Finding My People

in RT&J

By Robin Lee Beltramini, Iota (U of Illinois) Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee

Even now, most days I leave the house wearing our letters, either by apparel or jewelry. Recently, I was shopping and the employee noticed my ring. Like many alumnae, this employee stated she was a member of another NPC organization. I was saddened that she felt her experience only lasted four years.

Staying in touch with AOII has made such a positive, impactful difference in my life. Unfortunately, I receive a reaction similar to the employee’s often. Each time, I stop and take stock, cataloging my own experience.  I think of the legacy our Founders gave us. It’s not just the written and spoken words and traditions. Remember, they modeled that “Sisterhood for a Lifetime” idea.

When I was a collegian, that aspiration was posted incessantly on the mirror in the hallway in the chapter house or on bulletin boards and in messages sent to me and my sisters. It was modeled by our local alumnae. We learned with each recitation of our pledge, or at every formal meeting, that AOII was giving us a roadmap for life.  We were internalizing lessons for living: be self-aware, humble, patient, nonjudgmental, generous, kind, thoughtful and loving, and use those tenets and skills to enhance the welfare of our sisters and our community.

Over the course of my AOII life, I moved six times. With each move my AOII sisters have been my first call and best choice. I have walked in to alumnae chapters and found women who share my values and grounding. Even though they vary in age, original geography and family situations, they speak the same language. These are my people.

The purpose of telling my story is to share what my alumnae sisters in those seven locations are doing to model the behavior of our Founders. They:

  • Genuinely welcome new sisters
  • Serve as resource for doctors, lawyers, child care, career tips, shopping, restaurants, etc.
  • Deliver meals to sisters/families during times of stress
  • Run errands and visit sisters homebound due to age or infirmity
  • Carpool—and teach multiple routes around the city during rush hour
  • Are the shoulder to lean on and sister to talk to when life’s challenges need a new perspective
  • Are the emergency phone number for my children
  • Share their knowledge of other community groups needing volunteers
  • Volunteer and lead local, state and national service groups
  • Drive up to 100 miles to be active members of Alumnae Advisory Committees and corporation boards for collegiate chapters
  • Complete Membership Information Forms
  • Sponsor chartering chapter members, charter members and maintain those relationships
  • Work with local Panhellenics during college recruitment
  • Serve as recruitment volunteers for AOII chapters
  • Informally and formally welcome new graduates to alumnae status

That “Sisterhood for a Lifetime” matters to individual sisters, to chapters and to communities. It works!

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

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