By Toni Morgan, Alpha Chi (Western Kentucky U), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
“The Founders envisioned this (Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry) committee as a special one whose membership would have continuity so that tradition would not be lost as administrations change and pressures tend to replace it with fashion.” These words were pinned by Wilma Smith Leland, Tau (University of Minnesota) in 1980 under the title, “Safeguards for Traditions,” but remain true today.
Would you like to know more about the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J)? RT&J consists of a minimum of six members appointed by the Executive Board, each for a four-year term. The International President and the Historian-Archivist serve ex officio members of this committee. RT&J is responsible for developing and implementing communications and educational efforts to help members embrace and utilize the basic principles and traditions of the Fraternity. The committee also defines Ritual procedures, recommends Ritual-related provisions in the Standing Rules and Book of Policies, approves collegiate chapter names and submottoes, and plans and conducts Rituals and the Candle Lighting Service at Convention.
Let’s meet your current RT&J members and learn some fun fact about them:
Allison Allgier, Epsilon Omega (Eastern Kentucky University) is serving as RT&J Chair. Allison loves the beach, sunshine, and scuba diving.
Robin Beltramini, Iota (University of Illinois). Robin enjoys sharing Fraternity Education and RT&J news with her local Alumnae Chapter.
Kandy Bernskoetter, Sigma (University of California Berkeley). Kandy worked at Disney World on the roller coaster ride in Animal Kingdom and loves all things Disney.
Sarah Elliott, Delta Omega (Murray State University). Sarah has been volunteering for AOII for 19 years and gave the maximum 24 platelets to the Red Cross in 2023.
Karen Hickman, Theta (DePauw University). Karen never held a collegiate AOII office.
Toni Morgan, Alpha Chi (Western Kentucky University). Toni likes to read a book a week.
Cindy Tooley, Alpha Chi (Western Kentucky University). Cindy loves to swim with sharks, and she is a certified scuba diver.
Becky Ziga, Chi Lambda (University of Evansville). Becky enjoys card making to send fun and inspirational notes to family and friends. On occasion, she will work to create special invitations or announcements.
Susan Bonifield, Nu Beta (University of Mississippi) serves as Ex-Officio Member. Susan was raised on a farm which has been run by her family for six generations.
Crystal Combs, Nu Beta (University of Mississippi) as Historian serves as an Ex-Officio Member. Crystal has stepped at least one foot in each of the 50 states.
RT&J is fortunate to have Mariellen Sasseen, Alpha Delta (University of Alabama) as our Headquarter Staff (HQ) liaison. Mariellen is celebrating her 29th year on HQ staff.
Wilma Smith Leland commented that RT&J sisters “Are not a bunch of old ladies making rules. While committed to the past, we are very much aware of needs, and like Medusa, look backward and forward”. The current RT&J sisters seek to honor the past, adapt appropriately for the future, and are still holding true to the principals of Alpha Omicron Pi.
You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org