100 Years Later: the History of the National Panhellenic Conference

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. By 1902, it was obvious that some standards were needed, so 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. Alpha Chi Omega and Chi Omega were unable to attend. 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. (National Interfraternity Conference for men's fraternities was organized in 1909, now called the North-American Interfraternity Conference).

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.

The fact that NPC is a "Conference" is significant to the NPC philosophy because the organization is a conference, not a congress. It enacts no legislation except for the conduct of its own meetings. Other than the basic UNANIMOUS AGREEMENTS which all groups have voted to observe, NPC confines itself to recommendations and advice, and acts as a court of final appeal in any College Panhellenic difficulty. One of its greatest services is providing Area Advisors for College Panhellenics and Alumnae Panhellenics.

Visit the National Panhellenic Conference web site at www.npcwomen.org.


This We Believe:

Fraternity: Fraternity is a social experience based on the fundamental right of a free people to form voluntary associations. It is one of the enrichments of college life.

Mutual Choice: The young woman who wants fraternity experience will find it possible to belong on most campuses today. Fraternity membership is a social experience arrived at by mutual choice and selection. Fraternity membership is by invitation.

Fraternities Exist Because They: Provide a good democratic social experience. Give value beyond college years. Create, through their ideals, an ever-widening circle of service beyond the membership. Develop the individual's potential through leadership opportunities and group effort. Fill the need of belonging.

Fraternities Continue Because: Young women feel a continuing need to belong. Parents appreciate fraternity values and standards and cooperate to make membership possible. College administrations, recognizing the values of fraternities, continue to welcome them on their campuses and to invite them to establish new chapters.

What is an Alumnae Panhellenic (APH)?

An Alumnae Panhellenic Association is a community based organization, affiliated with National Panhellenic Conference, whose membership is composed of representative alumnae from NPC member group fraternities.

Purpose of Alumnae Panhellenics:

To INFORM fraternity women of current trends

To PROMOTE the fraternity system

To IMPROVE the Panhellenic image

To STIMULATE a continuing interest in Panhellenic affairs

At this time, there are over 250 APHs in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Based upon NPC policies, APHs set up their own organizations and carry out programs in line with their special interest or situations. APHs enhance the fraternity system through scholarship awards, annual educational informational functions for prospective college freshman, philanthropic projects, community participation and civic leadership. If located in a college community, an APH can give valuable support to a College Panhellenic. Alumnae Panhellenics offer alumnae of the 26 member groups of the National Panhellenic Conference further leadership and social opportunities, beyond the college years. An APH represents an ongoing commitment of women to promote and foster the Greek experience.