Newport Harbor Area Alumnae Panhellenic, now in its 70th year of operation, recently awarded $ 7,600 in scholarships to women in Southern California – and has donated a total of $ 33,500 over the past five years.
The organization was founded in 1951 and aims to raise scholarships for women in college, but also makes one-time philanthropic donations to local organizations such as the Balboa Island Museum in Newport Beach and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center at Laguna Beach. Members usually meet once a month to discuss local causes they could help.
“We are very proud that our main objective is to offer scholarships to women. We are a group of women, ”chapter president Susan Lank said in a telephone interview. She said the organization was doing everything in its power “to help in any way to ensure that girls receive help with their school fees, that they improve and that ‘they are given the education necessary to push them into the next chapter of their life.
“We always say we are small but powerful,” Lank said, adding that some members are housebound and unable to attend meetings, but continue to renew their membership. “We don’t have a large membership base, but we are proud to have been able to raise $ 7,600 to provide four scholarships to women in the Southern California area. “
The scholarships are awarded in the spring and are primarily need-based, although Lank said grade averages and activities can be factored into a decision. Most donations come from private donors.
Meghan Powers, a third-year student at UC Irvine, said she heard about the Newport Harbor scholarship from a friend of her sorority – Gamma Phi Beta – and applied this spring, receiving a scholarship single $ 1,800 she had spent on textbooks, her sisterhood dues and helping her family with rent.
Powers, a literary journalism major, said she didn’t intend to join a sorority right off the bat when she graduated from Fountain Valley High School, but ultimately did so with encouragement from her mother to explore opportunities.
“I was just a little intimidated,” Powers said with a laugh.
Powers said she believed the support of Pan-Hellenic societies was important and necessary to help women continue their education.
“Especially in 2020, a lot of people faced a lot of financial hardship, so something like that [scholarship] is really super useful. [Scholarship winners] can still enjoy doing the things they love without having to worry about financial difficulties, ”Powers said.
Scholarship recipient and UC Irvine student Kate Platten said she applied for the scholarship after hearing about it from another student and alumni at Newport Harbor in her sorority, Delta Gamma.
Platten said she was a first generation student and is currently majoring in a double major in business administration and criminology, but added that she doesn’t really have a strong group of friends in place. on the campus. It was the genuine bonds she made at Delta Gamma, she said, that made her join “the best decision I’ve made in my college career.”
“Every job I’ve got in college so far has been given to another sorority woman,” Platten said. “So having a support system that has gone through what you’ve been through… in my chapter, graduated or in other Pan-Hellenic communities has been helpful. “
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