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.

Panhellenically,







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.

Panhellenically,






Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman 2019-21

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

TheSororityLife.com: A Resource for Credible Information About the Sorority Experience

NPC has launched the newly refreshed TheSororityLife.com website and brand. With the refresh, TheSororityLife.com is the go-to resource for credible information about the sorority experience for potential members, their family and friends and even current members. We hope you will visit the site and share it with women you know who may be interested in learning more about the sorority experience.

About the Site

The new TheSororityLife.com creates a strong foundation for sharing information about the sorority experience and the site will continue to grow as content is developed. We will regularly feature sorority women, details on "how sororities work" and even articles addressing some of the most important topics for college-bound women today.

TheSororityLife.com allows potential members and their families to learn about the authentic sorority experience which, in turn, can increase the number of women signing up for recruitment and joining our organizations.

Designed with the intent of being mobile first, TheSororityLife.com strives to connect with potential new members where they spend the most time online – on their phone.

We also have updated TheSororityLife.com social media accounts. Please follow for even more content about the sorority experience:
 Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

From the NPC Chairman: Understanding and Anticipating the Future of Sorority

As the new year approaches and the calendar turns to 2020, I am taking this opportunity to write about important work that lies before all of us as we focus on the future of sorority. If our member organizations are to continue to exist, we must enhance our relevance and understand and anticipate what the future looks like for sorority membership.

The NPC Board of Directors and staff are researching and studying changing student demographics, enrollment fluctuation, greater financial need for students and new models for classroom-type learning, and it is clear we need a full understanding of who our potential members will be in order to create conditions for their success and engagement.

Points for all of us to consider include the following:

1. The overall number of high school graduates will plateau for most of the next decade – 3,561,051 (2020-21) to 3,298,597 (2030-31). Between now and 2023 undergraduate enrollment is expected to stagnate. The next high point of high school graduates is expected in 2026 with another drop off immediately following. As a result:

  • Elite colleges and universities (the top 50 in U.S. News & World Report rankings) will most likely see an increase in enrollment.
  • The national schools (the next 50) will see only modest declines.
  • Two-year colleges are facing a potential 13% decline in demand from a 2012 baseline.

2. The racial/ethnic mix of high school graduates will shift significantly toward a more diverse population.

  • The Hispanic population will see the greatest increase in number of high school graduates in the South and West, with the exception of California and Utah where the largest population of graduates will be white.
  • There will be a steep downturn of white graduates in the Midwest with strong growth in the numbers of minority graduates, Hispanic being the largest.
  • Regionally, the South is the only region of the country that will experience growth in the number of high school graduates. However, the East South Central (Ala., Ky., Miss. and Tenn.) will face a 29% decline. The Northeast will have the least number of graduates.

3. Family incomes are expected to stagnate so financial need at institutions will increase. With an increase in students attending college with greater financial need, membership in NPC member organizations may become cost-prohibitive, especially on those campuses with large or expensive housing.

What does this mean for the future of sorority? As the race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, national origin and age of college students change more dramatically than ever, all of us – College Panhellenic women, Alumnae Panhellenic women, NPC member organizations and NPC volunteers and staff – must focus on marketing and reaching out to more women, including those who may not be considered likely joiners, to share the story of the sorority experience. 

As I have said before, we are the best public relations we have. We are all responsible for sharing how we have benefited from sorority membership so more young women have heard about our organizations long before they enter college and are eager for the opportunity to join us.

Panhellenically,





Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

From the NPC Chairman: A Significant Step Toward Protecting the Sorority Experience & Our Students

In May 2019 I wrote about the community-wide efforts of the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition (FGRC) and its commitment to protecting the fraternity and sorority experience and keeping our members and future members safe now and for generations to come through legislative efforts on Capitol Hill.
As a reminder, the FGRC 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). The FGRC collectively represents more than 90 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.
I am pleased to share that on Oct. 31, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee passed the College Affordability Act (CAA) (H.R. 4674), a massive higher education reauthorization bill. The CAA includes strong protections for students joining single-sex organizations and represents the most important action taken in Congress on this issue since Title IX passed in the 1970s. The CAA also includes the first federal effort to provide parents and students with information needed to steer clear of student organizations involved in hazing activities.
The freedom of association provisions in the CAA would prohibit institutions of higher education from taking an adverse action (for example, denying participation in any sports team, club or other student organization, including a denial of any leadership position in any sports team, club or other student organization) against a student solely because the student is a member of a single-sex organization. The CAA language on freedom of association is similar to the Collegiate Freedom of Association Act (CFAA) (H.R. 3128), which Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ/Sigma Chi) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced in June 2019 and which currently has 29 sponsors in the House.
Also included in CAA is the exact text of the REACH Act (H.R. 662) that Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH/Delta Sigma Theta) introduced in January. It would amend the Clery Act to require schools to include the number of hazing incidents that occurred on their campus in the last year as part of the institution’s Annual Security Report. This would allow for better tracking of hazing incidents at particular schools to determine what programs might make a difference in reducing hazing. It also would require institutions to provide students with an educational program on hazing, which would include information on hazing awareness, hazing prevention and the institution’s policies on hazing.
Lastly, the committee’s bill includes language similar to the END ALL Hazing Act (H.R. 3267), which Rep. Fudge and Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) introduced in June. This bill would require institutions to provide detailed information listing student organizations found to have violated the institution’s code of conduct related to hazing. Schools will have to include this information as part of their Annual Security Report under the Clery Act as well as on a web page accessible for parents and students to make informed decisions about what organizations are safe to join.
While this is just the first step in the legislative process, it is also a significant one. We will keep you apprised of developments with CAA in the House, as well as any actions in the Senate. Please also stay tuned for messages from NPC and your member organization for ways you may be able to help encourage the passage of this legislation.
Panhellenically,



Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman 
*The term “single-sex” is used accordingly in reference to our organizations that are men's only or women’s only. We understand many members may prefer the term “single-gender” and there is a difference between the two words; however, “single-sex” is used within Title IX and NPC Unanimous Agreement X. For consistency purposes, we have chosen to use “single-sex” here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

From the NPC Chairman: The State of the Conference

This month’s Chairman’s Message is an edited excerpt of the “State of the Conference” address delivered by NPC Chairman Carole Jones during the 2019 NPC Annual Educational Conference.

This moment in the history of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is one to be viewed with gratitude and pride. NPC is in a position of remarkable strength due to the collective efforts of our volunteers and staff to exceed the expectations outlined in our 2019-22 Strategic Plan. The plan’s key priorities broadly define the approaches NPC volunteers and staff will use during the next few years to accomplish our mission and drive toward our vision of Advancing the Sorority Experience.

Most importantly, the plan and the work of our NPC volunteers and staff have positioned NPC and the entire sorority community for a future that ensures our organizations, and the critical experiences and empowerment of young women, not only continue, but thrive.


NPC Chairman Carole Jones delivers the "State of the Conference" address
during the 2019 NPC Annual Educational Conference.

Stronger Than Ever

Put simply, the National Panhellenic Conference today is the most strategic and purposeful version of itself that has ever existed. As a conference we are positioned to act on our strategic plan in the months ahead, and we are equipped to be deliberate and intentional about how we chart a future for all sorority women.

Investments in NPC staff have equipped us to act on the strategic plan, and each day NPC volunteers work with campus professionals to strengthen relationships and cultivate new ones.

A re-imagined Board of Directors has the freedom to prioritize the strategic direction for NPC to ensure long-term viability and success. This new focus is a shift from our approach in years past, but it is the type of work that will move us forward – together. 

Future of Sorority

NPC’s focus on the future of sorority is arguably our most important role and the most valuable contribution we can make to the sorority community. By asking the right questions about our organizations, the environment we operate within and the nature of higher education today, the board can ensure we preserve valuable sorority experiences, while adapting and evolving to meet new needs.
  • How do we best protect the sorority experience in environments that can be skeptical of our mission and sometimes hostile to our existence?
  • How do we protect student rights and the right of free association?
  • How do we develop new partnerships with student affairs professionals and campus leaders?
  • How do we evolve and embrace questions of diversity, inclusion and gender identity that reflect our values and respond to the expectations from new members and prospective members?
  • How do we anticipate and prepare for legal and legislative battles that may impact our right to operate and thrive?
  • How do we continue confronting challenges like hazing, sexual assault and high-risk drinking?
  • How do we define feminism and women’s empowerment for our organization and our women at a time when equality and gender equity is front and center in our national and international debate? 

These are far from the only questions we must ask ourselves, but these are exactly the type of questions that must be front and center on the agenda for the Board of Directors. While our work is just beginning, our efforts to answer these questions and more are reflected in so much of the work already being done across the conference at the staff, volunteer and board level.
   
But, perhaps our most important future-looking work lies in Project 2029 – a focused effort to imagine the sorority experience in the year 2029. This project embraces each of the three priorities of our strategic plan and honors the work of our PR & Marketing and Recruitment & Expanded Membership Model Think Tanks. If we are to not only continue to exist, but to enhance our relevance into the future, we must understand and, indeed, anticipate what that future looks like.

This work does not replace our three-year strategic plan. Rather, it is a futuristic thought process designed to ensure we are employing long-term thinking while implementing our short-term plan. Areas of focus include, but are not limited to, changing student demographics, enrollment fluctuation, increased financial need for students and new models of learning.

