Our Ritual’s Impact On The Fraternity’s First One Hundred Twenty-Five Years

in General News

By Karen Hickman, Theta (DePauw University), Rituals, Traditions and Jewelry Committee

HAPPY FOUNDERS’ DAY to you! As Alpha Omicron Pi commemorates its one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary in 2022, reflect on this momentous occasion and AOII Ritual.

One hundred twenty-five years is a long time! How many nonprofit organizations do you know that have lasted this long? While statistics say 30% of all nonprofit organizations fail within the first ten years, Forbes reports over 50% of all nonprofits fail within the first few years due to leadership issues and the lack of a strategic plan. Fortunately, four influential leaders with numerous strengths founded our dear Fraternity. They collectively set forth guidelines for all members in time to come – yes… I’m speaking of AOII’s Ritual.

Within AOII Ritual, our Founders wrote about belonging. AOII seeks to bond women for life, creating a sense of belonging and sisterhood from the very start of an AOII journey. We can all admit to countless Zoom calls since early 2020 in an effort to stay connected during the forced isolation of Covid. We continued to seek a sense of belonging. If you’re like me, you’ve met and developed friendships with AOII sisters you otherwise might not have known – what blessings in a bleak time!

The other concept we often overlook in AOII Ritual is doing our best.  International President Crystal Grafton Combs recently shared her thoughts with RT&J members about using our body, brain, spirit, and substance for the good of the Fraternity. Our Founders purposely did not state how to do our best; they encouraged us to do so in ways meaningful to not only ourselves but to the world about us. Just as sisters before us saw something unique within us, some hint we already carried with us AOII values, which would fully blossom in time to come. I urge you to do your best always in the world around you to the best of your ability.

AOII Executive Director Kaya Miller expanded on Crystal’s insights of doing our best with how the Fraternity began to pivot in early 2020.  Kaya quoted Stella’s words below to encapsulate her point perfectly:

“We were founded and constituted in a way so elastic, that while holding fast to all essential traditions, we are adjustable to changes and modern needs; and our experiences and traditions and purposes have had enough testing in time to make their worth an assurance rather than a promise.” – Stella George Stern Perry, AOII Founder

Would you ever have thought that in 2020, AOII Rituals, Ceremonies and Services would be available ONLINE, or that you would celebrate Founders’ Day via the internet?  I surely didn’t.  AOII continued the innovations by virtually convening Leadership Institute, Leadership Academy, and International Convention for the first time with great participation and ardent enthusiasm from our members. I am confident the Founders would be pleased with how AOII stretched over the last two years.

Here’s to Helen, Stella, Jessie. and Bess – thank you for your wisdom, foresight, and for 125 years of AOII sisterhood.

You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org 

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