Friday, December 18, 2020

NPC Board of Directors Service Opportunity

The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is looking for Panhellenic women to serve on the 2021-23 Board of Directors. The NPC Board of Directors leads the Conference and has authority and responsibility for overseeing its affairs. Since joining the board in 2019, current directors have learned and accomplished a lot in their work to set the strategic direction of the Conference and create a vision for the future of Panhellenic sorority life. Below, three directors share their thoughts and advice for future board members.

Why Panhellenic Women Might Consider Serving

“There are so many exciting opportunities coupled with unique challenges as we build the future framework of the sorority experience,” Mary Baker, Alpha Chi Omega, said. “In addition to the collaborative work with highly competent and progressive women on the board and staff, working with 26 NPC organizations to make a difference in the lives of undergraduate women is fulfilling volunteer work.”

But, the work of the board is also to think about the future of NPC and the sorority experience. Mary shares that directors must want to pay it forward and find ways to make the future sorority experience relevant for women enter college in the next few decades.

A Successful Director Possesses Certain Skills

To be able to fulfill the duties of the board, a successful director possesses certain skills. Malaea Seleski, Zeta Tau Alpha, shared a director should be emotionally intelligent, kind, confident, flexible and a strategic thinker.

“They should have the ability to look at things from alternative points of view and have the willingness to change your mind if your point of view is not the best for NPC,” Malaea said.

Serving is Rewarding and Challenging Work

Serving on the NPC Board of Directors is fulfilling and challenging volunteer work. Directors have an impact on the future of the sorority experience and service can be both rewarding and challenging.

“Being a servant leader, anticipating the possibilities for all women on the campus to feel welcomed in membership and planning for that future has been the most rewarding,” Laura Sweet, Sigma Sigma Sigma, said.

As NPC’s current organizational model and governance structure is still new, it is continuously being perfected. “It will be a privilege to have the opportunity and joy to make NPC’s evolving structure work for our member organizations and the future women who will thrive in their sorority environment,” Laura said.   

To learn more about serving on the NPC Board of Directors, you can visit this link. Starting the path to service is as simple as submitting the NPC Board of Directors Interest Form here.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

From the NPC Chairman: Many Initiatives, One Goal of Advancing Sorority

Dear friends,

In the November Chairman’s Message, I reflected on the year and the things I am most grateful for as we continue to advance the sorority experience together. This December message finds me reflecting on the work of the NPC Board of Directors during the last 18 months, the initiatives we’re working on and how all of those efforts fit together to set the strategic direction for the Conference and create our vision for the future of Panhellenic sorority life.

Collectively, all of us – NPC staff and volunteers, member organization staff and volunteers, and College and Alumnae Panhellenic Associations – have worked tirelessly to meet the challenges of 2020 and to help prepare for the future of our organizations.

About Project 2029

In fall 2019, the board, in setting our goals for our term as directors, stated that our most important future-looking work was Project 2029, a focused effort to imagine the sorority experience in the year 2029. This project reflected our strategic goals and we began digging into the following questions:

  • 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 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 continue confronting challenges such as 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?

From fall 2019 until early 2020, the board engaged in strategic conversations, gathered feedback from our constituents and participated in educational webinars regarding trending topics – all with the aim of answering the questions raised by our work on Project 2029.

The Pandemic Changes – and Accelerates – Our Work 

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, the board’s focus had to quickly shift away from conversations about the future of sorority and Project 2029 to how to protect sorority members and the sorority experience in the moment of a very real (and ongoing) crisis. 

As we live through this pandemic, I believe there is a silver lining as it has helped us make change faster than anyone ever expected. The NPC Disruption to Panhellenic Operations Task Force and subsequently the Recruitment Contingencies Task Force led the way in ensuring Panhellenics could operate during the pandemic and prepare to welcome new members this fall.

If anything, the pandemic offered us an opportunity to test changes to the ways in which we recruit and to begin eliminating barriers to membership, including some financial barriers. Panhellenics successfully shifted to hybrid or fully virtual recruitments and began eliminating barriers to the recruitment process. Now, as Panhellenics prepare to welcome new members this spring, the NPC Recruitment Committee is gathering the lessons learned from the fall so they can make further recommendations regarding the future of Panhellenic recruitment.

Conversations Regarding Racism and Injustice 

It is not only the pandemic that has influenced the board’s work and the work of the Conference and its organizations. While the board had strategic discussions regarding racism and inequity within Panhellenic organizations prior to the pandemic, the national conversation regarding racism and injustice – a conversation that is now ongoing and multinational – has helped bring greater clarity to these topics and set us on a path to create a more diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible Panhellenic sorority experience.

