Tuesday, June 21, 2022

From the NPC Chairman: New Research Highlights Benefits of Sorority

Dear friends,

Summer is here! Congratulations on making it through another school year. I hope that you have had a successful year and are now enjoying your summer vacation. Reflecting on this past year, I thought about how much the sorority experience matters, including my lifelong membership journey that began more than 30 years ago. That experience has changed my life in so many ways, and my sorority and NPC service have brought me in contact with women I treasure and filled my life with joy. I also contemplate how my experiences made me into the businesswoman, mother and grandmother I am today.

Many of you have similar stories of how your sorority experience has significantly impacted your life. Whether your experience was 30 or 40 years ago or as recently as last year, the effect has been powerful and one that I want to explore alongside some recent research findings.

NPC and member organization leaders and volunteers recently attended a Zoom presentation by Dr. J. Patrick Biddix regarding his latest Panhellenic sorority research on belonging and well-being. I noted a few key takeaways from the research that I believe support how impactful the sorority experience is for young women today.

  • Sorority women generally feel a stronger sense of belonging and satisfaction at school v. non-sorority women.
  • A vast majority, 75-80% of sorority women, agree that their organizations support and respect individuals and unique differences among their members and welcome and appreciate culturally different views of their members.
  • A vast majority, 75-80% of sorority women, agree they feel comfortable having open discussions about race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, religion and mental health and well-being.
  • Our members show strong positive emotion, engagement, robust relationships, life meaning and accomplishment due to their sorority membership.

We all know that increased well-being leads to positive emotions and satisfaction with life, and that can increase member retention and overall student success. Positive general comments reflect that women value their experience and feel support and respect from their sisters. They also value their leadership skills and ability to grow and develop into influential leaders.

While the sorority experience is highly valued, there is room for improvement. Specifically, some women indicate struggles with diversity, equity and inclusion. This is an area that continues to evolve where we as NPC and our member organizations must continue education and awareness to promote a culture shift in our members, including collegiate members, alumnae and advisors. For our experience to remain valuable and relevant for years to come, all of us must work together to create a more welcoming and inclusive Panhellenic community.

Overall this research provides important insights as we strive to extend our message about the power of sorority and the positive impacts of membership. So, as you relax on these long summer days, reflect on your experience as a sorority woman and what you value the most. Is it the lifelong leadership skills you acquired or the invaluable friendships you still have from those good old college days? Whatever it may be, hold on to those thoughts and share them with others to promote an unforgettable and valuable experience so that others may flourish as a result of the sorority experience.


Cheri M. De Jong
2021-23 NPC chairman

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

From the NPC Chairman: Reflecting on the end of the academic year

Dear friends,

As the school year winds down and many of our students prepare for graduation, it is a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to what is next. As a matter of fact, I plan to attend my niece's graduation at Colorado State University—she just happens to be a sorority woman too! 

As we look back on this past year, we began with a great deal of promise that the pandemic was waning and things were getting back to normal, yet the pandemic did continue, perhaps to a different degree depending on where you lived. For many, it was finally time to be gathering together in person and cultivating more friendships within their chapters and sorority communities. The year has been one that has many of us seeing challenging times in our community growth, housing concerns and issues, and the mental health of our students. Yet, I see a resilient base of sorority women who have stepped up in their philanthropic and service efforts to help others and demonstrated excellent care in taking care of each other. 

Personally, as I reflect, I am proud and humbled to be a member of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) Board of Directors and serve as its chair. I see the thousands of sorority women graduating this month from around the country looking forward to their post-college life, and I know that through their sorority experience, they are ready to head out into the world and make a difference.

The NPC board is also looking forward to making a difference. Our College Panhellenic communities need focused marketing efforts to help them experience growth in recruitment and thrive. A major action the board has taken is to approve a concentrated marketing plan throughout this summer aimed at helping many of our campuses that recently have seen noticeable declines in sorority membership to grow.

Our sorority experience is incredibly valuable for so many women that all of us must promote and advance our Panhellenic communities so more women want to join our organizations. We want potential new members to know that the sorority experience can help them establish leadership skills, build their confidence, create lifelong friendships, and establish the importance of service to others.

As each of you reflects on the end of the school year, remember how much the Panhellenic experience has meant to you and determine ways that you can promote and advocate to others the power of sorority.


Cheri M. De Jong
2021-23 NPC Chairman

Thursday, April 14, 2022

From the NPC Chairman: The State of the Conference | April 2022

Dear friends,

The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) recently held its Annual Conference, March 31 – April 1, in Louisville, Kentucky. This was the first large in-person gathering of Conference and member organization leaders, volunteers and staff since October 2019, prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this Annual Conference, NPC CEO Dani Weatherford, J.D., and I shared a State of the Conference report on behalf of the NPC Board of Directors. That report recapped the work of the NPC board and workforce (volunteers and staff) and offered insight into our current efforts and future focus. I'm pleased to share with you edited excerpts of the report below.


