Monday, September 24, 2018

Spotlight: Cleveland Alumnae Panhellenic Scholarships

As the costs of higher education continue to be a concern for today's students and their caregivers, NPC encourages Alumnae Panhellenics to put an emphasis on scholarships in their annual programming efforts. Scholarships can provide students with the needed assistance to pursue their life’s passions.

The Cleveland Alumnae Panhellenic has had great successes with their Alumnae Panhellenic scholarships. Hear what they have to say about what makes them so successful:

"The Cleveland Alumnae Panhellenic has proudly supported a scholarship program since 1915 – 103 years! We are fortunate to have a separate foundation, Cleveland Alumnae Panhellenic Endowment Fund (CAPEF), holding more than $200,000. CAPEF has its own bylaws that govern how the money is invested and managed. CAPEF recommends a scholarship amount to be distributed annually and CAPA considers the recommendation and votes to approve the amount to be awarded. We share our fall fundraiser profits with CAPEF and host an annual scholarship luncheon where scholarship winners are recognized. During the luncheon, CAPA's Ways and Means committee puts together a basket raffle that benefits CAPEF. We typically raise $2,000-$2,500 towards future scholarships.

Our Alumnae Panhellenic promotes our scholarship program in a few ways: 1) Each delegate contacts their headquarters and asks for an email contact list by zip code (our surrounding 7 counties) of women currently enrolled as collegians and forwards to our scholarship chair that email blasts out the information. 2) The scholarship chair sends the information via email to NPC and Ohio Colleges Panhellenic advisors to post on their webpages and promote at meetings. 3) Alumnae delegates promote to their own alumnae chapter members to encourage collegiate and alumnae to apply. 4) Alumnae delegates themselves promote to individual collegiate chapters (email, Facebook, Twitter etc.). 5) We host all of our scholarship information and documents on our website: clevelandpanhellenic.org.

The current CAPA president's sorority hosts an annual luncheon the 2nd or 3rd Saturday in May. The attendance varies from about 150-300 people. This year it will be on Saturday, May 18, 2019, 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., at the Cleveland Metro Parks Zoo - Stillwater Place. All are welcome to join us to see firsthand how we celebrate our scholarship winners!"

The Cleveland Alumnae Panhellenic also shared this advice if your Alumnae Panhellenic is starting a new scholarship program or wants to improve on an existing one:
  • Set up the scholarship application online from the beginning. 
  • Determine the eligibility requirements and scholarship amount and add to the group's standing rules.
  • Raise funds ahead of time and possibly set up and endowment fund with a separate board of trustees to manage the fund. 
  • The scholarship committee should have a least six members that review each application independently to give it balance. 
  • Use the scholarship to promote your Alumnae Panhellenic to a wider audience. Who knows, today's scholarship winner may join their local alumnae chapter and possibly be a delegate to Panhellenic someday.

Spotlight: Phoenix Alumnae Panhellenic Scholarships

As the costs of higher education continue to be a concern for today's students and their caregivers, NPC encourages Alumnae Panhellenics to put an emphasis on scholarships in their annual programming efforts. Scholarships can provide students with the needed assistance to pursue their life’s passions.

The Phoenix Alumnae Panhellenic has had great successes with their Alumnae Panhellenic scholarships. Hear what they have to say about what makes them so successful:

"Our proudest accomplishment is the money we have raised for our Scholarship Awards Program. Scholarship fundraisers began in the 1940s when Phoenix Panhellenic Association held dances to earn money for scholarships. Over time, these efforts transitioned to a fashion show and luncheon.

All Council members and local alumnae clubs promote our Scholarship Awards Program throughout the year. Representatives attend College Panhellenic meetings, host events at the local universities, such as our Slices for Scholarships and Snacks for Scholarships, to encourage local collegians to apply for the Phoenix Panhellenic Scholarship Awards Program but to also research other potential scholarship opportunities through their own organizations and the NPC Foundation. Social media has enhanced our efforts and has an immediate impact with collegians. In addition, the movement of our scholarship application process from paper to online has increased our number of applicants.

