by Carole Jurenko Jones, Alpha Delta (U of Alabama), 2017-2019 NPC Chairman
When I wrote my first chairman’s message last November, little did I know how prophetic it might prove to be. Now, as I reflect on this past year, the members of the National Panhellenic Conference most certainly have been “facing challenges and embracing opportunities… together.”
During 2017, we identified many challenges, including a plateau in sorority community expansion and a decline in the number of college-aged students, which make up the vast majority of our potential pool for new members. We were also aware of the impacts to the sorority experience from new generational trends for our current members as well as incoming college students.
All of these things were putting pressure on NPC and our member organizations to examine how we work internally and how we work together. Yet, even more challenges lay ahead including student tragedies that would call us to be even more vigilant in fighting against hazing, alcohol abuse and dangerous social cultures on college campuses.
There also was an increase in policy decisions that would restrict the right of students to freely associate and threaten the opportunity for collegians to become sorority members.
NPC faced these challenges head on and embraced the opportunities laid before us, and we did so with NPC leadership, staff and our 26 member organizations working toward the same objective: To advance the sorority experience together.
Our work began with five strategic priorities:
- Preservation of the sorority experience
- Growth and sustainability
- Conference structure
- Public relations and marketing strategy to promote the sorority experience
- Implementation of the NPC communication plan
With those priorities in mind, we executed the kinds of operational activities that make a difference for our member organizations, College Panhellenics and Alumnae Panhellenics. It’s that combination of strategic planning and operational work that demonstrates our commitment to tackling important issues that impact the Panhellenic community so the sorority experience may thrive now and for generations to come.
NPC’s voice has been heard as we continue efforts to advocate for and preserve the sorority experience. We have taken our message on campus visits, to state legislators and to the steps of Capitol Hill. Working hand in hand with each other and with our fraternity partners we are making a difference on our campuses, in our communities and on the state and national levels.
NPC continues to advocate for the positions we have taken against infringement on the rights of our organizations through conversations with university and college administrators with the purpose of providing education that we want to be partners with our host institutions, but when oversight overreaches, we are proactive in protecting our future.
Continued collaboration with our member organizations, industry partners and higher education administrators will ensure that our sorority and fraternity communities stay vibrant and healthy now and into the future.
Feature stories in this year’s report include NPC’s advocacy work, the work of NPC think tanks to address the challenges of today’s world, partnerships, College Panhellenic Academy, College Panhellenic projects, Alumnae Panhellenic projects and communications.