Fall is finally here in most parts of the country, although it seems in some places, we are bouncing between late summer and fall. And while the seasons are in flux, our campuses are more than halfway through the fall semester and already starting to plan for the spring. My, how the time flies by!
Just a few weeks ago, the NPC board of directors and staff welcomed more than 170 member organization leaders, partners and other guests as we hosted our Annual Conference in Dallas. As I shared with the attendees: “One hundred and twenty-one years ago, nine member organizations came together to formally create the National Panhellenic Conference. They were focused on creating standards that all sororities would adhere to, along with fostering cooperation and mutual assistance. As we gather this week, let us embrace the continued spirit this Conference was founded upon, which has and will continue to play an integral role in navigating our path forward together.” I am pleased (but not surprised) to say, that as I connected with old friends and met many new Panhellenic sisters, I could feel the desire of all attendees to work together to advance the sorority experience.
Attendees had the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers during several large group sessions. We opened with our higher education panel discussion entitled Promoting the Women’s Only Experience: Lessons from Women’s College Admissions, which included marketing and enrollment professionals from women’s-only colleges and universities.
The panel explored the parallels between NPC member organizations and their schools in how they approach the recruitment and retention of today’s young women. As one panelist shared: “When you educate a woman, you empower the world”. Today’s young women are looking for connections with other women who can lift them up and help them build strong networks that will benefit them long after they have left college.
Our second speaker was attorney Toby Eveland, managing partner for Saul Ewing LLP’s Chicago office. Toby shared several recent campus situations that impact our industry, especially those that may harm freedom of association.
Our second panel discussion, What’s Happening on the Ground? Thoughts from College Panhellenic Officers and Advisors, was comprised of College Panhellenic presidents and their fraternity/sorority advisors from Southern Methodist University, the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Texas at Arlington. These women shared their insights on recruitment, marketing and the impact of NPC policies on their campuses. They were open and honest about the successes and challenges they face on their campuses today.
Our final speaker was Chris Smith of Smith Insights. Chris presented during last year’s conference and returned this year to provide an update on the project he has been working on for NPC regarding analysis of recruitment and membership data and trends. Chris shared insights related to the timing of recruitment registration, the number of women signed up, and overall member organization trends regarding recruitment and retention. Each member organization was provided with its own data to better understand how they are performing as it relates to structured recruitment and COB.
A luncheon was held to recognize the recipients of several NPC Awards and their service to the sorority community. We wrapped up the conference with a visit to Texas Christian University (TCU), where attendees could tour the sorority houses in Worth Hills Greek Village and enjoy dinner in the Legends Club overlooking the TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium. NPC thanks TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. for hosting us and providing a wonderful evening full of Panhellenic spirit and fun.
Following the Annual Conference, a meeting of the Council of Delegates was held. Delegates voted to amend Unanimous Agreements and several NPC College Panhellenic policies. Jen Daurora, chair of the Total Method Setting Team (TMST), joined the meeting as the Delegates discussed total setting and key indicators of success for the current pilot.
The TMST has been partnering with campuses this fall in determining the best method of setting total on each campus, factoring in unique campus attributes and data points within the community. In the spring, this process will be simplified because College Panhellenics will no longer need to vote on the total method. This is an “all hands on deck” effort and I am grateful for the time and energy our TMST team members have, and continue to, provide. I am also thankful to our member organizations for sharing their talent with NPC.
Overall feedback on this year’s Annual Conference has been positive and individuals expressed their gratitude for changes made in the overall schedule and, more importantly, the quality of speakers and information shared. The Annual Conference provides leaders of our organizations time to establish new relationships and deepen existing ones. I always feel energized after spending time with my Panhellenic sisters discussing our positive impact on today’s college women and future generations.
As we now turn towards a season of thanksgiving, I want to take this moment to say thank you to each of you reading this letter. You are a vital part of our community and your dedication to ensuring the Panhellenic spirit continues and grows is greatly appreciated.
2023-24 NPC chair