With student populations and expectations for membership changing more rapidly and dramatically than ever, the board recognizes we need a clear understanding of who our potential members will be in order to create conditions for their success and engagement. Project 2029 is one of the major steps we will take to achieve that goal.

Thoughtful Oversight & Open Lines of Communication
    
As a board, we are committed to providing thoughtful oversight of existing NPC activities and the execution of the strategic plan. And we’re equally committed to engaging the conference at large, seeking your counsel and your input.

How we work may change, but our commitment to our mission remains as steadfast as ever. And our vision for consensus and collaboration across the conference will continue to be central to our identity and how we advance the sorority experience together.

Panhellenically,







Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman 2019-21

Monday, September 16, 2019

COB - Taking Advantage of Growth Opportunities


Over time, sorority membership ebbs and flows for a myriad of reasons. Continuous Open Bidding is the way to make sure chapter membership remains at a level that is consistent with the other chapters on a campus. Before diving deeper, there are a few terms to make sure you really understand:

Total: This is the maximum number of members a chapter may have. It has year-round significance and automatically re-adjusts each fall and spring. When you have primary recruitment, it changes right after Bid Day. When you don’t have primary recruitment, it changes within seven days of classes beginning. Total is set on each campus a little differently, and the method should be stated in a Panhellenic’s recruitment rules. Most campuses use the size of the largest chapter, the average chapter size or the median chapter size. When a chapter on a campus falls below the campus total, the chapter is permitted to recruit new members to reach total again. Because of the way total is set, most, if not all, chapters within a Panhellenic will be able to take new members during the year.

Quota: When a chapter participates in bid matching, quota is the number of members that may match with a sorority. Reaching quota is the only time that a sorority’s membership may grow above total. Because quota is related to bid matching, it happens once yearly and has significance to that primary recruitment cycle.

Continuous Open Bidding (COB): Sororities use this process to recruit women and grow their chapter to total. COB begins when total is reset and ends when classes end for that term. Eligibility to grow to total is an opportunity offered by your Panhellenic. While it is recommended that all eligible chapters use COB to grow to total, it is not required by the Panhellenic. Forfeiting an opportunity to host COB is like not collecting a tax return. You do not have to do it, but you’re leaving something valuable on the table if you do not.

Snap Bid: Snap bids are offered by chapters that do not match to quota in bid matching during primary recruitment. Snap bids are given out before bids are distributed on a campus’s bid day. They are not to be confused with COB bids. If bids have been distributed on your campus, everything else is a COB bid.



Why is Continuous Open Bidding important?
Continuous Open Bidding (COB) allows a sorority to close the gap in terms of membership. Because all chapters are allowed to recruit to total each fall and spring, most chapters are really close to that number. Because the chapters that are below total are only a few below, it doesn’t take many new members to grow back to total. Because the chapters that are above total are usually only a few over, the chapters above total at the beginning of the term have gone below it by the end of the term, meaning almost every sorority has the opportunity to recruit through COB during any given school year. Almost certainly, every chapter goes below total at least once during a student’s four year time on a campus, so everyone should stay abreast of COB strategies. And again, it is recommended that every sorority take every opportunity to grow to total through COB.

Think about it this way:

·        Fall of year one:
o   Sorority E has 100 members and matches to the quota of 35.
o   Sorority E has 135 members and is the largest chapter of 8. Total is 129.
o   Sorority E loses 4 new members, 6 members resign, and 3 members graduate.
·        Spring of year one:             
o   Sorority E returns with 120 members, after two do not return to campus.
o   When all chapter sizes are evaluated, total is reset to the median, 122.
o   Sorority E chooses not to host COB to fill those two spots.
o   Four members resign, 24 members graduate, and one does not return to school.
·        Fall of year two:                  
o   Sorority E returns to campus with 92 members and matches to the quota of 37.
o   Sorority E has 129 members. Total is 131.
o   Sorority E chooses not to host COB to fill those two spots.
o   Sorority E loses 3 new members, 5 members resign, and 1 graduate.
·        Spring of year two:              
o   Sorority E returns with 119 members after one does not return to campus.
o   When chapter sizes are evaluated, total is 125.

As you can see, in the matter of a few semesters, Sorority E went from six over total to six-under total, just by not utilizing COB. If they continue to neglect COB, that gap will quickly grow. You can see that the chapter isn’t losing large numbers of women and you can tell by the change in quota and total that membership is growing and the other chapters are staying closer to total, most likely by COB. These gaps of two and three and even six are manageable. But, as COB is neglected, the gap can grow to an unmanageable number, leading that chapter to eventually become far below total. Chapters that are strong in recruitment are not just strong during the primary recruitment process but capitalize on growth opportunities all year round.