Scholarship Awards Recipients and outstanding Panhellenic women in Arizona are recognized through our Woman of the Year and Emerging Leader of the Year Awards Programs at our annual Celebration of Sisterhood. We also invite the greater Panhellenic community, Fraternity and Sorority Life staff and College Panhellenic leadership from the local universities as well as other volunteers who help to make our fundraising a success. In May 2018, we awarded over $20,000 in scholarships, which included our first scholarship from the National Panhellenic Conference Foundation’s Phoenix Panhellenic Association Centennial Scholarship Endowment.

Phoenix Panhellenic has been fortunate to enjoy a 40+ year partnership with Thunderbirds Charities. For groups contemplating creating a new scholarship program or expanding their current one, our advice is to look for a partner -- ideally a large charitable organization that could provide the opportunity to turn volunteer hours into scholarship funds. Encourage Council members to share their fundraising enthusiasm beyond their immediate groups by going out to their local clubs, collegians, and communities to increase the awareness of your program and to increase your ability to supply the most volunteer hours possible to earn the maximum funds for your scholarship program."

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Providing resources, finding solutions to improve campus safety

National Campus Safety Awareness Month has been part of the back-to-school public conversation every September since 2008 when it was first approved by Congress. It’s the perfect opportunity for everyone in the fraternity/sorority community to continue the important discussions surrounding sexual violence, student care strategies, hazing, alcohol abuse and dangerous social cultures on college campuses today.

The National Panhellenic Conference has been vocal on the topic of student safety on campuses for many years and is committed to partnering with our student life colleagues to create cultures where students advocate for one another and find sustainable ways to shift the dangerous culture at a faster pace than it was created.


We have been and continue to be committed to providing resources and finding solutions to improve campus safety. Of particular note:

  • The NPC Student Safety and Sexual Assault Awareness Special Committee developed the NPC Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Toolkit for our College Panhellenics to use for education purposes and share with other women on campus. The committee also developed the “Real Talk Time: College Panhellenic Sexual Violence Assessment Initiative” program that will be piloted on four campuses this fall.
  • The NPC Board of Directors approved a position statement against sexual assault in February 2015.
  • NPC continues to participate in social media awareness campaigns like National Campus Safety Awareness Month that are aimed at creating environments of compassion and respect on campus.
  • In 2016, NPC joined Texas Woman’s University’s “Cultivating Safe College Campuses: A College Sexual Assault Policy and Prevention Consortium.” This group seeks to establish consistent, effective prevention and response measures to campus sexual assault.
  • In November 2017, NPC issued a “Call for Critical Change” in sorority/fraternity life by bringing together leading campus administrators, subject matter experts and sorority leadership to work toward creating opportunities to address critical issues within our Panhellenic communities.
  • NPC continues its partnership with “It’s On Us,” an organization that works to educate, engage and empower students and communities across the United States to do something, big or small, to end sexual assault. It has been inspiring to see the creative ways our members, both collegiate and alumnae, have come together to lead the way toward finding value in addressing problematic behaviors.
  • In August 2018, the NPC Board of Directors approved a revised Government Relations Platform with one of its focuses on the advancement of student and campus safety.
  • Each of the 26 NPC member organizations have their own student safety and advocacy programs and efforts that are supported by NPC through social media and other public relations outlets.

In relation to all of this, Sept. 24-28 is National Hazing Prevention Week, which brings to the forefront that campus safety includes being educated about hazing prevention. NHPW is an opportunity for college campuses, schools, communities, organizations and individuals to raise awareness about the problems of hazing and promote hazing prevention.

Importantly, NPC continues to advocate for state and federal legislation that appropriately defines hazing as a crime and mandates accountability as well as promotes transparency of reporting hazing incidents on college campuses. As we work to advocate and preserve the sorority experience, we are working to prevent the types of campus tragedies we have seen in recent years by educating and supporting our members and giving them confidence to report inappropriate behavior. 

As I have said before: The sorority community can, and must, do its part to create safer campus cultures where students advocate for one another. That is why NPC will continue in its student safety and wellness advocacy work as well as lead efforts to change by bringing together campus professionals and other like-minded organizations and individuals to work toward creating the kind of campus culture we aspire to build everywhere.

