Tuesday, March 10, 2020

From the NPC Chairman: A Visible Showcase of the Power of the Sorority Experience

Dear friends,

As I reflect on the conversations I had earlier in the month about International Badge Day, I am struck at how easy it was to advocate for the sorority experience all because I was asked about the badges I was wearing. From a conversation with a father whose daughter is thinking about participating in recruitment in the fall, to finding out a new friend is also a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, to a local business leader whom I had the opportunity to sit by during a lunch meeting. I am certain these conversations, which focused on the benefits of the sorority experience, only happened because of the two badges I wore that day.

The creation of International Badge Day was the idea of Nora M. Ten Broeck, who wrote an article in the spring 1996 issue of Alpha Sigma Alpha’s “The Phoenix” titled, “A Simple Solution – Wear Your Membership Badge Today.” The article described her personal experience of wearing her sorority pin to work one day. The National Panhellenic Conference then began the formal celebration to honor sisterhood in 1997. The date is recognized during March, which is also National Women’s History Month and set aside for International Women’s Day.

On March 2, I had several places to be during the day and I wondered if people would notice, let alone ask, about the two pieces of jewelry I was wearing. I wore my Alpha Omicron Pi badge on a necklace and my NPC chairman’s badge as a pin. Both represent my lifelong commitment to service, community and sisterhood as a member of Alpha Omicron Pi and the National Panhellenic Conference.

In my conversations, I was able to not only advocate for the sorority experience, but engage in dialogue about Stand Up to Harvard and students’ rights to associate. I had the opportunity to talk about NPC’s work with the Anti-Hazing Coalition and directed the dad to TheSororityLife.com for additional recruitment information and what his daughter could expect as a sorority woman – leadership and volunteer opportunities, friendship for a lifetime, personal development, the importance of philanthropy and much more. It was a really good day!

If you didn’t wear your badge on March 2, I encourage you to join in next year as we show the world we believe in the power of the sorority experience. Or, just pick any day and put yourself out there by wearing your badge to celebrate the history of sororities. Just see how many people ask about your badge, allowing you to tell your sorority story and advocate for the sorority experience.


Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman 

Monday, February 24, 2020

Rochester Alumnae Panhellenic Spreads Awareness of Alzheimer's Disease in Women

In wearing their letters proudly aligning with the purpose of Alumnae Panhellenics to inform sorority women of current trends and stimulating a continuing interest in Panhellenic involvement, the Rochester Alumnae Panhellenic Association has supported the philanthropy of the outgoing president’s sorority during the association’s annual meeting and spring luncheon.

Below you can find a word from the Michele Gennarino, former Rochester Alumnae Panhellenic president, about their most recent

During the past few years, we have determined the organization that we will support at the annual meeting and spring luncheon of our association will be by focusing on the philanthropy of the outgoing president’s sorority. I am a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority and our philanthropy is focused on Alzheimer’s and we are proud sponsors of the Alzheimer’s Association. Through our connection with the Alzheimer's Association locally in Rochester, NY, we were able to connect to a prominent doctor in the area who shared insights with our members.

Just a few facts first:
  • An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer's dementia in 2018 and 3.2 million are women.
  • Women have a 1 in 6 chance of developing Alzheimer's, compared to a 1 in 11 chance for men.
  • Alzheimer’s will touch each one of us in our lifetime if it already hasn’t.
We asked Dr. Podgorski from the University of Rochester’s Medical Center to share with us “Women and Alzheimer’s Disease: What We Know, What We Think, and What We Hope.” She put on a 20-30 minute presentation (complete with slides) about the topic. It was fascinating and riveting, and a topic that affects so many of us.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Remembering Carrie Chapman Catt, sorority woman and suffragist

Sorority women have been making positive changes and leaving the world a better place
Photo from catt.org.
than they found it. Carrie Chapman Catt is no exception.
Carrie, an alumna of Pi Beta Phi, helped lead the National American Woman Suffrage Association and give women a political platform at a time when women’s voices were often overlooked. All of this stemmed back to her childhood when she noticed that her father had more voting rights than her mother. This did not sit well with Carrie. From there, she grew passionate to give women equal rights in politics and all together. 

