by Carole Jurenko Jones, Alpha Delta (U of Alabama), 2017-2019 NPC Chairman
In fall 2017, the National Panhellenic Conference Executive Committee established four “think tanks” to research and develop recommendations on various topics so NPC could proactively approach the challenges and issues of today’s world. The four think tanks examined these topics: NPC Structure, Recruitment and Expanded Membership Model, Public Relations and Marketing and NPC Call for Critical Change. Their work began in January 2018 and I’m excited to share an update on the work accomplished to date.
NPC Structure: To be able to act nimbly and quickly, NPC’s operational board of directors should become more strategic in focus. In support of that objective, the think tank proposed a new structure for NPC, with a seven-member board of directors responsible for developing and implementing a visionary strategic plan, representing NPC to external entities and advocating for the sorority experience. At the same time, NPC staff and volunteers will carry out operational work, including serving as area advisors, RFM specialists and committee members. Importantly, each member organization will still have a representative to carry out the Conference work as well as to vote on Unanimous Agreements as sovereign organizations. The essential work of serving College and Alumnae Panhellenics also will not change.
Recruitment and Expanded Membership Model: The Recruitment and Expanded Membership Model examined ways to help ensure sorority membership remains relevant to today’s young women and to assist NPC member organizations and College Panhellenics with growing the sorority experience. Seven subgroups were formed to research and develop recommendations on these topics:
- Variable Quota & RFM implications
- Generation Z and impact on our membership
- Decrease in numbers and how it impacts our cost of doing business
- Ensuring diversity within sorority membership
- Collection and monitoring of membership statistics (retention)
- Adapting to changing demographics
- Community colleges
As a result of their work, the following priorities for NPC were established: Developing College Panhellenic initiatives regarding diversity and inclusion, assisting College Panhellenics with marketing the sorority experience, promoting financial transparency with potential new members and their families, developing educational tools and resources for College Panhellenics to better attract and serve Generation Z and devoting resources to data collection. There are many more details in these priorities and other recommendations to be considered.
Public Relations and Marketing: This think tank studied ways to communicate with key audiences and discussed how to strengthen the Panhellenic brand and promote the sorority experience. They examined a wide range of challenges and opportunities facing NPC and its member organizations and recommended a phased approach to proactively promoting the value of the sorority experience. Priority will be given to improving the ways in which NPC reaches key audiences to share the value of sorority membership and to assisting College Panhellenics in sharing the story of their own authentic sorority experience.
NPC Call for Critical Change: The Call for Critical Change Think Tank met in late January 2018 to discuss ways to address critical issues within our Panhellenic communities. They identified a number of next steps, and NPC and its partners have been working on these opportunities. The group will continue discussions in June. They will discuss ways NPC and our Panhellenic women could play a constructive and responsive role in their campus communities regarding diversity issues and cultural appropriation. We are committed to working together to find ways for our Panhellenic women to lead the way for social change resulting in healthier sorority and fraternity communities. More to come in this important endeavor.
The NPC Executive Committee thanks the think tank participants for lending their expertise and developing recommendations to help NPC face challenges head-on and advance the sorority experience.
We look forward to sharing more information as the recommendations are implemented.