Panhel hosts sorority-wide event to promote inclusivity

Spooky S’mores was the first event in several years to bring together all sororities on campus


AKA member Leah Jackson, ’22, roasts marshmallows at the Panhel sponsored event. Photo by Grace Mamon, ’22.

Grace Mamon

Washington and Lee’s Panhellenic Council hosted the largest sorority event in several years Oct. 28. The event included the six National Panhellenic sororities and the university’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a historically Black sorority. 

“The idea of the event was to bring sorority women together, because there’s not usually a whole lot of overlap between organizations,” said Anne Riter, ’22, vice president of programming and community engagement for the Panhellenic Council (Panhel).  

Recent years have seen a push for more inclusivity in the Greek system at Washington and Lee. Riter, who spearheaded the organization of the event, said events like this work towards that goal. 

“I think it’s good for the whole community to come together. Sororities, fraternities, Greek life and non-Greek life,” she said. “But I also think it’s important for people who are part of Greek life to get to know other people who are part of Greek life.”

Riter, a senior, said there has not been an event including all sororities since she’s been on campus. 

She said around 100 sorority women attended the event, which was called Spooky S’mores. It was held at the Village Pavilion near the law school, where there is a fire pit for roasting marshmallows. There was also apple cider, candy and music at the event. 

The treats were a big draw for many attendees. 

“It’s always nice to meet other sorority women. Plus there’s s’mores,” said Leah Jackson, ’22, a member of AKA. 

Jackson said she thinks inclusive events like this are beneficial to the Greek community. 

“It’s good to learn about people outside of your chapter,” she said. 

Georgie Gaines, ’22, Panhel’s vice president of recruitment, said the event was a good way to destress after midterms. 

“Also, I feel like we get so locked into our normal friend groups,like who we’re living with and who we have class with every day,” she said. “So it’s great to have stuff like this.”

Gaines sat with Julia Raskin, ’24, and Cathering McCurdy, ’24, who both said the event is a step toward a more inclusive Greek environment, but there is still more work to be done. 

“It’s also fun to get to know you guys,” McCurdy said to Gaines. “Knowing who’s on Panhel, it makes it less scary.”

There was a sign-in sheet at the event that recorded attendance from each sorority. Riter said Panhel came up with a ratio system, since sororities differ in size — so simply looking at the number of attendees was an unfair way to measure attendance.

Panhel will sponsor a pizza party for the first-place winners, AKA, and the second-place winners, Pi Beta Phi, Riter said. 

The event was also paired with a raffle fundraiser for Circle of Sisterhood, the official Panhellenic philanthropy. 

Entrance was $5 via Venmo, and participants had a chance to win a $50 gift card to one of two women-owned businesses in Lexington, fLEX Fitness or Clover Boutique. 

Leah Beard, Panhellenic campus advisor, said the fundraiser also furthered inclusivity. 

“[The fundraiser] advances the goal of inclusivity, as it is not just limited to the event itself, but is currently ongoing and all students at W&L can participate in this cause,” Beard said. 

Both Beard and Riter said similar events are likely for the future.

“My position rolls over in January, but I’m hoping that this serves as a template for whoever takes over my job,” Riter said. 

This role “is responsible for planning events that promote interaction among members of different sororities,” as well as with the Interfraternity Council and National Pan-Hellenic sororities like AKA, according to Beard. 

Riter said she was pleased with the turnout of the event, and considers it a success. 

“We brought sorority women together to say, ‘hey, this is your community,’” she said. “It’s not just your sorority that’s your community. All of us are a part of it.”