Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Message From the Chairman: Values-Based Recruitment

Across the country this month and next, new students arrive on campuses eagerly anticipating the launch of their college experiences. A significant number of those female students -- 158,566 in 2015-16 -- will participate in sorority membership recruitment. Sorority chapters are afforded the opportunity and privilege to engage with these women during recruitment. With privilege comes the responsibility of providing an experience grounded in the shared values of the 26 National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) member organizations.
 
In fall 2015, NPC reaffirmed a collective commitment to values-based membership recruiting. What is values-based recruitment? It starts with the rich words found in the NPC creed: "We, as fraternity women, stand for service through the development of character inspired by the close contact and deep friendship of individual fraternity and Panhellenic life. The opportunity for wide and wise human service, through mutual respect and helpfulness, is the tenet by which we strive to live."

Centering the recruitment process for both the sorority member and the potential new member on the rich core values of each inter/national women's organization helps ensure a rich experience for all who participate.
 
How recruitment looks and how it is executed varies from campus to campus. Panhellenic communities are challenged to visit old practices and reshape how the process of recruitment benefits all involved. Reflecting on personal values and key values of an organization, and wrapping those around the benefits of sorority membership, should shape conversations during recruitment. These types of conversations give a young woman seeking sorority membership the opportunity to assess her own values and determine whether they're congruent with an organization's. And likewise, this offers sorority chapters the same opportunity of assessment through the mutual selection process.
 
University of Georgia Discusses Removal of Skit Round
University of Georgia discusses  
removal of skit round
 
 
As a College Panhellenic community navigates through creating positive change and a better understanding of why and how a values-based recruitment experience impacts the community both internally and externally, NPC offers resources: Resolved to Educate and three values and ethics workshops. In addition, numerous volunteers and campus-based professionals will devote countless hours to providing assistance to Panhellenic communities this academic year as they execute the membership recruitment process. NPC says "thank you" for your gift of time, support and commitment to advancing the sorority experience.
 
Interfraternally,
Donna C. King
Chairman 2015-17

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Wear A Badge: Christiana Stark, Chi Omega

Christiana Stark (bottom left) at a Make-A-Wish event
Christiana Stark is no stranger to a challenge.

When she was 10 years old, she faced a life-altering diagnosis for which her doctor could find no cure. Feeling frustrated, confused and alone, Christiana eventually confided in her doctor, who listened to all her concerns and provided her with support to improve her quality of life. Thankfully, Christiana outgrew her illness, but the experience had a lasting impact on her life. She realized how fortunate she was to have a doctor who provided individualized support while guiding her family through a stressful situation.

Inspired by her own childhood illness, Christiana attended the University of California-San Diego to study molecular biology and excelled both in and out of the classroom. She was involved in several extracurricular activities, including Chi Omega Fraternity. In fact, her experience as a Panhellenic woman helped her learn the value of community. “As I move on to medical school I hope to find a [similar] community of students… to work together to accomplish philanthropic endeavors that we find meaningful both in and outside of a hospital, and to be there to support each other through the challenges ahead.”

Through Chi Omega, Christiana discovered her love of volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She was moved by the impact she could make without treating children medically and just providing them with a carefree day. “The fear and frustration I felt from facing a disease with no cure drives me to do everything in my power to alleviate that kind of distress for someone else.” She values charitable giving because it helps give her life meaning and plans to continue volunteering in the future.

Christiana hopes to become a doctor focused on the same individualized support for patients and families as she experienced. “As a doctor I will not be able to fix every ailment or answer every question that arises in the medical field, but I am determined to spend my career supporting others through the demanding physical and mental challenges life can bring.”

Christiana credits the support she received from her sisterhood for motivating her to pursue a medical degree at Southern Illinois University. The Mary Louise Roller Graduate Scholarship she received from the NPC Foundation this year will help her accomplish her goals. “This scholarship means so much to me because it shows me that there are so many women out there who believe in me and my goal. It is reassuring to know that I have the support of so many women who have faith that I can accomplish this and go on to help so many people as a doctor.”

Congratulations, Christiana!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Message From the Chairman: Foundations -- Supporting Our Members

The month of July affords each of us the opportunity to reflect upon liberty, country and the inherited tradition of voluntary service and giving, evidenced in the early chronicles of those who drafted the United States Constitution. Although the practice of philanthropy is worldwide, our country relies more extensively on voluntary associations to perform this act than any society in the history of the world.  

