As the Labor Day holiday weekend draws near, summer is coming to a close and autumn is almost here. With the fall 2021 semester upon us, many expect to be back to in-person learning on our college/university campuses and ready to start the new academic year. I think we all get excited just thinking about seeing our sisters, friends, professors and administrators and can’t wait for our first football game of the fall! Unfortunately, while many of us want everything to be back to normal, COVID-19 continues to be a threat to our members, families and friends. As conditions looked pretty good several months ago, state and local governments began opening up, businesses opened their doors and many of us considered the pandemic close to an end. However, the Delta variant has proven to be our newest problem – just when we head back to school.
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is committed to the health and well-being of our members as they return to campus. Our commitment is to assist our College Panhellenic women in making sure we lead the way in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and set the example of positive, healthy behavior.
We realize this is also the time when many of our chapters will be engaging in primary recruitment. But, again, NPC’s goal is to assist our Panhellenic leaders in engaging in responsible behavior and making safe choices for the sorority community. Please see our previous communications regarding recruitment contingency planning and the potential flexibility that may be needed. View the communications: Fall 2021 Recruitment Contingency Planning Recommendations (Feb. 25) | IMPORTANT: Prioritizing Health & Safety in Recruitment (July 30).
We also continue to recommend that our members follow campus, state and local guidelines as well as the most current CDC guidelines on how to keep yourself and others safe from the virus, including getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting and taking other health precautions.
As our community begins the semester in a safe and protected way through this ongoing pandemic, we can also share with new members, parents and administrators the positive and valuable experience of sorority membership. Recent research from a nationwide survey conducted in collaboration with Gallup on life outcomes of fraternity and sorority membership shows a correlation with strong undergraduate experiences, career skills development and post-graduate well-being for our members as compared to nonmembers. So, as recruitment begins, it is exciting to see the positive influences of fraternity and sorority membership and the opportunity to share these outcomes with potential new members and our communities. View the report: Fraternities & Sororities: Experiences and Outcomes in College, Work and Life.
As Panhellenic women, we share responsibility for the well-being of our sorority community. I wish everyone a happy and healthy start to the 2021-22 academic year.
Cheri M. De Jong