November 20, 2009

GIRL POWAA (Spice Girls Anyone?)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 7:42 pm by Gina

Hey girlies!

Mackenzie Smith, a senior at Ohio University, is the President of the Women’s Panhellenic Association, and a member of Alpha Delta Pi. She’s a journalism major focusing on public relations, and I interviewed her for an article I’m writing about women leaders at OU. I have two more interviews coming so I hope you guys like it!

Q: How did you get into journalism and public relations?

A: I toured Scripps when I was a senior in high school and thought I wanted to go into advertising so my mom encouraged me to apply and once I got in I didn’t even know public relations was an area of study. I was really intrigued by it and switched my focus from advertising to PR.

Q: What is the Women’s Panhellenic Association?

A: The Women’s Panhellenic Association is basically the governing body for all nine sororities on campus, the social sororities, and we serve as kind of the administrative body like I said. We have fourteen executive officers right now, we just amended our constitution so at the end of this quarter we’ll go down to twelve officers ranging from recruitment, community service, all sorts of things. We serve as a resource for the chapters, make sure everyone’s abiding by the rules. We put on some big events, obviously sorority recruitment is our biggest even in the fall but we also try to do at least one big community service event a quarter. And we also kind of serve as the liaison to collaborate with other university groups.

Q: How did you get involved with the organization?

A: Well, it’s an application and interview process, which we’re actually about to start right now. But I applied to be the vice president of public relations, I thought it’s be a good thing for my major to get involved outside of my own individual chapter and I ended up being slated as President so that was very exciting and I took it and ran with it and it’s been a learning experience but I’ve loved every second of it.

Q: What are your responsibilities as President?

A: I basically serve as the main contact person for all of the sorority side of Greek Life, maintaining relationships with the campus involvement center, Dean of Students, Vice President of Student Affairs, I represent the organization at a lot of meetings like Council of Student Leaders and everything. When outside groups contact us they usually contact me, I kind of in a way have to know every aspect of all of the thirteen positions. Making sure that everyone’s doing their job, helping generate new ideas and ll of that good stuff.

Q: Would you say that being President takes up most of your time?

A: It’s definitely something, I’m always getting emails and everything. It depends on the time of year like spring quarter when we are preparing for recruitment we had recruitment meetings every Tuesday, but now since that’s over I don’t have that constraint anymore. It is time-consuming, but it’s definitely not the only thing, I don’t define my life by being President of this organization. I do find that although it is time-consuming, it’s manageable to the point that I still have a life, and it’s not consuming.

Q: What are your plans for the future after OU?

A: Well I’m about to start my job hunt right now, like I said I’m a PR major specializing in marketing so I try to keep my options open with that. I’m just doing what every senior is kind of doing right now, looking for jobs. I had an internship this summer and they said that there’s a chance of budget providing, they’ll offer me a job, so I’m kind of waiting that out. But we’ll see what happens.

Q: Did you have any female role models growing up?

A: You probably would get this answer a lot but my mom, she’s always been very supportive in me trying new things and if I’m not successful at it she was definitely the person there to comfort me and tell me just because that didn’t work out for you doesn’t mean everything’s over. For example, I ran for a position in my chapter and I didn’t get it and I was just very upset. My mom kept saying everything’s going to be okay, everything happens for a reason obviously, now as President of WPA I can definitely say that everything does happen for a reason. She’s just a very strong woman and she has good morals and good values and it’s just something I look up to and hope to achieve when I’m older, so I would definitely say my mom.

Q: Do you consider yourself a leader?

A: Yes and no, sometimes it’s still kind of surreal to me. As President of WPA I’m technically the voice for 1100 women and that seems overwhelming at first but sometimes it doesn’t really hit me but I do like to think that I’m a leader on campus through some of the other organizations I’m involved in that maybe people appreciate my opinion. As a senior now especially that in itself I feel like I’ve acquired a lot of knowledge over my last three years here and everything, so I’d like to think that hopefully I’m a leader in a larger sense too.

Q: What other organizations are you with?

A: Pretty much everything is through Greek life, Greek life community, Greek community council, Greek council of student leaders. Spring quarter I was on the Steering committee to re-evaluate OU’s sexual assault sanctioning policy so that was really cool to see how the university kind of runs on a larger sense, amending the judicial sanction is a big step I think, so all that type of stuff takes up most of my time.

Q: How do you think being in a sorority has helped you?

A: I know people think that when you join a sorority you’re just trying to pay for your friends and meet your friends but when I came to OU I was really homesick. The only reason I went to recruitment was because my mom said you need to get out of your dorm room and go do something. And the women that I met, I talked to a member of my chapter during recruitment who said she had the same story as me, she was so homesick and she just found her little niche, her kind of home away from home if you will, and that was just really comforting. Knowing that to be with a group of women who are, I mean we’re not carbon copies on one another, but have similar interests and everything has really helped me grow and I was involved in high school a lot but I wanted to get involved in college too, I mean with a campus so big I wanted to kind of be able to make my own path and I think that it’s taught me a lot about myself and helped me mature to the point now where I could take on a big leadership role like this.

Q: Being president of WPA and in a sorority, you’re around girls a lot. Do you think that’s helped you a woman learn more about yourself?

A: I definitely think it is, I know it’s stereotypical that girls are catty and I’ve just really learned and met so many people through this, in particular other women, and I’ve learned how to interact with them. I’ve also learned that you deal with different people differently, some people might be responsive to you talking to them a certain way, other women may not take that approach, so I definitely think that it’s taught me a lot and created a lot of bonds with women. I’ve met so many people from other chapters and everything and I think that it’s definitely increased that.


1 Comment »

  1. LOVING the website and posts!

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