More than half of all Americans 18 and over volunteer an average of 2.5 hours a week, equating to almost one hundred million people donating services. Americans are estimated to donate approximately $125 billion per year to charitable causes through roughly 983,000 tax-exempt associations (Payton Papers 2000).

This July, we salute and recognize the philanthropic spirit and work of the 26 National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) member organizations and the NPC Foundation. In 2014-15 the 26 NPC organizations provided roughly 2,900,000 hours of volunteer service to their communities and raised $34,880,415 combined donor dollars for a host of charitable causes. To name just a few: CASA, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Alzheimer's Foundation, American Heart Association, Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity.  

In addition, those same organizations' foundations grant countless dollars in scholarships to deserving women, both undergraduate and graduate, and provide critical educational program funding for our organizations. 


NPC, just as the 26 member organizations, benefits from the support of a foundation: the NPC Foundation. NPC Foundation President Janet Brown, Alpha Omicron Pi, highlights the work of the Foundation.


"The mission of the NPC Foundation is to advance our organizations and their commitment to personal growth by supporting initiatives that launch and sustain women leaders. Our vision is that every Panhellenic woman will be a better citizen because of her lifelong sorority experience.

"To achieve these goals, the NPC Foundation supports programs that bring Panhellenic women together to develop skills, brainstorm ideas and implement solutions to challenges through the power of collective action, thus strengthening the impact of the sorority experience for everyone.

"For example, in the past year the NPC Foundation has supported: a highly successful College Panhellenic Academy providing valuable training and collaboration for leaders from 94 College Panhellenics; "Something of Value" facilitated on 12 campuses, identifying high-risk behaviors affecting member safety and well-being and developing action plans to address them; creation of topical educational videos; and scholarships to support outstanding Panhellenic women.

"We are grateful for the generosity of our organizations and their members who allow us to launch and sustain women leaders through the sorority experience!" 

Together, sorority women worldwide celebrate the spirit of philanthropic service and giving through the work of vital and vibrant foundations. NPC salutes the generosity and selfless donation of time and talent given by NPC women, and the tireless work of the foundations they support. Thank you.

Interfraternally,

Donna C. King

Chairman 2015-17

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Message From the Chairman: Sorority on the Road for a Lifetime

Summer officially launched with Memorial Day celebrations and remembrances, family gatherings and friend reunions. These events remind us that with summer comes meaningful gatherings for sorority women, too, including inter/national conventions, leadership conferences, chapter reunions, chapter work weekends and alumnae travel adventures.

In NPC we refer to those who volunteer to serve NPC and our staff as the "NPC family." The message of a family working together, sharing stories and laughter and reflecting on the value of friendship frames our sorority membership experience as well.

I recently read an article in the Sigma Kappa Triangle about a group of seven Sigma Kappa sisters from the University of Florida who became members in the 1960s. For more than 50 years, they have traveled the world together - the "Traveling Sigma Kappas" - renewing their bond of friendship through shared life experiences, love, laughter and good food.

Delta Zeta shared a blog post with me about its Mansfield University chapter's 50th anniversary celebration that brought more than 200 members from five decades together. Events included a president's reception, display of the chapter through the ages, a silent auction for one of Delta Zeta's philanthropic partners, a raffle to raise funds for a scholarship, a re-creation of the charter members' photo from 1966 and a ceremonial banquet. Leigh Ann Penecale Reitze, class of 1990, said, "The weekend was so incredible. Reconnecting with my sisters and laughing as we recalled all the funny stories, just as if they happened yesterday, was a wonderful way to rekindle the bonds of sisterhood."

This summer approximately 13,200 sorority women will come together to celebrate sisterhood at inter/national conventions. The summer of 2016 will see 18 inter/national organizations hosting conventions in nine different cities throughout the U.S. In addition, seven organizations will host leadership conferences for both collegians and alumnae. Countless chapter reunions and chapter work weekends on college campuses will bring multi-generational groups of women together to reacquaint, reminisce and reflect on their college years, and share where life's journey has taken them.


Special gatherings of sorority women are timeless and have been a cornerstone of the membership experience for well over a century. Women come together, weave invisible nets of support, celebrate accomplishments and face head-on the challenges of the day. Take time this summer, if you are not already preparing to participate in a planned sorority event, and consider the possibilities of bringing together that special group of women who continue to tug at your heartstrings.

Best wishes from the National Panhellenic Conference to all who will gather this summer to celebrate the gift of lifelong sisterhood and to advance sorority ... together!

Interfraternally,

Donna C. King
Chairman 2015-17

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Five Reasons Values and Ethics Matter to Sorority Women

1. Because values are the building blocks of what defines our organizations.



    This is what happens to your sorority without its values.  