Interfraternally,







Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman 2017-19

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

From the NPC Chairman: Cultivating character on a daily basis

“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.” 
 From The Panhellenic Creed

Character is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual. As sorority women and members of the National Panhellenic Conference, we all strive to cultivate positive character traits, and as our collegiate members prepare to return to college campuses across North America, I encourage each of us, as sorority women, to cultivate our character on a daily basis.

As I think about potential new members and what characteristics they look for in the sorority women they meet, the following characteristics come to mind: kindness, humility, honesty, social intelligence and self-control. What characteristics would you add to my list?

On September 26, there is an opportunity to join millions of people around the globe to further cultivate your character by participating in Character Day, a global initiative where school districts, universities, organizations and families of all sizes screen films on the science of character development offered from different perspectives. Resources for planning a Character Day event include short films, discussion materials and a global live cast question and answer session.


Character Day is an advocacy program of Let It Ripple, a California-based film studio that produces mini-documentaries often focuses on social justice issues. NPC was introduced to Let It Ripple through our relationship with Vision 2020. Since 2011, NPC has been a national ally of Vision 2020 and has supported the work of their staff to make equality a national priority through shared leadership among women and men with an initial focus on business and government, where decisions are made, policies set and resources allocated.

Now in its fifth year, Character Day has grown from having 1,500 events in its first year to more than 133,000 events in 125 countries and all 50 states in 2017. I encourage you to learn more by watching this short clip: https://vimeo.com/159254643

To sign up your Panhellenic or organization for Character Day, please click here.

Interfraternally,

Carole Jones




Carole Jones
NPC chairman 2017-19

The Periodic Table of Character Strengths

Sample Character Day Resources
A poster of The Periodic Table of Character Strengths is included in the free, hands-on discussion kit. Also included in the kit: A deck of 44 conversation cards with discussion guides, questions for all ages and quotes related to the poster.






Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Promoting the benefits of the sorority experience

When each of us chose to become a member of a fraternal organization, we found lifelong friends, support to excel in studies and opportunities for leadership development and community service. What many of us probably did not expect was the bond rooted in Greek traditions that we not only share with members of our specific fraternity or sorority, but also with members of other fraternal organizations.


There are more than 4 million sorority women and more than 4.5 million fraternity men – that’s a lot of people who share a common bond of sisterhood and brotherhood. Think about those numbers and the networking opportunities! If you are a college student embarking in a summer job or internship, or even beginning your first full-time job after graduation, you are joining a work environment where you no doubt will have the opportunity to network with fellow fraternity and sorority alumni. By talking about your fraternal experiences, you most likely will be opening doors to endless possibilities in career and volunteer opportunities.

I speak from experience. When I interviewed for my first job, the person interviewing me asked about my sorority experience listed on my resume. She shared she was a member of Kappa Delta, and we “clicked” immediately. She hired me on the spot. I’m convinced it’s because we bonded over sorority life.

Whether you joined a fraternal organization two months ago, five years ago or 50 years ago, hopefully, your experience, like mine, was amazing. So, don’t be afraid to tell your story even when it is sometimes hard to be a fraternity or sorority member. Our organizations have become tarnished by heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking, hazing and lack of responsibilities. The activities of fraternity and sorority members that have led to deaths, mental and physical injury, poor academic achievement and health problems are a contradiction to our rituals and founding principles.

Therefore, we have to have conviction to fight the negative and promote the positive. We are the best public relations we have. When asked why you belong to or are still involved in a sorority, tell them why. Talk about the friendships you’ve made, the experiences and lessons that have helped shape who you are, the skills you’ve developed and the memories you’ve created.

For sorority alumnae, it’s our responsibility and privilege to give collegiate members and young alumnae the assistance they need in building relationships as they seek job opportunities. We should also be telling our sorority stories and sharing our experiences so young women participating in recruitment today will have heard the good news about our organizations or know someone who is a member long before they enter college.

The bond of fraternity and sorority membership is strong. We know it inside our hearts and inside our communities. To ensure others can continue to share in this bond, we must also be strong in telling others about our positive experiences and the benefits of membership we all enjoy.

