Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It’s on us all to fight for campus safety

While there have always been challenges in the fraternity/sorority community, the recent campus tragedies and events weigh on the hearts and minds of all who work to advocate and preserve the sorority experience. These incidents reinforce that we have an obligation and a duty to re-double our efforts on campus safety. Just as it’s on us all to fight sexual assault, it’s also on us all to fight against hazing, alcohol abuse and dangerous social cultures on college campuses. Simply put, sorority women must be more engaged as advocates in this fight.
Abusive alcohol consumption and its secondhand effects – sexual assault, vandalism, violence and negative community relations – are not new problems among college students. And, there have been – and still are – many efforts to combat these issues over the years. In 1983, what is now the Coalition of Higher Education Associations for Substance Abuse Prevention (CoHEASAP) began their work promoting education, prevention, research and other initiatives to help eliminate substance abuse and its related problems on college campuses.

In 2004, the Franklin Square Group developed recommendations designed to eliminate negative collegiate fraternity and sorority behaviors involving high-risk alcohol use. The group consisted of college and university presidents and inter/national Greek-letter organization executive directors.

Also in the early 2000s, the 26 member organizations that comprise the National Panhellenic Conference adopted standards that tightened membership requirements and raised the bar for student membership in our organizations.

Yet, old problems persist, new issues arise and member organizations evolve. These different opportunities and challenges profoundly impact the operations and strategy of NPC. It is ongoing work we take seriously.

Today, our message to host institutions, and particularly to our student life colleagues, is that we want to partner with you. Student safety is too important for us to do anything other than work together. 

We’ve always known that rules alone are not sufficient, so we must create cultures where students advocate for one another. We believe this can happen, and we believe it can happen in ways that also respect the rights of students.

To that end, NPC is an organization that can bring together leaders from across the industry to work toward creating the kind of campus culture we aspire to build everywhere. In January, the NPC Executive Committee will convene a gathering of campus administrators and subject matter experts to work toward creating opportunities to address critical issues within our Panhellenic communities. This will be just the first step in NPC’s “Call for Critical Change,” and it will be our focus in the coming months.

We have an opportunity to work together to find sustainable ways to address some of the pressing issues within our fraternity and sorority communities. As one colleague stated during the recent AFA annual meeting, “We have to change the culture faster than it was created.” 


Carole J. Jones
Chairman 2017-19

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Facing challenges, embracing opportunities … together

Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman 2017-19
As I begin my term as the 2017-19 chairman of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), I look forward to two years filled with opportunity and promise. I also look to what’s ahead with clear eyes and honest expectations.

Over the past 10 years, NPC member organizations have benefited from a strong, consistent expansion of the sorority community. Now research shows we are entering a more challenging period. 

The number of college-aged students will decline. Moreover, the geographic make up of students will be a mismatch with the geographic locations of the strongest fraternity/sorority communities.

Beyond that, NPC and our member organizations will face six trends arising from generational change: 

-Financial stress. Tuition costs continue their steep rise. Fewer parents will be able to financially support their children’s aspirations and students will need to borrow more for educational expenses. As a result, 
financial obligations will remain an obstacle to sorority membership.

-Diversity. The racial and ethnic makeup of college students is rapidly changing. Soon, the largest groups of high schoolers will include students of Hispanic heritage, students with lower family incomes and students who are the first in their family to attend college. Historically, these segments have been under-represented in undergraduate ranks and unable or unwilling to travel far for college. 

The good news is women continue to outnumber men in incoming freshman classes. The expected increase in students of color provides opportunities to broaden the appeal of sorority membership.

-Technological acceleration. Our expectations for and use of technology will continue to grow. Yet members of each generation – baby boomers, Generation X, millennials and Generation Z – view technology with different utility. NPC and our member organizations must recognize each generation’s technological needs and preferences and identify where we can use technology to our benefit.

-The redefined family. The definition of family continues to change, with more divorces, remarriages, single parenting and same-sex relationships. Families also are more mobile. These changing family dynamics will affect the behavior and needs of our members as well as impact our ability to attract and retain volunteers.

-“Me” branding. In the college course “The Branding of Me,” Gary Kayye, adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of Media and Journalism, notes how many Gen Z students have put personal brand building into overdrive. The expression of their personal identities is central to the world in which they live. They harness social media to build an online brand to help them get that first job or prove their potential worth to employers.

Still, this generation came of age during the Great Recession and have already faced life’s setbacks. Many care about social causes, but they might express their passion differently. Rather than joining organizations, they often first turn to the digital world to promote change.

- Changes in work/life balance. Baby boomers are rethinking their “work, work, work” mentality as they grow older, while younger generations say “no way” to working 24/7. Knowledge workers want to work remotely, a trend enabled by technology. These changes impact what we ask of volunteers and challenge us to create meaningful, rewarding volunteer experiences.  

These six trends are just the beginning. Student alcohol consumption remains problematic, and heavy drug use is rising. Many students struggle with mental health issues. High rates of sexual assault threaten all students on campus, primarily women.

All these trends and issues underscore the importance of NPC and member organizations working together to meet these challenges head on and embrace the opportunities.

We must all read widely, consider deeply and take action where we can together to advocate for the sorority experience and work to preserve the single-gender experience.

I am grateful to serve alongside each of you. I look forward to our bright, promising future together. 