2. Because being a sorority woman is a privilege earned by those who demonstrate  
   
positive values. 

    ... is what you should say to someone who does not live out positive values.  

3. Because ethical behavior means doing what is right for your community and for all 
   
sorority women, not just what is good for you or your chapter. 

    Trust Jiminy Cricket, he is wise.  

4. Because acting ethically prevents unnecessary infractions. 

    No one wants to sit in a judicial hearing about balloons and flowers. 

5. Because sorority women do not get to choose when to and when not to use values
    and ethics, they are lived each day through our choices. 

    It's easy, make choices that display the values your founders put in place for your
    organization. Your big sister will be proud!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Message From the Chairman: Celebrating the History of NPC

In a small room in Boston in 1891, the first group of women representing seven women’s fraternal organizations gathered together in friendship, desiring to know more about each other and to discuss equitable and ethical recruiting practices. “Possessing an unshakable belief in the power of women’s friendship, they came to understand that the one thing they could not afford was to be at odds with each other.”

Common challenges for women during this period included establishing modern social mores, and improving legal rights. In an effort to make progress, continued collaboration between women’s organizations became a priority. May 24, 1902 marks the official founding date of the Inter-Sorority Conference (present day, the National Panhellenic Conference). With courage and conviction, trust and friendship, the first delegates defined what have become time-tested organizational elements of NPC including:  governing precepts/tenets, agreed-upon binding rules, guidelines for establishment of College Panhellenics and membership practices. 


Fast forward 114 years. NPC honors the collaborative spirit that brought those first women together and celebrates the timeless value and endurance of Panhellenic friendships. Today, mission, vision and values frame the daily conversations and work of NPC leadership, staff and extended NPC family, and drive the strategic direction of NPC. There may be different terminology but it follows the same trajectory as outlined in the founding years.

Mission:  The National Panhellenic Conference is the premier advocacy and support organization for the advancement of the sorority experience

Vision:  National Panhellenic Conference – Advancing the Sorority Experience Together

Values of NPC: We are committed to relationships built on trust, through transparency, accountability and mutual respect. Innovation and our core values of friendship, leadership, service, knowledge, integrity, and community guide us in fulfilling our mission.

Our mission, vision and values, coupled with a steadfast desire to preserve and protect the sorority membership experience and ideals of women’s friendships made it possible, “for an alliance of autonomous organizations to remain unified for over a century, growing stronger together than they could have ever hoped to become separately.”

Join me in recognition of NPC’s founding, and the persevering spirit of panhellenic friendships, partnerships and collaboration!

Interfraternally,

Donna C. King
Chairman 2015-17

Excerpts from Adventure in Friendship-A History of the National Panhellenic Conference

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Message From the Chairman: Advising Inspires and Motivates Individuals

April is designated by the National Panhellenic Conference as Advisor Appreciation Month. For those who advise and mentor our collegiate members -- including local alumnae chapter advisors and campus-based professionals -- we spotlight and recognize the impact you make, and celebrate all that you do! On behalf of NPC, I extend our appreciation far beyond the 30 days of April.

With a sorority volunteer career of more than 37 years, the opportunities I have had to advise and mentor young women on a regular basis is varied and wide. What a privilege to touch their lives in meaningful and valuable ways, to mentor their journey as leaders, contribute to their personal development and inspire their future engagement in supporting the sorority experience. 

When I reflect on the countless women I have had the privilege of working with on campuses across the country, I am reminded of the timeless friendships that have been forged through our mentor/mentee relationships. We have met challenges together, navigated through positive change in their chapters and Panhellenic communities, celebrated successes and milestones. Watching the lives of these women unfold professionally and personally provides an unspeakable volume of satisfaction and gratification. 

What about advising young adults inspires and motivates an individual to provide immeasurable services, and often selflessly, countless hours of personal time? Listen closely as both volunteer advisors and campus-based professionals share thoughts on the why and what of serving as advisors and mentors.


To the dedicated fraternity/sorority advisors who work in partnership with NPC and to volunteer advisors who work tirelessly with members of collegiate chapters, we salute you and say thank you! It is our goal through the educational support objective in our strategic plan to provide you with the information and resources you need to advise College Panhellenics and NPC women to the best of your ability. Please let us know if there is anything you need or anything that we can do to assist you.

Remember, impact and influence define your legacy and commitment to the countless students you engage with each and every day.

Interfraternally,

Donna C. King
Chairman 2015-17