Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A Message From the NPC Chairman: The road map to ensuring sorority communities stay vibrant and healthy

As the National Panhellenic Conference and its 26 member organizations continue to advocate for and preserve the sorority experience, a new strategic plan has been adopted by the NPC Board of Directors. The plan encompasses three priorities which broadly define the key approaches NPC volunteers and staff will use over the next few years to accomplish our mission and drive toward our vision of Advancing the Sorority Experience Together.

The three priorities are: champion the sorority experience, foster strategic growth of Panhellenic communities and leverage the collective strength of our member organizations. These priorities are the outcomes NPC aspires to achieve, and the strategies under each priority are the approaches we will take to achieve our goals.



The 2019-22 strategic plan is a reminder that if NPC is to thrive, we need to continue to look ahead and be visionary. This means we must embrace the fact the world around us is ever-changing. New technologies, social media, changing societal norms, competitive job markets and an altered educational system have undeniably changed the life of today’s collegian. With these topics in mind, take note of some of the key words in our strategic plan – protect, advocacy, diversity, growth, collaboration, develop and support.

Bottom line, it’s our goal to remain relevant to future generations of young women. Thus, NPC’s 2019-22 strategic plan is the road map we will take toward ensuring our sorority communities stay vibrant and healthy now and into the future.

Interfraternally,





Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman 2017-19

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Special Story of a Sorority Pin

The founding of sororities began well over 150 years ago, when the term sorority hadn’t even been conceived, giving each of the 26 NPC member organizations a deep and rich history. Every member of one of these 26 organizations has her own story and journey within the greater Panhellenic community. Recently the story of one lifelong sorority member was brought to attention after her daughter-in-law Launi Elliott, a member of Delta Delta Delta, found a Zeta Tau Alpha membership badge among her mother-in-law's things after her passing. Elliott then contacted the NPC office in Indianapolis for guidance on returning the pin.

NPC office staff connected Elliott with the Zeta Tau Alpha International Office to shed some light on the history of the badge. Here’s the story of the owner and the badge:

The badge belonged to Edith May Lyons, or May as she was often referred to. May was initiated on May 4, 1929, as a charter member of the Beta Rho chapter at the University of Manitoba located in Canada. May went on to receive her master’s degree in science while also participating in research at the University of Toronto.

May’s badge had been found in a leather case that held a pearl-accented badge attached to a Beta Rho gold guard. Also in the case was a white violet 50-year member pin, truly highlighting that sorority isn’t for four years - it is for life. Within Zeta Tau Alpha, it is customary to return a members badge after she passes, bury it with her if requested or pass it to a legacy member. Seeing as there were no legacy members to pass the badge too, Elliott thought it best to return the badge. Now the badge and its contents have been safely returned to the Zeta Tau Alpha International Office. May’s badge will sit proudly in the ZTA Historical and Educational Center, set to open later this year at the International Office.

In correspondence with Elliott, Zeta Tau Alpha Archivist Patti Cords Levitte stated the Balfour leather case was in “the best condition I’ve ever seen for one of those – usually they are falling apart from age.” Levitte also stated that having “the badge of a charter member to display is very special.”


May’s story is a great reminder of why sorority women wear our badges proudly each year on International Badge Day. This year International Badge Day will take place on Monday, March 4. Sorority women around the world will be proudly displaying their badges and their pride in being a lifelong sorority woman. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Leadership: Taking Care of Others – And Yourself

As I travel on behalf of the National Panhellenic Conference and work with today’s young women, I am constantly amazed at the strong desire they have to make an impact and leave a lasting legacy.
NPC Chairman Carole Jones

During the 2019 College Panhellenic Academy in Indianapolis last month, I was privileged to work with the recruitment officers. Wow! Talk about enthusiasm and passion. They are ready to take on the world. The challenges they face each and every day – whether that’s facilitating hard conversations, finding new ways to market sorority life on their campus or figuring out how to better serve potential new members  – are providing them leadership skills to use throughout their lives.

