Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Message From the Chairman: Live Well

Wellness, well-being, balance, healthy choices ... all top the to-do list for many of us as we head into the new year! A long winter's walk in the snow recently reminded me that healthy choices and daily exercise can benefit your physical and mental well-being. In addition, I could not help but think about the multitude of young women returning to their campuses in the weeks ahead, and how their well-being in the long term is influenced by a blending of the academic and sorority membership experience. 

When researching wellness tips, I discovered a website for Houston city employees entitled Wellness Connection.The site provides some good tips for starting off the New Year right. I hope you find value in these simple tips:

1. Start by thinking about what motivates you to get healthy.
2. Set SMART goals to help you measure your progress. 
3. Track what you eat to help you avoid overeating. 
4. Eat breakfast every day to start your day with energy. 
5. Fill up on vegetables since they are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and water. 
6. Get active to improve your blood pressure and energy level. 
7. Take it slowly – focus on one or two goals at a time. 

Read the full article online.


Well-being and wellness are often synonymous with physical health. A common misconception is to confine well-being to just one aspect of our daily lives. It is the combination of all the things that are important to an individual - how people think about and experience life. Partnering with Gallup and the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) participated in the Gallup-Purdue Index study to research the relationship between membership in sororities and fraternities and to examine the long-term success of graduates as they pursue a career and a better life. Five elements of well-being were measured: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. It was found that fraternity and sorority members are more likely to thrive in each of the five elements when compared to all other college graduates. These research results provide validation for what we have known to be true for decades: sorority membership adds value to the college experience and beyond.  

As we launch into 2017 what better new year’s wish than to consider your wellness and well-being, make healthy choices, live well together, find balance in life, eat your vegetables and don’t forget breakfast!

Interfraternally,

Donna C. King
Chairman 2015-17

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Message From the Chairman: Advancing Sorority Together

“People who give the best are those who give of themselves ― your time, talents, words, knowledge.” ~ Omoakhuana Anthonia

The sharing of gifts and December are often synonymous with each other. In this month’s message I would like to take the opportunity to capture the giving spirit of the women of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) who share their time, talent and service to advance the sorority experience together.

“Advancing Sorority Together” framed the theme of the 2015-16 NPC annual report, as well as the NPC annual meeting in October 2016. Encapsulated within the annual report are the accomplishments and milestones of NPC’s corps of volunteers and staff committed to excellence in support services and resources provided to 578 College Panhellenics and 176 Alumnae Panhellenics across the United States and Canada. Within the report, NPC captured the spirit of giving in the narratives of women who selflessly contribute their time and talents to further the work of NPC.

In 2015-16, NPC women worked together to design new educational tools for Panhellenic officers, provide advanced leadership training at College Panhellenic Academy, deliver campus-based programming via “Something of Value,” offer consultation through consulting team visits, grow a Foundation, build community and industry partnerships, and expand the public narrative about the sorority experience. Representing the 26 inter/national organizations of NPC, more than 255 dedicated women offered their volunteer services in leadership and delivery of key services. Additionally, professional staff located in Indianapolis continually provides collaboration, support and execution of NPC programming and initiatives.



I salute, and express my gratitude and appreciation to the giving spirit of NPC women, on college campuses, within their communities and globally. In the spirit of giving and collaboration, we ensure a sorority membership experience for women grounded in values and friendship.

Best wishes for a season of joy and peace. 

Interfraternally,

Donna C. King
Chairman 2015-17 
  

Monday, December 12, 2016

Meet the Facilitators for College Panhellenic Academy

With #Academy17 about a month away, time is running out to register your campus. Meet the facilitators guiding the valuable weekend experience.


Emily Brelage, Kappa Alpha Theta, is excited for her first time facilitating academy. She says the sorority experience is still relevant because, "Sororities provide an important space for women to address and solve these challenges while giving them the tools they need to be engaged, active leaders in their communities.” Emily adds, “NPC and its member organizations have literally thousands of positive stories to tell about the sorority experience, and so I’m most excited to learn from collegians and advisors about the ways in which we all can be stronger storytellers — and compelling brand ambassadors — for the sorority experience.”

