Lifelong Alpha Chi Omega
By Amber McMurray; Zeta Pi, Arizona State University
When I told my coworkers, family and friends that I was going to New Orleans on a service trip with my sorority, many of them were confused since I have already graduated college. I took this as an opportunity to explain to them how membership in a sorority is lifelong, and it’s a personal choice whether or not you want to stay involved. I also shared with them how I believe more women should be involved post-college. Alpha Chi Omega helped to make my life more complete while in college as I made life-long friends, served on the executive board and went on the inaugural Collegiate Global Service Initiative trip to Negril, Jamaica. Now, after being chosen to be a part of the inaugural Alumnae GSI trip, I’ve had the unique opportunity to get to know sisters of all ages and see what life is like as an Alpha Chi ten to forty years after college.
Coming on this trip, I had no expectations of the work we would be doing and I didn’t know much about New Orleans, but I was excited to learn about the city and discover how I could make a difference here. Upon arrival, I immediately began bonding with my sisters who were of all different ages and came from various parts of the country. We laughed and made memories while taking a tour of the city with a quite eccentric woman named Denise. We learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses while dry walling, insulating and mudding together. And we watched one another step outside our comfort zones while mucking out horse stalls. Throughout the entire experience, we all had one thing on our mind; this is not about us, it’s about helping others. I know many women expected to directly help Hurricane Katrina survivors. And although it’s been 10 years and the people we helped are much better off than they once were, I feel that they really needed us and we really helped them. They, much like everyone else we met in New Orleans, had had their lives changed by Katrina and wanted nothing more than to put it behind them and move on. Seeing the strength and gratitude in those we helped and the determination in my sisters beside me proved that I did make a difference here and that I could continue to make a difference in my community and others.
This experience was much different than the one I had in Jamaica three years ago. My first GSI trip opened my mind up to the world around me, and gave me the opportunity to connect with 11 other women, my same age, who were going through similar life experiences as I was. This trip brought me closer to Alpha Chi Omega and showed me that I can be involved with this incredible network of women of all ages for the rest of my life. I wish other young alumnae could experience what I have this week and could see how Alpha Chi can continue to impact their lives if they just let it. If I can offer any advice to collegians, I would say stay involved after college, join an alumnae chapter, serve on a chapter’s advisory board and volunteer your time when you can. And to alumnae, I would encourage you to encourage any collegians you know, before they graduate, to stay involved once that fateful day comes. Alpha Chi Omega gives you the opportunity to make a difference every day and make the world a better place. All you have to do is want those things for yourself.