Circle of Sisterhood: Panhellenic Council raise awareness for women’s education

Senior Emma Haworth (left) and Sophomore Evie Guay (far left) Sophomore Lauren Atchley (right) and Junior Allison Pennington (far right), gave out cookies at Fountain Mall on Monday in hopes to stress the importance of access to education around the world. This event is included in the Circle of Sisterhood, a philanthropy by the Panhellenic Council. Jason Pedreros | Multimedia Journalist

By Maya Butler | Reporter

The women of Baylor’s Panhellenic Council are promoting women’s education this week with their philanthropy, Circle of Sisterhood.

The philanthropy builds schools for women and girls throughout the world in order to provide the education they would otherwise not receive. Members of Panhellenic Council had a table from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Fountain Mall Monday to spread the word about Circle of Sisterhood. The goal is to raise enough money to build a school so that more women can be educated.

According to its website, the Circle of Sisterhood is a foundation that is a “collective influence of sorority women to raise financial resources for entities around the world that are removing educational barriers for girls and women facing poverty and oppression.”

The Woodlands senior Morgan Bruce, Panhellenic president, explained how the philanthropy connects well with the values of the Panhellenic Council, an organization in charge of the current eight sororities on campus.

“Part of our pillars of being Panhellenic women is striving for good scholarship and fine standing,” Bruce said. “With Circle of Sisterhood, they promote educational quality all around the world, so we feel that this really coincides with our goals as an organization.”

Panhellenic members also started profit shares for each day of the week: Monday was Chipotle from 5 to 9 p.m., today is Chick-fil-A from 6 to 9 p.m. and Wednesday will be a partnership with fitness studio Rush Cycle at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, members will participate in the annual event Christmas on Fifth Street, where they will hang ornaments that students have written on explaining what education means to them. Friday at U-Swirl from 4 to 8 p.m. will be the final profit share of the week.

The organization will return from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday on Fountain Mall to continue campaigning, with the same sign from Monday posing a question for students — “What does your education mean to you?”

As a college student, Bruce revealed how she related to the philanthropy’s goal of providing education to women and girls.

“For me, a lot of family members actually haven’t attended college, and my parents were some of the first,” Bruce said. “I feel like being able to get a college education is really something that I’m very grateful for and very blessed, to be able to attend Baylor and pursue my dreams of higher education.”

Women make up more than two-thirds of the world’s 750 million people that are illiterate, according to Unesco Institute for Statistics. In addition, 16 million girls “will never set foot in a classroom,” despite progress made the last 20 years.

Castle Pines, Colo., junior Emma Haworth, Panhellenic social and service coordinator, talked about the relationship between poverty and education.

“With an education, women have significantly more opportunities, are less likely to be in child-adult marriages, they’re less likely to be sold into sex trafficking,” Haworth said. “The more opportunity they have, the more they can earn. Women are key to breaking the poverty cycle because they help lift their children out of poverty, too.”

Haworth said the Panhellenic Council hopes to raise $40,000 by the end of next fall, the amount needed to begin constructing a school at a location that has yet to be announced. If the organization reaches the goal, 16 members will be able to go on a mission trip to help oversee construction.

“I think the biggest thing with us being college students and sorority women, specifically, is we know how valuable education is,” Haworth said. “We can see what doors it opens for us as we get a college education; just being able to spread that opportunity to other people and other women in different countries is really important and special.”