Michelle Geiger, Kappa Alpha Theta and NPC College Panhellenics Committee chairman, is excited to meet the U.S. and Canada’s Panhellenic leaders. She says, “I think our Panhellenics are positioned to be leaders and change-makers on their campuses, and I am looking forward to seeing how this year's officers will respond to that challenge and take the lead.” Reflecting on her past, Michelle cites getting to know and learning from women with different backgrounds and life paths as the most beneficial part of her sorority experience, and knows College Panhellenic Academy offers the same opportunity for current collegians.

Amber Huston, Alpha Sigma Alpha, is another new facilitator excited to help fellow Panhellenic sisters hash out their ideas and assist leaders with their plans to elevate their sorority communities. She especially looks forward to focusing on how college students can hold each other accountable. Her advice to collegians considering attending College Panhellenic Academy is, “Be ok with not knowing the answers and being vulnerable. No one expects you to know all the ins and outs of leading a Panhellenic community, that’s why you are attending -- to learn new strategies, enhance your College Panhellenic and discover how to help others be leaders.”

Julie Johnson, Kappa Delta and NPC College Panhellenic Strategic Initiatives Committee chairman, is excited to return to #Academy17 as a facilitator. Throughout her lifetime, she has been incredibly involved in her organization as well as the NPC. She believes that academy is a fantastic opportunity for Panhellenic women to come together to learn from one another and build confidence as they begin their term of office.  She notes, “Sororities are still relevant today more so than ever. The skills and opportunities afforded to women through their membership is something that will remain with them throughout their lives -- professionally, personally and as a community volunteer.”

Nicki Meneley, Alpha Chi Omega, is looking forward to seeing the potential of individuals and leaders in the communities as a facilitator. She has had a diverse sorority experience, and is excited for the opportunity to give back to an organization that has given her so much in her lifetime. Her advice to those attending #Academy17 is to, “Use every moment. There will be great speakers and educational sessions but there will be downtime as well. Use that downtime to engage with other participants, the facilitators, NPC staff and volunteers. There will be tremendous knowledge on-site, and it will be up to you to soak up as much as possible to get the full benefit of the Academy.”

Frances Mitchelson, Phi Mu and NPC Panhellenics chairman, has dedicated her life to enhancing and advancing the sorority experience for all. She has seen the bonds formed between women who become sisters and friends for a lifetime. She firmly believes, “A sorority has something to offer a woman regardless of whether she's 18 and starting college or 80 and living in a retirement community. The leadership skills, service work and educational support are the best.” She encourages attendees to be truly invested in the message of academy, so they can better serve their communities.

Victoria Stankus, Kappa Alpha Theta, is facilitating because she believes in the amazing work sorority women are doing on their campuses. She feels it is an honor to have the ability to fight for sorority women and their communities in this capacity. She adds, “The academy is a great way to engage in authentic conversation about the issues you may be experiencing and success stories in a welcoming and supportive space.” Her favorite part of academy is the opportunity to discuss ideas on how to move sorority communities forward and being surrounded by other dedicated sorority women who are fighting for you to succeed.


Shaun Young, Delta Gamma, cites her sorority membership for making her a more thoughtful and values-driven person. She suggests attendees plan some time to prepare before academy in order to make the most of their time. “Read the Manual of Information and your College Panhellenic bylaws and recruitment rules for meaning — make notes in the margins with your questions and ideas.” She also reminds collegians, “Although not everyone in your community will be in Indianapolis in person, you can make sure you are representing their interests — let them know that you want to learn not only for yourself, but for everyone!”

College Panhellenic Academy will take place January 27-28, 2017 in Indianapolis, IN. Register your campus today! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

College Panhellenic Academy Testimonials

With only a few spots left and only a couple months until the 2017 College Panhellenic Academy, some former attendees share why you should consider bringing your council and advisors to #Academy17.

Brittany Murray, Sigma Kappa, attended the inaugural College Panhellenic Academy in 2015 as the internal vice president for Indiana University Southeast. Here’s what she had to say about attending:

“I chose to go to College Panhellenic Academy because it was an opportunity that I and my fellow Panhellenic Council members did not want to miss. We were the first Panhellenic Council from Indiana University Southeast to attend, so it was an honor that we were able to go.