Before she got involved with the suffrage movement, she attended Iowa State Agricultural College, which is now Iowa State University and was the only woman in her graduating class. Not only was Carrie the only woman in her graduating class, but she was at the top of her class. She did so while also managing to balance her schoolwork, her job in the library and washing dishes and fulfilling her officer position in her sorority. She was actually the first woman to be initiated into her sorority’s chapter at Iowa State after it’s charter. A handful of years after graduating, Carrie worked as a law clerk, a teacher, a principal and then became one of the first women to be appointed as a superintendent of a school district. All of which was not an easy task for Carrie. However, her strong work ethic and organizational skills helped her achieve this success.

Later in the 1880s, Chapman joined the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association, where she worked as a writer and lecturer. She began to move up within the organization which led her to begin working for the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Following the beginning of her work with the organization on a national level, Carrie spoke at its convention in Washington D.C. in 1890. This speaking opportunity lit a spark within Carrie that encouraged her to become more involved with her writing and speaking assignments. Both of which helped her become more of an established suffragist. This sparked an exciting new chapter in her life. 

Susan B. Anthony asked Carrie to talk to Congress regarding the suffrage amendment, which then led to her becoming the next president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1900. In her presidency role, she spent most of her time planning campaigns, writing speeches and obtaining more political experience. These efforts in this role enabled her to help found the International Woman Suffrage Alliance to help spread awareness of the issue to a much broader scale. 

In 1904, she took time away and retired for a brief period of time to care for her ill husband. Sadly, he later passed away. His passing, in addition to her brother, mother and Susan B. Anthony, left her needing a break, emotionally and physically. She decided to travel abroad, where she promoted equal suffrage rights, globally. This helped her greatly in developing the positive mindset that got her to where she was to begin with. While traveling during that time period, she helped organize the Women’s Peace Party and shortly after, resumed her role as president of the NAWSA in 1915. This was the next step in her life that helped her prove she was ready to pick up where she left off.

Photo from catt.org.
Around this same time, the 19th amendment, also known as the suffrage amendment, had become a part of the U.S. Constitution. Carrie played a role in developing what was referred to as the “Winning Plan,” which would help ensure that this amendment’s place in the constitution. That plan became reality on August 26, 1920. After this huge milestone for equality amongst women, she resigned from her presidency role. Her success as a suffragist and adored reputation would leave a legacy that would last for generations. Carrie continued to advocate for equal suffrage even after stepping down as president. She founded the League of Women Voters to continue to educate women on many issues, mainly focusing on politics. She remained president of the organization until her passing. She continues to be remembered and honored by many for her passion for equal suffrage and endless efforts and successes in public service. Well before her passing, she was awarded Chi Omega’s National Achievement Award and was the first fraternity woman to do so. This award is given to a woman of great accomplishments. Even decades after her years as a collegian in her sorority, her sisters continued to acknowledge the impact she had. Not only did she inspire the future generations of Pi Beta Phi members, but she paved the way for women and gave them the voice she felt they deserved. 

A Biography: Catt.org
Carrie Chapman Catt: womenshistory.org
On Election Day, Let us Honor Carrie Chapman Catt, a Proud Fraternity Woman!: franbecque.com

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

From the NPC Chairman: Marking the Women’s Suffrage Centennial

Dear friends,

One hundred years ago, on June 4, 1919, the United States Senate voted in favor of the 19th Amendment, following the House of Representative’s passage of it two weeks earlier. This move by Congress laid the foundation for states to begin voting to ratify the amendment, and soon after, several states followed with their support.

However, it wasn’t until 14 months later in August 1920 that the required number of states – three-fourths of them, or 36 states at that time – passed the amendment and it was ratified into the U.S. Constitution.

As part of NPC’s advocacy building blocks for citizenship and service, we will be asking member organizations, College Panhellenics and Alumnae Panhellenics to help NPC mark the Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Now, we realize that the 19th Amendment didn’t automatically create equality for all women and that for these last 100 years many women have continued to challenge privilege granted to others based on ethnicity, race, identity and sexuality. But, as a women’s-only organization, NPC wants to acknowledge that the 19th Amendment was a major first step for all of our members. 