To that end, in June 2020, the board outlined three frameworks we were committed to as our contribution to the discussion about race and racial injustice:

  • Our organizations don’t reflect the diversity that our Panhellenic communities hope to achieve. As a community, we don’t make ourselves broadly attractive to women of color and we have too often fallen short in supporting our Black and Brown sisters.
  • We believe that we must consider – and change – the systems and norms within the Panhellenic community that have historically benefited and centered the experiences of white women and women of privilege, more generally.
  • As a Panhellenic community, we have an obligation and responsibility to empower our members and volunteers and to openly discuss race and racial injustice.

The board then appointed the NPC Access and Equity Advisory Committee to provide recommendations and guidance to us on increasing access to the sorority experience and equity across NPC policies and procedures. The Access and Equity Advisory Committee’s work will continue for several months, and it is a critical component of helping us answer questions related Project 2029.  

Yet, we know “The road to diversity, equity and inclusion is a journey not a destination.” I used this quote from Syreeta Greene, MSW, Ed.D., director of the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Multicultural Affairs, Midwestern State University, in my August Chairman’s Message. I am still feeling the impact of her statement as we work to make our Panhellenic communities more broadly attractive to women of marginalized identities and create lasting change in the way we operate, recruit and support collegiate sorority women. (For more on NPC's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, please visit our website here.)

Relevancy Research 

Also prior to the pandemic, NPC staff and volunteers had been working on projects in the 2019-22 NPC Strategic Plan, including updating the message framework regarding how we communicate to our publics and constituencies about the sorority experience. That work led to the summer’s relevancy research, managed by VOX Global, regarding the relevancy of women’s-only organizations and sororities in the eyes of rising undergraduate women and their caregivers. While the NPC marketing team is using the research results to inform their near-term work, the board also has outlined three loud messages from that research of which we believe NPC can play a role in changing perceptions about and removing barriers to the sorority experience:

  1. Recruitment and perception of the sorority experience: The need to make aggressive and significant changes to the way we offer membership. Noted as the most immediate critical goal. 
  2. Cost: The cost of membership has risen greatly during the past few years and has created a number of barriers to entry into our sisterhoods.
  3. Safety: The perception of PNMs and caregivers is that ours is not a safe community. Whether thinking of activities within a chapter such as possible “mean girls” behavior or mental health challenges, or the larger community’s challenges with social risk, we need to change perceptions. 

All of these loud messages tie back to the questions we must answer to advance Project 2029, and they give us concrete focus areas for future messaging and initiatives.

Tying It Together

While sometimes it is difficult to see how all of these seemingly independent projects go together, these initiatives all fit into the larger whole of visioning the sorority experience in 2029. In totality, these projects work to address the questions, frameworks and loud messages outlined above and crucial to our long-term success. The work the board, our volunteers, staff and member organizations are undertaking will ensure our organizations are places where women from all walks of life feel they are welcomed, understood and heard now, in the year 2029 and beyond.


Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman  

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

From the NPC Chairman: Pausing to give thanks

Dear friends,

Between the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions about racial injustice, natural disasters and struggling economy, it’s easy to get stressed out and have feelings of anxiety. And, as Thanksgiving approaches in the United States, the worry of how to celebrate this year or the disappointment that you may be spending the holiday away from family and friends due to travel restrictions or safety concerns, just adds to the stress we are already feeling about the year 2020.

However, as we pause to give thanks for our many blessings, we are also given the opportunity to take a deeper look and recognize all the things that we may take for granted in our day-to-day lives – the family we love, the friends we cherish and the blessings we have received.

During this season of Thanksgiving, I hope you will join me in reflecting on the things I am most grateful for as we continue to advance the sorority experience:

  • All of us, collegians and alumnae, being open to change and adapting as we faced a pandemic (something none of us has ever experienced before).
  • The flexibility and commitment our RFM specialists, College Panhellenic area advisors, other volunteers and staff showed as they took on the frontline role of working with campuses as recruitment contingencies were planned and implemented.
  • The successes our College Panhellenics found as virtual or hybrid recruitments were safely implemented.
  • Outstanding programming our College Panhellenic officers and chapter leaders successfully hosted virtually.
  • Successful marketing campaigns on both the national and local levels promoting the value of the sorority experience regardless of how that experience is delivered.
  • The fraternity/sorority advisors who have supported our members throughout probably the toughest academic term they have ever experienced.
  • Our NPC partners who work to provide a meaningful and rewarding sorority experience for our members.
  • The undying support we give each other as we continue to have difficult and meaningful conversations as we work together in creating a welcoming, inclusive Panhellenic community that our current and future members deserve.
  • Learning to be more flexible, to focus on the positive, to slow down and to be a better listener.
  • Our friends and families who support our fraternal efforts.

My thanks to each of you for your commitment to ensuring the values and ideals of sorority are preserved. I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with abundance and love. May the good things in life be yours not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the coming year.


Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Overcoming Obstacles to Raise Scholarship Funds: Rochester Alumnae Panhellenic

The following is a guest blog from the Rochester Alumnae Panhellenic Association. 

Alumnae welcoming attendees in 2019.

In 2019, the Rochester Alumnae Panhellenic celebrated their 10th anniversary of the annual Fall Fundraiser, our major scholarship fundraiser. For the first time in 10 years, the format was a dinner with a raffle, cork pull and both silent and live auctions. It was always a delightful evening at a local country club — good food, warm, wonderful friendships and, most important of all a goal of raising funds to support scholarships for young undergraduate or graduate women affiliated with an NPC organization. In recent years, Rochester’s Alumnae Panhellenic has been able to award approximately $20,000 each year, usually to six scholarship winners.

Thanks to the help of the full Rochester Alumnae Panhellenic board (represented by 18 different NPC organizations), wonderful and varied donations have been available each year for this event. Along with the donations, most of the participating NPC organizations created and donated baskets for a raffle or for the silent auction. To augment that, many businesses and individuals provided sponsorship funds with 100% of that going directly to the scholarship fund.

Following the same format for 10 years, the planning committee (known as the SOS committee for Support Our Scholars) decided it was time to make some adjustments by switching from a dinner to a luncheon, with the intent of lowering the cost to attend and, hopefully, broadening the audience. Plans were well underway when March hit with the COVID-19 pandemic and the SOS committee needed to go back to the drawing board.

Luckily, this dedicated and hardworking committee rolled up their sleeves and brainstormed how to make things work. There was only one definite at that point - more than ever, we needed to award scholarships for 2020. We felt the financial need would be even greater with many summer jobs disappearing and most campus lives changing drastically.

After a subcommittee did some initial investigation as to how we could manage to continue to engage with donors and sponsors and move towards what now needed to be a virtual event. The subcommittee presented a tentative plan for implementing a fundraising and auction platform, GiveSmart.

GiveSmart provides mobile bidding, online auction and fundraising software that could move our event to a virtual experience. This was not an inexpensive commitment, and we agreed that it was the best way to move forward for a positive outcome. Our lemons have turned to lemonade and we are truly thinking outside of the box and planning for the 2020 event in new and creative ways. Instead of a one-day event, attendees will now be able to preview donation items at their leisure for one week. Bidding will then open and will remain open for two weeks. Another plus - attendees do not need to be local to participate. The software allows for text and email notices to be sent when a person is outbid. No need to go find that auction item on one of the display tables to check on bids. Payments will be done online and financial reports will be readily available. Pickup will be done on a pickup date with safe practices in place (shipping as needed).

Though the final outcome is still to be determined, we feel very positive regarding this reformatting and are already talking about how this might allow us to do things very differently, even if we are able to go back to an in-person event for 2021.

Scholarship recipient, Alexandra Kaplan (right) with a chapter sister.

To learn more about the positive impacts of Rochester Alumnae Panhellenic’s scholarship program, you can watch this video and hear from recent scholarship winner, Alexandra Kaplan, a member of Gamma Phi Beta from the University of Rochester.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

How We Transitioned to a Virtual Recruitment at the University of Minnesota Duluth

 The following is a guest post from Annabelle Paquin, the University of Minnesota Duluth, class of 2021. 

When we got the news that recruitment was going to be entirely online, a brief moment of panic hit

Annabelle at the 2020 College Panhellenic Academy.

our College Panhellenic. “How are we going to do this?” was the question running through all of our minds. Most of us had just started using Zoom a few weeks ago, and the idea of facilitating an entire Zoom recruitment was not one we felt prepared for. We had no idea what we were going to do, but we knew we had to act fast. We quickly held meetings with our College Panhellenic officers, chapter recruitment chairs, chapter presidents and recruitment counselors, to tell them what was happening. We were met with shock, as well as enthusiasm that we were going to figure this out, make it work and make the best of the situation.

Myself, the College Panhellenic recruitment assistant and our advisor began scouring through NPC emails, looking for tips and tricks on how we could make this work. We attended online meetings with other campuses across the nation, tirelessly testing out breakout rooms, and trying to figure out how we could utilize Zoom to try to recreate recruitment in the most realistic way possible. We even held an optional Zoom meeting where we invited all of our fraternity and sorority life members so we could practice using breakout rooms; which helped us in effectively teaching chapters various tips and tricks to make this work.

Meanwhile, on the chapter end of things, everything related to recruitment took a turn. Chapter recruitment chairs and members alike had to quickly learn how to adapt and be extremely flexible. Recruitment training, originally energetic weekends spent learning chants and freshening up on your chapters values, philanthropy and finances quickly turned into testing out Zoom during chapter meetings, discussing how to move from break out room to break out room and learning how to set up Zoom calls. Despite all of this, all of our chapters maintained a positive attitude and spent a lot of time making sure they were experts in Zoom.

