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Seisser, Gabaldon, VanFleet attend panhellenic conference

Barry McNamara
Emily Gabaldon, left, and Bailey VanFleet pose in Indianapolis with the flags of Monmouth College's three women's fraternities -- Kappa Kappa Gamma, Alpha Xi Delta and Pi Beta Phi.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – A group of Monmouth College students made history earlier this month in Indiana.

With a goal of empowering the women on Monmouth College’s campus and strengthening sorority life in general, two students and a staff member attended the College Panhellenic Academy in Indianapolis. The academy is part of the annual National Panhellenic Conference.

“This is the first time that Monmouth has ever attended this conference,” said Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Max Seisser, who was accompanied by Emily Gabaldon ’19 of Polo, Ill., and Bailey VanFleet ’19 of Augusta, Ill.

The three Monmouth participants each followed an intensive 1.5-day track in their area of interest. Gabaldon learned more about leading a Greek organization as president, VanFleet studied recruitment and Seisser participated in the adviser track.

The conference stressed empowering women, which was reflected in the keynote speech and a series of four other main talks.

“The keynote speech focused on empowering women through confidence,” said Seisser. “Everyone has a different idea of what confidence means to them. The speaker also talked about being an ‘unfinished person.’ You don’t have to be a finished person as an undergraduate.”

Seisser said he and the students came away from Indianapolis with several new ideas.

“We met people from all over the country and determined the things they do that we could bring to Monmouth to do even better with our efforts,” said Seisser. “Greek life is strong here, but we can always consider best practices and see how we can improve.”

There are currently 165 active members of Monmouth’s three sororities. Together, the women posted a 3.19 grade-point average for the fall semester, which is higher than the campus-wide average for women.

Gabaldon and VanFleet are both on the executive committee of the College’s Panhellenic Council, which regularly brings together the sororities. A member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Gabaldon serves as president of the council, while Bailey, a member of Pi Beta Phi, is vice president for recruitment.

The College’s four fraternities meet through the Interfraternity Council. Seisser said the Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council are important parts of Greek life on campus, as more than one in four Monmouth students are members of a Greek organization.

“The councils are an opportunity for the organizations to meet and work together instead of remaining separate and working independently,” he said.