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 2020 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. Additionally, LNC adopted DEI competencies and behavioral based interview questions that demonstrate the expectations around Fraternity officer DEI competency. The Fraternity, Foundation and FHC continue their pursuit in being intentional about recruiting the best officers to lead Pi Beta Phi.
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 of 2021 and utilized the fall term to train, begin integrating work within Regional Teams and prepare for these new collegiate roles to begin. Currently, more than 300 volunteers directly support DEI and accessibility work at the local, regional and international levels.
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.
Regional Inclusion specialists take the lead on supporting the day the day needs of chapter officers. They provide tailored support, regular webinars and one on one connection opportunities for AAC members and chapter leadership teams.
Director Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
California Eta Daphney Rose Bitanga serves as the Director Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DDEI) and supports the Inclusion structure of the Fraternity. Daphney has held a variety of volunteer roles for our sisterhood, including chairing our inaugural DEI Advisory Committee. In her role, she continues 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 works closely with Teresia Williams, the Education and Inclusion Director on Headquarters staff who is another integral part of the DEI team.
Inclusion Education at 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.
Building upon the past year’s curriculum, College Weekend 2023 ensured that all college weekend educational tracks included learning objectives that reinforce the value of inclusive practices in every specialty area. AAC members received a more in-depth training that explored social identity, Pi Beta Phi’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and role AAC plays in supporting chapter officers.