Tuesday, January 11, 2022

From the NPC Chairman: 4 Considerations for Approaching Goals for the Year

Dear friends,

I can hardly believe that it is 2022! Another new year and a perfect time to reflect on past activities and determine new initiatives for the future. During reflection, one might evaluate what they wanted to get done but did not, or things still on their bucket list to carry over for the following year. A new year signifies a start over or a reset. As we settle into 2022, here are the things that I consider when approaching new initiatives or goals for the year. You can consider it advice or just some words of wisdom from someone who has a few years of experience!

  • What do I do well? Perhaps rather than thinking about what you don't do well and try to improve, think about what you do well and build on that. Then, expand your impact on others around you in the areas you excel. Finally, make a conscious effort to use your skills and talents to help others and improve your communities.
  • Many new year's goals are about getting rid of things such as certain foods or other vices. But, for me, it is about what to add to my life that makes me feel better. For example, walking at least five days a week just makes me feel better, so rather than cutting out certain things, how about adding something that positively impacts the quality of your life?
  • If you are making an assortment of new year's resolutions, make one of them about reaching out to former classmates, sorority sisters, family members or others in your community. These past years with the pandemic have left many lonely, and reaching out and making connections may just impact someone else's life as much as it does yours.
  • For the past several years, we have had the pandemic affect us emotionally in so many ways, and unfortunately, with the new variant among us, we still find ourselves dealing with many of the same issues. Just when we thought we were out of the woods, we find ourselves facing continued cancellation of events and persistent remote school or work. When will the emotional roller coaster end? No one knows, but taking care of our mental health is critical. Making sure we take care of ourselves and recognize when help is needed is so important. The last few years have brought a lot of disappointments and frustrations, but a positive attitude and addressing one's mental health is a step in the right direction in managing the challenges we face in life.

As we leave 2021 in the past and make way for another new year, I wish you all a happy new year, and may it be filled with adventure and good fortune.


Cheri M. De Jong
2021-23 NPC Chairman

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

From the NPC Chairman: Raising our Collective Voices to Promote the Sorority Experience

Dear friends,

As we begin to get ready for another new year, it is a time for reflection as we have just endured almost two years of the pandemic, anti-sorority activism and various other challenges in our community. While these challenges have consumed much of our thoughts and time these past years, we should also note that the vast majority of our members have voiced their appreciation and value for their fraternal memberships. We recognize that their sorority or fraternity membership has made a positive difference in their life.

In the 2021 Gallup survey conducted earlier this year, you will note that fraternity and sorority membership strongly correlates with positive undergraduate experiences, career skills development and post-graduate well-being for our members compared to nonmembers. Additionally, 84% of affiliated members report that they would still join their fraternity or sorority if they had to do it all over again.

The Gallup survey found that affiliated alumni…

  • Had great college experiences.
  • Felt more prepared for life after college.
  • Are more likely to be thriving in their well-being.
  • Remain more connected to their institutions and continued affiliation.

Gallup's survey shows that our alumnae vs. non-affiliated alumnae are more likely to have great undergraduate experiences, have great jobs and live happy lives after graduation. The report was shared with you all earlier this year, and you can find it on the NPC website here. The important matter is that we should all be sharing and promoting this information in our communications to our alumnae, potential new members and their parents, college/university professionals, government officials and the wider public. We need to "toot our horn" and let others know the positive aspects of sorority life. I don't know about you, but I tire of hearing negative comments from those who have often formed their opinions from inaccurate, or incomplete, depictions of sorority life in the media. It is time for our community to come together and raise our voices to promote the fraternal experience. 

To me, the most significant benefit of the fraternal experience that this survey shows is our alumnae thriving in many areas of their lives, whether it be their employment, adaptation to changes, pandemic challenges or social and physical well-being. Our community has faced challenges over the past few years, and our resilience has shown that our community strongly believes in and benefits from what we do and how we do it. Our members believe in our values and live them in their everyday lives. Just look at the leaders who have stepped up to lead their chapters, our members that have comforted others with mental health issues and the money raised for those in need. 

I feel proud to be a part of this amazing community. I'm proud and willing to share the story of our remarkable sorority women and what they are accomplishing. I encourage you to reflect on how much you have benefited from your sorority experience and share the pride you feel with others, too.


