National Panhellenic Conference

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National Panhellenic Conference
NPC logo.jpg
AbbreviationNPC
PredecessorNational Panhellenic Congress
FormationMay 24, 1902; 116 years ago (1902-05-24)
Merger ofAssociation of Education Sororities
TypeTrade organization
Headquarters3901 West 86th Street, Suite 398, Indianapolis, Indiana
Region
North America
Membership
26
WebsiteNPC website

The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is an umbrella organization for 26 (inter)national women's sororities throughout the United States and Canada. Each member group is autonomous as a social, Greek-letter society of college women and alumnae.

The National Panhellenic Conference provides guidelines and resources for its members and serves as the national voice on contemporary issues of sorority life. Founded in 1902, NPC is one of the oldest and largest women's membership organizations, representing more than 4 million women at over 650 college/university campuses and 4,600 local alumnae chapters in the U.S. and Canada. Each year, NPC-affiliated collegians and alumnae donate more than $5 million to causes, provide $2.8 million in scholarships to women, and volunteer 500,000 hours in their communities.[1]

The organization holds a philosophy that it is a conference, not a congress, as it enacts no legislation and only regulates its own meetings.[2] Other than basic agreements which its groups must unanimously vote to follow, NPC confines itself to recommendations and advice and acts as a court of final appeal in any College Panhellenic difficulty. One of its services is providing advisors for college and alumnae Panhellenic organizations.

History[edit]

Early histories of women's fraternities contain accounts of "rushing and pledging agreements" or "compacts" among fraternities on various campuses, and also many stories of cooperation and mutual assistance. However, no actual Panhellenic organization existed and no uniform practices were observed.

In 1902, Alpha Phi invited Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Chi Omega, and Chi Omega to a conference in Chicago on May 24 to set standards for collegiate sororities. Alpha Chi Omega and Chi Omega were unable to attend and would join the following year. The remaining seven groups met and the session resulted in the organization of the first interfraternity association and the first intergroup organization on college campuses. This meeting, and the next few, resulted in several mutual agreements, especially regarding pledging. Up to this time, no guidelines had been set, and women could be pledged to groups before enrolling in college and, indeed, even belong to more than one group.

Many of the current members joined through the next decade, with Alpha Xi Delta in 1904, Alpha Omicron Pi and Sigma Kappa in 1905, Alpha Delta Pi and Alpha Gamma Delta and Zeta Tau Alpha in 1909, Delta Zeta in 1910, Phi Mu in 1911, and Kappa Delta in 1912.[2] No new members were admitted for the next few decades.

Throughout its early years, the NPC organizations were often racially and religiously segregated and rarely admitted Jewish, Catholic, or minority ethnic members, which to the formation of group-specific sororities which attempted to provide the same social and academic outlets to groups who were otherwise excluded from membership. These groups included the first Black Greek letter organizations.[3]

By 1922, the Conference (as of then still named the National Panhellenic Congress) had a structure of an executive committee consisting of a chairman, secretary, and treasurer; a publicity board; and a delegate board with at least one representative from each of its 18 senior members.[4] That year, the Congress also began plans for its own centralized Panhellenic headquarters to coordinate and streamline interactions with the separate sororities.[5]

Shortly before its merger with the NPC, the AES was part of a larger multi-panhellenic association, the Council of Affiliated Panhellenics, with the NPC and the Professional Panhellenic Association.[6]

AES merger and new memberships[edit]

Members of Sigma Sigma Sigma and Alpha Sigma Alpha organized the Association of Pedagogical Sororities on July 10, 1915. The membership consisted of sororities which were primarily located on state campuses predominantly attended by women entering the educational field. In 1917, Pi Kappa Sigma and Delta Sigma Epsilon joined the association, followed by Theta Sigma Upsilon in 1925, Alpha Sigma Tau in 1926, and Pi Delta Theta in 1931. At the third biennial conference, the name of the association was changed to the Association of Educational Sororities (AES). Later, the word "Educational" was changed to "Education".