Cheri M. De Jong
2021-23 NPC Chairman

The State of the Conference | April 2022

Speaker: Cheri M. De Jong, NPC chairman 

It is a privilege and honor today to be a part of providing the state of the National Panhellenic Conference. NPC has had many achievements over the past year, yet there continue to be a variety of challenges that all of us are facing together. 

Today I will discuss the work of the board this past year, various initiatives that the board has directed and how that is defining our focus in the coming years.

These incredible women that make up the NPC Board of Directors bring forth broad professional expertise, countless leadership experiences within the fraternal community, assorted professional skills, different perspectives and knowledge within NPC, and unique thoughts and ideas on improving and enriching NPC and how we advocate for the sorority experience. 

As this board began their work of the Conference nine months ago, we determined that with a change of leadership, a still-new governance structure and the many challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brought, it would be essential to engage in a listening tour of our constituents. This listening tour had each of our board members reach out to member organization leadership teams that consisted of delegates, inter/national presidents and executive directors to discuss their strategic interests and priorities, challenges and feedback on NPC activities. These meetings with member organizations provided clear and direct feedback for the board on the Conference's priorities.

The loud messages were compiled, and the board reviewed the information, keying in on areas that member organizations believed NPC could make a difference and how those issues align with our strategic focus areas. It was determined NPC should remain committed to two main areas:

  • Cultivate Strategic Growth of Panhellenic Communities.
  • Champion the Sorority Experience.

The key focus for this board is the growth and promotion of the sorority experience through marketing and public relations efforts. Growth is of utmost importance for our member organizations. Additionally, marketing about the sorority experience is also a top priority to create awareness of sorority life that can benefit all of our recruitment efforts.

Our organizations also have many challenges and opportunities:

Housing. If there is one thing that so many member organization leaders have voiced during the past several years, it is housing and the inability to fill some of your houses due to lower membership numbers. As a former national president, I understand and sympathize with each and every one of you. These financial burdens weigh heavy on your organizations and potentially drain resources that could be deployed elsewhere. …

Declining college enrollment in some regions of the country is significantly impacting many of our collegiate chapters. The changing demographic is perhaps the bigger issue of students enrolling in college. …

 Alongside this is declining interest in our organizations and questions about our relevancy to young women in today’s collegiate experience. The world is changing, and so are our potential new members. Our organizations are making changes too, whether it be to legacy or recommendation policies, acceptance of transgender members and creating more diverse and inclusive membership opportunities. Our communities are transforming, and this is a moment of adjustment for all of us. … 

Each of these challenges is being felt by all our member organizations, and we realize that these challenges create opportunities for NPC to help grow our Panhellenic communities, promote and advocate for our sorority experience and continue to be a convener for our member organizations to work together on campus-specific needs or engaging in issues that we all face. …

So where do we go from here?

The board has embarked on several initiatives as a result of the priorities previously discussed and is driving our future focus. (Those initiatives include:)

  • Opportunities to partner with researchers to support our marketing messages with strong relevancy data. …
  • The Growth and Marketing Pilot currently underway … to target campuses to increase recruitment of potential new members … 
  • A full audit of the NPC Manual of Information to streamline the information and strengthen accountability to Unanimous Agreements, policies and best practices. … 
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion and access with the board’s focus shifted to including and incorporating access and equity in our conversations, resources and communications for our College and Alumnae Panhellenics to use. … 

The NPC Board of Directors wants to see all of us working together toward the same goals: focused marketing and other initiatives to grow our Panhellenic communities and consideration of ideas to break down the barriers to membership in our organizations.

If we want to survive and be relevant in five, 10 or 20 years, we need to do this collaboratively. I hope you all feel that we are partners in this critical work. We want to dive into the issues and create the best possible solutions to ultimately provide an inclusive, values-oriented, affordable and relevant membership experience to as many collegiate women as possible. And together, we can make this happen. …

Speaker: Dani Weatherford, NPC CEO

 This was a year when we were able to return our focus to the Strategic Plan after pausing almost all of that work from spring 2020 to spring 2021 to respond to the COVID pandemic and anti-sorority activism. As a reminder, the plan prioritizes three major areas:

Priority number one is to Cultivate Strategic Growth of Panhellenic Communities. I think of this bucket of work as direct and tactical support of our College and Alumnae Panhellenic communities. Providing them with the tools and resources needed to function appropriately and focus their efforts on bringing more women of various backgrounds into the community. (Work in this priority includes but it not limited to:)