Cheri M. De Jong
2021-23 NPC Chairman

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

From the NPC Chairman: The Panhellenic Community's Commitment to Preventing Sexual Violence

Dear friends,

The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is composed of 26 member organizations with collegiate and alumnae members throughout the world. Our collective impact in our communities is expansive and noteworthy. As the mother and aunt to five NPC women, I feel incredibly blessed that they have the opportunity to be sorority women and know that their experiences have helped make them the women they are today. Sorority women are truly making a difference in the world.

As members of values-based organizations, sorority women live their member organization's purpose and vision through millions of dollars in philanthropic support to dozens of worthy causes and countless hours of community service. From supporting victims of sexual assault to leading bystander intervention programs, sorority women are at the forefront of solving some of the most pressing challenges facing collegiate women today. 

If you’ve been reading or watching the news lately, you’ve likely seen coverage regarding increased reports of sexual violence on college campuses and the student-led protests that have followed. These recent reports are alarming and serve to underscore why awareness and education about sexual violence prevention are critically important.

For many years, NPC has been committed to supporting College Panhellenic women in cultivating safe environments and helping them lead the way on campus to prevent sexual violence. For example, "NPC’s Real Talk Time: College Panhellenic Sexual Violence Assessment Initiative" seeks to provide a model for College Panhellenic communities to start conversations on campus, explore potential campus partnerships and increase awareness and action to combat sexual violence. With this approach, each College Panhellenic community can assess its environment and the level of knowledge in the community and then, in turn, tailor solutions and actions to meet the community’s needs. The College Panhellenic women who are committing the time and resources to successfully implement this initiative are making a difference on their campus and in the lives of other women.  

In addition, our member organizations have done an outstanding job of preparing and providing resources. Each of our organizations’ investments toward sexual assault awareness and prevention education is genuinely amazing, indicating how important the issue is for all of us. The number of resources used to combat sexual assault is impressive, and together NPC, member organizations and universities will educate and work to eliminate sexual violence on our college campuses.

One sexual assault is one too many, but NPC and our member organizations are committed to making a difference for young collegiate women. We want women on college campuses today to be well informed about this issue and spread the word to help others in their communities.


Cheri M. De Jong
2021-23 NPC Chairman

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

From the NPC Chairman: Listening and learning in order to lead the way

Dear friends,

The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) mission states we are the premier advocacy and support organization for the advancement of the sorority experience. But, what does advocacy really mean? Simply speaking, our mission is to promote the interests of our 26 member organizations. 

Guided by our Advocacy Building Blocks, NPC accomplishes our advocacy in many ways. Our advocacy includes engaging with policymakers as part of our government relations work to manage our campus concerns review process with college/university administrators and fraternity/sorority life personnel. It also includes our work to promote NPC and our member organizations with other stakeholder groups, such as the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA), NASPA, the American Council on Education (ACE), the Anti-Hazing Coalition or the Coalition of Higher Education Associations for Substance Abuse Prevention (CoHEASAP). Finally, NPC's advocacy also encompasses our actions to promote the sorority experience by creating awareness with potential members and their caregivers through TheSororityLife.com, our social media channels and our NPC-led national marketing campaigns. 

While NPC is helping promote the women's-only social sorority experience through our advocacy, each member organization is engaged in various other specific issues within their organizations. The 2021-23 NPC Board of Directors has taken the last month to engage in a listening tour of our member organizations. Each director has connected with member organization leadership and been involved in discussions that include:

  • Confirming the strategic priorities of member organizations.
  • Reviewing NPC's strategic priorities and their alignment with member organizations.
  • ​​​​Discussing how to achieve those priorities together.
  • Leveraging our collective strength.
  • Identifying the most pressing issues about the sorority experience.

It has been a fascinating and informative exercise for the board. Listening to our member organizations has helped us recognize new challenges, verify alignment in areas and identify additional opportunities for NPC to continue its advocacy and support for all sorority members.

