have any ideas for this year?
I definitely want to be more transparent with recruitment. There’s not always been the best communication between Panhellenic and sorority chapters in terms of recruitment fines, specific rules and the nitty gritty stuff that goes on with the process. I think more transparent communication between chapters and Panhellenic is essential during that crucial time, making sure everyone is on the same page. I’m thinking to maybe implement some kind of presentation that would happen spring quarter that would prepare chapters more. Other than that, just keeping up communication with IFC and UFSC and campus leaders.
What are you most excited for?
I’m probably most excited to make new connections. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know so many of my own sisters, but I think it’s important to build a network. So I want to make connections with leaders and presidents from different houses, and the girls on Panhellenic. I think it will be a really unique and fun experience to get to know everyone.
How do you feel about working with your fellow board members?
I think everyone on the board is extremely qualified and they have experience with this. I’m excited just to get to know them and work together and I’m confident in what we can accomplish.
Do you have any advice for people trying to get involved with leadership positions?
My only advice is to just do it. Apply. Get yourself going. The worst that can happen is that you try again another time. A lot of people don’t want to put themselves out there, they’re afraid of competition. I think it’s such a great experience to get involved and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.
How do you feel about being elected?
I think excited is a good word to sum it up. Excited to get to know all the girls and confident in what we can accomplish. I think it will be a good year.