Interfraternally,





Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman 2017-19

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Proactively addressing the challenges of today's world

In fall 2017, the National Panhellenic Conference Executive Committee established four “think tanks” to research and develop recommendations on various topics so NPC could proactively approach the challenges and issues of today’s world. The four think tanks examined these topics: NPC Structure, Recruitment and Expanded Membership Model, Public Relations and Marketing and NPC Call for Critical Change. Their work began in January 2018 and I’m excited to share an update on the work accomplished to date.


npc structure think tank participants
NPC Structure: To be able to act nimbly and quickly, NPC’s operational board of directors should become more strategic in focus. In support of that objective, the think tank proposed a new structure for NPC, with a seven-member board of directors responsible for developing and implementing a visionary strategic plan, representing NPC to external entities and advocating for the sorority experience. At the same time, NPC staff and volunteers will carry out operational work, including serving as area advisors, RFM specialists and committee members. Importantly, each member organization will still have a representative to carry out the Conference work as well as to vote on Unanimous Agreements as sovereign organizations. The essential work of serving College and Alumnae Panhellenics also will not change.


npc recruitment think tank participants
Recruitment and Expanded Membership Model: The Recruitment and Expanded Membership Model examined ways to help ensure sorority membership remains relevant to today’s young women and to assist NPC member organizations and College Panhellenics with growing the sorority experience. Seven subgroups were formed to research and develop recommendations on these topics:

• Variable Quota & RFM implications
• Generation Z and impact on our membership
• Decrease in numbers and how it impacts our cost of doing business
• Ensuring diversity within sorority membership 
• Collection and monitoring of membership statistics (retention)
• Adapting to changing demographics
• Community colleges

As a result of their work, the following priorities for NPC were established: Developing College Panhellenic initiatives regarding diversity and inclusion, assisting College Panhellenics with marketing the sorority experience, promoting financial transparency with potential new members and their families, developing educational tools and resources for College Panhellenics to better attract and serve Generation Z and devoting resources to data collection. There are many more details in these priorities and other recommendations to be considered.


npc pr and marketing think tank participantsPublic Relations and Marketing: This think tank studied ways to communicate with key audiences and discussed how to strengthen the Panhellenic brand and promote the sorority experience. They examined a wide range of challenges and opportunities facing NPC and its member organizations and recommended a phased approach to proactively promoting the value of the sorority experience. Priority will be given to improving the ways in which NPC reaches key audiences to share the value of sorority membership and to assisting College Panhellenics in sharing the story of their own authentic sorority experience.

NPC Call for Critical Change: The Call for Critical Change Think Tank met in late January 2018 to discuss ways to address critical issues within our Panhellenic communities. They identified a number of next steps, and NPC and its partners have been working on these opportunities. The group will continue discussions in June. They will discuss ways NPC and our Panhellenic women could play a constructive and responsive role in their campus communities regarding diversity issues and cultural appropriation. We are committed to working together to find ways for our Panhellenic women to lead the way for social change resulting in healthier sorority and fraternity communities. More to come in this important endeavor.

The NPC Executive Committee thanks the think tank participants for lending their expertise and developing recommendations to help NPC face challenges head-on and advance the sorority experience. 

We look forward to sharing more information as the recommendations are implemented.

Interfraternally,








Carole Jones
NPC chairman 2017-19

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Advocating for the value of the sorority experience

More than 235 fraternity and sorority members, both alumni and students, were on Capitol Hill on April 25 advocating for sororities and fraternities and the value they provide to our members. Our organizations’ values of character and dignity guide our members in their daily lives as they serve their campus and local communities.

Each year since 2002, the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition (FGRC), which is a collaborative effort between the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee (FSPAC) and Fraternity and Sorority Action Fund (FSAF), has lobbied in Washington, D.C., in order to educate legislators on the value of sororities and fraternities and the advocacy issues important to NPC and NIC.


The FGRC represents 92 single-sex fraternities and sororities nationwide with more than 800,000 undergraduate members at over 9,500 chapters on almost 700 campuses, as well as more than 9.1 million alumni. The NPC and NIC set and execute the advocacy agenda for the FGRC. This year’s lobbying efforts, with more than 460 meetings between fraternity/sorority members and legislators or their staffs, focused on the value of the fraternity/sorority experience and our priorities for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).

