Thank you, Founders By Jessica Campbell, VP of Ritual & Fraternity Appreciation, Alpha Gamma Chapter, University of New Mexico
This October will mark 132 years since seven strong, young women founded Alpha Chi Omega. So much has happened within the almost century and half that our sorority has existed. Much has changed in the global, political and social landscapes of the world. But one thing has remained the same: the bond of Alpha Chi Omega. We have grown nationally to more than 140 collegiate chapters and 220,000 members across the globe. Each of these women has had her life changed because of our seven original sisters.
Bertha, Estelle, Anna, Nellie, Bessie, Olive and Amy founded Alpha Chi Omega because there was no fraternity for them to join as music students at DePauw University. They took it upon themselves to create one of their own. I often wonder if they ever thought their small musical fraternity would grow to level that it has, or if they knew just how many lives they would touch. Several times I have been asked in job interviews, “If you could have lunch with anyone from history, who would it be and why?” This often causes my mind to wander to our Founders. I would love the opportunity to meet with them and tell them all that they have inspired and to see their faces light up as they hear what their fraternity has been busy doing over the last 132 years.
I would tell them that we are working to redefine the sorority experience. That we are women empowering women, creating change across campuses by educating our peers about healthy relationships and helping those impacted by domestic violence. And I would assure them that although we no longer have a membership requirement related to music ability, we do hold our musical heritage in the highest regard and wear our lyre badge proudly.
But most of all, I would like to tell them thank you. Their legacy has shaped me into the woman I always wanted to be. I would thank them for our beautiful symbols that first made me fall in love with Alpha Chi when I went through recruitment. I would thank them for our Ritual that binds me with sisters across the country and with sisters of different generations. I would thank them for being real, strong women.
Olive once said, “All I have ventured to give toward the upbuilding and uplifiting of our fraternity has been from the depths of my heart, and has been repaid in thousandfold by my girls.” It is because of her and the other six Founders’ selfless attitudes that we have our sisterhood. Today and every day, may our members across the globe remember the legacy of our Founders and send a silent “thank you” for all they have done. Happy Founders’ Day!