PHC looks to maintain high sorority GPA with proposed incentives

The council would reward the chapter with the highest GPA.

Microbiology senior Katie Berning studies with other members of Gamma Phi Beta.

Microbiology senior Katie Berning studies with other members of Gamma Phi Beta.

Nickalas Tabbert

The University of Minnesota’s Panhellenic Council is seeking to boost grades for its members.

Although University sororities already rank above average in academics, the PHC is considering implementing measures to reward the chapter with the best grade point average.

If the council approves the proposal, some of PHC’s funds would be redirected to help fund a venue for the excelling chapter’s biannual formal event, starting next semester.

The average GPA for University PHC-affiliated sororities is 3.22 — higher than the University female average and the overall student average, said Matt Levine, program director for the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life. Of the 12 sororities, eight chapters have a GPA above 3.2 –– higher than the 3.06 Interfraternity Council chapter average.

PHC President Angela Ugorets said she’s happy with how the chapters are performing but wants to motivate them even further with a reward that spotlights one chapter.

“Academics are a priority for me,” she said. “This proposal would serve as a reward for last semester and into the future.”

For Ugorets, high-level success for sorority chapters ties in with her goals as president, along with trying to improve communication within PHC and sorority chapters.

Chapter GPAs are currently used to help determine pairings for greek events like Spring Jam and homecoming, which benefit multiple chapters, Ugorets said. The proposal is intended for one chapter only. Ugorets said PHC is also discussing other ideas including a dinner party or a reduction of PHC fees for the excelling chapter.

The proposal is complementary to individual chapter incentives. The Gamma Phi Beta sorority, for example, rewards its 93 members for academic achievement and class attendance, said Maddy Schroeder, chapter president.

“We have an A-B jar where any girl that gets an A or B on a test puts their name in the bucket, and then, once a month, the scholarship chair draws two or three names,” she said. “The winners get gift cards to places on campus like Chilly Billy’s or [Noodles and Company].”

Each semester, members with a 3.5 or higher GPA receive a cash reward. About half of the sisters reached the mark last semester, Schroeder said.

There is also a Skippy jar for members who have perfect class attendance each week.

Members drive each other in a friendly competition within the house, Schroeder said.

“Grades come first. The girls know what they have to do to stay, and that is to get good grades.”

Members with a GPA below 3.0 are required to participate in study hours. Those who fail to meet the chapter’s required 2.8 minimum GPA have to talk with the chapter’s scholarship chair to devise a plan of action to improve.

Currently, there is no GPA standard for PHC chapters. Ugorets said she has no plans to implement one because of the recent success. But if grades were to fall next year, she may reconsider.

“I want to reward chapters for their success and avoid consequences,” she said.

If a member is looking to boost her GPA, the PHC will “make them aware of their resources on campus,” Ugorets said.

Schroeder said sorority members can also turn to their house sisters for help.

“We like to pair our sisters with others in their major to help with studying,” she said. “We also have books and notes from sisters who have previously taken the class.”

The PHC board members are currently discussing the rewards, Ugorets said.

“If there is something better we can do, I want to implement that,” Ugorets said. “If we have ideas, there is no reason we cannot make them happen.”

The PHC will likely vote on the proposal within the next few weeks –– in time for chapter spring formal events, Ugorets said. Even if the idea is voted down, the PHC is likely to implement some sort of reward for sororities, she said.