Wednesday, February 15, 2017

College Panhellenic Spotlight: Montana State University

Photo Courtesy of Greek Yearbook
The goal of the Montana State University Panhellenic Council is to create a campus environment where membership is a reward to those who seek it. Through fostering both personal and professional growth, the women of MSU leave the sorority community with the skills to be successful in the modern world. To encourage close friendship and connection, the Panhellenic implemented a “sister sorority” program through which chapters plan sisterhood events with each other on a monthly rotation. 

Another way MSU has increased cohesion across its community is through the adoption of a Panhellenic philanthropy, Circle of Sisterhood. It is obvious that a key reason most women join a sorority is not only for the sisterhood, but also for the community service aspect. By adopting a Panhellenic philanthropy, the community is connected through a basic tenet which is present in the ritual and purpose of each chapter. Connecting the traits of individual chapters to the community at large is successful in achieving a profound sense of unity for MSU. 

No time is more divisive to this unity than recruitment. To help mitigate the feeling of competition characteristic of this time, the Panhellenic Council helps facilitate house tours between the different chapters during spirit week. This tactic not only makes each chapter better recruiters by providing more practice, but it also eliminates the questions and curiosity about how other chapters are recruiting members. Suddenly the mystique surrounding recruitment dissipates and transparency is intact. A factor unique to MSU’s primary recruitment is the affiliation policy. By allowing members serving on the Panhellenic Council to retain affiliation with their chapters, both the potential new members (PNMs) and the active members feel an increased sense of trust regarding Panhellenic officers. Recruitment counselors are able to demonstrate to PNMs and their own chapters that a difference of letters is not a barrier among any woman in the community. At Montana State University the motto is “we as sorority women are always wearing our letters,” even during primary recruitment.

Lastly, Panhellenic meetings are held at the chapter facilities as opportunities to provide women with skills and information they would not otherwise have access to. To accomplish this goal, presenters from the community as well as professionals from the university are invited to share their knowledge with the sorority population. Over the past year speakers covered a range of topics including: resumé critiques, positive body image and health, sexual assault and violence, career fair opportunities, study abroad presentations and community service opportunities. Overall, the Panhellenic community is built on tenements of sisterhood, scholarship and professionalism created through the implementation of Panhellenic programs.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Message From the Chairman: Learning Together

When my youngest daughter was in grade school, a group of mothers came together to discuss the voracious nature of our daughters’ reading, and how we could best support their love of books. A monthly mother-daughter book club formed, ushering the girls from primary school through junior high. It continues today for the same moms. Our daughters have long since graduated from college, and some have formed reading groups of their own!

Women of all ages benefit from coming together to read classics, best sellers, personal development, fiction and non-fiction. There is nothing like a good read, and the opportunity to share opinion, new insights and "ah-hah" moments with other women. When reflecting on the early years of my mother-daughter book club experience, and how impactful a book can be, I am reminded of one of the early books we read: “Who Moved My Cheese” by Dr. Spencer Johnson.

A story told in fable form about dealing with change in our lives, with the central characters being two mice, two small people, a block of cheese and a maze. The cheese is a metaphor for what brings us happiness in life. You may think this a rather odd choice for 8-years-old girls, but what they and their mothers gleaned from reading the book, and the lasting impressions made were significant and applicable to everyday life. Originally written for the business sector, Johnson soon discovered the lessons delivered about change in life both professionally and personally were applicable to all ages. The book has been released in several other editions including “Who Moved My Cheese for Children” and “Who Moved My Cheese for Teenagers.”


Books dedicated to personal and professional development, growth, change and well-being fill the shelves in libraries, bookstores and online. From the early formation years of the 26 NPC member sororities, women have gathered to read and study together. So, during February in honor of the Month of the Scholar, form a reading group or book club in your office, your association, with friends or as a college chapter monthly sisterhood event and feel the power of women sharing and learning from each other.

In order to jump start you on your journey of learning together, the NPC staff and I have provided a list of 12 – one for each month of the next year – personal development books. Download it here.​​​​​​​

​Interfraternally,


Donna C. King
Chairman 2015-17

Monday, January 23, 2017

Meet the #Academy17 Speakers

Registration is officially full for #Academy17, and we are excited to meet everyone in Indianapolis at the end of the month. In the meantime, meet the four speakers who will be sharing their stories during “The Talks.”

Ellen Katherine Rothschild is a senior at Harvard College, majoring in psychology with a minor in economics. Last semester, she concluded her term as chapter president of Alpha Phi, Iota Tau. Prior to that role, she served as the vice president of chapter operations. She recognizes that sorority leadership positions are often thankless jobs, but her experience as chapter president has had a profound impact on her. Her friends consider her caring, ambitious and unstoppable. She was born in Hong Kong, and lived there for the first two years of her life. She loves to travel and hopes to one day move to Singapore.



Will Frakenberger serves as the director of risk prevention and education for Delta Zeta Sorority. His friends describe him as funny, caring and dedicated. His life motto is, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” He understands that life is just utterly crazy sometimes, and it’s nice to be flexible. He reminds us not to panic, take a deep breath and often the alternative solution will come to you. When Will is not working he can be found singing to the Patti LuPone Pandora station, attempting to lift weights at the gym -- while still loving McDonalds -- or grabbing a Pike Place® Roast from Starbucks.

Emily Carney is a psychology student at Arizona State University (ASU). Quickly after arriving at ASU, she went through sorority recruitment and joined Pi Beta Phi. She served as the community service chair for her chapter, vice president of internal affairs and interim judicial affairs for the College Panhellenic Council, and now the president. She believes in the importance of listening to advice from others, especially when dealing with difficult situations. She is very grateful for the all the opportunities she has had throughout her collegiate career, including forming relationships with women leaders from all around the country. 


Amber Shaverdi Huston will be performing two roles this year as a facilitator as well as a speaker. She believes wholeheartedly that sorority members can be the people to help all women find their self-confidence. She knows that when we as NPC sisters are truly vulnerable with each other, we can share, learn and find the best versions of ourselves. Her life motto is, “Have courage and be kind.” She is inspired by other people that give freely of themselves. She is motivated by the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

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.”