By Madison Yemc; Delta, Allegheny College
Physics, snow and cold weather. These things aren’t an unusual combination when you go to Allegheny College, a small liberal arts college in Northwestern Pennsylvania. In an attempt to distract myself from a tough problem on collisions, I pulled out my phone and checked my email. As the feed refreshed I saw I received a message from Alpha Chi Omega headquarters.
“Oh my gosh,” I exclaimed, as I opened the email! I sat in disbelief, excitement and utter happiness as I read the email explaining that I was chosen to take part in Alpha Chi Omega’s Global Service Initiative to Jamaica. My physics lab partners exchanged confused glances with one another as I continued to freak out for another five minutes or so. May 16th, the day we will depart for Jamaica, couldn’t come soon enough!
From the moment I received my acceptance to AXO’s Global Service Initiative, I have been waiting for the day I leave for Jamaica with great anticipation. Now, the trip is just a couple of days away and I couldn’t be happier that I applied!
One of the main reasons I decided to apply is the wonderful opportunity to do service and help others. Service has been important to me since high school. Then, I volunteered at a hospital one summer, completed service projects with National Honor Society and taught a child with autism through a program at my local church. In college, I feared that I wouldn’t be able to balance my course load while taking on other responsibilities such as volunteering. But after I joined Alpha Chi Omega, and volunteered more frequently with my sisters, I realized that it was still something I loved and wanted to continue doing.
Over the past year, I have become more involved in the Meadville community. I helped out at Make a Difference Day, Service Saturday and Women’s Services. Each of these opportunities gave me a chance to give back in some way to the community and to help to those who needed it the most. Although volunteering, itself, was a satisfying experience, lending a helping hand with my sisters made the experience more memorable and worthwhile. I can’t wait to put in some hard work with my sisters from across the nation and see the tasks that we can accomplish as a team! I am also excited to meet all of the sisters with whom I have been interacting before the trip. They all seem like wonderful women, and I can’t wait to bond with them!
Another reason I applied is because I wanted to make the most of my time as an Alpha Chi. I have received life-long friendships, a support system and love from Delta chapter at Allegheny College. So far, being a member of my chapter has been an honor and a privilege. It would mean so much to me to give back in whatever way I can. By taking part in the Global Service Initiative, I will gain another perspective on the world, and on volunteering, for that matter. I can share these new perspectives with the women in my chapter, with hopes that they too might be able to take-away something from my experience.
Finally, I am also so excited to experience what Jamaica has to offer! Within the first few days of the trip we will rehabilitate a principal’s cottage and then, in the days to follow, we will paint and do other small jobs at a school. I can’t wait to interact with the students there and give them the school supplies I collected before the trip. I think it will be interesting to see what schooling is like for them because I feel that I too often take my own education for granted. Also, I am eager to learn more about the Jamaican culture. Due to the fact that Jamaica gained its independence only 52 years ago, it will be neat to compare and contrast American culture to their own.
This trip is going to be a once in a lifetime, unforgettable opportunity for sure, and I am very grateful to be chosen as a participant in the 2015 Alpha Chi Omega Global Service Initiative. I cannot wait to delve into the adventures of the trip, take away what I can and most importantly help others!
by Jennifer Daurora
(Delta chapter, Allegheny College)
Throughout my personal journey as an Alpha Chi Omega, different areas of the Ritual have resonated with me at different times in my life. I have to believe this type of experience is exactly what our seven founders envisioned all those years ago. In my opinion, the meaning of the Ritual of Alpha Chi Omega grows with us as we grow as individuals.
As a collegian, when the secrets of our bond were finally revealed in the initiation ceremony, I was so excited that the entire ceremony flew by in a flash. Even at the post-initiation review, I was so overwhelmed that I hardly comprehended the meaning. By the time I was getting ready to graduate, I started to pick up on certain sections of the ceremonies that stood out to me in one way or another. By participating in the Hall of Commitment, I realized that my journey as an Alpha Chi Omega was really just beginning.
As a young alumna—when I began my volunteer career with Alpha Chi Omega—I tried my best to participate in what I call ‘official Ritual activities’. From participating in the formal opening at an alumnae chapter meeting to supporting collegiate sisters during the new member ceremony, I was there listening. As I started spending time with our Ritual, I began to better understand what our founders had wished for Alpha Chi Omega and each of us.
I know the collegians I advised wanted to know what I was doing with the ceremony book on the couch. I am sure they were surprised to hear me say that our ceremonies are available to lifetime members at any time—as long as we are in a safe place, of course. If we only listen to the words or experience the meaning of our Ritual once or twice a year, how could any of us really hope to understand what it means to be an Alpha Chi Omega? Just like other healthy habits, I make it a priority to spend time with our Ritual and to live the values explained. To make this personal plan of improvement more manageable, I concentrate on a section of the Ritual that calls to me at the time. As if Estelle, Nellie, Bertha, Anna, Bessie, Amy and Olive had it all planned out, most often the section of the Ritual that is calling to me contains the exact life lesson that I need at that very moment!
The best part of this entire journey is that, within our Ritual, I keep discovering powerful inspiration to become a better person; a better sister; and a real, strong woman.
Today, as a current National Vice President and having served in numerous Alpha Chi Omega alumna roles, I understand that our Ritual is much more than the words contained in an open or closed ceremony. It is much more than the experience of initiation.