From 1915 through 1926, the NPC and AES operated chapters in the same colleges and universities. In 1926, the NPC and AES made an agreement "defining fields of activities of each panhellenic". There was competition between NPC and AES sororities, and dual memberships were often held. By the 1940s, however, many teacher's colleges had begun to add liberal arts programs, and vice versa, which led to difficulties in functioning separately as they had had in the past.[2][7]

On November 12, 1947, at a conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the NPC considered and granted associate membership "with reservations" to the six AES sororities. The AES was holding its biennial meeting when it was notified of the NPC decision and, at that meeting, "completed the necessary business and took formal action to dissolve the Association of Education Sororities".[8] The NPC admitted five other sororities at that same time: Alpha Epsilon Phi, Delta Phi Epsilon, Phi Sigma Sigma, Sigma Delta Tau, and Theta Phi Alpha. In December 1951, all 11 of these sororities became full members of NPC. Since that time, three AES members have merged with other NPC groups, leaving Alpha Sigma Alpha, Alpha Sigma Tau, and Sigma Sigma Sigma as the remaining former AES members.

From the 1940s to the 1960s, various smaller organizations merged into larger ones. On some campuses with two different chapters from the sorority that merged and its merger sorority, a third sorority would colonize on that campus to absorb the smaller sorority's former chapter.[9]

By the end of the 1960s and the Civil rights movement, the NPC sororities eliminated official policies that prevented minority members from joining,[10] although diversity in Greek life would remain an issue.[11][12]

21st century[edit]

As of the 2010s, sorority members and outside observers noticed a shift in sorority culture; though sororities began as feminist organizations, emphasis during the mid-1900s on social reputations and exclusionary recruitment policies (such as refusal to bid Jewish and African-American women) had led to a reputation for following cultural hegemony and of being made up of traditionally white and upper class women.[13] Though such issues continue to persist in various ways, sorority women and anti-sorority women alike observed more ethnic diversity and movement away from traditional power structures, back towards their organizations' feminist roots.[13] In this decade, sorority members began attempts to change how Greek life works from inside their own organizations.[13]

In November 2015, eight of the NPC members (Alpha Phi, Alpha Chi Omega, Phi Mu, Alpha Gamma Delta, Sigma Delta Tau, Delta Phi Epsilon, Delta Gamma, and Gamma Phi Beta) broke ranks from the NPC to withdraw support from the Safe Campus Act, a controversial bill that would have required campus sexual assault victims to report to police and submit to an investigation from law enforcement before their school would be able to begin any investigations of their own.[14]

Beginning in 2016, collegiate members began discussing membership offers for transgender women, which was supported by some national organizations with changes in their national policies;[15][16][17] however, some national organizations delayed membership offers for transwomen due to fears about Title IX exemption status, which caused dissent in local chapters.[18] Though the NPC created a Gender Identity Study Group to examine potential legal consequences, they concluded that legal precedents were "incomplete, inconclusive, and inconsistent," and did not enact official policy or recommendations.[19]

Members[edit]

Several dozens of college women in casual dresses line up on the stairs leading through a lawn in front of a sorority house.
College students line up in front of a house during recruitment, the process in which students and NPC sororities mutually select each other for membership.

Current Members[edit]

Sorority[2] Year Founded Year Joined[2]
Alpha Chi Omega 1885 1903
Alpha Delta Pi 1851 1909
Alpha Epsilon Phi 1909 1947 (associate), 1951 (full)
Alpha Gamma Delta 1904 1909
Alpha Omicron Pi 1897 1905
Alpha Phi 1872 1902
Alpha Sigma Alpha 1901 1947 (associate), 1951 (full)
Alpha Sigma Tau 1899 1947 (associate), 1951 (full)
Alpha Xi Delta 1893 1904
Chi Omega 1895 1903
Delta Delta Delta 1888 1902
Delta Gamma 1873 1902
Delta Phi Epsilon 1917 1947 (associate), 1951 (full)
Delta Zeta 1902 1910
Gamma Phi Beta 1874 1902
Kappa Alpha Theta 1870 1902
Kappa Delta 1897 1912
Kappa Kappa Gamma 1870 1902
Phi Mu 1852 1911
Phi Sigma Sigma 1913 1947 (associate), 1951 (full)
Pi Beta Phi 1867 1902
Sigma Delta Tau 1917 1947 (associate), 1951 (full)
Sigma Kappa 1874 1905
Sigma Sigma Sigma 1898 1947 (associate), 1951 (full)
Theta Phi Alpha 1912 1947 (associate), 1951 (full)
Zeta Tau Alpha 1898 1909

