Early histories of women's fraternities contain accounts of "rushing and pledging agreements" or "compacts" among fraternities on various campuses, and also many stories of cooperation and mutual assistance. However, no actual Panhellenic organization existed and no uniform practices were observed. By 1902, it was obvious that some standards were needed, so Alpha Phi invited Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Chi Omega and Chi Omega to a conference in Chicago on May 24. Alpha Chi Omega and Chi Omega were unable to attend. The remaining seven groups met and the session resulted in the organization of the first interfraternity association and the first intergroup organization on college campuses. (National Interfraternity Conference for men's fraternities was organized in 1909, now called the North-American Interfraternity Conference).
This meeting, and the next few, resulted in several mutual agreements, especially regarding pledging. Up to this time, no guidelines had been set, and women could be pledged to groups before enrolling in college and, indeed, even belong to more than one group.
The fact that NPC is a "Conference" is significant to the NPC philosophy because the organization is a conference, not a congress. It enacts no legislation except for the conduct of its own meetings. Other than the basic UNANIMOUS AGREEMENTS which all groups have voted to observe, NPC confines itself to recommendations and advice, and acts as a court of final appeal in any College Panhellenic difficulty. One of its greatest services is providing Area Advisors for College Panhellenics and Alumnae Panhellenics.
AES Merger with NPC
Members of Sigma Sigma Sigma and Alpha Sigma Alpha organized the Association of Pedagogical Sororities on July 10, 1915. The membership consisted of sororities, who like the name indicates, were primarily located on state campuses where women entering the educational field were predominant. In 1917, Pi Kappa Sigma and Delta Sigma Epsilon joined the association, followed by Theta Sigma Upsilon in 1925, Alpha Sigma Tau in 1926, and Pi Delta Theta in 1931. At the third biennial conference, the name of the association was changed to the Association of Educational Sororities (AES). Later, the word "Educational" was changed to "Education".
The AES was a strong group of leaders that focused not only on educational (providing scholarships) and women-centric issues, but cooperated to support issues outside of the sorority world including defense projects during World War II. One of the projects started by the AES member groups resulted in what is today the world-renowned Leader Dogs for the Blind School in Rochester, MI.
After much work on the part of NPC and AES, on November 12, 1947, the six AES sororities were unanimously accepted as associate members of NPC. At the same time, five other sororities were also admitted. In December of 1951, the six sororities became full members of NPC. Since that time, three have merged with other NPC member groups leaving Alpha Sigma Alpha, Alpha Sigma Tau and Sigma Sigma Sigma as the remaining former-AES members.