Establishing a Vision and Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
As a vision for Pi Beta Phi’s efforts to create a space where all members feel they belong, Grand Council has endorsed a Commitment to DEI Statement. The statement defines the desired future for our Fraternity:
As true friends, we honor the uniqueness of each sister. We empower one another, through meaningful relationships grounded in empathy. We promise an inclusive sisterhood, where every member feels welcome, is supported, and knows she belongs.
As the first fraternity for women, we own our role and responsibility in the fraternal movement. We recognize our power and privilege as college-educated women, to work for an equitable society. We commit to develop the servant leaders our diverse world needs.
To help fulfill this goal, a conceptual framework has been developed to align and mobilize the organization in a common direction on larger DEI-focused strategies. Fraternity leaders are currently working to define clear goals and establish a timeline for the work.
Turning to Expert Pi Phis
Pi Beta Phi’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (DEI AC) was announced in August. The three undergraduate members and nine alumnae were selected to serve on the committee from a large number of members who expressed interest. The role of the DEI AC is to be a collaborative resource by offering advisement to Fraternity leaders. 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 develop strategies to focus the Fraternity’s efforts. Committee members have been integrated into projects across all specialty areas of Pi Phi.
Prioritization of DEI Efforts at Headquarters
At Headquarters, staff responsibilities have been reprioritized to focus on DEI efforts in all operational areas. A considerable effort has been made to create a holistic, comprehensive approach where DEI is interwoven throughout all areas of the Fraternity. A significant amount of staff time has focused on supporting these important initiatives, training and communicating with the membership. The Fraternity’s Human Resources Director has sought insight from the DEI AC on opportunities to enhance current practices. A focus of the team working to recruit and onboard the next Executive Director is considering candidates’ experience to support Pi Beta Phi’s DEI priorities in such a way that our organization can build upon the current momentum.
Promoting Pi Phi
Marketing Pi Beta Phi in a way that reflects the current and desired diversity of our organization is important. There is an understood need to carefully strengthen the representation of diverse populations in Fraternity marketing materials and publications. Chapters and clubs have been and will be encouraged to actively be part of the solution.
Telling the Story of Stronger Together
The Fall 2020 issue of The Arrow explored how Pi Phi is a stronger sisterhood when we work to ensure a diverse, equitable and inclusive membership experience and what every Pi Phi can do to move our sisterhood forward in our efforts.
Demographic information regarding key aspects of diversity was once a gap in Pi Beta Phi's assessment efforts. Collecting demographic data is key to indicating inclusivity, equity and accessibility and can help the Fraternity make more informed decisions through understanding important aspects of who Pi Phi is today. The 2020 version of the Annual Member Evaluation, administered to all initiated collegians each Fall, included an expanded demographic section as will the Member Satisfaction Survey, which surveys alumnae starting in mid-March.
Exploring our History
The Fraternity has begun a project to explore how the history of Pi Beta Phi policies and practices, has impacted the diversity within our sisterhood. This project is intended to educate our membership, acknowledge the past and provide clarity for our future. The end format has yet to be determined. However, the project will examine the historical contexts of Pi Beta Phi's founding in 1867 and the impact today, the roles of faith and religion in Pi Beta Phi, membership selection policies and practices, the Fraternity’s existence as a predominantly white organization, and issues of gender, identity and sexual orientation. The project is expected to be a multi-year effort.