Community Updates

Panhellenic D&I Community Letter

Tuesday January 19, 2021

Dear Panhellenic and Miami Community,

Over the summer, we made a promise to you all to make changes within our community that would promote more inclusivity and diversity. This letter is both an update on the changes we have made and insight as to the direction we are planning to continue to take these efforts.

We created five different “impact teams” that were designed to focus on specific areas of improvement within our community. The topics of these teams were chosen based upon the various themes we noticed through our own reflection and our conversations with members both within and outside of our community. These five focus areas are:

  1. Civic Action & Advocacy

  2. Elections & Transitions

  3. Investigation & Analysis

  4. Education & Programming

  5. Recruitment & Outreach

*If you are interested in being the chair (leader) of one of these teams, we are looking for new chairs and will be filling these spots in the coming weeks. Please email mupanhellenicdi@gmail.com for more information.*

Civic Action & Advocacy

The Civic Action & Advocacy team established an Instagram account for easier communication to our members, @civicaction_mu. This account promoted protest resources ahead of the Black Lives Matter protest held in Oxford.  The purpose of the account was to ensure those who attended were fully informed and physically prepared. More specifically, the account reviewed the basics of protest etiquette, safety, and ally-ship.

This team also worked with the Andrew Goodman Foundation on campus to compile and distribute election and voting resources. In the future, this team plans to continue to brainstorm and promote ways for Panhellenic members to incorporate civic action into their daily lives. We encourage members to email mupanhellenicdi@gmail.com, fsll@miamioh.edu, or DM our instagram account @miamipanhellenic if there are any ideas on how Panhellenic can continue to educate our members.

Elections & Transitions

The Elections & Transitions team changed pieces of the election process to become a member of the  Panhellenic Executive Board. First, the entire slating committee, consisting of Chapter Presidents, Chapter Delegates, and outgoing Panhellenic Exec received an unconscious bias training before elections started. Then, the applications were name and chapter blind up until the interview stage. Each step in the election process (applications, interviews, and speeches) required the applicant to answer questions about Diversity & Inclusion and share their ideas and goals they have to promote equity within our community. Here are some examples of the questions that were asked throughout the elections process:

  • How has being a part of Miami University's Panhellenic Community shaped your views on diversity and inclusion?

  • How do you hope Panhellenic becomes more inclusive and diverse and how do you see the executive board having a role in this?

  • What organization that focuses on D&I do you want Panhellenic to build their relationship with?

  • How do you see Panhellenic growing from recent events?

  • How did you help with Black Lives Matter this summer?

  • How do you plan to implement diversity & inclusion within your position?

In order to ensure all of the D&I initiatives were carried forward, transitions was a large piece of this team’s goals as well. First, they started with a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of the previous year’s efforts in D&I work. This team is also holding every chapter accountable, by having multiple positions on each executive board submit their transition notes about D&I that they have handed to their successor.

In the future, this team wants to make more connections with marginalized groups to be able to advertise the opportunities available to lead and make a change on the executive board. They want to continue to analyze what they can do in the future to refine the elections and transition processes.

Investigation & Analysis

The Investigation & Analysis team distributed a survey at the beginning of the semester to all of the chapters, asking them what they have done so far for Diversity & Inclusion within their chapter. Additionally, they have been working on creating an anonymous reporting form that anyone can use to report an act of discrimination, hatred, or bigotry within our Panhellenic community. They have compiled a strategy on approaching this form that includes a formalized process for following up on these concerns with the chapter involved, as well as following up with the reporter if they chose not to remain anonymous and wanted an update on the steps taken after the report was made. There are two chairs of this team, so that if one of the chair’s chapters is involved in an incident, the other chair will take the lead on the situation, as to avoid any bias.

This entire team has also all signed confidentiality agreements stating that the responses given in the reporting form can not be shared with anyone else. They hope to get the form on the HUB before the start of the Spring 2021 semester. Once it is live, we will post the link on our Instagram page.

Finally, they will be working with the Recruitment & Outreach team on creating an anonymous reporting form specifically for concerns that occur during recruitment.

