An Update on Our Progress toward our dei commitment

To achieve the Fraternity’s Vision, Pi Beta Phi believes an organization-wide Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is imperative. A sense of belonging is not enough; the ability to fully belong must be intrinsic to our sisterhood. Pi Beta Phi will demonstrate a commitment to DEI through a focus on five key areas.

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE

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 they belong.

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 Inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (DEI AC) was announced in July 2020. The three undergraduate members and nine alumnae were selected to serve on the committee from a large number of members who expressed interest. In September 2021, the Fraternity introduced the DEI AC members serving for the 2021-2023 biennium. 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. 

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.

Data Collection
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 and 2021 versions of the Annual Member Evaluation, administered to all initiated collegians each fall, included an expanded demographic section as did the 2021 Member Satisfaction Survey, which surveys alumnae every four years.

Exploring Our History
In 2021, the Fraternity began a project to examine the historical contexts of Pi Beta Phi's founding in 1867 and its 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. A team of volunteers began exploring how the history of Pi Phi’s policies and practices has impacted diversity within our sisterhood, but they have since paused to strategically devote fraternity efforts and resources to ensure successful completion. Additional updates will be provided as the next steps are determined.

Member Development

Educational Programming
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, to enhance intentional, purposeful conversations about Pi Beta Phi’s six core values. In addition, 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.

Understanding Implicit Bias and Its Impact on the Member Experience
Pi Beta Phi launched DEI pre-recruitment training series on July 28, 2020, just ahead of the fall recruitment period. All chapters were expected to engage in the training prior to recruitment. Two self-guided programs explore identity development and the relationship between power and privilege. A third program assists chapters in discussion surrounding implicit bias. The final program is designed specifically for Alumnae Advisory Committee (AAC) members and focuses on the importance of language and the understanding impact of words, especially as mentors and advisors. Each training session is accompanied by an assessment which has illustrated substantial knowledge growth as well as overwhelmingly positive remarks on the relevancy of content and satisfaction of the programs. Chapters will be expected to engage in similar training experiences each year.

Phasing in Additional Resources
To aid members in their personal member development, the Fraternity continues to make DEI resources available on our website. In addition to the key terms and definitions and a resource list supplied by the DEI AC, a new Inclusive Language Guide has been added into the Resource Library for member use. Pi Beta Phi will continue to phase in additional DEI focused resources as we support member development in this area.

Increasing Fraternity Officers Knowledge
As part of the Fraternity’s 2020 Officers Workshop, a biennial meeting for elected and appointed officers serving Pi Beta Phi above the local-level, DEI experts Christina Parle, M.S. and Dr. Suzette Walden Cole helped Fraternity leadership understand both the humanistic and business case for making DEI a top priority for Pi Beta Phi.

Leadership Capacity

Officer Recruitment

Pi Beta Phi’s Leadership and Nominating Committee (LNC) has responded to member feedback for increased transparency in the process of identifying and selecting Fraternity officers and a greater focus on ensuring diversity within the leadership ranks. Pi Phi’s officer nominations process was heavily promoted in the fall of 2020, which included a Ring Ching Chat with LNC Chair Schabahn Day. Members of the LNC and DEI AC collaborated to identify opportunities to recruit more diverse officer candidates and to outline qualifications that would demonstrate a candidate’s ability to actively support Pi Beta Phi’s DEI goals. The LNC has taken great care to listen to any member who has been willing to offer feedback on potential Fraternity leaders, discussed any candidate’s DEI-related experience and remained focused on elevating to the top of the candidate pool those members who show evidence of servant leadership traits. In fulfilling the slate for Grand Council and elected Directors, LNC worked to conduct the slating process through the lens of Pi Phi’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Welcome New Inclusion Officers
At the 2021 Convention, delegates voted on legislation proposed by Grand Council requiring all chapters elect two new chapter officers: a Vice President Inclusion and a Director Community Inclusion. The new officers are supported by an additional member of AAC. The Grand Vice President Inclusion/Community Relations member will oversee the Fraternity’s existing Community Relations team as well as the new Specialty Director, titled Director Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and nine new Inclusion Specialists. A webpage has been developed to explain these changes.