Proudly, many of our members were involved in the efforts that led to the passage of this piece of landmark legislation and so much more to advance a variety of women’s rights. Look for NPC social media posts throughout the year highlighting sorority women suffragists and other key events. In the meantime, keep these dates in mind:

March: Women’s History Month
April 1: FGRC Annual Capitol Hill Visits
Aug. 26: Centennial Anniversary of the 19th Amendment ratification
Sept. 22: National Voter Registration Day
Nov. 3: Election Day

Attendees at the 2020 College Panhellenic Academy had the privilege of kicking off NPC’s year-long efforts during a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration on Jan. 25. Here are a few ideas for you to continue the celebration by engaging in activities that promote citizenship, women’s empowerment and our right to vote: 

  • Host events on campus celebrating Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day (March 8), 50/50 Day (March 31) and more.
  • Share Women’s Vote buttons, which can be purchased from the NPC Store.
  • Promote NPC and TheSororityLife.com social media messages.
  • Celebrate on Aug. 26 when government and recognizable buildings across the United States will glow through the night with purple and gold lights, the traditional colors of the suffrage movement commemorating the actual ratification of the 19th amendment. We encourage you to work with your campuses to light up buildings, such as student unions or your own chapter houses, to commemorate the special day. 

NPC is also working with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, whose mission is to commemorate and coordinate the nation’s 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and to educate the American people about the efforts and undertakings of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States in a bipartisan fashion. A toolkit developed by NPC’s marketing department will soon be shared enabling us all to participate in this landmark celebration.


Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

From the NPC Chairman: The Role, Scope and Authority of the College Panhellenic

Dear friends,
college panhellenic logo
As the new year begins, new College Panhellenic officers are assuming the duties and responsibilities of leading their Panhellenic associations. “Panhellenic” is sometimes mistakenly thought to be the officers of the organization or even the administrators who work with fraternity/sorority life. However, a College Panhellenic Association is a democratic entity composed of all members of the NPC sororities on a campus. The College Panhellenic Council is the associations’ governing body and is composed of one delegate and one alternate from each regular, provisional and associate member chapter at the institution. 

Important to note, the member chapters give the Panhellenic its authority. The officers and advisors guide; they do not decide. Thus, in order to represent chapters of the Council effectively, the delegates and alternate delegates must be informed and knowledgeable about proper Panhellenic procedures and willing to act on chapter opinion rather than individual conviction.

NPC recommends a delegate and officer orientation or retreat be held to provide general education and one-on-one training. During this time, individual officers should explain their responsibilities and share procedural notebooks, reference material, evaluations and suggestions. Delegates should share the information-gathering and presentation techniques they use when reporting to their chapters.

Further, it is important to note the role, scope and authority of the College Panhellenic. Its purpose as follows:
  • Conduct the business of the College Panhellenic only during the campus academic year.
  • Promote the growth of individual chapters and the sorority community.
  • Organize and sponsor a women’s-only membership recruitment program.
  • Encourage the highest possible academic, social and moral standards.
  • Coordinate activities, establish orderly procedures and provide for programming in addition to recruitment.
  • Adjudicate all matters related to NPC Unanimous Agreements, College Panhellenic bylaws and/or other governing documents, College Panhellenic membership recruitment rules, College Panhellenic code of ethics and College Panhellenic standing rules.
  • Actively support the mission of its host institution.
  • Promote good public relations.
  • Give service to community and campus.
  • Sponsor Junior Panhellenic, if appropriate, for specialized programming efforts.
  • Promote friendship, harmony and unity among members, chapters, faculty, administrators and campus groups.
  • With that purpose in mind, it is not within the authority of the College Panhellenic to release statements to the media or call meetings of chapter presidents for the purpose of taking action on Panhellenic business or casting votes. All decisions and votes of the College Panhellenic are decided by the governing body, i.e. the Panhellenic delegates.

A reminder each College Panhellenic is assigned an NPC area advisor who is knowledgeable about NPC policies and procedures. She is an important resource and can provide assistance and advice based on practical experiences. Panhellenic support specialists, who are full-time NPC staff members, are also available to provide support to College Panhellenics, campus-based professionals and volunteers in answering questions and providing resources.

I wish you well in your Panhellenic endeavors this year and hope you find a renewed sense of clarity and purpose as we work to advance the sorority experience together.


Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman 2019-21