  • Our flagship opportunity to train College Panhellenic officers is the College Panhellenic Academy. … 
  • New recruitment resources and education for College and Alumnae Panhellenics.  … 
  • Providing resources related to creating a more inclusive recruitment process. … 
  • A new partnership with Phired Up to provide a three-part marketing training series to current and incoming Panhellenic marketing and recruitment officers. …
  • Nearly a full year of work dedicated to recruitment reform. …
  • Our Growth and Marketing Pilot to provide targeted coaching to Panhellenic communities in the most need. … 
  • Several other projects and work groups supporting our College Panhellenic communities. …

Priority number two is Champion the Sorority Experience. I think of this priority as our advocacy work mostly done at the national level—promoting our brand and protecting the experience—but we also do this at the local level. (Work in this priority includes but it not limited to:)

  • The work of the NPC staff in managing campus concerns. …
  • The promotion of the sorority brand through awareness campaigns, including direct advertising, national marketing partnerships and pipeline program partnerships. …
  • Advancing our legislative agenda through policy advocacy work, engaging on such topics as freedom of association, anti-hazing initiatives and tax parity. …
  • Research partnerships, including our renewed collaboration with Gallup and a partnership with Dr. Patrick Biddix. These efforts are focused on the impact of sorority membership. … 

Priority number three is Leverage the Collective Strength of our Member Organizations, along with our industry partners, to continue advancing the sorority experience. (Work in this priority includes but it not limited to:)

  • NPC volunteer recruitment, development and accountability, including for the volunteers supporting 583 College Panhellenics and 171 Alumnae Panhellenics. …
  • Growing the NPC Partner Program. …
  • Convening (virtual) NPC Family Gatherings to share data and information with internal stakeholders. …

Thank you for what you do to advance the sorority experience and to create a community that is kind and welcoming to all women who want to be a part of this extraordinary sisterhood.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

From the NPC Chairman: Continuing to Create a More Accessible and Equitable Panhellenic Sorority Experience

Dear friends,

Diversity, equity, inclusion and access are all words that we have heard a great deal more of collectively or in some combination over the last several years from our member organizations. As a result of the tumultuous times during 2020, many of us have had an opportunity to reflect on our thoughts and actions as we consider the access and equity of those around us and how we incorporate diversity and inclusion in our organizations to better serve our chapters, campuses and communities.  

In fall 2020, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) hosted an Access & Equity Listening Tour with various constituencies throughout the fraternal community. The NPC Board of Directors also initiated an Access & Equity Advisory Committee where one of the charges was to identify barriers to membership on our campuses. Through participation in these sessions and with recommendations from our advisory committee, one of the overarching themes was need to revise and redesign the processes, practices and policies of Panhellenic recruitment. It became evident that our recruitment processes and their costs created barriers to membership. Therefore, all of us must acknowledge the necessity and urgency of creating an accessible and equitable Panhellenic experience.

NPC has further taken the initiative to form five recruitment reform project workgroups. These recruitment reform projects were initiated early last year and have just recently completed their work. Eliminating and reducing barriers and opening the access to all women on our college campuses has been a focus of these reform projects. Removing these barriers that impede progress as a conference is a priority if we are to remain relevant and in alignment with our highest and best values. You can read a summary of the work of the recruitment reform project workgroups here.

Reforming recruitment practices may be difficult for many to do, but it is truly imperative. The traditions, customs and practices that many of us have participated in for many years no longer provide a platform that serves our changing membership, values and relevance to collegiate women. The fully structured formal recruitment process, costs of recruitment and sorority membership, alternative approaches to recruitment and promoting the sorority experience are all areas the reform projects have reviewed and made recommendations. The board appreciates the work of these project teams to study the issues and help us begin to take real action toward recruitment reform, and as their recommendations are implemented, we will share updates with all of you.

However, there is more we all can do right now. We must not stop here but continue to educate, listen and act to provide access and equity in our entire NPC community. Our collegiate members seek to hold NPC and inter/national leadership responsible for changing current policies and practices in response to the demographic and attitudinal shift in the collegiate environment, and we are doing so both at NPC and in our member organizations. 

Specifically, over the last several years, NPC has prioritized the development of resources and educational sessions to develop a culture of care within our Panhellenics, and we’ve seen the addition of specific Panhellenic officers on many campuses focused on creating more inclusive communities. At the same time, many of our member organizations have taken this call to action to make changes within their own organization and integrate many initiatives that promote inclusiveness within our collegiate chapters on college campuses. Changing or eliminating legacy policies and recommendation letters, the establishment of chapter belonging/inclusion officers and transgender inclusion are just a few areas that our member organizations have examined and made significant internal changes. 

