Key Terms to Understanding Pi Beta Phi's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts

The following terms have been developed from a range of resources including those made publicly available by the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, Washington University in St. Louis and the Center for Servant Leadership.  
  • Diversity: The presence of different identities, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives within an organization or community. Each Pi Phi brings her own uniqueness to strengthen our sisterhood. These characteristics impact the way a member is perceived and received by others, as well as how a member perceives the world.    

  • Equity: The fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people. In life, advantages and barriers exist – and as a result, we all don't all start from the same place. Pi Beta Phi believes a premier member experience should be obtainable by every member and therefore the Fraternity works to remove unnecessary barriers.   

  • Inclusion: Being welcomed and truly valued for what you contribute. Pi Beta Phi desires to create an environment where all members feel they have a voice, are valued, feel validated and can fully participate.    

  • Belonging: The desire to form and maintain lasting, positive, and significant interpersonal relationships where one can be authentic and a part of something bigger than themselves. Pi Beta Phi is centered around the concept of belonging, where members come together to celebrate shared core values and support one another.   

  • Identity: How we define ourselves as individuals, including our personal characteristics, history, personality, name, race, sexual orientation, gender and other characteristics that make us unique and different from other individuals.   

  • Intersectionality: The overlapping of the unique characteristics, identities and personalities an individual holds which creates a perspective all her own.*

  • Privilege: Access to resources based on being part of a societal group, which becomes an advantage over others. An example is the life-benefit that comes with being college-educated; college education is a privilege held by Pi Beta Phi members.  

  • Discrimination: Treatment of individuals, based on conscious or unconscious prejudice, that favor one group over another. Pi Beta Phi’s non-discrimination policy specifically forbids discrimination in operations or membership selection practices on the basis of race, religious affiliation, national origin, physical ability or sexual orientation.  

  • Anti-Racism: The intentional act of working to eliminate prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on the differences in race and ethnicity.   

  • Servant leadership: Servant leadership is a philosophy that focuses on leadership practices that enrich the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world. Pi Beta Phi has adopted many of the principles of servant leadership and has long expected Pi Phi leaders to practice servant leadership. Among other responsibilites, servant leaders also have a social responsibility to strive to remove inequalities and social injustices and therefore, the emphasis is based on listening, empathy and acceptance.**

  • Access/Accessibility: Improving access – or making an experience more accessible – means reducing economic, social, communication, and physical barriers to participation. Pi Beta Phi works to remove irrelevant barriers to participation in our sisterhood for qualified Potential New Members, New Members and Initiated Members.   

A list of additional helpful terms is available to our members in Pi Beta Phi's Resource Library.  

*The term intersectionality, as an analytical framework, was coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw.
**The philosophy of servant leadership was developed by Robert Greenleaf.