Our College Panhellenic recruitment team and chapter recruitment teams were not the only ones who made sure recruitment went off without a hitch. Our recruitment counselors were invaluable to us during this experience. Despite the changes to the job description, not a single recruitment counselor stepped down from their position. Our training still involved learning about being a supportive and empathetic resource to potential new members (PNMs) but also included a lot of technical Zoom skills, ensuring that our recruitment counselors were prepared to help chapters and PNMs troubleshoot, and make sure that PNMs knew where they needed to be when they needed to be there. All recruitment counselor training events were held virtually as well.

Despite all of the last minute changes that needed to be made, and the less than ideal circumstances, everyone involved maintained an extremely positive attitude, and I couldn’t be more proud of our campus’s Panhellenic community for being so supportive during this time.

For campuses who are recruiting in the spring, the best advice I can give, from both the chapter standpoint and the Panhellenic standpoint is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Reach out to other campuses and see what they did. Practice with your chapter, learn the breakout rooms, learn how Zoom works. Stay positive, stay organized and do as much as you can ahead of time. Don’t be discouraged by low numbers, because at the end of the day, these are difficult times for everyone. Smaller numbers also allowed for PNMs to have longer and more in-depth conversations with chapter members, which we received very positive feedback about.

Encourage your Panhellenic sisters to stay positive, and remember, everything is going to be okay. Use your community as a support system. I know for myself, I was so proud of how our entire fraternity and sorority life community stepped up to help us through this challenge. I couldn’t have done this alone, and am incredibly grateful for the help from our community, as well as my advisor, recruitment assistant, recruitment counselors, our Panhellenic president and chapter recruitment chairs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

From the NPC Chairman: Honoring 'Votes for Women' By Exercising Your Right to Vote

Dear friends,

Aug. 26, 2020, marked 100 years since the declaration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting American women the right to vote – a right known as women’s suffrage. The women’s suffrage movement began in 1848, and for the next 72 years, women fought diligently to secure the right to vote. It is these women – including Panhellenic sorority women Carrie Chapman Catt, Alice Duer Miller, the Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, among others – who rallied for "Votes for Women" and we have them to thank for expanding women’s rights and creating opportunities for future generations.

At the heart of democracy is the right to vote, and 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. If you aren’t registered to vote, 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.

One of NPC’s six advocacy building blocks is citizenship/service showing that Panhellenic women are committed to participating as active citizens to improve both campus and local/state/federal communities. Our goal is to instill the understanding and value that good citizenship is important for caring for others, respecting the law and improving community, and that volunteering teaches women of all ages compassion and understanding. Both citizenship and service ultimately advocate for the causes which we are each personally passionate about. By participating in the democratic process, we are helping to shape the world in which we want to live.

Register and make your plan to vote.

Record turnout at the polls is expected this year in the U.S., and the generational shift of eligible voters continues. According to a study by Pew Research, the youngest Americans – millennials (born 1977-1995) and Generation Z (born 1996-TBD) – will be poised to exercise their political muscle in November, making up 37% of the electorate. Generation X (born 1965-1976) makes up 25% of the electorate. Also, Gen Z is set to surpass the Silent Generation (born 1945 and before) in the size of the electorate for the first time and Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) remain the generation with the largest share of the voting-eligible population. Interestingly, millennials will make up a smaller share of the electorate than they did in the last presidential election, even as their population numbers have grown due to immigration.

Women continue to have the power to make a difference through their votes in 2020. The collective power of women's voices and votes can and will affect outcomes in our communities and at the national level. 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. 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.


Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

From the NPC Chairman: Importance of Modeling the Way to Prevent COVID-19 Transmission

As colleges/universities unveiled a myriad of re-opening plans for the fall academic term, students were caught between a desire to return to campus or to continue remote learning amid coronavirus fears. These re-opening plans ranged from in-person learning, remote classes and a hybrid model. But, as students began to return to campus, COVID-19 hotspots began to emerge resulting is some institutions moving to fully virtual classes.

#StopTheDrops that transmit COVID-19
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is committed to assisting our College Panhellenic women to be leaders in helping to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 outbreaks and help shape the behaviors of the broader campus community. As leaders on campus, we are encouraging sorority women to educate themselves by reviewing the COVID-19 information provided in NPC's #StopTheDrops health promotion campaign. Information can be found at and includes fast facts, resources on virus transmission, the #StopTheDrops video and other resources. It’s also important to review current college/university policies and guidelines from state and local agencies in order to be knowledgeable about local restrictions and guidance. What are the requirements for wearing masks, distancing, in-person gatherings, visitors, traveling and returning to campus?

Collaboration with other student leaders is another important element in leading the way in modeling safe behavior. How are other student leaders talking about the pandemic within their organizations? Being proactive and working together to #StopTheDrops will help stop the transmission of COVID-19 on your campus.

