Sororities were founded to support collegiate women. As times change so do the needs of sorority women.
To remain relevant to today’s women, sororities must evolve to meet the changing needs of potential members and of their membership. Those changes may include updating terms that are used to describe the sorority experience or changing processes regarding sorority recruitment. Below are just a few examples.
While many sorority alumnae may be familiar with the term “rush” as the process of gaining new members, the correct term is “recruitment.” NPC formally adopted this change in 1998 to emphasize the value of ethics within membership recruitment and reflect terminology already in use in many NPC organizations and on campuses. Other terms that changed were “rushee” to “potential new member” and “pledges” to “new members.”
Another terminology change is using the word “greek” when referencing sororities. There is no official policy change at this time, though it is encouraged that the term should be “sorority.” This change discourages the use of “greek life” and “go greek” in official communications. This change was implemented to avoid creating confusion about sorority members and those who may be from Greece.
Along with terminology, the actual recruitment process has gone through some changes. All NPC sororities now participate in values-based recruitment, which shifts the focus during recruitment to having more authentic conversations between sorority women and potential new members (PNMs). This change became a best practice in 1989 and became a policy in 2003. Values-based recruitment establishes guidelines for membership recruitment budgets and eliminates skits or activities that could take away from the purpose of participating in engaging, meaningful conversations about sorority membership during recruitment.
Another change is that some College Panhellenics are moving toward recruitment counselors remaining associated during recruitment. Traditionally recruitment counselors disassociate from their organization during recruitment in hopes they will be seen as unbiased advisors to PNMs. However, many College Panhellenics no longer see the need for this separation and NPC updated its policy in 2016 to allow for flexibility. Among the benefits of having recruitment counselors remain associated include ensuring sororities are nominating the most qualified women, reducing the time PNMs spend trying to guess a counselor’s affiliation and reducing administrative time spent trying to mask counselor’s affiliation on chapter and personal social networking sites. In either case, the members of the College Panhellenic determine what works best for their community.
While not directly an NPC policy or best practice, some NPC member organizations are moving away from the traditional “family” line of member relationships and choosing to have only the big/little relationship. Sororities that have made this change are doing so to provide an inclusive environment for all members and focus on the mentor relationship of a big and little.
NPC continues to promote college affordability and wants PNMs to have a better understanding of the financial obligations of sorority membership. That is the purpose behind the Financial Transparency Policy, approved in 2018. This policy requires chapters in the College Panhellenic to share detailed financial information (member dues, chapter fees and assessments, etc.) with PNMs during a specified round of recruitment. NPC has provided College Panhellenics with a template chapters can use to share dues and fees information. Each sorority chapter shares the financial information in a brief group presentation and individual conversations and gives the PNM a handout she can reference after the event.
NPC and its member organizations are committed to fostering the relevance of sorority membership in every generation. Those efforts include continuing to update vocabulary or policies that help create more modern, welcoming environments for women.