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.

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.  

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, FHC Board and Foundation Board of Trustees), training and development for international leaders, legacy and member sponsorship practices, collegiate programming and more.  In between regular committee meetings, members of the DEI AC are pulled into other projects or discussions with volunteer and staff teams to help weave DEI focuses into all the existing or new efforts of the Fraternity. This includes conversations around Pi Phi’s DEI long-term strategy, and also more immediate projects and milestones like the international slating process, the Fall 2020 issue of The Arrow and the refresh of Leading with Values (scheduled to launch in January 2021).    

In October, 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, which was used to inform the development of the Fraternity’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statement and guiding principles which will help focus the Fraternity’s efforts.   

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.  

Also worth mentioning was the more than 6,000 calls, emails, social media posts and comments from members the Fraternity logged over the early summer months.

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 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, has informed Constitution and Statutes legislation currently in draft form. The legislation, to be considered by the convention body during this summer’s virtual meeting will establish an officer position in every chapter to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

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

Pi Beta Phi’s Member Development Program, Leading with Values, has been undergoing a series of revisions over the past year. The team leading the revisions has sought insight and feedback from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, which will be reflected when the program enhancements are launched in January 2021.

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, specifically for AAC members, a program on language.

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 too which has illustrated substantial knowledge growth as well as overwhelmingly positive remarks as to the relevancy of content and enjoyment of the programs.  

Additionally, as part of the Fraternity’s 2019-2021 Strategic Plan efforts, the Fraternity has reviewed and made immediate changes to its legacy policy and practices related to the required sponsorship of a New Member. A legislative change to the Fraternity Constitution and Statutes regarding legacies and sponsorship is in draft and will be considered by the convention body when they meet this summer.  

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

To date, $6,490.05 has been contributed by 51 donors to the DEI Leadership Fund held by Pi Beta Phi Foundation. As the Fraternity works with the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and evaluates existing programming updates or new needs, our Foundation is anticipating a concerted ask for support to the fund. Grants from the fund will be considered as part of the Foundation’s 2021 grant cycle.  

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

The Fraternity has engaged a series of experts to help drive a more comprehensive understanding on the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion among those serving in leadership rolesFraternity 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. AAC resources will be considered with future work.   

Further updates

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion progress report is expected to be shared with the full membership in early 2021.   

Fraternity leadership is currently drafting a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Framework and operating models based on best practices in the industry. These tools will inform a roadmap for implementation of future diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.  

Pi Beta Phi’s literacy programs will further help Pi Beta Phi support diversity, equity and inclusion goals.  Pi Beta Phi is proud of its more than 100-year-old commitment to literacy. Many members have asked how Pi Phi’s philanthropic focus might play a role in the Fraternity’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Last November, the Fraternity engaged in a conversation with literacy partner First Book about opportunities to think differently about some of Pi Beta Phi’s literacy programs in the hopes of having greater impact, specifically highlighting Pi Beta Phi and First Book's philanthropic focus on underserved populations. These opportunities are coming to fruition as part of this Spring’s Fraternity Day of Service efforts.  

Marketing Pi Beta Phi in a way that reflects the current and desired diversity of Pi Beta Phi is important. There is an understood need to 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.  

Last updated: November 30, 2020

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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