NPC was also proactive when it shifted its procedural guidance for campuses to transition to a fully virtual recruitment experience. As health concerns continued to rise, we then extended this guidance to all fall and spring recruitment campuses. Panhellenic recruitment hosted through the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year should be hosted as a fully virtual experience (recruitment events through electronic bid distribution.)

Most recently, the 26 member organizations that comprise NPC agreed to direct all collegiate chapters to ​​transition all chapter-sponsored Bid Day activities (i.e., gatherings and celebrations following bid distribution) to a fully virtual experience for the next 30 days (through Oct. 9, 2020).

All of this said, it is important that we all–collegians and alumnae–take the lead in modeling safe behavior. The perception that sorority women are responsible for spreading COVID-19 because they are socializing in large groups without masks is prevalent. College Panhellenics and member organizations are successfully planning and implementing safe membership recruitment in a virtual manner, but large in-person Bid Days and off-campus gatherings have affected the well-being of individuals and those which whom they have interacted.

As sorority women, we play an important role in providing opportunities for members to connect and deepen friendships, deepen engagement with the university and engage in lifelong learning. But during this time of uncertainty, great care must be taken to limit and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

It is my hope that we will all do our part to assist in preventing the spread of this virus so our collegiate members can enjoy the interaction they so deserve and experience what sisterhood is all about in meaningful ways.


Carole J. Jones
NPC chairman

Monday, August 24, 2020

#StopTheDrops That Spread COVID-19

Sorority women are making it our mission to stop the respiratory droplets that spread COVID-19. Follow #StopTheDrops on social media for educational resources, and help take action to stop the transmission of COVID-19 on your campus and beyond.

Watch the video to learn about the problem of shared air and how you can prevent the
transmission of the respiratory droplets that spread COVID-19. #StopTheDrops

Additional resources for College Panhellenics:
NOTE: While the #StopTheDrops content is geared toward sorority women, it applies to a wide audience. Even for campuses that have moved to a fully remote experience, stopping the spread of COVID-19 is still an important topic. Students may still live nearby each other or be traveling to meet in person, raising the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Remembering Sorority Suffragists

In honor of the centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment, we take a look back at some of the suffragist sorority women who paved the way for the future generations of women*. These 10 sorority women took action to make change and create a platform for women to continue to advocate for women's rights. The women we talk about here are just a fraction of the sorority women who used their voices to effect change and demand women's right to vote. In addition to being advocates for women’s rights, many of them were leaders in the fields of education, government and more. They not only paved the way for women to exercise their right to vote but served as role models for future generations of women.
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Ada Comstock Notestein

Ada Comstock Notestein, a member of Delta Gamma, was president of the American Association of University Women for two years. She also served as the first dean of women at the University of Minnesota and the first full-time president of Radcliffe College, a position which she held for 20 years. In addition, she convinced Harvard to accept classroom coeducation in 1943. As an advocate for education, Comstock helped hundreds of women earn a bachelor’s degree at Smith College. Part of Ada’s legacy is that she strove to help women in higher education achieve their goals. She now has a scholarship named after her for young college-aged women to achieve those same dreams.
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Alice Duer Miller

Alice Duer Miller was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and her writing skills took the suffrage movement by storm. She wrote poetry that had a huge impact on the movement and even wrote a column called, Are Women People? This column became a catchphrase for the suffrage movement. She followed that collection of columns with one called, Women Are People! Her illustrations and written works made her a known activist within the women’s suffrage movement and a pivotal voice in the U.S.

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Reverend Doctor Anna Howard Shaw

Reverend Doctor Anna Howard Shaw was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. Shaw was one of the first female Methodist ministers in the United States. She met Susan B. Anthony in 1888, who encouraged her to join the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Her great work also led her to be the president of the NAWSA, where she and Anthony worked closely together to advocate for women’s rights throughout the movement. She also played a key role in the merging of two suffrage associations and this was the first time in decades that unity between organizations had happened within the suffrage movement.

Carrie Lane Chapman Catt

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Carrie Lane Chapman Catt was a member of Pi Beta Phi and played a large role in the passage of the 19th Amendment and American women’s right to vote. It was Carrie who came up with what was known as the “Winning Plan” that coordinated state suffrage campaigns that lobbied for women’s rights, which helped ensure the development of the constitutional amendment. She helped found the League of Women Voters that gave women a platform and voice on political issues. Carrie was also the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1900 to 1904 and again from 1915 to 1920. She also wrote about the history of the suffrage movement that was published in 1923 called, Woman Suffrage and Politics: The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement.

Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Ph.D.

