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After an intense interview process, marketing junior and Alpha Chi Omega member Kristen Henry has been elected Panhellenic President. With her experience as the vice president of philanthropy in her sorority, she feels up to the challenge. Mustang News sat down with Henry to talk about who she is and what she plans do with the position.
Q: What are your interests and hobbies?
A: I love hanging out at the Cal Poly Recreation Center playing beach volleyball, spending time with my friends whether it’s hiking or finding new places to eat in SLO and spending time with my family.
Q: Are you involved in anything else at Cal Poly, besides greek life?
A: I’m an ambassador for the business school and I work for ASI for event scheduling and management … I spend a lot of time in the UU.
Q: What do you see yourself doing in the future?
A: I want to go into something like brand marketing, product strategy or possibly PR.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be Panhellenic president?
A: I knew Danielle Durante, the previous Panhellenic president, so I got to see how she worked with the community. Seeing how she helped and worked with so many people throughout her position was something that I got to watch and decided I was interested in the position as well.
Q: What is the role of the Panhellenic President?
A: I oversee the Panhellenic Council, which is 10 members total, work closely with the greek life officers and campus administrators. It’s about being a liaison to all those groups and working to better the entire Panhellenic community by ensuring that all the chapters are successful and that we are giving as many opportunities possible for each individual member.
Q: Describe the typical day as a Panhellenic president.
A: It depends on the day. Sometimes, it’s leading the Panhellenic general meetings and board meetings. There are a lot of emails; I’ve gotten more emails in the last few weeks than probably the last two months. I just need to be an available resource with a flexible schedule … and then being a student and having a life.
Q: Is it overwhelming to work with so many people on a day-to-day basis?
A: Not really. I’m really organized so it’s just about keeping track of it all. I have my big hour-to-hour calendar so it’s just staying on top of my meetings. The biggest thing is checking emails; taking time to actually read the emails instead of skimming it.
Q: How do you feel about coming into the position in the middle of the school year?
A: So many of my friends were abroad last quarter so it kind of feels like I’m starting fresh anyway. And sororities use the annual calendar instead of the academic calendar so it’s something I’m already used to. I know what I can take on from here, how to manage my schedule and then work with greek life on that timeline.
Q: Do you plan to change the way things are run?
A: Right now, I’m doing a lot of observing because I wasn’t on the Panhellenic council last year, which is kind of abnormal for the president. I’m coming in with a different perspective than maybe another president because they would know more of the day-to-day details of how things are run. I think this perspective allows me to have a more open, critical mind about how things are working and where to make changes.
Q: What’s your vision for the future of Greek Life?
A: The biggest thing is that our members are having the best experience possible, which goes to meeting all of their needs from basic health and safety, to giving them the best leadership opportunities and the best networking opportunities and the best chance for a sisterhood, which is what these sororities are really built on.
Q: What are you most excited for?
A: I’m most excited to see everything my board can do because these are girls that come from all different houses. In the past week, I’ve seen them come together with tons and tons of ideas and enthusiasm.
Q: What are you most nervous for?
A: It’s a little embarrassing but coming into the position, I was actually most nervous for standing up at the meetings because there is a whole script you have to follow. It was probably the smallest and most trivial thing that I had to do but it was the thing I thought about the most.
Q: Do you have any advice for anybody interested in getting involved in the leadership side of Greek Life?
A: If you are even considering it, just do it. We have some really great opportunities and each chapter has activities. Some might be hesitant because they are nervous of not getting the position but you know, you don’t know until you try. Just go for it. No harm.