The Cal Poly chapter of Gamma Phi Beta is one of just 19 Gamma Phi Beta sororities to earn the “Five Crescent Level,” the highest award given by the Gamma Phi Beta international organization through a program called the Order of the Crescents this year.
The sisters work year-round to meet a set of criteria, based upon five “crescents:” recruitment, member education, scholastic performance, risk management and finance.
Gamma Phi Beta works to meet each criteria by electing an executive board, with every member assigned to different categories. Graphic communication junior and president of Gamma Phi Beta Kristina Benvenuto said the board frequently checks on how well the sorority adheres to the guidelines of the Order of the Crescents.
“Every quarter the executive board will sit down and kind of evaluate how we’re doing things,” Benvenuto said.
The sorority uses the criteria as a checklist to gauge its success in all five categories.
“The checklist, really what it does is it sets amazing goals,” Benvenuto said.
In addition to abiding by Cal Poly regulations, the sorority must also follow those of the international Gamma Phi Beta organization in the area of recruitment, as well as recruit the right kind of Gamma Phi Beta sister, said animal science senior Erin Clutter. Clutter helped with recruitment in winter and fall of 2010.
“It’s not just a girl who’s sweet and nice and fun but someone who will stay in the sorority and give support to the girls,” Clutter said.
New members are educated in both safety plans and the history of the sorority, another requirement to earn the Five Crescents title. The Gamma Phi Beta sisters at Cal Poly must also have a group grade point average that is higher than the Gamma Phi Beta average.
In the area of risk management, the women of Gamma Phi Beta must meet all local and sorority safety guidelines when planning philanthropy events and other activities.
The sorority’s budget must be approved by the international Gamma Phi Beta organization monthly as the final requirement to earn the Five Crescents.
Organizing all requirements is a challenge for the sorority, said former vice president of administration and psychology senior, Amber Luis. Each member of the board is responsible for separate forms and guidelines, and Luis was in charge of coordinating all members of the board behind the scenes.
“I always referred to my position as the ‘backburner,’” Luis said.
Making sure each member has filled out the forms properly was a stress for Luis, but she said she is happy with how the executive board members worked to help each other out.
“I’m just proud of how as a board we weren’t focused on our own positions,” Luis said. “It was a collaborative effort.”
Though the board members are in charge of the paperwork, all members of the sorority have a hand in meeting the requirements. Each board member has approximately 12 sisters in their branch, be it philanthropy or risk management, who aid them in meeting the criteria.
Vanessa Bindi, biochemistry junior and philanthropy chair, said the sorority has been working to achieve the Five Crescents but that meeting each of the separate criteria has been the biggest challenge. She also said working to earn the award unifies the sorority.
“It gives everyone a chance to take part and feel like they’re needed,” Bindi said.
Bindi said it’s gratifying to be recognized as one of the highest-achieving chapters in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority.
New member and agricultural business freshman Mary Skilling said earning the Five Crescents is a thrill.
“I didn’t know anything about Gamma Phi Beta before I joined but now that I’m in it, it feels good to be a part of something like this,” Skilling said.