Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Update | Summer 2022

In September 2020, ZTA launched the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, committing to “building a nobler womanhood for all by creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive sisterhood.” We remain steadfast to this commitment two years later as we reflect on what the Fraternity has accomplished in this biennium and the work we will continue to do. That commitment can best be seen through the impact of efforts related to education and belonging.

In these two years, one of the key focus areas was on education through the Key Value of Seeking Understanding that We Might Gain True Wisdom. This Key Value looks like being open to new ideas and perspectives; seeking out opportunities to interact with and learn from people of different backgrounds; and being comfortable discussing differing values and beliefs. Members embraced learning more about themselves and others through continued training and development at every level of the organization.

Impact: Members are more open to diverse perspectives and challenging themselves to learn about themselves and others.

ZTA launched the new My Sister, My Responsibility®: Seeking Understanding component focused on inclusion and belonging in fall 2020. Experts in the field helped ZTA develop six new workshops about personal and social identities, genuine conversations, microaggressions, unpacking power and privilege, cultural appropriation and understanding other sisters’ stories. Both alumnae and collegiate Crown Chapter criteria included completing one My Sister, My Responsibility: Seeking Understanding workshop or community inclusion program to encourage members to engage in sisterhood discussions about inclusion and belonging. The results from the annual collegiate Membership Survey showed a dramatic increase of 0.12 in the Seeking Understanding that We Might Gain True Wisdom Key Value over the biennium.

Impact: Members feel more confident in understanding power, privilege, oppression and creating a culture of respect on their campus and in their communities.

Over 20,000 collegians and nearly 2,000 alumnae completed the diversity, equity and inclusion online modules that ZTA made available starting in fall 2020. ZTA partnered with Everfi (now Vector Solutions) to provide these resources to all collegians, alumnae volunteers, and staff beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year as well as new members, collegiate officers, and all alumnae beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year. One of ZTA’s next steps is creating courses specific to the ZTA experience for collegians and alumnae.

Impact: Chapter officers, advisors, National Officers and staff feel more prepared to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into their roles.

Leadership training more intentionally weaves diversity, equity and inclusion into day-to-day operations. Members holding a new officer role in collegiate chapters, the Inclusion Chair, receive specialized training each year to prepare for how to make an impact on the chapter and campus community. Sessions at Officer Leadership Academy and Advisor Leadership Academy cover topics related to other officer roles, including diversity, equity and inclusion. During National Officer Academy in summer of 2021, National Officers discussed how to be even more inclusive in working with collegiate and alumnae chapters. International Office has ongoing training related to inclusive practices in everyday work for all staff, including Leadership Consultants.

Another key focus area of ZTA’s inclusion efforts is to build a stronger sense of belonging among members. We want members from all backgrounds to see ZTA as their home away from home and see that they matter here. The Fraternity will continue to build belonging through welcoming and celebrating members.

Impact: Members feel more seen and celebrated through ZTA’s social media platforms.

The organization implemented an intentional, ongoing content plan for celebrating members, their backgrounds and their identities on ZTA’s public social media platforms. These posts also educate all members active on social media about different cultures, religions and backgrounds. ZTA focused on increasing accessibility on its website and social media channels, including adding captions for all videos. The organization also provided best practice guides for chapter social media in Historian-Reporter duties and responsibilities. Here are some responses to ZTA’s posts from members on social media:

  • National Adoption Day: “Thank you for sharing! I adopted twin Zeta legacies 10 years ago. Greatest blessing of my life after waiting 17 years to be a mom and being a high school counselor to many students who were young mothers.”

  • Disability Independence Day: “ZTA living with disabilities here! So loved by my sisters and the accommodations my chapter has given me ❤️”

Impact: Members facing financial challenges received support from ZTA through need-based scholarships.

During the 2020-2022 biennium, the ZTA Foundation and the Fraternity partnered to award 740 Grace Grants to members outside of the normal scholarship process. These scholarships assisted ZTA collegians experiencing financial need related to impacts of COVID-19 in 2020 and more general financial need in 2021.

Impact: Members are recruiting and educating new members in an even more inclusive and welcoming way.

The biennium included two important programmatic updates—the Guide to Recruitment and Retention and the Guide to the New Member Experience. After 12 years with the former recruitment guide, it was time for an update. The new version incorporates ZTA’s Nine Key Values and Five Areas of Sisterhood and reflects inclusive and welcoming updates to ZTA’s recruitment practices. The Guide to the New Member Experience was refreshed to build an inclusive environment and increase belonging among new members. These resources help our collegiate officers, advisors and members live ZTA’s values as we grow our sisterhood each year.

Impact: New members have a more equitable recruitment process.

As of June 2021, collegiate chapters stopped giving ZTA legacies preferential consideration during recruitment. The term “legacy” will continue to recognize the special relationship between a Zeta and a ZTA mother, sister or grandmother. While ZTA will continue to cherish the connection a legacy may have to the organization, it no longer plays a role in membership selection. This change focuses on the mutual selection process and ensures all PNMs have the same access and opportunity to join.

Next Steps

As we look to the future, we know the work must continue. The diversity, equity and inclusion experts at Tran Arrowsmith PLLC are finishing an audit of the organization that began in December 2020. The audit has included reviewing documents related to policies, forms, and resources; conducting a member survey; and supporting listening sessions with collegiate and alumnae members. The firm will use the information from this audit to create a report of recommendations, which ZTA will review as we continue working to build a more inclusive sisterhood.

We will continue to use the Seeking Understanding that We Might Gain True Wisdom Key Value and Sisterhood Area of Belonging as our guide. As we look toward the next biennium, ZTA’s continued commitment to inclusion will be fully integrated into the larger strategic vision and communication of the Fraternity rather than existing as a stand-alone initiative. This holistic integration is an important step in making inclusion not just what we do, but who we are.

To stay updated and learn more about the Fraternity’s commitment to building a more inclusive sisterhood, check out current updates and the full Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan here.


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