Always a highlight of Academy are the “The Talks: Learning Through the Stories of Others.” Four amazing women shared messages about leadership – what exceptional leaders must be able to do, becoming a stronger leader while “growing up” as the only “other,” the importance of self-care and the secret to successful goal setting and dream building.


The Talks speakers (clockwise from left): Alexis Cooper,
Rita Elfarissi, Lindsay Boccardo and Alexandra Rufatto-Perry
Two of the speakers were college senior Alexis Cooper and young alumna Rita Elfarissi. Alexis attends Utah State University majoring in bio-veterinary medicine and minoring in chemistry and biology. She is a member of Kappa Delta and has held many positions within Kappa Delta as well as on the Utah State Panhellenic Council, and currently holds the title of Miss USU 2018-19. Alexis talked about the subtle racism she experiences as the only “other,” and challenged the audience to think beyond stereotypes. Her message was empowering – diversity in Panhellenic life matters. “Strength comes from diversity,” she said. “The different experiences, different backgrounds and different mindsets make a chapter more united. We are change and we need to start thinking about being better by being open to culturally diverse membership.”    

“Leadership and Self-Care: How to Cultivate Change While Exercising Healthy Mindfulness” was Rita Elfarissi’s story. A recent graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Rita is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi and served as Panhellenic vice president of judicial affairs. She participated in the Fraternity Government Relations Congressional visits for three years, which gave her the opportunity to advocate for sorority and fraternity legislative initiatives on Capitol Hill. Rita’s message: We can’t lead others if we aren’t leading ourselves. When this became abundantly clear to her, she did two things -- started taking a yoga class each day and stopped answering emails after 5:30 p.m. 

The courage and passion Alexis and Rita shared in their messages set the tone for a weekend of leadership building. Alexandra Rufatto-Perry and Lindsay Boccardo also spoke on leadership and left messages for leaders to consider. Lindsay noted that none of us can make it alone, we all need each other or a “life team,” a group of individuals hand-selected to teach you necessary life skills and show you how to build a life you want. 

The recommendations from Alexandra included always saying, “thank you” and admitting you need help. “Great leaders know how to ask for help because it lets other people shine,” she said. “It makes it safe for other people around you to ask for help too.”

Lorin Phillips

Lorin Phillips, a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma, tied it all together and wrapped up the educational weekend in her closing keynote, "Lessons from the Next Generation of Panhellenic Women." 

She recommended making this year about building each other up and taking care of ourselves. “Be a support system for one another,” she said.


Bottom line: Leadership is a choice, but when you make that choice, be free to commit yourself to it while also taking care of yourself. 

Interfraternally,






Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman 2017-19

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Message From the NPC Chairman: Standing up for the rights of students and our organizations

“The support I received as a sorority member was what allowed me to be an engaged, confident student. This support, these opportunities and this choice to belong to a group of my female peers have now been taken away.”
Rebecca Ramos, 2017 Harvard graduate and past president of Zeta Phi chapter of Delta Gamma

“Harvard has erased these empowering women’s spaces and it has done so paternalistically without the input of these women and to the devastation of these organizations.”
Laura Doerre, former international president for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity



On Dec. 3, a group of sororities, fraternities and students filed a pair of lawsuits challenging Harvard University’s sanctions policy that punishes students who join off-campus, single-sex* social organizations. Filed in federal and state courts, the lawsuits are supported by the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) and the Cambridge Coalition.

The “Stand Up to Harvard” public relations efforts, also supported by NPC, NIC and the Cambridge Coalition, were kicked off that same day with a press conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Rebecca Ramos, Delta Gamma, and Laura Doerre, Kappa Alpha Theta, joined NIC President and CEO Judson Horras and attorneys for the federal and state cases to share how Harvard’s policy has devastated the off-campus women’s social organizations and impacted all students through a culture of fear and intimidation.