This topic directly aligns with Pillar One of the NPC Government Relations Platform: Preservation of the sorority experience.

Working together with the NIC, FSPAC and FSAF, our goal is to gain support for protection of our experience through the reauthorization of the HEA. Our members have a constitutional right to freely assemble and associate, but there is a growing trend to punish single-sex organizations for existing by creating barriers and/or penalizing students who join such organizations. Harvard University is just one example as that institution is now blacklisting students who choose to join single-sex social organizations and seeks to force groups to become co-ed against their will. The Harvard policy affects this year’s freshman class and all future students, penalizing those who join single-sex organizations by rendering them ineligible for leadership positions in recognized student organizations, selection as a sports team captain and the Dean’s endorsement for a Rhodes, Marshall or Fulbright scholarship, where such endorsement is a prerequisite for consideration.

But, it’s not just Harvard that is seeking new ways to restrict freedom of association rights. It has become increasingly common for institutions of higher education to regulate and propose policies aimed at forcing single-sex social organizations to become co-ed or imposing burdensome policies and restrictions that undermine a student’s right to freely associate. Examples include blanket suspensions for all sororities and fraternities on a campus when one student or one organization is accused of misconduct and the adoption of operational restrictions that don’t apply to any other student organization on campus, such as not allowing first semester or first year students to choose to join a sorority or fraternity.

Students and alumni gather on Capitol Hill
to advocate for the fraternity and
sorority experience. More photos.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has taken the first step to protect every student’s freedom of association rights, including with single-sex social organizations. The committee’s HEA reauthorization bill – the PROSPER Act – includes language on this issue, but does not address or prevent actions taken by Harvard or a few other campuses that do not already recognize single-sex organizations.

That was our task on April 25 – to encourage House members to perfect the pending language in the PROSPER Act to include all students and to ask senators to include this same language in their own HEA reauthorization bill.

The value of protecting our single-sex experience now and for generations to come cannot be understated. Our organizations create a unique community of support. They are the one place on a college campus, where through a shared single-sex experience, young women or men can enjoy a sense of belonging, empowerment and personal development. NPC and NIC are committed to continuing to advocate for freedom of association rights for our organizations, and we invite you to join us by contacting your representatives here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Thanking those who serve our Panhellenic communities

April is Advisor Appreciation Month for the National Panhellenic Conference, and April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week in the United States and Canada. These two events celebrate both the importance of volunteering and the value of volunteers.

Advisor Appreciation Month is a time to thank all those people who advocate for the sorority experience on a daily basis. Whether it’s a fraternity/sorority advisor on your campus, an NPC area advisor for your College or Alumnae Panhellenic or members of your chapter’s alumnae advisory team and corporation board, these individuals are making an important impact by nurturing and empowering women and supporting sorority life. (Looking for Advisor Appreciation Month resources to help you thank advisors? You can find them on our website.)

National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to thank volunteers who lend their time, talent, voice and support to causes they care about in their communities. There are so many organizations that rely on volunteer support, and NPC is fortunate to have the commitment of many volunteers who give selflessly of themselves. 

While volunteering is a form of service, many volunteers will tell you they get more than they give. Developing new skills, finding meaningful personal connections and helping collegians understand the value of service are all reasons to pay it forward to ensure the success of sororities for generations of women to come.

If you are volunteer, you have answered the call through your actions of service, support and generosity. You are helping to advance the future of sorority by giving of a precious resource – your time. Realizing how many different people and organizations are vying for your time, we at NPC express our sincere gratitude to you for choosing to spend time advancing the sorority experience.

For those of us who benefit from the guidance of advisors and volunteers, every little bit we can do to make them realize their time is well spent is an investment in the future of sorority. Showing appreciation during Advisor Appreciation Month and National Volunteer Week is important, but what about on a day-to-day basis? I encourage you to show your gratitude by writing thank you notes, sending birthday cards, greeting them by name, nominating them for volunteer awards, accepting their individuality and saying, “It’s always good to see you.”  

