AOII: Then and Now
By Rene Fitzgerald, Pi Kappa (University of Texas at Austin), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
Change is usually perceived as progress, and often it is. It’s hard to imagine driving to a far-away vacation spot or navigating life without computers and the Internet. Life without Lucifer, Bridgerton, and Ozark is difficult to fathom. Things taken for granted like television, planes, automobiles, computer and data technology all became available in the twentieth century.
Like all Greek organizations, AOII has experienced change during its 125-year existence: different styles of badges and jewelry, proper attire for Ritual, and policy and governing changes, to name a few. As a Fraternity, AOII has grown, evolved, and kept up with the times but in doing so has always stayed true to our purpose. The core values, our foundation which gives AOII the stability and support needed to thrive throughout the years. The love and respect for AOII sisters and its sisterhood have remained solid.
But what are some of the differences between AOII in 1897 and in 2022?
Our Founders pledged themselves to each other on January 2, 1897, forming our very first collegiate chapter. Today, 125 years later, we have 136 active collegiate chapters, and 156 active alumnae chapters. Stella, Helen, Bess, and Jessie began with only the four of them. Now we have over 209 thousand initiated members (collegiate and alumnae).
The first convention was in December 1906, in New York City. AOII’s next convention will be June 21-25, 2023, in Grapevine, Texas. The displays at the International Headquarters, show how our membership (and our conventions) have grown over the years. There are group pictures from many conventions to view. The first conventions barely filled a small room while today, only large ballrooms contain enough space for all attendees.
To give back through service was important to our Founders and at the 1931 Colorado Convention, The Frontier Nursing Service (FNS) was chosen as the first International Philanthropy for AOII. Now, AOII supports the Arthritis Foundation. Most chapters participate in fund-raising events such as Strike Out Arthritis and the Jingle Bell Run. This money goes to the AOII Foundation which provides grants and assistance to the Arthritis Foundation. Beyond supporting the Arthritis Foundation chapters participate in philanthropy events for other groups and have service projects unique to them.
AOII has been progressive and forward-thinking enough to thrive and remain relevant for 125 years. At the same time our Fraternity has never lost sight of the principles upon which it was founded – the core values given to us by Jessie, Stella, Helen and Bess through our Ritual.
You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org