As the board gets ready for its upcoming fall meeting later this month, we must know what our member organizations have acknowledged as the most critical issues affecting them and how NPC can support them. I am pleased to report that leaders of our member organizations have been delighted we have asked questions, listened intently and are committed to action. Their input is crucial as the board reviews NPC's strategic priorities to ensure we are aligned in addressing the most pressing concerns that sorority women face today. A clear vision for the future, created with input from all internal and external stakeholders, led by the board, is imperative and is a board priority.

It goes without saying the past year and a half have been challenging for everyone. But, who would have ever imagined virtual recruitment on the scale we had last fall? It just goes to show that when sorority women put their mind to something – it happens! Challenges have led to significant action and change for our organizations. This listening tour has enabled NPC to find joint alignment, areas for continued change and additional and refined action items. This board is ready to take the next step to further amplify our advocacy and support for our member organizations and showcase the incredible impact of sorority women and our organizations worldwide.


Cheri M. De Jong
2021-23 NPC chairman

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

From the NPC Chairman: NPC Remains Focused on Ending Hazing

Dear friends,

I remember the days vividly years ago that I dropped off my daughters at their respective universities as they started their new college lives. First, the excitement for them to embrace their education, make new friends and start their adult lives. Then, my nervousness as I hoped they would be safe, make good decisions and surround themselves with people who bring out the best in them.

As a parent, the health and safety of my children is of utmost importance. As chairman of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), I feel the same way about our sorority women on campuses across the United States and Canada. I reflect on this as the Anti-Hazing Coalition (AHC) continues its mission to bring awareness of hazing on college campuses and its goal to eradicate all forms of hazing. I salute the brave AHC parents who lost their children in such heartbreaking circumstances and are determined to help solve this problem so no other family has to endure this kind of tragedy.  

NPC continues to partner with the other members of the AHC to pass federal legislation addressing hazing through the REACH Act and the End All Hazing Act. These two pieces of legislation were re-introduced in Congress earlier this year, and we eagerly await the opportunity for them to become law.  

In the meantime, state legislation continues to be passed and is making effective change. Ohio and New Jersey join a handful of other states that have made this a priority. Recently, Ohio enacted “Collin’s Law – the Ohio Anti-Hazing Act,” and New Jersey enacted “Timothy J. Piazza’s Law.” Through the efforts of the AHC and its tireless dedication to this significant cause, these states now have laws in place to help eliminate hazing.  

As NPC continues our work as part of the AHC, we recognize that National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW) is Sept. 20-24. This week is an opportunity for campuses, schools, communities, individuals and organizations to come together to talk about hazing, raise awareness about the problem of hazing, educate others about hazing and promote the prevention of hazing.  I invite everyone to participate in this important event and determine how you, your College Panhellenic and your member organization can be a change agent on your campus.

As students arrive on campuses this fall, let’s all be mindful of the need to be safe, surround ourselves with people who promote positive influences in our lives and work together bring an end to hazing once and for all.   


Cheri M. De Jong
NPC chairman

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

From the NPC Chairman: Our Shared Responsibility for the Well-Being of the Sorority Community

Dear friends,

As the Labor Day holiday weekend draws near, summer is coming to a close and autumn is almost here. With the fall 2021 semester upon us, many expect to be back to ​​​​​​in-person learning on our college/university campuses and ready to start the new academic year. I think we all get excited just thinking about seeing our sisters, friends, professors and administrators and can’t wait for our first football game of the fall! Unfortunately, while many of us want everything to be back to normal, COVID-19 continues to be a threat to our members, families and friends. As conditions looked pretty good several months ago, state and local governments began opening up, businesses opened their doors and many of us considered the pandemic close to an end. However, the Delta variant has proven to be our newest problem – just when we head back to school. 

The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is committed to the health and well-being of our members as they return to campus. Our commitment is to assist our College Panhellenic women in making sure we lead the way in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and set the example of positive, healthy behavior. 

We realize this is also the time when many of our chapters will be engaging in primary recruitment. But, again, NPC’s goal is to assist our Panhellenic leaders in engaging in responsible behavior and making safe choices for the sorority community. Please see our previous communications regarding recruitment contingency planning and the potential flexibility that may be needed. View the communications: Fall 2021 Recruitment Contingency Planning Recommendations (Feb. 25) | IMPORTANT: Prioritizing Health & Safety in Recruitment (July 30).