Volunteers are the lifeblood of NPC and our individual member organizations. Showing appreciation goes a long way in retaining those people who are committed to supporting our organizations and promoting the sorority experience. Please join me in thanking advisors and other volunteers during April as well as throughout the year.

Interfraternally,






Carole J. Jones
2017-19 NPC chairman

Thursday, March 22, 2018

2018 Women’s History Month: Women of Courage and Conviction – Part 3

The National Women's History Project’s theme for the 2018 Women’s History Month is “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” The National Panhellenic Conference is spotlighting sorority women who have persisted with courage and conviction, particularly in breaking down barriers for other women.

The next sorority woman in our series is both following in the footsteps of other women as well as blazing a trail.

Shaesta Waiz, Theta Phi Alpha, is the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft. She completed her travels in October 2017.

Shaesta Waiz is the first in her family to earn an
undergraduate degree, the first female civilian pilot
from Afghanistan, and the youngest woman to fly
around the world solo in a single-engine plane.

But, her journey has never been easy.

She was born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan. Her parents immigrated to America, where she then grew up in an underprivileged neighborhood in Richmond, California.

To achieve her dream of becoming a pilot, she attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with the help of scholarships and donor support to fund her education.

Geraldine "Jerrie" Fredritz Mock
was the first woman to fly solo
around the world.
In an article in National Geographic, Waiz indicates Jerrie Mock, Phi Mu, the first woman to fly solo around the world – also in a single-engine plane – as her inspiration and mentor.

While Mock’s 1964 journey focused on speed, Waiz had a different mission: to empower women around the world to pursue STEM and aviation careers. Waiz used the stops along her journey to talk to women and children about pursuing their goals.

Waiz also has founded a nonprofit organization called Dreams Soar to help bring awareness of STEM careers and to eventually fund STEM and aviation scholarships for girls and young women. 

Today, only 24 percent of U.S. STEM professionals are female and there are only 450 female airline captains worldwide. Waiz hopes to change that.

As Waiz told the BBC during her trip around the world, her message is that you can be “from any background, you can have any set of challenges but what’s really important is that you have to dream, to dream big and work hard and go after it.”

Sources: Theta Phi Alpha, Phi Mu, Dreams Soar, BBC, National Geographic

See also: 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

2018 Women’s History Month: Women of Courage and Conviction – Part 2


The National Women's History Project’s theme for the 2018 Women’s History Month is “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” The National Panhellenic Conference is spotlighting sorority women who have persisted with courage and conviction in their efforts to help end discrimination and break down barriers for other women.

Brig. Gen. Margaret A. Brewer
United States Marine Corps

The next woman to be highlighted in this blog series is Margaret A. Brewer, an alumna of Zeta Tau Alpha at the University of Michigan. Brewer was the first female general officer in the United States Marine Corps.

After her college graduation in 1952, Brewer joined the Marine Corps, serving at a time when few women were Marines. She held a variety of roles in the Marine Corps, including rising to the rank of colonel in 1970 and serving as director of women from 1973-1977.




She then served as deputy director of the information division for the Marine Corps. When she was nominated in 1978 to lead the division, the director position was required to be a general – a role not available to women Marines at that time.

President Jimmy Carter made a special appointment to promote Brewer to brigadier general and it was approved by both houses of Congress. Under her leadership, the department was reorganized into the Division of Public Affairs.

Brewer was honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Michigan in 1979 and two Legion of Merit awards from the Marine Corps. She received Zeta Tau Alpha’s Outstanding Alumna Award in 1984.

Brewer retired from the Marine Corps in 1980 and passed away in 2013 at the age of 82. In her obituary in The Washington Post, Brewer is described as “legendary” and “one of the pioneers.” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said in a statement to the paper: “She served during an era when many thought that women had no place in the Corps, but she proved critics wrong time and again.”

Sources: Zeta Tau Alpha, The Washington Post


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Chairman's Message: Celebrating Women's History Month & the Sorority Experience

Celebrated during the month of March in the United States, Women’s History Month traces its beginning back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. As celebrations of International Women’s Day increased throughout the years, both in public school districts and on college campuses, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation in February 1980 declaring the week of March 8,1980, as National Women’s History Week.