If you choose to attend, be sure to take notes -- and lots of them! When the weekend is over that’s all you have to rely on -- plus the friends/contacts you made on site. I realized that I did not take a ton of notes when I was there, so going back through and trying to remember specific details was tough.”

Saachi Gupta, Pi Beta Phi, attended Academy in 2016 as the University of Chicago College Panhellenic president. Here are Saachi’s thoughts on attending:

“I learned a significant amount about the resources available to me as a Panhellenic
president. Being aware of the resources that NPC provides proved invaluable during my term. Specifically, I was able to familiarize myself with the judicial process and implement what I learned on my campus.

When you’re on site, talk to everyone you meet! You may not think that your Panhellenic experience is similar to that of someone from another school, but every conversation is an opportunity to learn!”

Samantha Huffman, Alpha Chi Omega, attended the first ever public relations/communications track at College Panhellenic Academy 2016. She represented the University of Mount Union College Panhellenic. Here’s what she had to say about Academy:

“My favorite part of College Panhellenic Academy was not only meeting other public relations/communications officers from other campus, but also hearing the ideas that they have for marketing on their campus. By interacting with them, I was able to outline a plan/campaign for when I got back to my university. I loved being able to bond with my executive board, too. I learned how well we could work together, and I truly believe it has helped our success on our campus.

College Panhellenic Academy allowed me to develop an even larger passion for Panhellenic. Because of academy, I decided to run for Panhellenic president for the next term, and I found out last week that I got the position. Without College Panhellenic Academy, I would not have been able to bring back so many incredible ideas. I would not have been able to see how passionate I am about Panhellenic, and all that sorority life has to offer. In fact, I would not have believed in myself enough to apply for president.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Message From the Chairman: Thankful for Lifelong Membership

For well over a century, women have been afforded the opportunity to pursue membership in sororities. The recruitment process over the decades might have changed, but the single benefit that sets apart the sorority experience is lifetime membership. It is fitting during the month of “thanks giving” that I join over 4.8 million women worldwide to celebrate lifetime membership in our fraternal organizations.

Each woman has a unique story of why she chose to become a member of a National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) inter/national sorority. Where and when it happened, and what purpose and meaning it provides are her story to tell. The media presents a certain image of sorority membership far from what we depict. This month, it is my privilege to share the stories of two former NPC chairmen and my own.

Elizabeth Ahlemeyer Quick, Gamma Phi Beta, served as NPC chairman from 2005-07. Here is Betty’s story:

“Joining Gamma Phi Beta Sorority at Indiana University was one of the best actions of my college years. I pledged as a sophomore after being involved in student government and noticing the sisterhood that existed between members. As an only child this was a new experience. I learned life skills that continue to serve me well. My parents were very supportive of my activities and enjoyed getting to know my ‘sisters.’

“Living in eight cities in four states, I found sisters in every location. We all had Gamma Phi Beta experiences, making it easy to form friendships that continue. Volunteering for Gamma Phi Beta International led me to a special opportunity: involvement in NPC. My NPC friendships enrich my life. My sorority journey has been an amazing adventure filled with friendships that continue to grow.”

Jane H. Sutton, Alpha Xi Delta, served as NPC chairman from 2011-13. Here is Jane’s story: 

“I’m a first-generation member of a Greek-letter organization, so it took a while before I even realized that there were these groups of women on the Western Carolina University campus that had something special to offer. I pledged Alpha Xi Delta my junior year of college. Even though only two short years, Alpha Xi Delta was a significant part of my college experience.

“When I headed into the real world, I thought sorority was just a college thing. I had never been so wrong! I missed the sisterhood and friendships, so I stayed involved in alumnae associations and by volunteering. In 1993 I was asked to serve on the NPC delegation. That opportunity for service changed the course of my life. I came to realize that even though the women who serve NPC wear different badges and took different oaths, they all believe that sorority can make a positive difference in a woman’s life. I’m grateful that I can help ensure that the legacy of our 26 member organizations’ founders is alive for generations to come by telling my story for a lifetime.” 

Unlike Betty and Jane, I became a sorority member through different circumstances. Growing up I witnessed a mother who served and continues to serve her sorority in many capacities. She would unequivocally tell you that she has gained more from her membership than she has given. Choosing a university with no fraternal community, my path to membership in an NPC sorority came through alumnae initiation. Countless women, who for a variety of reasons did not join in the traditional manner during college, are offered membership in this way. Watch the video below to see a heartwarming story.