Never have I been so proud of two Panhellenic sisters who bravely explained how nearly all the sororities and women’s final clubs open to Harvard women have closed or renounced their status as women’s social organizations. Before the sanctions were announced, one in four Harvard undergraduates belonged to a single-sex social organization. These lawsuits push back against an unjust policy that has taken away Harvard students’ choice to gather with other women for friendship and support.

In the federal lawsuit, a broad coalition of students and women’s and men’s organizations impacted by Harvard’s sanctions assert that through the sanctions policy, the president and fellows of Harvard College have interfered with students’ right to be free of sex discrimination, as guaranteed by Title IX and the U.S. Constitution.

The plaintiffs in the federal case are Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Sigma Chi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Alpha Epsilon-Massachusetts Gamma chapter and three current Harvard students who are members of men’s organizations. The students are included as John Doe plaintiffs out of fear of retaliation by Harvard.

In the suit filed in Massachusetts court, Alpha Phi, Alpha Phi-Iota Tau chapter and Delta Gamma Fraternity Management Corporation assert Harvard has interfered with student’s rights to free association and equal treatment based on sex, both of which are protected by the Massachusetts Constitution. Alleging violations of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, the suit seeks to bring a stop to Harvard’s sanctions by calling for an injunction prohibiting the University from continuing to unlawfully punish students. 

The state case also contains a contract claim in which Delta Gamma Fraternity Management Corporation is seeking damages for lost revenue from a rental property that remains vacant due to the sanctions.

I encourage you to visit standuptoharvard.org to read more about the lawsuits and the specific reasons behind them as well as sign the petition to lend your support. You also may be interested in these articles and videos:


If you have questions about Stand Up to Harvard and NPC’s support of this effort, please email npcstanduptoharvard@npcwomen.org.

Interfraternally,







Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman 2017-19

*The term “single-sex” (instead of “single-gender”) is used throughout the Stand Up to Harvard website and related documents in reference to our organizations that are women’s only. Although each NPC member organization defines "woman" differently, we use "single-sex" in these materials because Title IX uses the term "sex" and these lawsuits use Title IX as a basis for the legal claims.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Message From the Chairman: New Organizational Structure Announced for NPC

In October, during the National Panhellenic Conference annual meeting, the board of directors approved revised governing documents that allow for the development of a new organizational and governance structure designed to make NPC more nimble and responsive to the most pressing challenges facing students, campus partners and the greater Panhellenic community.

The new governance structure will include:

  • A Council of Delegates, consisting of one representative from each of NPC’s 26 member organizations and having primary responsibility for Conference membership and Panhellenic policies.  
  • A new seven-member Board of Directors consisting of five members elected to service by the Council of Delegates and two directors appointed by their member organization (on a rotational basis). The Board of Directors will lead NPC and have authority and responsibility for overseeing the affairs of NPC. They will establish corporate policy, set the strategic direction, oversee and secure resources and monitor organizational performance. The Council of Delegates will also elect the NPC chairman.

The first Board of Directors to be established under the new bylaws will be appointed and elected by the Council of Delegates in May 2019 and will assume office on July 1. The new NPC chairman will be elected by the Council from the seven members who comprise the Board of Directors. 

This historic change in governance will equip NPC to be a stronger, more strategic ally to our campus-based colleagues on topics such as hazing, alcohol abuse, sexual assault, diversity and inclusion, among others. The Panhellenic community is increasingly looking to us as a resource and a convener and this new organizational structure reflects our desire to further expand our capacity to serve such a role. 

The new structure is also intended to ensure that greater resources and staff-level engagement can be brought to bear on priorities ranging from recruitment and membership growth, enhanced data collection and communications efforts advocating for the sorority experience. The NPC professional staff will continue to accomplish their work alongside the organization’s volunteers.

You can read the news release here.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful holiday season filled with fun and laughter and a happy, healthy new year.