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Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Ph.D., was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She was a strong activist and voiced her support for women’s rights, racial equality and lifelong education through her activism. She even enlisted help from her sisters to aid in war-relief in France after World War I. After the war, she was head of the U.S. committee that allowed people to have the option to refuse to perform military service due to the freedom of thought, conscience or religion. Dorothy also worked for years trying to improve education reform and worked closely with the women’s prisons to do so. 

Edith and Grace Abbot

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Edith and Grace Abbott, two sisters who were both members of Delta Gamma and each had a tremendous impact on the suffragist movement. Edith became the first woman to become dean of an American graduate school. She was committed to advocating for social reform and welfare and spent a lot of her time doing so. She and Grace both moved to what was known as the Hull House, which was a community for educated women with scholarly and revolutionary thinking. Grace wrote and published a number of scholarly articles and government reports that contributed to women’s rights. 

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Grace Abbott, like her sister Edith, strove to advocate for women’s rights and improving children’s welfare, especially those who were immigrants. She was also the highest-ranking woman in the U.S. government for over a decade as the head of the U.S. Children’s Bureau. Grace became the first woman to be nominated and to hold a presidential cabinet position for the Secretary of Labor. A lot of her research and works were used in helping to make policies involving child labor laws across the United States.

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Eliza Jean Nelson Penfield 

Eliza Jean Nelson Penfield was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, who also served as Kappa Kappa Gamma’s president. She worked alongside Carrie Lane Chapman Catt to found the League of Women Voters. But, her push for the 19th Amendment didn’t stop there, as she was one of the seven women who chartered the Woman’s Suffrage Party of Greater New York. 

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Frances Willard 

Frances Willard was another suffragist who was a member of Alpha Phi, and like Eliza Jean Nelson Penfield, held the president position. Frances was also the president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Before she was elected president of the WCTU, she became the first corresponding secretary for the organization. She spent endless amounts of her time traveling to speak and give lectures advocating for women’s suffrage and home protection. Frances also helped found the World WCTU in 1888 and became the president just five years later. 

Mary Ritter Beard 

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Mary Ritter Beard, who was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She was a leader and activist in many areas such as education and women’s rights. Mary was a member of the Women’s Trade Union League, the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women, the New York Suffrage Party and the Wage-Earners’ Suffrage Party. On top of her long list of involvement, she was also on the advisory board of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, also known as the National Women’s Party. 

All of these women and many others made endless contributions towards women’s rights and what led to the 19th Amendment. They created a platform and even used their resources as sorority women to voice their thoughts and make a change in the world. They are an inspiration to women today on how you can make the world a better place, or at least your part of it. 

*The National Panhellenic Conference recognizes the 19th Amendment didn’t expand the right to vote to all women, but as women’s-only organizations we want to highlight the role our members played in the amendment’s passage and acknowledge it was a significant first step for all our members.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

From the NPC Chairman: We hear you and we are listening.

Dear friends,

We hear you and we are listening. Topics of diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and access have been an integral part of NPC’s strategic conversations, but the importance of these topics on college campuses and among our members have supported our need to shift from conversation to action. This work is not easy, and steering a ship with 26 member organization in it, each with different perspectives, sometimes may seem slow and awkward, but it is a challenge we are undertaking with sensitivity, humility and diligence.
As you may be aware, the NPC Board of Directors has appointed an NPC Access and Equity Advisory Committee, which will provide us with recommendations and guidance on increasing access to the sorority experience and equity across policies and procedures. This will include consideration of norms and practices that create barriers facing potential members based on racial identity, ethnicity, LGBTQ identity, religious beliefs, ability and socioeconomic status, among others. The committee’s work will complement efforts led at the NPC member organizational level regarding membership policies, programming and practices.

Committee members represent a range of identities – based on race, ethnicity, religion, age and ability – and also represent varied Greek-letter organizations. Their insights and perspectives will be critical as we make ours a community in which all women can engage as their full selves. View the committee announcement.

As this group begins its work, the Board of Directors and committee members will host a series of listening sessions in August with various NPC constituencies including College Panhellenic leaders, fraternity/sorority advisors, collegiate members and alumnae regarding access and equity. This is the first step in our journey to drive real change that reinforces the foundational values and strength of the Panhellenic experience.

In addition to the work of the committee, NPC has engaged the Cross-Cultural Fraternal Advising Institute Collaborative team to facilitate a virtual education session for collegiate sorority members titled “Cultivating a More Inclusive Recruitment Experience and Addressing Implicit Bias.” More than 470 participants are now better positioned to act with integrity across all aspects of membership growth, development and experiences. Soon, we will share the recording and a resource guide with all College Panhellenics so those who could not attend live will have the opportunity to benefit.

NPC leadership will also continue to engage with experts in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion and access to increase their knowledge of DEI factors and set a common language and framework for NPC’s DEI initiatives.

Moreover, NPC will continue to engage its other advisory groups – the Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Advisory Committee and the Student Advisory Committee – to provide their input and feedback related to NPC’s actions regarding diversity, equity, inclusion and access.

