Renko named 2016 Hetzel Award recipient for leadership

April 14, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Abby Elizabeth Renko, a senior majoring in psychology with a neuroscience option, has been named the recipient of the 2016 Ralph Dorn Hetzel Memorial Award.

Named for Penn State’s 10th president, the Hetzel Award recognizes a combination of high scholastic attainment together with good citizenship and participation and leadership in student activities.

Renko’s impact on the University’s 21 sororities — more than 3,800 members — led to her nomination. As president of the Panhellenic Council in 2015, Renko was a driving force for significant changes in the program. Some of those changes include:

  • A complete overhaul of the annual chapter accreditation program through the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Renko solicited feedback from former board members and chapter presidents to streamline the paperwork and increase communication to be sure chapters were meeting the requirements. For example, she created a spreadsheet that reduced paperwork and increased communication within the organization.
  • As primary mediator for addressing chapter recruitment and social and general operating violations, Renko met with accused groups in a timely fashion, listened to their perspectives and proposed sanctions when appropriate. “Although this isn’t an easy job, she’s well-liked by the presidents and each agree she’s impartial and fair in her decisions,” said a nominator.
  • The relationship between the Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils has greatly improved Renko’s leadership. Renko’s focus on social responsibility has led to new social policies within the groups, such as “alcohol-free sister” wristbands to more easily identify those individuals at social events.

“I’ve been so impressed with Renko’s commitment and dedication to the council,” said a nominator. “Her strengths are that she believes in the ideals and values of sorority membership, and she is hard working, goal-oriented and very enjoyable to be around,” said a nominator.

Renko's accomplishments as a member of the Schreyer Honors College with a 3.85 cumulative GPA and a University Health Services emergency medical technician put her closer to her goal of attending medical school in pursuit of a career as an emergency medical physician at a trauma center.

Last Updated April 20, 2016