The Panhellenic Council here at Cornell University has recently introduced their newest initiative: The Circle of Sisterhood. The Circle of Sisterhood is a national sorority charity whose goal is to alleviate the struggles of young women and girls around the world through the promotion of education. Everyone at Cornell is always extremely busy, so why should this new charity organization be on your list of things to get involved with?

The Circle of Sisterhood’s arrival on Cornell’s campus means there is an amazing opportunity to not only bring together all Panhellenic women on Cornell’s campus, but also to help at-risk girls in extremely tough conditions. The goal of the Circle of Sisterhood is to build schools in poverty-stricken nations, in which one-half of the student attendees are female, as well as provide scholarships, tuition assistance, computers, books, and much more.

The Circle of Sisterhood was started by Ginny Carroll after reading the critically acclaimed book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. This novel opened her eyes to the fact that women are affected by terrible issues all across the world, but that through education and intervention the cycle can be broken. Ginny wanted to help alleviate the barriers that women face, and within one year she was able to use her sorority network to found the Circle of Sisterhood.

The facts are frightening, and here are just a few to put things into perspective: 4 million girls are sold to the slavery, including the sex trade, each year, women do two-thirds of the world’s work, but only receive five percent of the world’s total income, and only own one percent of the world’s land, and 1 in 5 girls in developing countries who enroll in primary school never finish.

Sorority women are a perfect organization to help other women and charities in general. With over 5 million Panhellenic women nationwide, the power of these women is unimaginable. Panhellenic women are one of the most numerous and well-educated groups of women, understand how important and valuable education is, and owe it to our fellow women to help them as much as possible. At Cornell, if every sorority woman donated just $15, we would be able to build a school for at-risk young women who are in serious need of our help.

Caitlin Gleason, the current Panhellenic President, is the driving force behind this new initiative. Caitlin’s passion for this project is overwhelming, and it is clear this mission is important to her since she is working tirelessly to bring the organization to Cornell’s campus.

Caitlin’s dedication was evident when asked why she wanted to get involved with the Circle of Sisterhood in the first place: “At this year’s Northeast Greek Leadership Association Conference, I attended the Circle of Sisterhood Breakout Session. I remember sitting in the room and hearing about the book that inspired the non-profit, Half the Sky. It was only about ten minutes into the presentation when I immediately bought the book online and was sold on this cause. Reading about these women’s stories was so eye-opening, and I felt the urgency in the authors’ call to action.”

Caitlin is not worried about being successful: “I know Panhellenic’s community has the power, resources, and passion to make an impact with the Circle of Sisterhood’s work, and I think now is the perfect time to band together and give back. Not only will this initiative bring our community closer together for a great cause, but we will positively impact the lives of women and girls around the world with this work. I’m incredibly excited for the fall and encourage any and all Panhellenic members to apply for our programming committee!”

If you are a member of the Panhellenic community, dedicated to helping others, or just want to get more involved with a good cause, the Circle of Sisterhood is the perfect chance. The application, due April 15th, to apply to The Circle of Sisterhood can be found here: https://docs.google.com/a/cornellphc.org/forms/d/15aTpdHvzIGNUbpOarG2YK9EVzBsT4VWVE6zsCfm15L0/edit