The Unanimous Agreements have been voted upon by all 26 member chapters; these policies have been crafted specifically to not impede the sovereign rights of individual chapters. The NPC describes the Unanimous Agreements as “the principles, procedures and behavioral expectations considered so basic to ethical and harmonious intersorority life that they are binding on every NPC member organization” (National Panhellenic Conference, 2015). The Unanimous Agreements mainly discuss the structure of local, campus-based governance of the NPC chapters, operation of alumnae associations, and many different policies and practices related to membership recruitment.
Parity & Total
An important goal when determining the sizes of sorority chapters on each campus is parity, or equity, among the sororities on each campus (National Panhellenic Conference, 2014a). A few mechanisms are in place to assist in this goal, the first of which is to set “total” which is the maximum amount of members permitted to be in each sorority. Total adjusts each year following the primary membership recruitment period (Spring semester each year at F&M) to set the allowable chapter (total) size on campus.
Another practice is setting a “quota” during formal membership recruitment periods. Quota is considered the maximum number of potential new members each sorority may have at the conclusion of a formal recruitment period. It is important to note that with the addition of members through the formal recruitment process that it is possible to have a membership that is above total, which is the only time when it is acceptable for a chapter to have more members than total allows. These mechanisms keep each of the sororities at relatively the same size, with the exception of some sororities that may be struggling to a point where these practices are no longer helpful.
Because of these practices, there is a certain amount of selectivity that occurs in sororities since there are maximums set for each organization; preference of women becomes important and membership selection criteria must be implemented. Of the number of mandatory policies in the Manual of Information Unanimous Agreements set forth by the NPC, many related to the membership recruitment and selection process, one policy mandates that recruitment shall be a “mutual choice and selection” that includes both the sorority chapter and the potential new member (PNM) the opportunity to narrow down one’s choice of membership, with membership ultimately by invitation of the sorority (National Panhellenic Conference, 2014a).