Day of Giving: A Perspective from Faythe Vorderstrasse
My best friend’s mother was an Alpha Chi Omega, a fact I did not know when I joined. She laid the groundwork as her daughter Betty and I went through rush together. We both ended up pledging the Alpha Rho chapter of Alpha Chi Omega at the University of Idaho. Pledging Alpha Chi Omega was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
After one year at the University of Idaho, I ended up affiliating with the Chi chapter at Oregon State University. Around that time, Alpha Chi Omega created the traveling secretary position. Burnette Jones, then our national collegiate vice president, named Charlene Moore, Chi chapter, as the first traveling secretary. After Char retired, Burnette Jones (by this time our National President) visited the Chi chapter again and named me the second traveling secretary. It has always made me very proud to be involved in our consultant program since I was hired in 1957, and to watch it grow and prosper over the many years since its inception.
I worked hard for Alpha Chi during those two years, crisscrossing our United States from coast to coast and border to border, visiting approximately 86 chapters. It is important to remember that at that time, jet airplanes were not yet in service. I traveled on the old DC-3 propeller planes. There were no rental cars, so my ground transportation was either by bus or train, or sometimes by a wonderful trip in an alumna’s car. There were no electric typewriters or cell phones or iPhones, so our reports consisted of one original and five or six carbon copies.
Alpha Chi Omega has empowered me in so many ways. The Fraternity has believed in me from the beginning by offering me the opportunity to serve in many different positions. My ultimate honor was being elected to the National Council in 1976 as the national treasurer. At that time in our nation’s history, interest rates were running at 17-19 percent, and inflation was 14 percent. Our Fraternity’s finances were structured in such a way that our collegians were providing most of our operating capital, and the alumnae participation was very small.
In my mind, we had to do something! I knew our alumnae would help if we informed them of our situation and told them that we needed them. We worked on laying the groundwork for the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation for two years in order to be ready to obtain permission from the 1978 National Convention voting delegates to proceed with the formation of the Foundation. It’s interesting to me to know that in the first week of our first annual mail campaign, the donations totaled about $287. That small beginning has led us to where we are today!
My background as a consultant has been valuable to me over the years. At times it was a tough job. I worked hard, but I enjoyed it very much. Sometimes I saw immediate results from my visit while other times it took longer. Overall, our travelers’ visits have produced wonderful results; results that have made a positive difference in the growth of our Fraternity.
It has been interesting to me to watch Alpha Chi Omega grow over the years. We have implemented many new programs that have not survived the test of time, but our consultant program has grown and prospered and proven its value over and over again.
Having this opportunity to support both the consultant program and the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation is very special to me. I knew from the beginning that we had to do something to provide our Alpha Chi Omega chapters with the programs needed to enable our members to grow and to prosper.
I guess from reading this, you know that I am very proud of my participation in the consultant program AND in laying the groundwork involved in the formation of the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation, allowing me the opportunity to work closely with real, strong women endowed with tremendous skills and dedication in leading our Fraternity. Put this together with the fact that many of these women have become wonderful, close, lifetime friends, and it makes all of this even more special. We’ve had lots of laughs and lots of fun times over the years, and these friendships have made it all even more worthwhile!