ReadAdventure in Friendshipto learn the history of NPC and how we and our
member organizations have adapted to and led change over the past 115 years.

Carole J. Jones
Chairman 2017-19

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

College Panhellenic Spotlight: Washington & Jefferson College

By Kira Baierl, W&J College Panhellenic president 

The Recruitment Counselor Training Online program provided us with an easy and smooth transition for our incoming recruitment counselors last year, in fact, we were able to retain all of our recruitment counselors from the time they were selected through the primary recruitment period which had not always happened in the past. This was our first time using this program and it definitely will be used in our future primary recruitment periods as well. 

This course featured videos that laid out everything nice and neat for everyone, and was stress free to follow along with. Coming into the actual height of recruitment last February, after revising the way we ran recruitment and with a new advisor, we as a recruitment team felt very comfortable and confident with our roles as we engaged in the process.  
We had tried previous online recruitment training programs but were unsuccessful in finding one that we really thought was exceptionable until last year. Each section of the program featured detailed videos or “courses” that were not too long, but straightforward with good, clarifying examples of everything from how to approach potential new members (PNMs) to how to handle different situations. Examples of scenarios included working with introverted PNMs, active listening and counseling skills like restating and paraphrasing to help the recruitment counselor show the PNM that she understood her thoughts and feelings in such a personal and important process. 

Each online course had a short quiz at the end to remind everyone of the main takeaways from the course. They weren’t long or tricky but helped recap the material. We were prepared to handle any situation that came up in the recruitment process and PNMs felt more comfortable approaching us since we felt confident in our roles.

The online training program was very flexible with the course itself. We were able to watch the lessons and take the quizzes when it was convenient for us, on our own time. We had women do the online training program on campus, at home and even on airplanes while traveling across the world. This helped make training stress free and when we reconvened on campus all together it was nice knowing that everyone was on the same page.   We are excited this coming year to use the Recruitment Counselor Training Online program again. We benefited so much last year when recruitment seemed a little hectic and crazy, and we look forward to benefiting from this program again. Primary recruitment really starts with recruitment counselors who can create a positive experience for PNMs which impacts the chapters’ side of recruitment. Having everything run smoothly from the start benefited everyone.

College Panhellenic Spotlight: Florida Atlantic University

By Samantha Sock, FAU College Panhellenic president

Like many College Panhellenics, here at Florida Atlantic University we are continuously trying to advance our community. In spring 2016, then Panhellenic President, Ashley Nalven, saw many areas for growth and improvement but didn’t know where to start. With the help of our advisor, who suggested we apply for a Consultant Team Visit (CTV), a request was made at the end of the spring semester for a visit for fall 2016. Consultant Team Visits are a resource offered by NPC where members from the team visit your campus and talk to stakeholders in the community. They evaluate what is working well and what could be improved, and provide you with on-site suggestions as well as a full report of recommendations after the visit.

In November 2016, we welcomed Julie Bunson and Betty Quick to our campus for the CTV. They spoke to active members in the community, including new members, chapter officers, recruitment chairs and recruitment counselors. They met with IFC members, chapter advisors, university staff and administrators, including our vice president for student affairs and others that interact with our Panhellenic community to give them a full picture of the College Panhellenic Association at FAU. From these meetings and discussions, they gave us some immediate feedback in the form of an executive summary of things we could begin working on right away, and later we received a comprehensive final report on the visit that outlined their suggestions in multiple areas such as recruitment, inter-sorority relations and marketing. We began implementing some items immediately and the new executive board that took over in the beginning of the year was able to continue working on these areas for improvement using the CTV report recommendations.

The CTV also had some additional ripple effects. After the visit, the Panhellenic chapter advisors scheduled another meeting of their own to continue discussing things that were brought up in the meeting they had with Betty and Julie. Our Panhellenic strengthened relations with university administration since their involvement in the CTV, as they saw the efforts of our Panhellenic officers in not only coordinating and hosting the CTV but also the implementation of the recommendations that came from it. 

One of the first recommendations that Betty and Julie provided was for the Panhellenic executive board to conduct introductory visits with each member chapter. What amazing advice! This allowed women in our community to meet the executive board officers and know who they are and their roles, which started off our term on a positive note. Other ideas that came from the CTV included the creation of a Junior Panhellenic and development of what we call an ‘All for One’ program. Junior Panhellenic (or ‘JPAN’) got started in spring 2017 and allowed new members to get involved in leadership and cultivate Panhellenic spirit. JPAN hosted a Panhellenic Pride Week (another recommendation from the CTV!) in the same semester. Through JPAN, I have seen so much growth in these young members, and as a result of their efforts, an increase in Panhellenic unity among our member chapters. The ‘All for One’ program was designed to help all member chapters satisfy a core requirement of their national organizations; for the first one, we hosted a Panhellenic self-defense class where we brought together members from all chapters to bond and receive some safety tips and training.

Our Consultant Team Visit inspired Panhellenic leaders on our campus in many ways and was a significant factor in some of our recent accomplishments. We even received our first NPC College Panhellenic Achievement Award from NPC this summer. The CTV program is an amazing resource that is well worth the investment and will have continued positive effects on your community.

To find out more about Consult Team Visits and request one for your College Panhellenic, visit :https://www.npcwomen.org/college-panhellenics/c-a-programs/ctv.aspx