Thursday, October 22, 2020

Overcoming Obstacles to Share Scholarship: 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.

Panhellenically,






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 npcwomen.org/stopthedrops 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.


Panhellenically,






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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Photo Source:
Smith.edu

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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Photo Source:
AliceDuerMiller.com
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.

Photo Source:
 NPS.gov


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


Photo Source:
Catt.org
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.

Photo Source:
Franbecque.com


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


Photo Source:
Geni.com

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. 


Photo Source:
Plainshumanities.edu
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.




Photo Source:
Franbecque.com

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. 



Photo Source:
Franceswillardhouse.org

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 


Photo Source:
Franbecque.com

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
 website.

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.


Panhellenically,




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/TheSororityLife.com 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 TheSororityLife.com (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.

Panhellenically,






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.

Panhellenically,




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

Monday, June 8, 2020

Sharing Your Sorority Experience with Potential Members

By now, many of us can imagine that this fall, NPC sorority recruitment is likely to look very different as campuses move to virtual instruction or a hybrid of in-person and virtual instruction. As members of NPC sororities, both alumnae and collegiate members, we are all vital in attracting potential new members to the sorority experience. But, it can be nerve-racking not knowing how to approach a potential new member or what to do if she approaches you.

You want to handle these conversations in a way that promotes the overall sorority experience, not just one organization or chapter. The potential member should be learning about your experience and how she can have similar experiences in any NPC sorority. 

During your conversation with her, you can offer to answer any questions she has about sorority membership. Making a personal connection with her allows her to gain an insight into sorority membership which can lead to her participation in recruitment. By having that conversation, you might also encourage her to join a sorority if she hadn’t been thinking about it before. After all, we can’t recruit women who don’t know about our organizations or the benefits of membership. 

 Structuring the Conversation

To help you feel more confident having these kinds of conversations about sororities and your sorority experience, we’ve broken it down into an easy three-step process, inspired by our friends at Phired Up.

By now, many of us can imagine that this fall, NPC sorority recruitment is likely to look very different as campuses move to a hybrid of in-person and virtual instruction or full virtual instruction. As members of NPC sororities, both alumnae and collegiate members, we are all vital in attracting potential new members to the sorority experience. But, it can be nerve-racking not knowing how to approach a potential new member or what to do if she approaches you.

You want to handle these conversations in a way that promotes the overall sorority experience, not just one organization or chapter. The potential member should be learning about your experience and how she can have similar experiences in any NPC sorority.

  • Quick greeting
    • Finding a way to introduce yourself and state who you are, if the potential member doesn’t already know you. You can also mention what organization you are a member of here.
  •   Share benefit(s) of membership
    • There are many you could list but reflect on your experience and the benefits you have a connection with. Think about skills you’ve grown, relationships you’ve built, connections you’ve made and opportunities presented to you thanks to your sorority membership.  
  • Share how she can have access to the experience
    • End with an actionable closing that allows the potential member to learn more, sign up for recruitment, attend an information event, etc. This might take some research, but you want to give this woman a way she can find out more information. Many young women may not know how to sign up for recruitment or that they even need to sign up. Help make it easier for her to join a sorority.

Modeling the Conversations

So, what does that look like when you have a conversation in-person with a potential member? Let’s pretend you’re at a Starbucks on campus and a woman in line behind you asks about the sorority button on your backpack and asks what sorority you are a member of. Your response might look something like this:

            “My name is Sally, and I’m in Alpha Alpha Alpha sorority. I met my best friends in my sorority and they’ve really helped me find a home on campus since I’m an out of state student. If you’re thinking about joining a sorority, we’re having an information night tomorrow, you should come and learn more about the other sororities on campus.”

Alumnae might not always have the same experience running into a potential member in a campus Starbucks, but they may have other unexplored connections with potential members. If you are an alumna, do you know any of your co-workers that have a daughter or niece going to college? You could share your experience with your colleague who can talk to the college-bound woman they know. Parents and caregivers play a significant role in helping students decide if sorority is for them. Also consider connections you have at places you volunteer, organizations you are a member of, other family members, etc.

