DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION ACTION ITEMS PROGRESS UPDATE

In early June 2020, Fraternity leadership carefully reflected on how Pi Beta Phi can do better in ensuring a more diverse, equitable and inclusive sisterhood. Seven action items were shared as a start towards meaningful and sustainable change. 

Action Item: Pi Beta Phi will establish an Advisory Group, consisting of collegians and alumnae. 

An Advisory Committee made up of 12 Pi Phis was announced in August. Three undergraduate members and nine alumnae serve on the committee. Careful consideration was made to thoughtfully create a group of individuals representing diversity in age, race, ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status and region.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (DEI AC) has met regularly since August to discuss varying topics for advisement of the Fraternity. Meeting topics have included a joint meeting with each of the three Pi Beta Phi entity boards (Grand Council, Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC) Board and Foundation Board of Trustees), guiding principles for operationalizing DEI efforts, collegiate programming and more. In between regular committee meetings, members of the DEI AC are integrated into other projects and discussions with volunteer and staff teams to help encourage thoughtful integration of DEI into all the efforts of the Fraternity. This includes conversations around Pi Phi’s DEI long-term strategy and also more immediate projects and milestones such as supporting the Fraternity’s Leadership and Nominating Committee, providing insight for the Fall 2020 issue of The Arrow and informing the team who led the refresh of Leading with Values® (launched in January 2021). Among other things, a current focus of the committee is advising Pi Beta Phi on designing affinity groups. 

In October 2020, some members of the DEI AC joined Grand Council and Headquarters staff leaders in two half-day strategic conversations where an in-depth analysis was conducted of the Fraternity’s current situation and opportunities. The insights gained from these conversations were used to inform the development of the Fraternity’s Commitment to DEI statement and guiding principles which will help focus the Fraternity’s efforts. The committee will build on those conversations this spring as the five DEI-focused strategies are further detailed. 

Action Item: Pi Beta Phi will conduct a series of Listening Sessions to collect member voices. 

A total of 17 Listening Sessions were held between June 22 and June 30, 2020 to allow members to express their opinions directly to Fraternity leadership in a small group setting. For each session, a Grand Council member or Executive Director, one or two director-level volunteer(s) and a Headquarters staff facilitator was present. Feedback has been beneficial in helping the Fraternity inform and define opportunities.   

The dialogue between Fraternity leaders and our membership has been intentional and ongoing. Since the early summer of 2020, more than 6,000 Pi Phis have reached out to the Fraternity through phone calls, emails, and social media comments and posts. Pi Phi leaders continue to hear from and listen to the membership on this topic.  

Action Item: Pi Beta Phi will advance the Director Diversity and Inclusion chapter officer position.

A total of 80 chapters participated in the pilot program to incorporate a Director Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) into the Chapter Leadership Team this fall. Beginning in January 2020 with 20 participating chapters, the pilot was reopened over the summer and welcomed an additional 60 chapters for the Fall 2020 term. Feedback from the pilot chapters, as well as the DEI AC, and other Fraternity leaders has resulted in a considerable increase in officer capacity to focus on DEI efforts. At this summer’s convention, delegates will vote on legislation requiring all chapters elect two new chapter officers: a Vice President Inclusion and a Director Community Inclusion. These new officers will be supported by an additional member of the Alumnae Advisory Committee. The Fraternity will also be revising the role of the current Grand Vice President Community Relations, who will now serve as the Grand Vice President Inclusion. This Grand Council member will oversee the Fraternity’s existing Community Relations team as well as a new Specialty Director, the Director Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and nine new Specialists, titled Inclusion Specialists. More information is available on these proposed structure changes here.

Action Item: Pi Beta Phi will ensure member development programs explore racism, diversity and inclusion as a priority. 

An update of Pi Beta Phi’s Member Development Program, Leading with Values, launched in January 2021 with overall programmatic outcomes and seminars more aligned with Pi Beta Phi’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

The Critical Conversations Speakers Series program, Every Act of Yours, was revised to allow the program to adapt more easily to a DEI-focused chapter conversation.  

As part of a bias training series designed for chapter engagement prior to recruitment, a series of recorded video and facilitation resources were provided to chapter leaders and Alumnae Advisory Committee (AAC) members. All collegiate members received an email outlining the Fraternity’s expectation for participation. The series addresses the topics of identity development, power and privilege, implicit bias and a program on language for AAC members. 

Action Item: Pi Beta Phi will address recruitment practices to drive inclusivity.

Pi Beta Phi launched DEI Pre-Recruitment training on July 28, 2020. Each training session is accompanied by an assessment tool which has illustrated substantial knowledge growth as well as overwhelmingly positive remarks as to the relevancy of content and overall satisfaction of the programs.   

Additionally, Grand Council made the decision to revise Fraternity policy and eliminate all courtesy invitations afforded to legacies during the membership recruitment process, effective Fall 2021. At this summer’s convention, Grand Council will propose legislation which will revise the Constitution and Statutes to remove any reference to special consideration for legacies as well as eliminate sponsorship as a requirement for membership and the process by which alumnae offer recommendations for Potential New Members to chapters. This includes the elimination of the Recruitment Information Form (RIF), the document by which alumnae offer sponsorship and recommendations. Simply put, a legacy recruitment policy, by nature, is inequitable. The requirement for sponsorship or necessity of an alumnae recommendation creates a barrier to joining Pi Beta Phi. Therefore, these practices are inconsistent with Pi Beta Phi’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. An informative webpage has been developed to share more and answer frequently asked questions. 

Action Item: Pi Beta Phi will establish a leadership fund at Pi Beta Phi Foundation to support diversity and inclusion efforts. 

As of February 5, 2021, $9,869.92 has been contributed by 56 donors to the DEI Leadership Fund held by Pi Beta Phi Foundation. As the Fraternity works with the DEI AC and evaluates existing programming updates or new needs, our Foundation is anticipating a concerted ask for support to the fund. 

Action Item: Pi Beta Phi will mandate enhanced training for Grand Council, Pi Beta Phi officers and Headquarters Staff.

The Fraternity has engaged a number of experts to help drive a more comprehensive understanding on the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion among those serving in leadership roles. Fraternity officers and all Headquarters staff members were expected to complete the bias training mentioned above. As part of the Fraternity’s biennial Officers Workshop, which engages Fraternity, Foundation and Fraternity Housing Corporation elected and appointed officers as well as Headquarters staff, Fraternity partners and DEI experts Christina Parle, M.S. and Suzette Walden Cole, Ph.D. facilitated an introductory knowledge-building program. A request for proposals for a long-term training partner is in development. Additionally, the Fraternity recognizes the need and desire for training resources for Alumnae Advisory Committee (AAC) members. Additional resources will be thoughtfully incorporated with future work.   

Last updated: February 10, 2021

Pi Phi History

In 1867, 12 courageous young women at Monmouth College came together to form a sisterhood rooted in shared experiences, enduring values and Sincere Friendships. Today, more than 150 years and 300,000 members later, we continue to celebrate our founders' vision as sisters of Pi Beta Phi.

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