The University of Southern Mississippi College Panhellenic Council (CPC) received the National Panhellenic Conference Excellence Award Jan. 26 for being recognized as one of the top college councils in the Southeast.
Phyllis Davis, National Panhellenic Council area adviser for Mississippi, said there are 574 college panhellenics in Canada and the U.S., and only 14 other schools are receiving this award in 2014. Currently, Southern Miss CPC is the only school in Mississippi that has received the award.
“It is quite an honor to be included in this level of recognition,” Davis said in her speech at the CPC reception Sunday. “The (award) certificate recognizes the (Southern Miss) Panhellenic community for its hard work to meet all the core confidences. They excelled at all seven identified core functions of the college panhellenic operations.”
Southern Miss CPC excelled in the seven core functions, which include recruitment, panhellenic structure, communication, judicial procedures, programming, academics and panhellenic community impact and relations.
“Receiving this award is a testament of the hard work of many women who came before me,” said Elena Lofton, Southern Miss CPC president. “I think it takes everyone to make the whole. So I believe everyone in the (Greek) community is a recipient of this award, not just the council.”
Lofton’s words certainly ring true when Bonnie Warren, former Kappa Delta national president and USM alumna, applauded Southern Miss CPC council for their consistent hard work in the Greek community.
“You are an authentic community, you genuinely care about one another and (have) a desire to work together collaboratively,” Warren said as she spoke to the CPC council. “You empower your women to be the best. You develop strong leaders and you bring people together to interact and engage in debate, to dream, to grow and to develop your community.”
Southern Miss Greek life panhellenic adviser Melissa Sharp is hopeful about CPC’s future at Southern Miss and also believes the NPC Excellence Award could help recruit more members for sorority life.
“I do believe (CPC) can recruit more women because we’ve proved that we have a product that builds better women,” Sharp said. “I think this is what students are coming to (Southern Miss) for. They want to better themselves, and what better way to do that than to join the sorority experience?”
Sharp said CPC plans to keep moving forward with their impact in Greek life as well as the Southern Miss community.
“Just because (CPC) achieved a high honor doesn’t mean we stop,” Sharp said. “We’re just going to continue to strive (and) continue to work. Hard work is what got us here, hard work is what is going to keep us here and take us higher.”
Lofton said she looks forward to leading Southern Miss CPC this semester and plans to have a smooth transition in welcoming a new sorority to campus in fall 2014, Alpha Chi Omega.
According to the Southern Miss Greek life office website, the first USM Panhellenic council was formed for sororities and fraternities in 1937 to govern recruitment.
Currently, 25 percent of women at Southern Miss are in the Greek life community. Sorority life at USM has an average 3.1 GPA, which is higher than the 2.74 GPA for non-Greek women.