Taking the Conversation Online

Social media is a powerful tool you can use to share your story and connect with potential new members and their parents/caregivers. Sharing your sorority journey can have a positive impact in a few ways. It allows women interested in joining to learn more about the sorority experience through you. You have lived the sorority experience and know if sorority is worth the investment (which we hope you think it is). That is exactly the information that potential members are seeking. Is sorority worth it?

You can maximize your posts by using hashtags like #JoinASorority so your post can be found by a broader range of women. For collegiate members, think about using hashtags that promote the graduating class like #ClassOf2020 and the name of your university to help your posts be discovered by incoming students.


In addition, when you share your story you invite potential members and their caregivers to connect with you. If a potential member likes your post or follows you, it is perfectly ok and encouraged to
 reach out to her and make a connection. This is where you can implement the three-step process to having a conversation with her. You can see an example of this with image to the right. 

We hope you will begin to think of the ways you can help attract potential members to the sorority experience. Our organizations depend on bringing in new members this fall and it will take collegians and alumnae to see a successful recruitment in the 2020-21 academic year.

 

 


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Reflection from the 2017-2019 Harriet Macht Alumnae Panhellenic Winner


  In the 2017-2019 biennium, the Northern Virginia Alumnae Panhellenic won the Harriet Macht Outstanding Alumnae Panhellenic Award. We asked them to reflect on their association's purpose, programming and events that led them to this prestigious honor.
The Northern Virginia Alumnae Panhellenic accepting the
 Harriet Macht Award at the Annual Educational Conference in 2016. 

   1. As an award-winning Alumnae Panhellenic, do you have suggestions for keeping records for your Alumnae Panhellenic?

It is important to always maintain historical records for the alumnae Panhellenic. During conversations and planning, questions always arise as to how various projects were planned and executed, whether it be a fundraising event programming, a scholarship program or a recruitment information event. Periodically reviving some previous activities with a fresh approach is helpful. The ability to have access to the previous activity and the details is important and to accomplish that, files need to maintained using several methods so that things are not “lost”.

One way to maintain the files is to have a good transition meeting which can be either individuals getting together and sharing the knowledge and files of the previous year. They can do this based on their own schedules and then the incoming officer/chairman can share information with their committee and the officers. An alternative is to hold a transition meeting of the outgoing board and the incoming board, providing time for the individuals to chat and share and then the outgoing board may leave, allowing the new board to continue the meeting, set goals and share the information received through conversation and files received.

Files can be shared in several ways – via email, notebooks, flash drives and through archives (such as scrapbooks). The sharing of information via email that includes emails sent during the year, documents created and saved. There are cons to this method – computer crashes, people moving and there is no further and the information is lost. The pros include the portability of the files and information.

The sharing of notebooks is also a mixed bag of successes and failures. It is not helpful if an officer/committee chairman does not keep good records, update a notebook with information, having notebooks that are cumbersome and information is extremely outdated. The good is that there is information in one place to be passed along. Unfortunately, at times the notebooks don’t go to the next person due to inability to meet and the information becomes lost. We have found that the most important files are those of the Vice President of Finance and hard copies of documents, as well as
soft copies, are best shared in several ways – notebook, flash drive, and uploaded to a site – especially EIN information and IRS filings!

Flash drives are easily misplaced and not labeled. The result of this is that they are not passed along to those who will need the information and it is not shared with others who might need some of the information contained on the drive.

A couple of successful ways to keep records is to have a Google drive with folders containing detailed information pertaining to specific positions that officers/committee chairman can access via a password.  A second method of keeping records is to have an historian whose responsibility is to provide a summary of the year and including rosters, awards, governing documents, minutes plus details of each month’s activities. This, too, can be kept on a drive for easy access. Documents can also be uploaded to the alumnae Panhellenic database account that the National Panhellenic Conference hosts through FSCentral.

