Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Leadership: Taking Care of Others – And Yourself

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Lorin Phillips

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

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


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

Interfraternally,






Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman 2017-19

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Interfraternally,







Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman 2017-19

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Message From the Chairman: New Organizational Structure Announced for NPC

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

The new governance structure will include:

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

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

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

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

You can read the news release here.

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

Interfraternally,







Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman 2017-19

About 'Stand Up to Harvard'

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Our work began with five strategic priorities:

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

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

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

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

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

Interfraternally,





Carole J. Jones
2017-19 NPC chairman



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

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From the NPC Chairman: Sorority women use their voice and their vote

Ratified on Aug. 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote – a right known as woman’s suffrage. However, before the ratification, women, who became members of our 26 member organizations, found courage to establish women’s-only organizations where they had voice and vote in a safe forum.

Many of the early leaders in our organizations were also active in the women’s suffrage movement, advocating for us, the future generation, when they petitioned for voting rights and the right to run for office. I’m confident they would be proud of the sorority women who work in public service or hold office across all forms of government today.


Generally speaking most of us take our voting rights seriously and cast our ballot on election day. It’s part of our duty as community citizens and every vote really does count. But, if you don’t, this is a reminder that the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) supports and encourages not only our members but all women to pursue economic, social and political equity, along with leadership and civic engagement.

Women have the power in 2018. Through our votes, we can help put more qualified women candidates into office since more women than ever before are running at state and local levels.

I encourage you to become an educated voter, exercise your power and encourage other women to register to vote if they have not done so.

Register to Vote (Voter Voice)

Let’s do our part and honor those women who came before us who fought for the rights and privileges of which we enjoy today. Spread the word and use your vote.

Voter Resources on USA.gov

Interfraternally,







Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman 2017-19




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.