Submitted photo via @kaseyellrich on Instagram | Featured: AOII Oklahoma State University
The rumors are true: One of the best ways you can begin the sorority recruitment process is to attend an informational meeting hosted by an Alumnae Panhellenic. What's an Alumnae Panhellenic, you ask? Let's take a look at the way the dictionary breaks it down and I think you'll start to get the picture.
Pan·hel·len·ic: "All Greek"
(So in other words, when people say "It's all Greek to me," they mean that literally.)
Really though: An Alumnae Panhellenic is an organization affiliated with the National Panhellenic Conference, or NPC. Have you heard of Kappa Kappa Gamma, or Pi Beta Phi, or Delta Gamma? These sororities and 23 other houses all fall under the umbrella of the NPC—you can think of the NPC as a "collective" for sororities!
An Alumnae Panhellenic reflects the NPC "collective" in that its members are comprised of all different house affiliations. Your local Alumnae Panhellenic might (and probably does) count a post-collegiate Theta, a Tri Delta, and a Chi Omega among its members, among others. Because an Alumnae Panhellenic has members with so many different sorority backgrounds, these organizations can help connect Potential New Members (that's you!) with alumnae who will write valuable References for the various houses on your college campus.
Is your brain spinning yet? If so, then we can't encourage you enough to identify your local Alumnae Panhellenic organization now and make plans to attend their information meeting. These meetings are sometimes called Spring Forums or Recruitment Information Forums, and they typically take place in January or February. A quick Google search (try searching "Alumnae Panhellenic [Your City]") should reveal the organization nearest you. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, check out our 2020 listing of events here.
Whew! That was a lot of new terminology for one day. Here's a quick review for you.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Alumnae Panhellenic: A community-based organization affiliated with the National Panhellenic Conference whose membership is comprised of representative alumnae from NPC sororities.
National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): The "umbrella" group for 26 national and international sororities that are autonomous social organizations. The purpose of the NPC is to assist member organizations in cooperating with colleges and universities, to foster relationships between different sororities, and to provide advocacy and support for the sorority experience.
Potential New Member: A young woman going through the sorority recruitment process...in other words, you!
Spring Forum: A meeting hosted by local Alumnae Panhellenic organizations that provides Potential New Members with helpful information about the sorority recruitment process.
Reference (Also "Reference Letter", "Letter of Recommendation" or "Letter of Support"): A "reference" is an alumna's endorsement of a PNM for membership in their sorority house. These terms are frequently used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different types of sponsorship. A standard sponsorship is comprised of a Recruitment Information Form (RIF) that is completed by an alumna on your behalf, using the information you have provided in your sorority packet. A Letter of Support is an optional complement to a standard RIF; a personal letter written by the alumna that provides the chapter with extra details or additional information about the PNM she's sponsoring.