Shawnna Smith (left) and Sarah O'Sullivan (right) are the new lead coordinators for fraternity and sorority life. | Photos courtesy of Shawnna Smith and Sarah O'Sullivan

The two-month search for two new greek life coordinators came to an end Feb. 28.

Shawnna Smith and Sarah O’Sullivan will join Cal Poly’s greek life as the lead coordinators for fraternity and sorority life. The two will oversee Cal Poly’s 37 chapters across the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic council (PHA) and United Sorority and Fraternity Council (USFC). In this position, the two will review learning objectives of greek life, making sure they align with that of the university and draft plans to manage risk, among many other duties.

Smith will begin the position April 3 and O’Sullivan May 22, according to a press release from the office of fraternity and sorority life.

“Overall, I felt the reason I needed to hire them is because I could see them working well together as a team, and that made it very exciting for me to see the possibilities that could be there,” Director of Leadership and Service Jason Mockford said. 

Greek life backgrounds 

Although the two have not yet met in person, Smith said she’s excited to collaborate with another coordinator. Both new coordinators also share a couple of similarities, such as their leadership roles in greek life as undergraduate and graduate students.

Smith served as the president of Alpha Chi Omega at California State University, Sacramento and the chapter consultant of Alpha Chi Omega headquarters. She now serves as the graduate assistant for fraternity and sorority life at University of the Pacific. In her current position, Smith oversees IFC, PHA and MGC, the Cal Poly USFC equivalent.

O’Sullivan also actively participated in the greek life community as an undergraduate. She served as the Delta Zeta chapter president at the University of San Francisco and now serves as the graduate assistant for fraternity and sorority life at University of California, Berkeley.

Sense of home 

Attending a commuter school, Smith felt that she needed a way to connect to other students and meet new friends. For her, greek life served as that opportunity.

“I ended up falling in love with it. Everyone became my family and I really loved the people I met and it made college so much better,” Smith said.

O’Sullivan had a similar experience. As a freshman, she loved how close everyone in greek life was. Now a graduate student, O’Sullivan wants to give back to a community that gave her an unforgettable college experience.

“It doesn’t feel like work, you get these rewarding moments where students accomplish their goals,” O’Sullivan said. 

O’ Sullivan and Smith are looking forward to working with Cal Poly students. However, to accomplish their vision for greek life at Cal Poly, the two will first get to know the greek life culture on campus and identify which needs should be addressed first, according to Mockford.

Looking forward 

Mockford hopes to see greek councils and the Center for Service and Action cooperate on events to make a larger impact. The Mustangs Making Miracles event hosted in Dec. 2016 served as one example of greek life collaborating with the Center for Service in Action. Together, the two organizations collected toys for local San Luis Obispo charities, including Woods Humane Society.

Aside from plans for philanthropy, Smith has a new vision for greek life: diversity.

“I think greek life as a whole is moving to more inclusivity,” Smith said. “I think as a community we’re being more welcome and we want to bring in more differences so it’s not stereotypical.”

Smith and O’Sullivan’s leadership and service to greek life will go hand in hand as they enter into the positions this spring.

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