Panhellenic Council and women’s center form WAAG

Matt Kuhns

Two Iowa State women’s organizations have formed a new program to foster discussion of women’s issues among ISU sorority members.

The Women’s Action Awareness Group (WAAG) is the result of a cooperative effort by the Panhellenic Council and the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center.

Carolyn Jones, president of the Panhellenic Council, said one of her main goals as president was to work more with the women’s center because of the organizations’ similar goals.

“Both Carolyn and I decided that a linkage between the women’s center and Panhell just made sense,” said Pam Thomas, director of the women’s center, adding that both organizations work for the betterment of women.

Jones said she wanted to develop a program for sorority members to discuss women’s issues.

WAAG consists of five weekly workshops in which members of different sororities discuss various women’s issues. Discussion topics have included “Self-esteem and body image” and “What do women want?”

A women’s center employee leads each WAAG meeting and helps maintain the discussions.

All discussions at WAAG meetings are totally confidential, in order to make members feel more comfortable talking about sensitive issues, according to a press release from the Panhellenic Council.

The main focus of the program is to offer individual members the opportunity for discussion, Jones said, but she added that WAAG has an “indirect benefit” to the greek system as a whole.

The group brings members of different sororities together and reminds them that they “are all women [and] all face the same issues,” despite the competition between individual sororities, Jones said.

“It’s interesting to hear other people’s point of view and how their life experiences affect them,” said Katie Ball, member of WAAG and Pi Beta Phi sorority.

The opportunity to hear the views of women outside her sorority has been worthwhile, Ball said, adding that she would like to see the group return next year.

“I think that everyone involved has enjoyed it, and it should continue,” she said.

Thursday will be the final meeting of WAAG for this semester, but Jones said she hopes to continue the program next year.

Several women expressed interest in WAAG this semester, but were not accepted in order to keep group size manageable, Jones said. Next year, she said, the number of discussion groups may be expanded.