Former Members[edit]

Sorority Year Founded Year Joined NPC Notes[20]
Alpha Delta Theta 1919 1923 (associate), 1926 (full) Merged with Phi Mu in 1939 after 26th NPC meeting.
Beta Phi Alpha 1909 1923 Merged with Delta Zeta on June 22, 1941
Beta Sigma Omicron 1888 1930 (associate), 1933 (full) Merged with Zeta Tau Alpha in 1964, with Alpha Phi absorbing 3 chapters where there was already a Zeta Tau Alpha chapter
Delta Sigma Epsilon 1914 1947 (associate), 1951 (full) Merged with Delta Zeta in 1956
Iota Alpha Pi 1903 1953 (associate), 1957 (full) Disbanded in 1971
Lambda Omega 1923 1930 (associate) Merged with Theta Upsilon in 1933
Pi Sigma Gamma 1919 1930 (?) Merged with Beta Sigma Omicron in 1930
Phi Omega Pi 1910 1930 (associate), 1933 (full) Merged with Delta Zeta on August 10, 1946
Pi Kappa Sigma 1894 1947 (associate), 1951 (full) Merged with Sigma Kappa on May 15, 1959
Sigma Phi Beta 1920 1928 (associate) Merged with Phi Omega Pi on October 1, 1933
Theta Sigma Upsilon 1921 1947 (associate), 1951 (full) Merged with Alpha Gamma Delta on June 29, 1959
Theta Upsilon 1914 1923 (associate), 1928 (full) Merged with Delta Zeta on May 6, 1962

NPC Chairmen[edit]

Chairmen of the NPC.[21] Rotates through the membership in the order of joining.[2]

Year(s) Chair Sorority
1902-1903 Laura Norton Kappa Alpha Theta
1904 Grace Telling Delta Gamma
1905 Amy Olgen (Parmelee) Delta Delta Delta
1906 Ella Leib Alpha Xi Delta
1907 Jobelle Holcombe Chi Omega
1908 Anna Lytle Pi Beta Phi
1909 L. Pearle Green Kappa Alpha Theta
1910 Florence Roth Kappa Kappa Gamma
1910-1911 Marguerite Lake Delta Gamma
1911-1912 Cora McElroy Alpha Phi
1912-1913 Lillian Thompson Gamma Phi Beta
1913-1914 Lois Crann Alpha Chi Omega
1914-1915 Amy Parmelee Delta Delta Delta
1915-1917 Lena Baldwin Alpha Xi Delta
1917-1919 Mary Love Collins Chi Omega
1919-1921 Ethel Weston Sigma Kappa
1921-1923 Lillian McCausland Alpha Omicron Pi
1923-1926 Dr. May Hopkins Zeta Tau Alpha
1926-1928 Louise Leonard Alpha Gamma Delta
1928-1930 Irma Tapp Alpha Delta Pi
1930-1931 Rene Smith Delta Zeta
1931-1933 Nellie Prince Phi Mu
1933-1935 Gladys Redd Kappa Delta
1935-1937 Harriet Tuft Beta Phi Alpha
1937-1939 Violet Gentry Alpha Delta Theta
1939-1941 Beatrice Moore Theta Upsilon
1941-1943 Juelda Burnaugh Beta Sigma Omicron
1943-1945 Helen Cunningham Phi Omega Pi
1945-1947 Amy Onken Pi Beta Phi
1947-1949 L. Pearle Green Kappa Alpha Theta
1949-1951 Edith Crabtree Kappa Kappa Gamma
1951-1953 Margaret Hutchinson Alpha Phi
1953-1955 Helen Byars Delta Gamma
1955-1957 Beatrice Hogan Gamma Phi Beta
1957-1959 Rosita Nordwall Alpha Chi Omega
1959-1961 Ernestine Grigsby Delta Delta Delta
1961-1963 Mary Burt Nash Alpha Xi Delta
1963-1965 Elizabeth Dyer Chi Omega
1965-1967 Ruth Miller Sigma Kappa
1967-1969 Mary Louise Roller Alpha Omicron Pi
1969-1971 Harriet Frische Zeta Tau Alpha
1971-1973 Myra Foxworthy Alpha Gamma Delta
1973-1975 Virginia Jacobson Alpha Delta Pi
1975-1977 Gwen McKeeman Delta Zeta
1977-1979 Adele Williamson Phi Mu
1979-1981 Minnie Mae Prescott Kappa Delta
1981-1983 Mary Barbee Sigma Sigma Sigma
1983-1985 Cynthia McCrory Alpha Sigma Tau
1985-1987 Sidney Allen Alpha Sigma Alpha
1987-1989 Beth Saul Alpha Epsilon Phi
1989-1991 Louise Kier Phi Sigma Sigma
1991-1993 Harriett Macht Delta Phi Epsilon
1993-1995 Harriet Rodenberg Sigma Delta Tau
1995-1997 Jean Scott Pi Beta Phi
1997-1999 Lissa Bradford Kappa Alpha Theta
1999-2001 Marian Williams Kappa Kappa Gamma
2001-2003 Sally Grant Alpha Phi
2003-2005 Martha Brown Delta Gamma
2005-2007 Elizabeth Quick Gamma Phi Beta
2007-2009 Julie Burkhard Alpha Chi Omega
2009-2011 Eve Riley Delta Delta Delta
2011-2013 Jane Sutton Alpha Xi Delta
2013-2015 Jean Mrasek Chi Omega
2015-2017 Donna King Sigma Kappa
2017-2019 Carole Jones Alpha Omicron Pi

