The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is committed to creating a more welcoming, inclusive Panhellenic community, including addressing racism and racial injustice in our community. The Board of Directors continues to work with the NPC staff, among many others, to take action on these commitments and to incorporate a focus on access and equity in everything we do. This page will be updated to keep you informed of our efforts. Please click a section title below for more information.
Below are updates from NPC on our diversity, equity, inclusion and access efforts. The most recent communications and actions are displayed first.
- NPC collaborated with the Piazza Center to evaluate diversity, equity and inclusion within NPC-affiliated sorority chapters. One of two research studies are complete.
- Since fall 2022, the NPC Panhellenic Recruitment Committee has identified more than 100 College Panhellenics that could benefit from a shift in recruitment styles. The goal is to provide greater access to potential new members by offering flexible schedules that include more women in the primary joining process.
- The NPC Panhellenics Team developed a resource focused on reducing recruitment barriers for students with intellectual disabilities. This resource offers College Panhellenics best practices for creating an inclusive and equitable experience for students who would not traditionally have access to sorority membership and was shared in the April 2023 College Panhellenic Newsletter. It can also be accessed on the NPC website here.
- In April 2022, the Council of Delegates adopted several policy changes suggested by the recruitment reform project teams to reduce barriers to sorority membership. For example, changes were made to the policy on Values-Based Recruitment and the policy on Panhellenic Officer Disassociation During Recruitment was removed.
- In the March 2022 NPC Chairman’s Messsage, NPC Chairman Cheri M. De Jong has provided an update on NPC’s continuing efforts to create a more accessible and equitable Panhellenic sorority experience, including NPC’s recruitment reform efforts and investments in resources and training for Panhellenics. (March 2022)
- NPC continues its work to expand access to and improve equity within the sorority experience, particularly regarding the recruitment process. This work includes providing a discussion guide to College Panhellenics on how to identify and overcome challenges in providing a more inclusive and equitable recruitment experience. The board also charged several committees with examining NPC’s recruitment structures, recruitment processes, costs, education and marketing and making recommendations regarding how to increase access to the sorority experience. These Recruitment Reform Projects completed at the end of 2021 and the board will determine next steps to be taken from the recommendations. (January 2022)
- NPC is taking action on feedback given during the 2020 DEI Listening Sessions that there is a clear need for College Panhellenics to receive education and training on a variety of equity, inclusion and diversity topics. During the 2021-22 academic year, NPC is hosting a quarterly educational webinar series, presented by Social Responsibility Speaks, for College Panhellenics. Topics covered include incorporating equity, diversity and inclusion into everything a Panhellenic does and creating a culture of care and accountability. (Fall 2021)
- NPC translates the first set of membership education materials into Spanish, increasing awareness and knowledge of the sorority experience in Spanish-speaking students and households. (Spring 2023).
- In 2021-23 NPC Chairman Cheri De Jong’s first Chairman’s Message, she reiterates the commitment of the 2021-23 NPC Board of Directors to the Conference’s access and equity initiatives. Read the message. (July 2021)
- 2019-21 NPC Chairman Carole J. Jones has published a reflection on the work of NPC and member organizations to increase access to and equity within the sorority experience during the past year as well as additional work underway. Read the message. (June 2021)
- NPC has published a new position statement on the Commitment to Offering Equitable and Accessible Membership Opportunities. In the statement, NPC expressly condemns all forms of discrimination and affirms its commitment to welcoming all women to the Panhellenic sisterhood. Read the position statement. (February 2021)
- NPC announced a year-long initiative to examine the cost of sorority membership and identify ways to reduce or eliminate cost-related barriers to membership. These barriers create a systemic hurdle to membership based on socioeconomic status. Read the news release. (Jan. 26, 2021)
- During College Panhellenic Academy, held Jan. 22-23, DEI topics were integrated across the curriculum for College Panhellenic officers and fraternity/sorority advisors. Additionally, attendees participated in a keynote session with Krystal Clark, chairman of NPC’s Access and Equity Advisory Committee, who shared her story about being a Black woman, her path to joining a Panhellenic sorority and the hurdles that stood in her way. Attendees also heard from Simone Brooks, founder of the Rutgers Panhellenic’s Coalition for Women of Color (CWC), regarding her intersectional experience of being a woman of color in Panhellenic. (January 2021)
- In the December Chairman’s Message, 2019-21 NPC Chairman Carole Jones reiterated the board’s three frameworks regarding their contribution to the discussion about race and racial injustice and how those three frameworks fit into the larger effort of creating a vision for the future of Panhellenic sorority life. (Dec. 8, 2020)
- NPC has published a summary of the overarching themes that emerged from the DEI listening sessions held with various stakeholders in fall 2020. The NPC Access and Equity Advisory Committee is considering these themes as they continue their work. We have also shared these themes with NPC and member organization leaders, volunteers and staff. Read the summary. (Dec. 2, 2020)
