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The Lyre, Summer 2009 / The Sorority Experience

JulieBurkhard

by Julie Cain Burkhard, Chairman, National Panhellenic Conference
(Beta Sigma, University of Georgia)

“Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.” – Samuel Johnson

Alpha Chi Omega’s Past National President, Donna Chereck, sent this quote to me last fall. A copy is taped to a shelf on my desk where I can see it every day. Reading what Samuel Johnson wrote and applying his wisdom to the fraternity/sorority community gives me the inspiration and determination I need to navigate the challenging times facing our country, higher education, and fraternities and sororities.

Fortunately, the 26 NPC groups, 500 College Panhellenics and 212 Alumnae Panhellenics, all members of the National Panhellenic Conference, are committed, despite challenging circumstances, to advancing the sorority experience.

NPC’s 2008 annual report, Women…defining the experience, includes some important numbers that exemplify the ways in which sorority members make a difference:

  • 88,776 women joined an NPC group during the 2007-2008 academic year.
  • 248,120 women were undergraduate members in 2007-2008.
  • $19, 171,864 was raised from philanthropic events.
  • 3,613,083 volunteer hours were devoted to community service.
  • $380,087 was raised by Alumnae Panhellenic women and awarded to 466 collegiate women for scholarships in 2008.
  • 1,621 undergraduate chapters maintained above a 3.0 GPA.
  • 109,793 campus-based organizations included sorority members.
  • 1,000 facilities were owned or managed by sorority members.

These are the facts that tell the true story of what today’s collegiate and alumnae members do with their sorority experience.

In December, NPC introduced a new web site, TheSororityLife.com. This web site is just the first of several sites that NPC will roll out in an effort to provide accurate, factual information about the sorority experience to potential new members and their parents. TheSororityLife.com acts as a hub for basic information; a second site, SororityIQ.com, is an interactive quiz that features factual and fictitious statements on the sorority experience. By this summer, two more sites will be online: MyCollegeLifeStyle.com and SororityParents.com. MyCollegeLifeStyle.com will focus on actual members who share their sorority experience. SororityParents.com will provide parents an opportunity to blog about their own sorority experience or ask questions about Panhellenic life today.

All of these sites are designed to advocate for the sorority experience in a way that appeals to women ages 15 to 18. By providing accurate information, NPC hopes to tell its own story — the positive as well as the challenging aspects of the sorority experience.

I urge all members of Alpha Chi Omega with Internet access to visit these sites, as well as NPC’s main web site, www.npcwomen.org. But most important, I ask you to share the sites with potential new members and their parents. Spread the word and share the experience with others.

We can’t possibly overcome all possible objections to what we face today, but we can promote what we know is a positive influence in a young woman’s life. Just ask the 248,120 sorority members who define the experience.

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