Indiana State University Newsroom

State’s sororities among top 3 percent nationally

August 21, 2017

Joining a sorority was not top of the list for Sara Leyes when she was an incoming freshman at Indiana State University.

"But I noticed that a lot of the leaders I saw on campus tended to be in a Greek organization. My welcome team leaders and many of the teaching assistants were all in a Greek organization," Leyes said. "I thought there had to be something special about it. So I took a leap of faith and went for it at the last minute!"

What Leyes, a senior healthcare administration major from New Castle, Ind., noticed was true - and a contributing factor to why the Indiana State University Panhellenic Association won the College Excellence Award from the National Panhellenic Conference for the fifth consecutive year.

"For our Panhellenic Association to be recognized for the fifth year in a row by the National Panhellenic Conference is a testament to the leadership and quality of women participating in Fraternity and Sorority Life at Indiana State University," said Willie Banks, vice president for the Division of Student Affairs. "I am so proud of our Panhellenic community for being role models for others on campus and for displaying the values required to be recognized for this award. Congratulations to Panhellenic and Fraternity and Sorority Life on this recognition."

Indiana State is one of only 20 institutions nationwide to be recognized in the excellence category this year, which puts Sycamores in the top three percent of the organizations -- and the only to earn the Excellence Award five years running.

Excellence Award recipients must meet all seven criteria, which includes recruitment, Panhellenic structure, communication with the National Panhellenic Conference area advisor, judicial procedures, Panhellenic programming, academics and Panhellenic community impact and relations, to be considered for the award.

"Indiana State's Panhellenic is so different from others," said Emily Sanders, vice president for administration of the Panhellenic Association and a senior management major from Indianapolis. "We genuinely are a huge family of 700-plus women. No matter the chapter, we all want to see everyone succeed. We are always willing to help each other out and give our support. It is about the work that all nine sororities put in, and we as a Panhellenic executive board could not be more proud of everything they have accomplished!"

The women contributed to more than half of the $98,000 raised for charity and 31,450 hours of community service performed by State sorority and fraternity during the 2016-17 school term.

"Our community stresses the importance of coming together to accomplish goals rather than competing against each other to accomplish individual goals," Leyes said. "Yes, we have our competitions in raising money or things such as Homecoming events, but it's all good fun and we always know what's really important when it comes down to it."

Panhellenic President Giovanna Irwin of Liberty, Ind., a senior majoring in special education, was drawn to joining a sorority because she wanted people to push her to be her best.

"Not only do you gain sisters or brothers that you can depend on, but you gain the support of the entire community. Every fraternity and sorority at Indiana State University supports one another," Irwin said. "I liked knowing that no matter what happens, I was always going to have people to depend on."

Indiana State sorority members have an average GPA of .2 higher than non-sorority members.

"Scholarship is always on the top of our improvement list," Irwin said. "This past semester, we were proud our women and the GPA's they earned. This semester, we have set our goals even higher."

Terre Haute native Jayden Alley is certainly helping their academic excellence efforts. The third-year athletic training applied medicine major will graduate a semester early, despite just adding a second minor.

"I joined Greek life to meet new people," Alley said. "Going to college in my hometown, I felt by joining Greek life, I would meet people from all over! I also knew that I would be able to get involved in many activities around campus that I wouldn't have gotten the chance to otherwise."

The women all agree their organization's success wouldn't be possible without the wisdom of previous Panhellenic leaders and university staff's guidance.

"The Panhellenic Association has certain expectations that have been passed down from executive board to executive board. We've also been blessed with amazing advisors and directors who guide us along the way," Irwin said. "It's important to have leaders who are passionate and care about the work they are doing also. Also, leaders are nothing without a strong community alongside them. Our Panhellenic community, as well as the entire fraternity and sorority life community, supports and trusts us unconditionally. We wouldn't be successful without them."

The start of a new academic year also means sorority recruitment is just around the corner. "There is a lot of preparation that goes into Panhellenic recruitment, and we want this year to be the best yet," Irwin said.

This year's Panhellenic philanthropy is the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation.

"Our goal for Circle of Sisterhood is to raise enough money to build and donate a school for girls and children in an underprivileged country," Irwin said. "Also, our community interaction is also a goal at the top of our list. The other two council presidents and I have been working diligently to create events that strengthen the bond between all of our respective parties. We want to create a community of inclusion and togetherness."

The National Panhellenic Conference, one of the largest organizations advocating for women, is the umbrella group for 26 national and international sororities. NPC sororities are located on more than 670 campuses with 380,565 undergraduate members in 3,234 chapters. Alumnae are represented in 3,889 associations throughout the world.

"NPC is proud of all our College Panhellenics receiving recognition, and I congratulate them all on their successes," said Frances Mitchelson, Panhellenics chairman.

For more information about the National Panhellenic Conference, including a complete list of sororities, go to


Photos: -- Indiana State University sororities participate in bid day last fall. -- Indiana State University sororities participate in bid day last fall. -- Indiana State University sororities participate in bid day last fall. -- Indiana State University sororities participate in bid day last fall.

Writer and media contact: Libby Roerig, director of communications and media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or