Ultimately, the goal of all our member organizations is to provide an inclusive, values-oriented, affordable and relevant membership experience. Together we can make this happen. As I reflect on what I’ve learned about those four words—diversity, equity, access and inclusion—during the past several years, it demands that we collectively promote and provide action to break down the barriers and provide access and equity, thus providing a richer, more diverse experience for our entire NPC community. 


Cheri M. De Jong
2021-23 NPC Chairman

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

NPC Volunteers Make a Lasting Impact on Panhellenic Communities

Dear friends,

February is a time for Valentine's Day, chocolates and flowers, and for the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), it is a time for us to say thank you to our many volunteers. NPC enjoys a rich history of outstanding, dedicated volunteers who support NPC’s operations and all Panhellenic women. 

A Special Message to All Our NPC Volunteers:

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our Panhellenic women and for the future of the sorority experience. Your dedication of time, energy, skills and knowledge will continue to positively impact our mission and achieve our strategic goals. Your caring heart, compassion, support and expertise have been transformational over your many years of service, but more poignantly these past several years during the pandemic.

Whether individuals are serving on standing or special committees or other specialized work groups, our various committee members' service is extremely appreciated. 

A shout out to our vast volunteer network!

Our Standing Committees include:

•    Alumnae Panhellenics Committee

•    College Panhellenics Committee, which includes area advisors 

•    Panhellenic Extension Committee

•    Panhellenic Judicial Appeals Committee

•    New College Panhellenics Committee

•    Panhellenic Recruitment Committee 

•    Panhellenic Release Figure Methodology (RFM) Committee, which includes RFM specialists

Our current Special Committees consist of:

•    Bylaws Review Committee

•    Community College Work Group

•    Content Creators

•    Fraternity/Sorority Advisory Committee

•    Government Relations Advisory Committee

•    Growth/Marketing Pilot Project

•    Marketing Advisory Committee

•    Reorganization Support Teams

•    Research Review Committee

•    Risk Management Pilot Project Work Group

•    Student Advisory Committee

Special pandemic-related Task Forces & other Special Committees who have concluded their work over the past few years:

•    Access & Equity Advisory Committee

•    Audit Committee

•    College Panhellenic Classification Project Work Group

•    Disruption to Panhellenic Operations Task Force

•    Education and Transparency Task Force

•    Measurable Outcomes Committee

•    Nominating Committee

•    PR & Marketing Review Group

•    Recruitment Contingencies Task Force

•    Recruitment Reform Task Force (Fully Structured Recruitment)

•    Recruitment Response Teams (RRTs)

Furthermore, we have our Advisory Committee, composed of the past chairmen of NPC. 

Lastly, I want to recognize the NPC Foundation Board of Trustees who lead that organization in its mission to visibly and collaboratively support NPC priorities and initiatives.

Looking Forward to New Volunteer Opportunities: 

As we thank our volunteers for their past and current service, we are also looking forward as we have recently announced the application process and timeline for Standing Committee members to serve for the next term of 2022-2024. You can learn more about each committee, the benefits of volunteering for NPC and how to apply by reading this blog post. We appreciate those considering continuing their NPC service and welcome new individuals ready to serve NPC.

As I close this special "thank you" to our volunteers, I want to say this: Your leadership, guidance, and direction have made others better as a result of the time and talents you have so generously given to NPC. Your extraordinary commitment to service is making a lasting and exceptional impact for the future of the Panhellenic community!


Cheri M. De Jong
2021-23 NPC Chairman

Friday, January 21, 2022

NPC Recruiting for Standing Committee Volunteers for the 2022-24 Term

Every two years, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) asks individuals to apply to serve on NPC Standing Committees. The work of the individuals who serve on these committees is vitally important to helping accomplish the work of the Conference and ensuring NPC and its member organizations are advancing the sorority experience together.

NPC is currently accepting applications from individuals who wish to serve as an NPC Standing Committee volunteer during the 2022-24 term. 

If you think you may be interested in serving, we encourage you to read about the NPC Standing Committees prior to applying. You may also watch the recording of the NPC Standing Committee Volunteer Interest Session (~45 minutes), where you can hear from current committee chairmen about the important work they do on behalf of NPC. 

As an NPC volunteer, you'll be able to: 

  • Give back to NPC and the broader Panhellenic community.
  • Network with a variety of individuals from NPC leadership and staff to campus-based professionals to collegiate women.
  • Uphold and influence NPC processes and procedures. 
  • Improve your skills in an area of interest to you.
  • Have fun!

If you determine serving on one of these committees may be a fit for you, please complete the NPC Standing Committee Volunteer Interest Form and Application by Feb. 20, 2022

Applicants will be notified of whether they have been selected in late April.

If you have questions, please contact the NPC office by email or phone (317-872-3185).

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