To report on the progress of NPC’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, including the work of the Access and Equity Advisory Committee, a new page has been added to our

As we continue our work in creating greater equity within and access to the sorority experience, difficult and meaningful conversations are taking place and new resources are being developed for our College Panhellenics. It is important work that will assist us in confronting racism and considering the structural and systemic reasons that too many women do not view our organizations as places where they feel welcomed, understood or heard.

During a conversation the Board of Directors had with Syreeta Greene, MSW, Ed.D., director of the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Multicultural Affairs, Midwestern State University, she stated, “The road to diversity, equity and inclusion is a journey not a destination.” NPC is committed to that journey.


Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman

Perspectives: What Sorority Means to Me

Sororities have always been a place for women to gather, build friendships, support academic pursuits, develop leaders and provide a sense of belonging. As the needs of women have changed, sorority has adapted to fit those needs. Today, while class instruction and the sorority experience may look and feel different on many campuses due to COVID-19, sorority is adapting to provide these benefits and the opportunity for real, personal connections through a virtual experience. Through it all, sisterhood and the benefits of the sorority experience remain.

Here are some of those benefits as voiced by collegiate members:

"My sorority helped me turn my college campus into a place that I can call home. These women started as strangers and are now some of my closest friends in the world. And, I know I can look to them to help in every aspect of my life – from academics to life advice." 
-Patricia, Tulane University (in a Her Campus/ Instagram story video)

"One of the things that I have loved most about being in my chapter has been the support system. More specifically, my sorority family has been my best support system ... These women are always here for me when I’m feeling down, need advice or just want someone to talk to and have made me feel at home, while being so far from home."
-Bridget, University of Tennessee-Knoxville (full story)

"I was worried about losing that connection with my sisters when we left campus (in spring 2020 due to the pandemic). But, I’ve found a new appreciation for our sisterhood. Sisterhood is in the little things. The texts, the FaceTime calls and the memories we create together make me that much more grateful to have my sisters in my life!"
-Bri, NPC intern for (full story)

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

From the NPC Chairman: Facing Challenges, Adapting to Changing Times - Together

Dear friends,

With the arrival of the 2020 fall term just around the corner, it’s without question that the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and its 26 member organizations are facing unparalleled challenges. As we make the necessary adjustments required by COVID-19 and to also address the conversation taking place within the sorority community about the legacy of racism within the Panhellenic system and the nation at-large, it’s a time that calls for unprecedented self-reflection.

Yet, as NPC continues to advocate for the sorority experience and works to preserve the single-gender experience, we need to remind ourselves that we are stronger and more powerful together as we face the new academic year head on. This is not the first time NPC and its member organizations have faced challenges and rapid change.

NPC and our member organizations have stood in solidarity and overcome the challenges presented by two world wars, The Great Depression and The Great Recession, waves of traditionalism and anti-fraternity sentiment and many other threats our existence. (To learn more, check out 
Adventure in Friendship on the NPC website.)

Today, the Panhellenic community is confronting new challenges including importantly taking stock of how we can and must more substantively and candidly engage about race, while actively confronting racism within our community. NPC’s new Equity and Access Advisory Committee will recommend and guide the Board of Directors on how to increase access to the sorority experience and equity across our policies and procedures. This shall include consideration of norms and practices that create barriers facing potential members based on racial identity, LGBTQ identity, religious beliefs, ability and socioeconomic status, among others. The committee’s recommendations shall be designed to complement efforts led at the member organizational level regarding membership policies, programming and practices.

Additionally, the COVID crisis has forced us to experience a very different way of living and learning, and has once again challenged us all to be flexible and innovative. As students return to campus in the fall, the safety of our members, volunteers and campus professionals with whom they interact is a primary concern and focus for NPC. We are developing a return to campus health promotion campaign which will including social media videos and accompanying educational resources for use by College Panhellenics and individual chapters in an effort to ensure our members will be illustrating care for all students of our campus communities.

Given that fraternities and sororities can often set the tone for campus social life, a return to “business as usual” is not acceptable and we are committed to empowering Panhellenic women to be leaders in helping to maintain healthy campus communities. By adopting safer behaviors, NPC members and chapters can help reduce the likelihood of outbreaks and help shape the behaviors of the broader campus community.

Further, as our College Panhellenic Associations and officers prepare contingency plans for hosting a safe recruitment on their campus, NPC is providing counsel on virtual recruitment platforms and expanding outreach and engagement activities to potential new members (PNMs). The Promotion of the Sorority Experience (2020) – POLICY, approved by the Council of Delegates in May, was adopted so all sorority members, alumnae and collegiate, were able to attract potential new members to the sorority experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since its approval, the implementation of this policy has resulted in many questions, concerns and examples of how members and chapters of our organizations are communicating with potential new members beyond the spirit of the new policy.