Education & Programming

The Education & Programming team created a presentation about "The Implications of Greek Life and What We Can Do to Be Better Panhellenic Women." The purpose of this presentation was to address the systemic issues in Greek Life as a whole, while acknowledging the current issues in our community as well as a tangible list of what we can do to be better. The powerpoint was shared to every Panhellenic chapter and presented to each member of our community. This was one example of how they worked on creating tangible educational resources for our chapters to share with their members and to keep as part of their library of resources.

Looking to the near future, they have already started creating a Powerpoint on "How to Report Cases of Discrimination and the Importance of Member Accontability." They plan to distribute this presentation to every chapter and have it presented during the start of next semester! They will continue to create more powerpoints and hope to plan in person workshops, events and speakers when guidelines allow.

Recruitment & Outreach

The Recruitment & Outreach team made different changes to different areas of recruitment. Firstly, letters of recommendation and indication of legacy status will not be supplied to chapters to factor into their decisions. Additionally, questions that were unnecessary and could be subject to discrimination and unconscious bias were removed from the application, such as hometown, high school, etc. Instead, questions about their values were added and put in place of those. Finally, there is an application on the registration form that any Potential New Member (PNM) can use to apply for a recruitment fee waiver due to financial instability.

Another area of improvement this team looked at was recruitment attire. In order to take away the emphasis on image and outfits for both PNM’s and recruiting chapters, there will no longer be outfit recommendations or requirements throughout the recruitment process. PNM’s will be told that the rounds get dressier, but they should wear what they feel most comfortable in. For example, for the dressiest round, preference round, PNM’s will be told it is more formal, but not advised to wear a dress. The “what to wear” section on the Panhellenic Website was removed. This still applies for our “zoom” recruitment.

Another area this team focused on was education. Typically, Panhellenic will host an “anti-fashion show,” which shows PNM’s what they could potentially wear to each round of recruitment that they can find in their closet. Instead of hosting this event, we hosted an event for PNM’s called, “What It Means To Be A Panhellenic Woman.” This was a diversity & inclusion forum and an opportunity to explain to PNM’s what will be expected of them when they choose to join our community. Additionally, this team worked on educating chapters to think deeply about the practices that they have in place that could be exclusionary. For example, telling chapter members to put heat to their hair, get a spray tan, or wear “nude” shoes are racial abuses that have existed in Panhellenic Recruitment for years that need to be reflected upon and changed.

In the future, this team is looking to continue to educate and push both chapters and PNM’s to think deeply about their choices. Along with the Investigation & Analysis team, this team also created a formal process for reporting recruitment concerns about a chapter, a PNM, or other concern. If you are interested in seeing the form and the reporting process, it will be added to our website, miamiohpanhellenic.org before recruitment starts.

Diversity & Inclusion Board

Over the summer, a diversity & inclusion board was created with one member from each chapter represented. This board met throughout the semester to discuss areas of improvement within their own chapters and the community as a whole.

Some of the topics they discussed throughout the fall semester included: ensuring chapter delegates were continuing conversations within their own chapters, highlighting multicultural holidays, talking about current events, and supporting further research into chapter presentations about diversity & inclusion.

Finances and Scholarships

Panhellenic recognized the financial barriers that are in place that can inhibit someone from joining our community. In order to alleviate some of this, we created 2 different scholarships. The first is a recruitment registration fee waiver. Starting with this year’s recruitment cycle, there will be a fee waiver for up to 10 women who are interested in joining the Panhellenic community through formal recruitment. This waiver is open to all women and is an effort to allow more individuals to explore their options in the Greek community. We hope to allow for even more fee waivers in the future if there is a shown interest in this.

The second scholarship is a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion scholarship that will give grants to women in both Panhellenic and NPHC chapters that will help cover the majority (or all, depending on the chapter) of their dues cost. This scholarship will be renewable for the entirety of the recipients time in their chapter. It will be awarded to 3 women in each grade who may have otherwise felt excluded from the Miami sorority community. The goal of this scholarship is to give individuals equitable access to the benefits of sisterhood.

Along with this scholarship, we will also be giving a number of $500 grants to chapters who would like to conduct diversity & inclusion workshops and retreats that foster inclusivity within their sisterhood.

Tri- Council Initiatives

An initiative that was recently started that includes the entire Tri-Council is: “In Greek Life Affinity Spaces.” These are spaces that members of like identities within the community can join to have a support system and find common ground. These groups will meet and will have funding to do activities together. Some examples of these spaces could be Black: in Greek Life, LGBTQ+: in Greek Life, Hispanic: in Greek Life and more. We already have one affinity group started. If you have interest in an affinity space that does not currently exist, please fill out the form in @mugreeks bio on Instagram.