The Ritual of Alpha Chi Omega is the road map that I look to for guidance as I strive to seek the heights.
by Audra Sinclair
(Delta, Allegheny College)
Fifteen months is not a very long period of time. It’s a little over one year and a little less than 500 days. Most people can count on one hand the places they have traveled in fifteen months but I can’t even on two. Most people have the opportunity to meet a bunch of acquaintances in that amount of time, I have met thousands. Most people have had relatively similar day to day experiences in only fifteen months, my life have changed more dramatically than I ever could have dreamed.
A little over a year ago I was living in Indianapolis, training to become an Alpha Chi Omega chapter consultant. I was confused 22 year old who had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. My degree is in biochemistry, and I was taking a year off to decide if medical school was the best next step in my life, or if it was something else I had yet to discover. I say now, fifteen months later, with absolute confidence, I have discovered more than I ever thought possible.
Being a chapter consultant isn’t all risk management and leadership development meetings with executive boards, even though you do those things. Being a Chapter Consultant is gaining your first real professional experiences that are relatable to any and every occupation; it’s learning how to be more independent than you ever thought you could be; it teaches you discipline; it’s personal development; it’s skills training; it’s a stepping stone; and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Not only was I able to travel and help develop young women in Alpha Chi Omega, all over the country, I was able to develop myself into a true young professional.
Four months ago I started my dream job with a pharmaceutical company as a territory sales manager (which is just a fancy title for pharmaceutical representative). Halfway through my year of traveling with Alpha Chi, I traveled to Indianapolis for some more training in personal and professional development. This training didn’t revolve around risk management or executive board responsibilities, it focused on how our experiences were helping us to move forward in our lives professionally. I found out what my strengths are, I worked with my supervisor on how to work on my weaknesses and how to capitalize on each. As a collective group of consultants, we talked about how all of our experiences and skills we had gained could be relatable to every field we could come up with… literally everything. Through this training, I was able to discover exactly where my career path was heading and I relied on it heavily while I was applying for and interviewing for positions as a pharmaceutical representative. Without this training or the experiences I gained in ten short months working for this organization, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Fifteen months ago, I was a college graduate about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. Five months ago I was a scared, unemployed, previous Alpha Chi Omega chapter consultant. Four months ago, I became a confident, young professional and the newest territory sales manager for a pharmaceutical company. Whether it was during my interview for my position as a pharmaceutical rep, or everyday on the job as a pharmaceutical rep, or even in my personal life, I am always pulling from the experiences I had while traveling for Alpha Chi Omega.
Most people maybe have one life changing moment in only fifteen months, I have had countless.
We are now accepting applications for 2012-13 chapter consultants. If you are interested, visit our website for more information.
by Audra Sinclair
(Delta, Allegheny College)
Through my years in Alpha Chi at Allegheny College, we had some pretty catchy bid day shirts. My freshman year, the lifetime members shirts read, “Take one look and suddenly you’ll know why…,” and the new members shirts read, “…Baby, I was born to be an Alpha Chi.” My junior year, we had baseball t-shirts that said “Alpha Chi Omega” across the front and on the back there was the silhouette of a baseball player diving for the ball. Underneath the silhouette it read, “The perfect catch.” My senior year, we had long sleeved t-shirts that had block letters on the front and the back said, “One Love,” and the “V” was the lyre from our new logo. You may wonder why I skipped our sophomore year? Did we have a lame slogan year? Not at all. I was just saving the best for last.
Sophomore year, the front of our shirts had a red car silhouette and etched out of the car it read, “Alpha Chi” shaped like the famous logo from the famous classic Grease. On the back of the new members’ shirts it said, “You’re the One that I Want,” and the lifetime members shirts said, “Hopelessly Devoted.”
Maybe I’m biased because Grease is my favorite movie of all time, but I absolutely loved these shirts. They spoke volumes to me about the meaning of Alpha Chi Omega and what our new members should be feeling versus what our lifetime members should be feeling. As lifetime members, we should be “Hopelessly Devoted” to this organization and everything it stands for. As new members, Alpha Chi Omega should be “The One That [They] Want” because of how hopelessly devoted our members are to the organization. For the three and a half years that I was a collegiate member of Alpha Chi Omega, I truly was hopelessly devoted. You could easily argue I still am. Back then, I was devoted to both our organization and the Panhellenic Community at Allegheny College. As an alumna, I’m devoted to the betterment of this organization as whole, every chapter, every girl.
Being a chapter consultant has brought so many new people and experiences into my life. It is not easy to be in a new city every four to five days, live out of a suitcase, be away from your friends and family constantly and work seven days a week. People I meet in airports or on college campuses ask me how it is even bearable. But meeting new people and getting the opportunity to shape lives every few days is worth every minute of every delayed flight. And what others might not understand, while I may be away from biological family, I’m constantly surrounded by my sisters. Lucky for me, we’re hopelessly devoted to each other. And they call this work? My favorite t-shirts came into my life halfway through my collegiate experience, and I’m writing this to you halfway through my days as a consultant. What I didn’t know then is it only gets better. My time as a chapter consultant isn’t half over, I still have half to go.
I have realized along the way that a new side to sisterhood comes from the alumna perspective. I have never given so much and received so much loyalty in my life, other than within my family. What I have found during my travels is that everyone has their own way of showing their devotion to Alpha Chi Omega. You don’t have to be president of your chapter, the most active alumna, work for headquarters, give the biggest donation or volunteer the most amount of your time to be devoted to Alpha Chi Omega. These women I have encountered who have changed my life and this organization are finding ways to give their time, love, effort and loyalty in their own ways. They are the women that are making this organization great. However, I believe that what makes Alpha Chi Omega the best is our unique ways of expressing our devotion. And for me, for life, mine just might be hopeless. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.