Communication should continue to be in line with positive Panhellenic contact and not promoting one organization as “the best.” The policy is intended to promote communication between members and potential new members about the overall sorority experience, not for members and organizations to promote solely their own organization and experience.

Chapters should engage women who have not yet registered for recruitment, not those who have already registered. College Panhellenics will continue to engage and keep PNMs informed about recruitment logistics and schedules as well as keep them engaged with recruitment counselors and other Panhellenic personnel.

The policy also provides the ability for collegiate and alumnae members to actively show their sorority affiliation and not be forced to delete social media accounts, cover up their membership or be penalized for talking about their sorority experience. It is not giving members the opportunity to host events or Zoom calls to engage PNMs with the purpose of getting to know them during recruitment-like events.

For more than 115 years, NPC and its member organizations have remained relevant because of the deep friendship offered by individual fraternity and Panhellenic life. As we have demonstrated many times over, together we will face our challenges head on, rise to the moment and adapt to changing times – and we will be better and stronger for it.


Carole J. Jones
NPC Chairman

Monday, June 15, 2020

From the NPC Chairman: Three Considerations for Addressing Racism in the Panhellenic Community

Dear friends,

I write to you this month during a period of sincere reflection and sadness—in our nation and within our community.

The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among far too many others, are challenging each of us, and the organizations to which we belong (Panhellenic and otherwise), to more substantively and candidly engage about race and confront racism.

For the members of the National Panhellenic Conference Board of Directors, the time and place in which we find ourselves has called for clear acknowledgment that racism—within society and within the Panhellenic community—is not an issue we can address simply through kindness or greater respect for one another (as important as those may be). Instead, we must carefully consider the structural and systemic reasons that too many women of color do not view our organizations as places where they feel welcomed, understood or heard.

Our approach must change, and the Board of Directors offers at least three considerations we must confront if we are to honestly reconsider our path forward as a conference and a community of Panhellenic women:

First, our organizations do not reflect the diversity that our Panhellenic communities hope to achieve.  As a community, we don't make ourselves broadly attractive to women of color and we have too often fallen short in supporting our Black and Brown sisters.

The reasons for this are numerous and grounded in a clear history of past discrimination. It is vital, however, that we confront the reality that the lack of diversity within our ranks is not an accident. Decades of narratives, norms and practices have made the “typical” sorority experience understood through a white lens. This is uncomfortable to consider, but it is true.

Second, we believe that we must consider—and change—the systems and norms within the Panhellenic community that have historically benefited and centered the experiences of white women and women of privilege, more generally.

The manner in which we respond to this second area will determine whether we will ultimately make progress in the first. We know that many of our member organizations are already engaging in some of this work. As a board, we recognize these changes at the organizational level must reflect each organizations’ values, culture and sense of purpose. However, as a Panhellenic community, we must acknowledge that we are tied together, and creating lasting change will require each of us to re-evaluate long-standing assumptions about how we operate, recruit and support collegiate sorority women.

Third, as a Panhellenic community, we have an obligation and responsibility to empower our members and volunteers and to openly discuss race and racial injustice.

For many of us in the Panhellenic community, we become reserved and hesitant when race or racism are discussed. In many cases, we have been taught that “we don’t see color” or to “treat everyone equally.” These feelings and sentiments are sometimes understandable and often well-intended, but—as the members of the board have learned—their effect is to ignore and brush aside the many ways that race does shape our society and create unequal experiences within our community. If we are to prepare and empower young women as future leaders, and particularly if we are going to fully embrace BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and LGBTQ+ Panhellenic women, we must no longer shy away from or be fearful of these critical conversations.

As we consider each of these areas, and others that will no doubt arise, we also ask for some grace. We, as a community, will stumble as we work to find our way. But our hope is that we can drive real change that reinforces the foundational values and strength of the Panhellenic experience.

In the near term, this will likely mean difficult and meaningful conversations, the creation of new resources and a commitment to support and work with College Panhellenics as we consider the themes addressed in this note. In the long term, it will require us to continue critical conversations with our Black and Brown sisters, as well as those who advocate for and support them, in order to develop and implement new approaches, policies, agreements and expectations.

For more than 100 years, the National Panhellenic Conference has been an organization that advances the sorority experience together. It is clearer than ever before that our ability to do that effectively now—and to empower collegiate women in the current moment—calls us to reimagine what “together” truly means.

We are humbled by the many comments and experiences shared within our community in recent weeks, and we remain optimistic about our ability to join together in creating a welcoming, inclusive Panhellenic community that our current and future members deserve.


NPC Chairman Carole J. Jones with NPC Directors Mary Baker, Cheri De Jong, Laura Doerre, Rie Hoehner, Malaea Seleski, Laura Sweet and CEO Dani Weatherford