The Future

With these changes implemented, our community will reflect on their chapter practices through the lens of inclusivity. They will start having conversations within their chapters every single day, not just when great tragedies that threaten social justice and human rights occur. Our greatest hope is that Miami Panhellenic women learn how to best hold each other accountable while also fostering growth in their sisterhood. We are becoming more self-aware of the changes that need to be made in our community and putting forth the effort to ensure that our members are educated so they can be a part of fixing inclusivity issues within the community.

The steps we have taken this past semester to make our community more inclusive is just the beginning. We welcome those members who are excited  to join us on this journey, and we encourage those hesitant to self reflect about whether or not they are willing to uphold the creed we live by as Panhellenic women: “the opportunity for wide and wise human service, through mutual respect and helpfulness, is the tenet by which we strive to live.”

The incoming executive board, incoming D&I board, and soon to be elected impact team chairs, are all committed to building on the efforts made this past year to make our community more inclusive. Their next steps include having a roundtable discussion about recruitment before recruitment begins, publishing the anonymous reporting form on our website, presenting about member accountability, and distributing the recruitment concerns reporting form to all of the RA’s. Aside from those short term action items, the long term goals include improving relationships with outside organizations, increasing D&I based education for new members, ensuring more chapter accountability when handling cases of discrimination, continuing to improve our recruitment practices, educating members on implicit bias and more.

As many of you know, a brand new executive board was recently elected for Panhellenic. Below is a statement of commitment they would like to make:

“We recognize that issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion are ongoing in our community and we are completely committed to continuing and expanding on the previous board’s work toward a more inclusive Panhellenic Community.”

Thank you to all who took part in making our community a more inclusive space this year. We look forward to seeing what the new executive board continues to accomplish in 2021.

Sincerely,

Miami University Panhellenic Association 2020 & 2021

Greek Spring Clean

Sunday April 7th, 2019

Greek Spring Clean completes record 1,290 service hours

Over 400+ students participate in community wide service event

 

(OXFORD, OHIO, April, 7th, 2019)

On Sunday, April 7th, 2019 430 fraternity and sorority students at Miami University participated in the annual Greek Spring Clean. Through this event the students completed 1,290 hours of community service in Oxford and the surrounding Butler County. Greek Spring Clean’s purpose is to support the Oxford community and exemplify the five pillars of fraternal excellence including giving back to others through community engagement and volunteerism through service & philanthropy.

 

The 2019 program saw many improvements from previous years. Attendance and participation not only doubled from 2018, but volunteer numbers also surpassed the previous five years. Additionally, the program grew in volunteer sites with 11 total sites being impacted by the student volunteers. These sites included: Butler County Metroparks, Ruder Preserve, the Institute for Food, Sharefest, and the Oxford Community Arts Center.

 

When talking about Greek Spring Clean, Claire Drew, VP of Service and Philanthropy for Miami Panhellenic Association said, “Greek Spring Clean offers Greek members the perfect opportunity to serve our neighborhood, as well as build community amongst one another. It represents many of our foundational pillars and showcases some of the great things this community has to offer.”

 

Many members, like Jack Haught of Delta Sigma Phi, like that this event allows for close interaction with surrounding residents and organizations within Oxford.

 

“Greek Spring Clean is a fantastic way for the Fraternity & Sorority Life community to give back to the larger community we are all a part of in Oxford. We deeply enjoyed the chance to meet just a few of the great people in our community, and to work alongside them to showcase the great things that happen when Greek organizations come together to give their time in service,” he said.

 

Through the work of the Panhellenic Association, Interfraternity Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Council, Greek Spring Clean has become a testament of continued commitment to service through tri-council unity. It is the hope of these governing councils that this event and its impact will continue to grow each year.

 

About the Fraternity & Sorority Tri-Council: The Miami University Tri-Council is comprised of three governing councils for our fraternity and sorority community including the Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Panhellenic Association. The three councils oversee over 40 greek-letter organizations and 5,000 greek-affiliated students at Miami University.

 

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If you would like more information about this event, please call the Fraternity & Sorority Life Tri-Council Leadership at 513.529.7117.