Visions of AFA Dance in My Head

A few of my holiday decorations.
I’ve almost got my house decorated for the holidays. Each year I put up the ribbons and garland inside and out and I’m reminded that it is a labor of love. I love decorating my home and making it a warm and inviting place for friends and family who will come to share their holidays with us. It makes me happy to think about the fun-filled days, late night conversations and wonderful memories that will be made with some of my favorite people. This is also how I felt as I thought about the people I would see at this year’s Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors (AFA) annual meeting. Certainly I would see my NPC family and my dear Executive Committee friends but the other group of people I love to see each year is the NPC Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Committee members.

This committee was created to provide a warm and welcoming environment for thoughtful conversation (and some laughter) with one of our key constituent groups, our FSAs. This group provides us with great feedback on programs, educational pieces we are developing and general feedback on hot topics affecting their campuses. This information is tremendously beneficial to me as the NPC chairman. I can’t be everywhere and I certainly don’t get back to campus as much as I would like, so knowing that we have subject matter experts available to us is a tremendous blessing.

This year we had the opportunity to have lunch with our FSA Advisory Committee and true to form there was some great conversation and laughter, but above all there was a tremendous respect for the work of the committee and NPC and the collaboration and memories we are creating together.

A Global Conversation for Women

You may have seen this movie or overheard us talking about it.

“Half the Sky,”
a film that debuted on PBS, is based on a book that reviewers have called a “passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.”

With the
Circle of Sisterhood Foundation, we partnered to organize more than 75 viewing parties across the country for the film’s fall premier. The hashtag #sororityview was repeated on Twitter more than 2,000 times as sorority women picked up the thread of conversation and started to share what they were seeing and feeling about the global issues presented to us.

The film also was a multi-part experiment in social media, of which the National Panhellenic Conference decided to take part by engaging our 26 national/international member groups.

Tweets about “Half the Sky” generated 1 billion impressions in early October and the hashtag #halfthesky trended during film viewings.

But NPC groups don’t tackle issues that affect women just once a year. In fact, many of our member groups harness the power of women to change outcomes and attitudes.
  • The Confidence Coalition was imagined and created by Kappa Delta in 2009 to inspire all women to their personal greatness, asking them to pledge online or at in-person events focused around International Girls Day and International Women’s Friendship Month events. The coalition also began awarding grants in 2011 for educational campus events discussing topics ranging from health relationships to body image.
  • In June 2012, Gamma Phi Beta announced its new philanthropic focus, Building Strong Girls. The group’s mission to build strong girls began in the 1920s as Gamma Phi Betas identified a desire to provide underprivileged girls a retreat from their daily circumstances, and a place to learn about themselves and to build character for facing life’s challenges.
  • Fat Talk Free® initiatives, launched by Tri Delta as Fat Talk Free Week in 2008 as an international, body activism campaign, raise awareness about body image issues and the damaging impact of the "thin ideal" on women in society. This innovative undertaking is expanding into the Body Image Manifesto, which will encourage individuals to be healthy in mind, body and spirit.
  • The Circle of Sisterhood Foundation’s “By The Numbers” page also provides an impressive list of contributions and work done on the behalf of young women in 12 countries on four continents.

If you have not read our recently published 2011-2012 annual report, we can also share that 427 College Panhellenics reported donating 639,021 hours to community service efforts and raising more than $2.8 million for various philanthropies.

Our Alumnae Panhellenics also generously raised more than $330,000 for 297 scholarships.

Sorority groups are never at a loss to engage, both in their local campus communities and on the larger scale for global good. We always want to be part of a network that serves women who are helping other women.

So ask yourself this December, a month when we tend to appreciate our friends and families more than ever and pull them ever closer, are you doing all you can to uplift girls and women in your community?

Enjoy your holidays and remember that there’s always more that we can do!