Scenarios that lead to COB opportunities:
·        Sorority A is one of seven chapters on a campus.
o   The campus uses median chapter size as their campus total.
o   Last term, the median was 75 and Sorority A had 76 members.
o   Primary recruitment was held during this academic term.
o   After every sorority lost members to graduation and attrition, each chapter also matched to quota, which was 20.
o   The new median size is 80.
o   Sorority A was at 82, but 6 new members have withdrawn, leaving the chapter at 76.
§  They have room to recruit four more members.
·        Sorority B is one of four chapters on a campus that uses average chapter size to calculate total.
o   Sorority B is new and established last fall was set at 60.
o   When the sorority came to campus, they invited 60 women to join.
o   All but five were initiated and five more graduated at the end of the term.
o   It is the new term and Sorority B has 50 members.
o   Other sororities lost a few members as well and the new average is 58.
§  Sorority B can invite eight more women to join.
·        Sorority C is on a campus with three sororities.
o   They use the largest chapter size to determine total.
o   Last term, Sorority C was the largest on campus, with 36 members, so total was 36.
o   This term, they have 31 members, but the largest one has 34.
§  Sorority C can recruit three more members.
·        Sorority D is on a campus with 15 sororities and uses median chapter size to determine total.
o   Sorority D is a very strong chapter on the campus and matches to exact quota each year in primary recruitment.
o   Members rarely resign from the sorority. But, they are academically strong and they have a higher number of early graduates that the other sororities.
o   Total is typically around 150 on this campus and Sorority D usually has at least 10 graduates early each year.
o   While Sorority D has excellent retention, they are losing members to graduation and are often six to eight women below total at the beginning of the non-primary recruiting term.

As a College Panhellenic, here are steps you can take to help every chapter grow to total:
  •         Be timely in setting total. Get your rosters settled early and often. In alignment with NPC policy, total should be set within 72 hours of bid distribution during terms when primary recruitment happens. Otherwise, it must be set within 72 hours of the beginning of class for that term. The setting of total is like the starting gun of a race. It lets everyone know when to begin. Out of respect for the chapters who are ready to proceed with events, set total on time and make sure it is done accurately. Announce it to the chapters and let them get going.
  •       Have an officer within your Panhellenic assigned to monitor and promote year-round joining like COB. This is usually the recruitment officer, but she can have an assistant assigned to this if it helps.
  •       Keep tabs on chapter sizes. As soon as you become aware of a chapter that is eligible for COB, reach out to them and let them know that they are eligible and how many bids they are allowed to give out. They may not even realize they have room for new members. Also, remember that there is no limit on the number of times a chapter may conduct recruitment. A chapter may welcome new members every time they are below total, even if that is more than once a semester.
  •       Keep any necessary documents on hand and make them available to the chapters. Some campuses have grade releases for potential members to sign so that chapters can check grades. Make sure to put these in the hands of chapters below total, even before they ask for them. If you ask them to register their events, have that procedure to them in writing before they need it. Remember that their COB new members must sign a COB MRABA. Make sure each chapter has copies. Once they are signed, the chapter submits a copy to the Panhellenic Office to be kept for one year. The chapter may consider keeping a copy on file for themselves.
  •       Maintain a database of interested women. This could be done by a google doc. It could be a Word document to be completed and emailed in. It could be a notebook of hand-written forms in your Panhellenic Office. Make sure you are collecting their names, contact information, and academic information. If a woman is not academically eligible, chapters do not need to invite her and string her along if she has no hope of being asked to join. However you do it, make sure the information in the database is readily available to the chapter recruitment officers as needed. Remember, that a woman does not have to be in the database to receive a bid. It is just a place that chapters can go to for ideas. Promote COB by promoting this database and inviting women to sign up.
  •       Make and share a database of ineligible women on your campus. Include women who have been initiated into an NPC organization already, but are no longer affiliated. Also, include women who have signed MRABAs, received bids, and then either declined the bid or withdrawn before initiation within the past year. These women are not eligible, but they sometimes still try to join a sorority through COB. We need to make sure that the chapters understand all policies regarding eligibility so that they will be faithful in reporting ineligible women to the database as well as in making sure that they do not mistakenly ask an ineligible woman to join.
  •       Stay in touch with the chapters as they host COB. Collect basic outlines of their plans, making sure they comply with university policies but do not get too in the weeds. Also, remember that a sorority does not even necessarily need to have an event to host COB. If they have room for one and they know who they want, they can simply call her. She should still sign and submit an MRABA.
  •       Respect chapter wishes. Some organizations want to meet lots of women through COB and will have events that anyone can come to. In those cases, help them get the word out if they want you to. In other cases, a sorority may only have room for two people and maybe quietly selecting their two new members. Help them maintain their private business. Some people will only be interested in COB if the “right” chapters are participating. If this is their approach, COB is probably not for them. Be mindful that chapter membership numbers, which chapters are eligible for COB, and which ones might host it are not to be shared with anyone.