Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Keeping pace with the next generation

Summer offers many of us the opportunity for multi-generational family gatherings.  Families come together most often with a broad spectrum of generations whether for a wedding, reunion, birthday party or another special occasion. Each person benefits from the other, while some in the crowd may shake their heads confused, trying to best understand the next generation!

Sorority communities provide a multi-generational familial experience as well. For more than 150 years, National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) inter/national women’s sororities have flexed, grown and, at times, shared in the confusion and challenge of how to keep pace with each subsequent generation. The Greatest Generation, Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millenials and Gen Y are all generations of members with unique profiles. These generations challenge women’s organizations to address change and adaptation to meet the needs of current membership.

2017 presents the advent of the newest generation, Generation Z or Gen-Zers coming of age (born 1995 to now). Currently more than 25% of the American population belongs to this demographic, and it continues to grow. Gen-Zers are the first generation to have no understanding of life without technology and devices. Social media is their research tool, multi-tasking across up to five screens is their norm, being culturally connected is critical, their social circles are global, they see society as blended and intend to make a difference and impact in the worl
d. To further illustrate this point, click here to watch a video about understanding Gen Z.

Some may contend the sorority membership experience has not kept pace and has outlived the wants, needs and desires of Gen Z. Does sorority membership add value to a generation who are independent, self-directed, tech-innate and laser focused on the future? I would arguably say yes; sorority membership does add value. NPC sororities are committed to intentional strategic planning framed by membership surveys, ongoing assessment and deep seeded organizational values when crafting a membership experience. Determining purposeful programming and opportunities for impact is central to their missions and the benefits derived from membership.

Because the sorority membership experience is multi-generational, it requires an openness on the part of each sorority member no matter your generational moniker, to embrace change when change is necessary and see the infinite possibilities the newest generation will bring to women’s sororities. To our newest generation, Gen Z, we look forward to welcoming you and all that you will contribute to influence women’s sororities for the future!