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Panhellenic Conference". National Panhellenic Conference. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Manual of Information" (PDF). National Panhellenic Conference. Jan 2018. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  3. ^ Hughey, Matthew W. (2010-11-01). "A Paradox of Participation: Nonwhites in White Sororities and Fraternities". Social Problems. 57 (4): 653–679. doi:10.1525/sp.2010.57.4.653. ISSN 0037-7791.
  4. ^ Banta's Greek Exchange: Published in the Interest of the College Fraternity World. George Banta Company, Incorporated. 1922. p. 260.
  5. ^ Banta's Greek Exchange: Published in the Interest of the College Fraternity World. George Banta Company, Incorporated. 1922. p. 219.
  6. ^ Mansell, Edith L. (October 1945). "The Report on the Association of Education Sororities". The Anchor. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  7. ^ Alpha Sigma Tau (January 1948). "Alpha Sigma Tau Is Now an Associate Member of the National Panhellenic Conference". The Anchor. p. 3. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  8. ^ Newell Seaton, Emma (1949). The Golden Years with Pi Kappa Sigma. Har-Lo Printing Co. p. 478.
  9. ^ "On National Teacher Appreciation Day: SIUC and the AES / NPC Merger - Fraternity History & More". Fraternity History & More. 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  10. ^ Hughey, Matthew W. (2010-11-01). "A Paradox of Participation: Nonwhites in White Sororities and Fraternities". Social Problems. 57 (4): 653–679. doi:10.1525/sp.2010.57.4.653. ISSN 0037-7791.
  11. ^ Grasgreen, Allie (2013-09-13). "Segregated sororities not limited to Alabama, experts say". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  12. ^ Chang, Clio (2015-02-25). "Sorority Segregation Is a Serious Issue". US News. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  13. ^ a b c Bennett, Jessica. "When a Feminist Pledges a Sorority". Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  14. ^ Kingkade, Tyler (2015-11-13). "Several Sororities Back Away From Safe Campus Act". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  15. ^ Milbourn, Annie. "Sorority opens to transgender pledges". The Crimson White. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  16. ^ "Panhellenic Encouraging Transgender Women to Join Sororities – KUJH-TV". tv.ku.edu. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  17. ^ "Panhellenic Association encourages discussions about transgender membership - Indiana Daily Student". www.idsnews.com. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  18. ^ News, A. B. C. (2016-11-11). "Sorority Members Walk Out When Told to 'Hold Off' on Transgender Member". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  19. ^ National Panhellenic Conference Gender Identity Study Group (2017-06-14). "NPC Gender Identity Study Group (Appendix C)" (PDF): 11.
  20. ^ Becque, Fran (2015-03-02). "NPC Organizations That No Longer Exist; A Reflection on International Badge Day - Fraternity History & More". Fraternity History & More. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  21. ^ Adventure in Friendship p. 12

External links[edit]