This legislation followed a biennium-long pilot program to incorporate a Director Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) into the Chapter Leadership Team. In January 2020, 20 chapters opted to participate in the pilot program. Over the summer, an additional 60 chapters were welcomed to pilot the office for the fall 2020 term.

The Fraternity officially welcomed the new chapter-level inclusion officer roles in January 2022. While these roles were adopted at the 2021 Convention, their officer terms officially began in the fall 2021/winter 2022 terms. These chapter roles include Vice President Inclusion and Director Community Inclusion, and they will be advised by the AAC Inclusion Advisor. Fraternity officer roles went into effect over the summer and utilized the fall term to train, begin integrating work within Regional Teams, and prepare for these new collegiate roles to begin. 

The Fraternity continues to fill AAC Inclusion Advisors who will provide guidance that helps the chapter Inclusion Team implement strategic and programmatic diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to create a more inclusive chapter experience. If you are interested in volunteering with Pi Beta Phi or know a sister who would be a great fit, please submit this form.

Director Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Announced
Earlier this month, Pi Phi introduced California Eta Daphney Rose Bitanga as Director Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DDEI). Daphney has held a variety of volunteer roles for our sisterhood, including chairing our inaugural DEI Advisory Committee. In her new role, she will continue to help shape the Fraternity’s DEI strategies, provide leadership and guidance for the Inclusion Specialists, support chapters and clubs implementing DEI efforts, and promote meaningful collaboration among members and leaders with the support of the DEI Advisory Committee. Daphney will work closely with Teresia Williams, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director on Headquarters staff who is another integral part of the DEI team.

Inclusive Education at Virtual College Weekend
Keynote speaker Tianna Soto kicked off our Virtual College Weekend in early January 2022. In tie with the College Weekend theme, "The Inclusive Member Experience," Tianna’s presentation, “Living Between Worlds,” encouraged chapter officers and AAC members to explore their personal identities, celebrate the journey and feel confident in their unique strengths. Tianna is a Puerto Rican, Jamaican-Chinese storyteller who empowers students to care for their mental health and wellness and face the college journey with confidence. Her work is heart-centered, service-driven, culturally-informed, and rooted in empathy. Additionally, College Weekend programming included specialized training for the newly-elected chapter Vice Presidents Inclusion as they began their new roles.

Training Our Volunteer Leaders and Staff
Pi Phi is excited to be partnering with The Nova Collective, a Black-owned, woman-owned strategy and consulting firm, to provide continued DEI education and training to Grand Council, Pi Beta Phi Foundation Trustees, Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC) board members, Fraternity officers and all Headquarters staff. The training will explore social identity, bias awareness, allyship and the development of inclusive leaders, giving critical support to officers and staff as they carry out the DEI-focused work included in the Fraternity’s strategic and operational plans.

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Changes to Recruitment Practices 
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 the 2021 Convention, legislation passed revising the Constitution and Statutes to remove any reference to special consideration for legacies. 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 was developed to share more and answer frequently asked questions.

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

Making an Impact Through Literacy Service
Pi Beta Phi has identified literacy programs to be closely related to our DEI work. Intentional steps to build connections between the two have already been taken in collaboration with our literacy partner, First Book®. Pi Beta Phi is proud of its more than 110-year-old commitment to literacy and recognizes that long-term strategy to evolve literacy programs will have clear alignment with Pi Phi’s commitment to DEI.

Highlighting Pi Phi’s Diversity of Social Media
The Fraternity has worked to evolve its social media presence to illustrate a more inclusive member experience. Campaigns have been created to highlight special holidays, weeks, and months, as an opportunity for educating the membership and to highlight diverse voices in Pi Phi’s membership.

Affinity Groups Launched
In partnership with the DEI AC, a framework for designing member affinity groups to bring together members with similar lived experiences was developed. In July 2021, Pi Beta Phi announced new Facebook affinity groups were created as inclusive spaces for support, learning and connections.

Supporting National Panhellenic Conference Work
In August 2020, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) announced the creation of an Access and Equity Advisory Committee to help identify reforms to eliminate structural and systemic barriers to sorority membership. Pi Beta Phi has been encouraged by this committee’s work and will partner with NPC to ensure sustainable change.

Last updated: June 2022


Questions?

It’s understandable that you have questions about Pi Phi’s DEI efforts. We have prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

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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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