Women's History Month is celebrated
in March in the United States
and in October in Canada.

(Graphic source: National Women's History Project)
In 1987, due to the growing popularity of Women’s History Week and after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. Since then, a presidential proclamation is issued every year honoring the achievements of American women. (Note: In Canada, Women’s History Month is celebrated in October to coincide with Persons Day on October 18. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and girls as trailblazers throughout Canadian history.)

This year’s Women’s History Month theme is “Nevertheless, She Persisted.” Most certainly, I equate this theme with the women of the National Panhellenic Conference. We are persistent as we advocate for the sorority experience and work to preserve the single-sex experience. And we are persistent in ensuring our sorority and fraternity communities stay vibrant and healthy.

Historically, our member organizations have survived two world wars, the Great Depression, drops in enrollment and public criticism of Greek-letter organizations.

In 1961, when negative opinion of social organizations was at its highest, NPC was persistent and adopted a twofold strategy: to reaffirm the constitutional right of fraternities to exist by virtue of freedom of assembly and to make an energetic stance toward re-educating the public about the value of sororities. 

For more than a decade, while many campuses became epicenters of social unrest for reasons that went far beyond the fraternity/sorority system, NPC walked a precise line in asserting the autonomy of its member organizations and maintaining constructive communication with host institutions. One triumph of collective, persistent action was NPC’s lobbying for the continued legality of single-sex status for fraternities and sororities. This status gained partial protection in 1974, when the U.S. Congress passed an exemption to Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 to allow colleges and universities to recognize single-sex social organizations.

As new issues continue to arise and our member organizations evolve, new opportunities and challenges are presented that profoundly impact operations and strategy of NPC. We will continue to be persistent by working to protect students’ rights to freely associate with a single-sex organization and preserving the rights of single-sex student organizations—so women can continue to benefit from the sorority experience now and for years to come.

How you can get involved:
  • Use hashtag #HearHerHarvard to help support the women who are persistent in preserving their single-sex experience. 
  • Stay informed on the latest legislation impacting sororities and single-sex organizations by following your member organization and NPC on social media. 
  • When asked by your member organization, reach out to your congressional representatives about legislation designed to protect single-sex organizations at colleges and universities.

Interfraternally,

Carole J. Jones
2017-19 NPC chairman


Thursday, March 8, 2018

2018 Women's History Month: Women of Courage and Conviction - Part 1

Women’s History Month is celebrated each March, and the National Women's History Project has selected "Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women” as the 2018 theme.

During Women’s History Month, the National Panhellenic Conference will spotlight of a number of sorority women who have persisted with courage and conviction in their efforts to help end discrimination and break down barriers for other women. This is part one in that series.

Since today, March 8, is also International Women’s Day, which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women, we are pulling from our blog archives to highlight the work of two sorority women who, in their lifetimes, have helped lead the press for progress for women.

Carrie Chapman Catt, Pi Beta Phi

Photo Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.
In this 1883 portrait, 
Carrie Chapman Catt is proudly
wearing her arrow badge in the style of the day.
“In the adjustment of the new order of things, we women demand an equal voice; we shall accept nothing less.”

Carrie Chapman Catt, a member of Pi Beta Phi, was a notable women’s suffragist and founder of the League of Women Voters. To pay for her education, she worked as a teacher and she was the only woman in her graduating class in 1880. Later on, she became superintendent of schools, becoming one of the first women in the county to be named to such a position. She was involved in advocacy all of her life. In addition to her work at the League of Women Voters, she supported the formation of the United Nations.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alpha Epsilon Phi

Supreme Court Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Our goal in the ‘70s was to end the closed door era. There were so many things that were off limits to women: policing, firefighting, mining, piloting planes.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, has served as a United States Supreme Court Justice since 1993. During her time as a law student and professor, she broke many barriers for women. In 1971, she played a major role in the creation of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). At the ACLU, she appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court with six landmark cases on gender discrimination. And, in 1999, she received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award for her contributions to gender equality and civil rights.