Our founders were women who challenged the status quo in the pursuit of justice and equality. We honor our heritage as sisters and members of Delta Phi Epsilon by continuing this work within our organization and within our own communities. We are continuously striving to improve the education of our members and create a community that is diverse, equitable, inclusive, and creates a sense of belonging for all members.
As an organization, we believe in doing the hard work that ensures we uphold our value of justice as a sisterhood. DPhiE does this by implementing policies, educating our member community and advocating for change. We learn from experts. We have difficult conversations. We take action.
On March 17, 1917, five courageous women attending New York University School of Law could not find a membership accepting of all backgrounds. Therefore, they formed Delta Phi Epsilon with the purpose of accepting all races and religions–one of the first non-sectarian, social sororities to do so. Dorothy, Ida, Minna, Eve and Sylvia built Delta Phi Epsilon to “promote good fellowship among the women students among the various colleges in the country…to create a secret society composed of these women based upon their good moral character, regardless of nationality or creed.”
Since 1917, Delta Phi Epsilon members have been at the forefront of social justice issues. Check out this excerpt from the Delta Phi Epsilon magazine published in 1930. Only 10 years prior, the right to vote was extended to women.
Throughout the years, DPhiE has grown consistently in our DEI efforts. We take the time to learn from DEI and higher education professionals. Out of those conversations come change and implementation.
During the 2021-2022 academic year, Delta Phi Epsilon partnered with Culture Shift Team, an award-winning consulting agency of leading experts in two main practice areas: multicultural marketing and diversity-equity-inclusion education and strategy. Our international headquarters staff, DEI committee, four chapters from across the country, and members of the International Governing Board participated in a 2.5 hour virtual workshop titled “Beyond the DEI Acronym: Dialogues with DPhiE”.
Each session was led by facilitators from the Culture Shift Team and aimed to help participants (1) Understand why dialogues across difference are important to your everyday work/life (2) Learn how to engage and connect across difference and bring our motto “esse quam videri” into permanent reality and (3) understand the role identity and bias play in our everyday lives.
DPhiE is still working on finding partnerships that will provide all of our members the opportunity to engage in deep conversations, connection opportunities and development around DEI topics.
A groundbreaking series of 10 events per year, each focused on a different theme or issue and featuring a notable keynote speaker. The Social Justice Series brings the entire sorority – collegiate and alumni – together virtually to learn about, explore, discuss and take action in support of important ideas.
In keeping with Delta Phi Epsilon’s Anti-Racist Policy, at least two events per year will be focused on education around fostering a more racially equitable organization and society. The Social Justice Series is available free of charge to all members. Organized on a virtual platform, each event will enable thousands of Delta Phi Epsilon sisters to share experiences and ideas with leading experts and each other. To learn more about the next SJS event, click here.
Delta Phi Epsilon’s New Member Orientation program was fully updated in Fall 2022. The program has been intentionally designed to ensure that all new members, regardless of chapter, are provided the same foundational knowledge and experience. The program includes two essential elements, (1) online new member orientation course and (2) new member meetings with their chapter. DPhiE’s new member orientation program is focused on competency development in the following skill areas: self-awareness, integrity, empathy, communication and inclusion.
Both the online new member orientation course content and the new member meeting activities include important information on DEIB topics. In a partnership with the Parallel Agency, all new members will be provided with education on DPhiE DEIB terms and definitions, understanding unconscious bias and communicating across differences. These topics are part of week 2 of our new member orientation course. We believe that this will showcase (1) what DPHIE expects of our members and (2) the environment members can expect to be part of as a member of DPHIE.
In 2021, the DEI Committee and IHQ staff compiled a list of important DEI terms and definitions for our membership, click here to read.
While learning and having conversations is great, the importance of taking action cannot be understated. DPhiE puts actions and results at the forefront of our strategic planning around DEI initiatives. We are passionate changemakers and leaders within our communities and beyond.
Currently, Delta Phi Epsilon is a leading voice in the National Panhellenic Conference for nonbinary and transgender membership. We are actively advocating, with support from many other organizations, for the alignment of words and actions within the NPC to not only accept but also create an inclusive environment for nonbianary and transgender members.
Each chapter’s leadership team includes a Vice President of Equity and Belonging (VPEB). The VPEB of each chapter will ensures that operations of Delta Phi Epsilon are just, equitable, and accessible while also working with members to ensure that all of our programs, events, and general chapter community are inclusive, safe, and welcoming.This position and team also provide opportunities for members to become more deeply educated on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) topics and have important conversations and learn about in productive and brave way.
Additionally, the Team Excellence Manual was updated to ensure that DEI work did not just fall on the VPEB. Instead, DEI is now integrated into the role of each leadership team member.
With the implementation of the VPEB position, Delta Phi Epsilon partnered with the Parallel Agency to offer four training opportunities specific to those members in that role. The goal of these training sessions was to help VPEBs:
The training session topics were: DPHIE DEIB Foundations and Definitions, Intent vs Impact, Understanding Unconscious Bias, and Utilizing DEIB in Practice.
Advisors and Volunteers are sisters and unicorn activists that dedicate their time to pursuing the advancement of our organization at the local and inter/national levels. This includes facilitating conversations around DEI topics and being a knowledgeable and compassionate resource for members and friends. Click here to learn more about becoming a volunteer with Delta Phi Epsilon.
Delta Phi Epsilon is proud to partner with Parallel Agency, who specializes in working with sororities and fraternities to help align their words and actions in the areas of equity, access, and belonging. We have partnered with Parallel Agency to revise and align our new member orientation. This collaboration and process revision ensures that all members of Delta Phi Epsilon have a baseline working knowledge of inclusion and equity for all new members starting Fall of 2022.
In response to the Dobbs v. Jackson decision of the United States Supreme Court, the Gamma Nu chapter provided a statement in support of reproductive healthcare and resources to their members here.
“We try to base all of our actions as a chapter around our core values, justice, sisterhood, and love, and want to use our platform online, on our campus, and as an organization to promote those values. We felt that the actions of the Supreme Court went against those values and naturally we wanted to react by providing support to anyone we could reach with our platform.”
-Emma Madden, President
In response to the Dobbs v. Jackson decision of the United States Supreme Court, the Zeta Delta chapter provided a statement in support of reproductive healthcare and started a fundraiser for the National Network of Abortion Funds here.
“While the overturning of Roe v. Wade was disheartening, we were inspired by those who continued to step up to fight for the reproductive rights of everyone. As a chapter, we believe that any contribution, no matter how small, can have a big impact and are proud to do our part in supporting access to safe abortions.”
– Zeta Delta Chapter
In response to the Dobbs v. Jackson decision of the United States Supreme Court, the Gamma chapter provided a statement in support of reproductive healthcare and started a fundraiser for the National Network of Abortion Funds here.