- NPC will elect/appoint a new Board of Directors in 2021. Members of the NPC Access and Equity Advisory Committee subcommittee tasked with consulting on inclusion of diversity factors for NPC workforce recruitment met with and offered guidance to the NPC Nominating Committee regarding changes to the recruitment and application process to help broaden the pipeline of Panhellenic women interested in board service. (November 2020)
- The NPC Access and Equity Advisory Committee continues to meet. As part of their efforts, they have divided their work into three subcommittees 1) Auditing of Unanimous Agreements, policies, best practices and template documents, 2) Consulting on inclusion of diversity factors for NPC workforce recruitment and 3) Identifying barriers to access created by norms and practices at the campus level. These subcommittees will meet throughout fall 2020. (Oct. 12, 2020)
- The NPC Access and Equity Advisory Committee facilitated listening sessions designed for different stakeholder groups that included the following: fraternity/sorority advisors, College Panhellenic officers, NPC alumnae members, NPC collegiate members (who are not Panhellenic officers) and fraternity and sorority collegiate community members who are not members of NPC organizations. The NPC Access and Equity Advisory Committee will use the feedback gathered during these sessions as they complete the next steps of their charge. (Sept. 4, 2020)
- NPC Virtual Educational Session Follow-up: Cultivating a More Inclusive Recruitment Experience and Addressing Implicit Bias (Includes video recording and resource guide) (Aug. 13, 2020)
- From the NPC Chairman: We hear you and we are listening. (Aug. 11, 2020)
- NPC Announces Access and Equity Advisory Committee to Help Identify Reforms to Eliminate Structural and Systemic Barriers to Sorority Membership (Aug. 3, 2020)
- From the NPC Chairman: Three Considerations for Addressing Racism in the Panhellenic Community (June 2020)
- An Honest Dialogue About Racism in the Panhellenic Community (June 2020)
NPC member organizations also are taking steps regarding diversity, equity and inclusion topics within their organizations and with their membership. Examples include:
- In summer 2020, more than half of the 26 NPC member organizations are ending, or currently reviewing, legacy and recommendations policies that gave preferential treatment to potential new members in way that significantly benefited white women and others with privilege.
- NPC member organizations are taking approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion that meet the needs of their specific organization and membership. Most organizations have publicly announced initiatives that range from audits to education to working groups and more. We encourage you to visit each organization’s website for specific details.
Over the years, NPC has made incremental changes to improve cultural competency within the Panhellenic community and address topics of diversity, equity and inclusion across multiple factors, such as race, religion, ability or socioeconomic background. Examples include:
- For more than a decade, NPC has counseled College Panhellenics to avoid scheduling recruitment or other events that will not conflict with major religious or cultural holidays. College Panhellenics also are encouraged to incorporate other events or celebrations that are important to members and the community into their calendars.
- NPC ongoing advocacy work on behalf of students with colleges/universities and policymakers includes ways to promote college affordability, which can impact young women’s ability to join our organizations.
- In summer 2020, the NPC Board of Directors participated in education sessions with members of the Cross-Cultural Fraternal Advising Institute Collaborative team to increase board members’ knowledge of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) factors and set a common language and framework for NPC’s DEI initiatives.
- In early 2020, NPC updated the language used around the expansion of sorority life to be more inclusive and align with best practices in higher education and within many of our member organizations. A new sorority chapter is no longer called a “colony” and instead is a “newly establishing chapter.” NPC has updated the NPC Manual of Information, as well as educational resources related to Panhellenic extension procedures.
- During the 2020 NPC College Panhellenic Academy, NPC hosted Dr. Suzette Walden Cole of the Cross-Cultural Fraternal Advising Institute Collaborative to present the keynote “Cultivating Diverse and Inclusive Panhellenic Communities Takes Work.” The keynote included a presentation as well as discussion among participants about how they have or can create more inclusive spaces for women of various identities.
- In 2018, NPC added implicit bias training for recruitment counselors to educational materials used by College Panhellenics for recruitment counselor training.
- In an effort to create cohesive communities, many campuses have been requiring student organizations to include non-discrimination policy language in registered student organization governing documents. To assist College Panhellenics with this language, NPC added an inclusion statement in its model bylaws for College Panhellenics in 2018.
- In 2018, the NPC Foundation doubled the amount of scholarship award dollars available to college-age sorority women. In the past five years, the NPC Foundation has awarded more than $30,000 in scholarships to undergraduate and graduate sorority women.
- First added in 2017 with additional tools added in 2018 and 2020, the NPC Financial Transparency Policy seeks to help potential new members make informed decisions about the financial commitment of sorority membership. All chapters are to use a consistent, clear format to share detailed financial information (member dues, chapter fees and assessments, etc.) with potential new members prior to extending a bid.
- In 2014, NPC adopted a formal position statement against discrimination that, in part, states, “NPC member organizations do not discriminate in membership selection on any basis prohibited by law.”