Record keeping and file exchanges are important to the success of an alumnae Panhellenic and using several methods has been very helpful to us as we have immediate access to information and can continue to move the alumnae Panhellenic forward with planning each year. We have the ability to continue to grow our organization in many ways and build on the past.


   2.Since being selected as the award winner, how have you sustained Panhellenic excellence through this new biennium (2019-21)?

One of the goals for the new biennium for our alumnae Panhellenic is to continue the forward and upward momentum we have experienced throughout our history. It is important to evaluate the programming, fundraising efforts, scholarship program, and our communication to determine how we can improve on what we have been doing.

This year we have established the “Year of Changes” as our theme. Looking at the changes within the National Panhellenic Conference we believe that we, too, should look at how we can push ourselves to make changes. We are not happy to continue to do things in the same way as in the past and the last several years are great examples. New social events, new program ideas to provide information to our members about topics relevant to today’s Panhellenic women were developed. These included a presentation on Generation Z giving information on what to expect for the newest employees in the workforce and volunteer organizations; NPC 101 providing what is the National Panhellenic Conference, how the changes will affect operations and focus plus how an alumnae Panhellenic fits into NPC; programs for our members to learn about topics that are non-Panhellenic in nature; and programs to help our members enhance their personal lives.

Sustaining excellence in our organization through community service/philanthropy has been paramount. We do, as alumnae women support each other with fundraising and volunteer opportunities for individual alumnae chapters. In addition, the Northern Virginia Alumnae Panhellenic Association has established three specific organizations that we support annually – Ellie’s Hats, Women Giving Back, and Circle of Sisterhood. Two are local to our area and one is a national endeavor.  We, as a Panhellenic, continue to find ways to grow our support of these organizations using innovative giving opportunities.

Fundraising for our scholarship program is constantly being improved whether it be using new technologies to help collect funds, finding new and fresh ideas for our long-standing fundraising event which continues to increase interest and interaction between Panhellenic women, their friends and family, and support our scholarship program.

The ability to provide scholarships to outstanding Panhellenic women is one of the cornerstones of our alumnae Panhellenic.  This year, we have totally changed our application, our process, and emphasized the message to the campuses with NPC chapters in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We were not satisfied with the status quo as to the number of applicants nor with the method for submission of applications. We are starting to see early success that we attribute to the new processes we have embraced and are excited to see the final result.

Our communication both internal and external is constantly improving through social media usage, email, personal outreach, and publicity regarding our alumnae Panhellenic awards to the community and stakeholders is one of our goals. Our messaging is being refreshed and we look forward to continuing to find new ways to share the positives of sororities with those outside of our alumnae Panhellenic.

The Northern Virginia Alumnae Panhellenic Association members are excited to plan and discuss how we can continue to stay the course of excellence as we continue to focus on the “Year of Changes!”

3. Do you have any words of encouragement or suggestions for Alumnae Panhellenics across the country who are striving towards excellence?

As Panhellenic women, we strive to continue to grow and improve how we operate and how we can inspire future members to stay involved and engaged in Panhellenic life.  It is important to not be satisfied with the status quo, but to try to attain higher goals for your organization. This takes work, cooperation, communication, and dedication to the ideals of the National Panhellenic Conference and Alumnae Panhellenics. 

In looking through our historical files as we are in the process of looking at previous decades’ worth of scrapbooks, finding and keeping pertinent historical information, scanning documents, awards, and pictures to organize and house in a specific, safe “place,” we have found a wealth of information. Of particular note, we found previous award certificates that showed how our alumnae Panhellenic has historically been recognized for our successes and with each year or biennium, we have continued to improve upon what we had done previously.  Our words of encouragement would be to keep on improving how you do things by discussing your goals and thinking of new ways to live the vision, mission, and values of the National Panhellenic Conference in all that you do.  It does not matter the size of your alumnae Panhellenic, where you are located in the country, whether your membership is alumnae chapter-based, individual members or a combination, but what does matter is the vision you have for your organization, providing value to your members to keep them engaged, and how you advocate for the sorority experience in all that you do! Panhellenic women are phenomenal and can do anything!