This article is the second part of a two-part story on the new Greek life councils’ executive boards. An article on Greek life leaders looking ahead was first published on Nov. 25.
Evan Venable worked his way up through the Interfraternity Council ranks. Guided by an older member of Alpha Gamma Rho when he was a freshman, Venable started as a clerk for IFC and went on to become a committee member during his time at the University of Georgia. Now, Venable will serve as IFC’s 106th president.
As finals wrap up, many University of Georgia students have one thing on their mind: winter break. Two new Greek life presidents — Donna Chong, president of Multicultural Greek Council and Christiny Reeves, president of National Pan-Hellenic Council — are looking ahead to the new year.
Both Chong and Reeves have served on their respective council’s executive boards in the past. Reeves served as chaplain for the NPHC executive board this semester. Chong, a member of Delta Phi Lambda, served as the vice president of records for MGC from 2019-2020.
Reeves said some of her main goals for her term as president include strengthening NPHC’s relationship with the other Greek councils, creating inner-council unity, and creating an NPHC archive. She applied for the position because it would allow her to use some of her strengths, like community outreach and uplifting minority communities, while also allowing her to grow as a leader and advocate, she said.
Some of Chong’s goals for her term include working through the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing MGC’s philanthropic efforts, she said.
“I believe in exploring ways to put the safety of everyone and the community at the forefront while finding ways for us to give back to the community during these trying times,” Chong said.
Despite having executive experience, both presidents face uncertainty in 2021. Greek life organizations came under scrutiny this semester for their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic — garnering criticism both online and in a letter from Vice President of Student Affairs Victor Wilson. Despite the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine in the United States, it is unclear how long prevention methods like social distancing will continue to take place.
After a semester of online classes, Chong said she’s more comfortable using Zoom and plans on hosting as many virtual events as possible. Reeves has a similar stance on COVID-19 — she plans on hosting events virtually in the spring and developing a post-COVID-19 action plan, she said.
COVID-19 isn’t the only issue facing Greek life at UGA. Racism has always existed in Greek life, but it has especially come to light over the last year. The Instagram account @abolishgreeklifeuga began sharing anonymous testimonials highlighting issues of discrimination in Greek life in August. In September, Lambda Chi Alpha self-suspended after screenshots of racist messages in a GroupMe spread online.
Chong plans to advocate for unity and respect in her council through social media and virtual events, and she plans on “directly confronting and addressing” issues of racism and discrimination, she said. Reeves said she plans to use her position to uplift NPHC and work with other campus organizations to highlight the council’s presence and legacy.
“Our history cannot be changed, but collaboratively we can change the future,” Reeves said.