By Becky Shipley Ziga, Chi Lambda (U of Evansville) Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
First, what are “Mission Specialists” and why would we need them in AOII? “Mission Specialists” are trained to be subject matter experts. They carry out specific requests and conduct focused activities on a special topic. The “Mission Specialists” for AOII Ritual are the Ritual Education Ambassadors or REAs. These women are a select IHQ Ambassador team working directly with the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee to bring Ritual understanding directly to our collegiate chapters.
To explain why we need Ritual Education Ambassadors, a quick look backward will help. Our Initiation Ritual was written in the late 1890s. As a commitment to the four women that shared their expectations of lifelong service, learning, and friendship through those words, we have held true to maintain the messages as written. This presents a unique situation for our sisterhood: How do we take the language of so long ago and make it relevant to today? This is where the RT&J Committee along with their “Mission Specialists” assist sisters in learning about our core values. So, what is the mission of a REA? The REA will conduct workshops in person or virtually. They will cover the mechanics of performing Ritual. Also, during the training event, sisters will have the opportunity to discuss and share their personal meaning and daily application of AOII Ritual. All of these workshops are preplanned with the REAs, chapter officers, and advisors. REAs use all the resources that Collegiate Chapters have access to as well: the AOII Rituals Book, the Book of Rituals Instructions, the Ritual Education Manual (online), Fulfilling the Promise under Program Enrichment Team – Ritual Education (online), and the RT&J network liaisons.
Our Founders, Helen, Elizabeth, Stella, and Jessie, gave each AOII sister a special gift, our AOII Ritual. These words contain lifelong instructions on living with value, encouragement to serve others, reminders that learning is every day, and most of all that our sisters now and in the future are to be treasured always. These four women shared their bond of ambition, inclusion, and love not just with our sisterhood but with the world. Stella said it best:
“We wanted a society that should continue our companionship through life, and extend the like joys to others, usefully, unselfishly and without pettiness. We wanted to enshrine, sublimate and perpetuate our love and our unity through service worthy of these blessings, deserving to persist. We wanted a fraternity that should carry on the delightful fellowships and cooperations of college days into the workaday years magnanimously, both in school and afterwards.”
You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org