Membership is a gift and privilege I was given to respect and treasure – and to share with others.

Betty’s, Jane’s and my stories provide just a glimpse into the impact and value derived from lifetime sorority membership. We are thankful for the vast opportunities it has provided us and others. I hope that our stories inspire you to share your sorority narrative about why you’re thankful for a lifetime of sisterhood.

Best wishes for a Thanksgiving holiday filled with friends, family and joy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Message From the Chairman: Do Your Civic Duty

For well over a century women have fought for the rights to civic engagement. Suffragettes including Carrie Chapman Catt, Pi Beta Phi, and other sorority members worked tirelessly to ensure in 1920 the ratification and signing into law of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote. 

For contemporary women, it’s hard to imagine our society without the right to vote. In fact, it wasn’t until 1971 that the legal age to vote was changed from 21 to 18. As we prepare to exercise our right to vote in the upcoming general election, we are reminded of our civic responsibility, duty and privilege as American citizens.  

Women will constitute half of the total voting population in this year’s election. The collective power of the female voice and vote can and will affect outcomes in our communities, new laws and who will lead our country. Women’s voices must be heard!
 
 
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) supports and encourages not only our members but all women to pursue economic, social and political equity, along with leadership and civic engagement. Learn more about a nationwide women’s equality initiative, Vision 2020, which is elevating the conversation and providing education for women to make a significant difference. NPC endorses the Vision 2020 mission as an allied organization, including its hosting of Women 100, the national centennial commemoration of the 19th Amendment.  

Exercise your constitutional right and help ensure that women’s voices are heard by casting your vote in November. Maybe you have not taken the time to register to vote … it’s not too late! Find out just how easy it is to register to vote online. Or maybe you think one vote doesn’t make a difference. Every vote does make a difference, including yours. So make the Panhellenic women who went before us proud, and use your voice.
 
Interfraternally,
 
Donna C. King
Chairman 2015-17

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I Wear A Badge: Kristina Dorville, Alpha Omicron Pi

Security isn’t just another concern for Kristina Dorville; it’s her job.

A proud member of the Alpha Omicron Pi chapter at George Mason University, Kristina spent her undergraduate years cultivating key workplace skills she would ultimately need to become the chief of the Cyber Education and Awareness Branch at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


Inspired and empowered by her own experiences, Kristina began working with the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. Though she had no technical background at that time, she became interested in how increased connectivity began impacting our daily lives and affecting our country’s national security.


“At this point in our society, people don’t know how to live without their mobile device and that is why awareness and education are so important,” she says.


September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month, followed by National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October. “National Cyber Security Awareness Month is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident,” Kristina says.


While increased connectivity can offer many conveniences and opportunities, it also can also create increased risk. Some of the most common risks are identity theft, monetary theft, stalking and cyber bullying.


What is the biggest cyber concern facing collegians today? Kristina cites oversharing as a threat to all internet users. She says that the Library of Congress is currently cataloguing every Tweet as part of a social media project, and that is only one example of how what you put online is permanent.


“More importantly,” Kristina says, “college students need to understand that what they are doing online today could have a profound impact on their future. Just be certain that the online persona you have today represents the real you and the person you want others to see.”


Another threat Kristina urges collegians be aware of, especially women, is the use of location services or sharing. “Cyberstalking is a serious concern for young women on college campuses. If you are regularly checking in places and pinpointing your exact location, you could be sharing with people who you may not know in real life and who may seek to do you harm,” she says.


The best advice Kristina offers is to treat cyber security just as seriously as other parts of your life. “Just as you take steps every day to keep yourself safe and healthy, you need to take steps to protect yourself online,” she says.


Collegians have the opportunity to engage in peer accountability when it comes to cyber safety, especially within our member organizations. “Everyone locks their doors at night, right? We all need to be sure to keep our ’digital’ doors locked as well. Just as you share your favorite new app with your friends, also remember to share your best safety tips too,” Kristina says.


For more on cyber safety, visit https://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month and www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.


In addition check out the article in Alpha Omicron Pi’s To Dragma featuring Kristina and cyber security tips.