Convening of sorority leaders, senior officials and subject-matter experts will develop recommendations for sorority community’s role in changing campus culture
INDIANAPOLIS – Officials with the National Panhellenic Conference, the nation’s leading advocate for the sorority experience, issued a ‘Call for Critical Change’ in the Greek community and will convene leading campus administrators, subject-matter experts, and national sorority leadership to develop a framework of recommendations for the sorority community to contribute to improved campus safety.
The group held its initial meeting today in Indianapolis, with participants including several leaders from the National Panhellenic Conference, experts in risk prevention and curriculum design, and senior student affairs professionals from institutions ranging from Texas Christian University to the University of Alabama, the University of Illinois, and Penn State University, among others.
“The campus tragedies our fraternity and sorority communities have experienced in recent months reinforce that we have an obligation and duty to re-double our efforts on campus safety,” said Carole Jones, chairman of the National Panhellenic Conference.
“Just as the fight against campus sexual assault demands action from men’s and women’s groups alike, it’s also on us all to fight against hazing, alcohol abuse and dangerous party cultures on college campuses. Our aim is to build partnerships with our student life colleagues and with industry leaders that lead to sustainable solutions to these vexing challenges. The sorority community can, and must, do its part to create safer campus cultures where students advocate for one another.”
Holiday (Holly) McKiernan, executive vice president, chief operating officer, and general counsel for Lumina Foundation and former executive director of Alpha Chi Omega will serve as the group’s facilitator.
“Changing student cultures at this scale requires an unprecedented level of collaboration and cooperation between student leaders, university officials, and fraternity and sorority advisors,” said McKiernan.
“And our ability to achieve such seamless cooperation will require an equally unprecedented level of candor and open discussion amongst our participants. The roots of these challenges are deep, but they can be overcome, and our goal is to create a collaborative approach for doing so.”
Through a series of additional convenings and discussions in the coming weeks, the group will develop recommendations for addressing critical risk management issues within fraternity and sorority communities. These recommendations, to be implemented and acted upon jointly by member organizations and campus-based leaders, will be presented in advance of the National Panhellenic Conference’s mid-year meeting on May 18-19.
“Preventing the types of tragedies we’ve seen in recent years demands the type of holistic approach to shaping student culture that cannot be accomplished by campus professionals alone,” said Kathy Cavins-Tull, vice chancellor for student affairs at Texas Christian University.
“Our work here is essential to developing a truly comprehensive approach, and one that is more likely both to succeed and have a lasting impact.”
Nationwide, more than 418,000 undergraduate women are members of National Panhellenic Conference sororities.
The ‘Call for Critical Change’ convening includes more than 25 leading industry professionals. Participants – in addition to Jones, McKeirnan and Cavins-Tull – include: Rob Buelow, vice president of prevention education at EVERFI; Sandy Burba, finance chairman of NPC; Donna Chereck, advocacy chairman of NPC; Ashley Dye, senior assistant dean of students at the University of Illinois; David Grady, vice president for student life at the University of Alabama; Angela Guillory, associate dean of students at Louisiana State University; Lori Hart, director of educational initiatives, Holmes Murphy; Amy Hecht, vice president for student affairs at Florida State University; Kara Miller, president of the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors; Frances Mitchelson, Panhellenic chairman of NPC; Hank Nuwer, journalism professor and founding member of HazingPrevention.org; Joshua Schutts of Dyad Strategies and the University of West Florida; Malaea Seleski, vice chairman of NPC; Damon Sims, vice president for student affairs at Penn State University; Joanne Smith, vice president for student affairs at Texas State University; Cindy H. Stellhorn, MJ Insurance; Leigh Thiedeman, dean of residential life at Stanford University; Steve Veldkamp of the Center for Sorority and Fraternity Research at Indiana University; Dani Weatherford, executive director of NPC; and Dan Wrona, CEO of RISE Partnerships.
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About the National Panhellenic Conference
NPC is the umbrella organization specifically charged with advocating on behalf of the sorority experience. It is comprised of 26 national and international sororities that are autonomous social organizations. Collectively, NPC sororities are located on more than 670 campuses with approximately 418,000 undergraduate members and nearly 5 million alumnae.