We also continue to recommend that our members follow campus, state and local guidelines as well as the most current CDC guidelines on how to keep yourself and others safe from the virus, including getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting and taking other health precautions. 

As our community begins the semester in a safe and protected way through this ongoing pandemic, we can also share with new members, parents and administrators the positive and valuable experience of sorority membership. Recent research from a nationwide survey conducted in collaboration with Gallup on life outcomes of fraternity and sorority membership shows a correlation with strong undergraduate experiences, career skills development and post-graduate well-being for our members as compared to nonmembers. So, as recruitment begins, it is exciting to see the positive influences of fraternity and sorority membership and the opportunity to share these outcomes with potential new members and our communities. View the report: Fraternities & Sororities: Experiences and Outcomes in College, Work and Life.

As Panhellenic women, we share responsibility for the well-being of our sorority community. I wish everyone a happy and healthy start to the 2021-22 academic year.


Cheri M. De Jong
NPC chairman

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

From the NPC Chairman: 2021-23 NPC Board of Directors Is Ready to Lead the Conference

Dear friends,

Change. In life, there is always change, even for the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). Two years ago, NPC transitioned to a new organizational model. I have been honored to serve on that first governance-oriented Board of Directors as part of the new model and have been able to work with wonderful, loyal and dedicated women. A few weeks ago, the new 2021-23 board officially took their positions while four remarkable women retired from board service. 

As part of this message, I want to recognize the outgoing board members for their service and long-time commitment to NPC.

  • Carole Jones, Alpha Omicron Pi – 22 years.
  • Mary Baker, Alpha Chi Omega – 4 years.
  • Rie Hoehner, Alpha Gamma Delta – 26 years.
  • Malaea Seleski, Zeta Tau Alpha – 21 years.

The combined years of service to NPC is close to 75 years! These amazing women have served the Panhellenic community with dedication and devotion. They deserve our thanks and sincere appreciation for being a part of history on this inaugural board and all they have done to advance the sorority experience. In addition, I want to personally thank them for their friendship and their commitment to the Conference and all Panhellenic women.

I will especially remember a few personal memories about these ladies: For Carole, her steadfast leadership and unwavering commitment to representing NPC to so many in our fraternal world. Malaea, with her long-time service to NPC, as well as her charm and personality, is truly uplifting and magical to be around. Rie and her long-time commitment to NPC and her passionate support of Aggie Baseball! And Mary, our California gal, who is committed to advancing higher education for students in various ways, professionally and in her NPC service.

To each of these women, I want to say THANK YOU! While that does not even come close to being enough for all the time, talent and treasure you have given to NPC over the years, please know that your service is appreciated and has made a difference in the lives of so many Panhellenic women.

As one board transitions to another board, we now have four new women starting their service on the 2021-23 NPC Board of Directors. So please allow me to welcome our four newest directors:

  • Jennifer Daurora, Alpha Chi Omega.
  • Helen Lahrman, Pi Beta Phi.
  • Patty Purish O’Neill, Alpha Delta Pi.
  • Leslie Williams, Delta Zeta.

And those continuing to serve on the board:

  • Laura Doerre, Kappa Alpha Theta.
  • Laura Sweet, Sigma Sigma Sigma.

I am very excited about the new biennium and for this team of outstanding Panhellenic women to come together and strategically lead NPC into the future. There are many initiatives we are continuing and others we will be initiating. But, most importantly, our access and equity initiatives, recruitment reform, risk management and maintaining our single-sex status are issues at the forefront as we begin our leadership.

The board has met and already approved the following board assignments:

  • Board Governance & Education Committee – Patty O’Neill (chairman), Jennifer Daurora and Laura Doerre.
  • Finance Committee – Leslie Williams (treasurer and chairman), Helen Lahrman and Laura Sweet.

The 2021-23 NPC Board of Directors is ready for the challenge to lead the Conference. These are unprecedented times with many issues before us. Still, the most critical challenge for us is to grow our membership while promoting the sorority experience.

I am honored and humbled to serve as chairman of the National Panhellenic Conference. I serve knowing many women of tremendous character have gone before me, and I pledge to listen, learn and lead with heart.


Cheri M. De Jong
NPC chairman