Interfraternally,







Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman 2017-19

About 'Stand Up to Harvard'

stand up to harvard logo
standuptoharvard.org
#standuptoharvard
On Dec. 3, a group of sororities, fraternities and students filed a pair of lawsuits challenging Harvard’s sanctions policy that punishes students who join off-campus, single-sex* social organizations. These efforts are supported by the National Panhellenic Conference as well as the North American Interfraternity Conference and the organizations in the Cambridge Coalition.  

With the sanctions, Harvard is interfering with students’ rights protected by the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX—a dangerous precedent by one of America’s bellwether higher education institutions. 

Moreover, the lawsuits describe how Harvard used a campaign of threats and intimidation to scare students into abandoning their fundamental rights to free association and to live free of sex discrimination. 

You can visit standuptoharvard.org to read more about the lawsuits, the specific reasons behind them and sign the petition to lend your support. You also may be interested in these articles and video: 


If you have questions about Stand Up to Harvard, NPC's support of this effort or other related questions about women's involvement in the lawsuits, please email NPC

Please also follow NPC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay informed about Stand Up to Harvard and other important programs and initiatives.

* The term “single-sex” is used throughout the Stand Up to Harvard website and related documents in reference to our organizations that are women’s only. Although each member organization defines "woman" differently, we use "single-sex" in these materials because Title IX uses the term "sex" and these lawsuits use Title IX as a basis for the legal claims.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From the NPC Chairman: Ensuring vibrant, healthy fraternity and sorority communities

When I wrote my first chairman’s message last November, little did I know how prophetic it might prove to be. Now, as I reflect on this past year, the members of the National Panhellenic Conference most certainly have been “facing challenges and embracing opportunities… together.”

During 2017, we identified many challenges, including a plateau in sorority community expansion and a decline in the number of college-aged students, which make up the vast majority of our potential pool for new members. We were also aware of the impacts to the sorority experience from new generational trends for our current members as well as incoming college students.

All of these things were putting pressure on NPC and our member organizations to examine how we work internally and how we work together. Yet, even more challenges lay ahead including student tragedies that would call us to be even more vigilant in fighting against hazing, alcohol abuse and dangerous social cultures on college campuses.

There also was an increase in policy decisions that would restrict the right of students to freely associate and threaten the opportunity for collegians to become sorority members.
NPC faced these challenges head-on and embraced the opportunities laid before us, and we did so with NPC leadership, staff and our 26 member organizations working toward the same objective: To advance the sorority experience together.

Our work began with five strategic priorities:

  • Preservation of the sorority experience
  • Growth and sustainability
  • Conference structure
  • Public relations and marketing strategy to promote the sorority experience
  • Implementation of the NPC communication plan

With those priorities in mind, we executed the kinds of operational activities that make a difference for our member organizations, College Panhellenics and Alumnae Panhellenics. It’s that combination of strategic planning and operational work that demonstrates our commitment to tackling important issues that impact the Panhellenic community so the sorority experience may thrive now and for generations to come.

NPC’s voice has been heard as we continue efforts to advocate for and preserve the sorority experience. We have taken our message on campus visits, to state legislators and to the steps of Capitol Hill. Working hand in hand with each other and with our fraternity partners we are making a difference on our campuses, in our communities and on the state and national levels.

NPC continues to advocate for the positions we have taken against infringement on the rights of our organizations through conversations with university and college administrators with the purpose of providing education that we want to be partners with our host institutions, but when oversight overreaches, we are proactive in protecting our future.

Continued collaboration with our member organizations, industry partners and higher education administrators will ensure that our sorority and fraternity communities stay vibrant and healthy now and into the future.

Interfraternally,





Carole J. Jones
2017-19 NPC chairman



For more about the work of NPC, please read our latest annual report.

Feature stories in this year's report include NPC's advocacy work, the work of NPC think tanks to address the challenges of today's world, partnerships, College Panhellenic Academy, College Panhellenic projects, Alumnae Panhellenic projects and communications.