Our Never-Changing/Always-Changing Ritual

in RT&J

 By Ginger Banks, Pi Kappa (University of Texas at Austin), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee

Our Ritual has never changed.

That fact is a great source of pride for members of Alpha Omicron Pi.


Many student-based organizations had to change their rituals, constitutions, and core principles over the years as times, norms, and group cultures evolved. Because of the farsightedness of our young Founders, the universal truths, and principles they espoused and established for AOII in our Ritual and Constitution are not only abiding, durable, and relevant, they timelessly are inspirational, aspirational, and applicable.

Our Ritual has never changed. That’s the truth. But is it?

During 2003 (I was a mere child at the time!) I had the privilege of researching and writing an article, “Ritual is our Roadmap,” for the spring edition of our magazine, To Dragma. The article explored collegiate and alumnae members’ relationships with our Ritual. Their perspectives were enlightening, educational, and exciting.

Here are comments from the article by two current and a past member of our Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) – long before Rene and Kay became RT&J members.

Kay Gomillion Jones Elam (Sigma Delta, 1976, Huntingdon College, Nashville Alumnae Chapter) agreed:

“As I have matured in my AOII membership and in my life, our AOII Ritual has been a solace during troubled times, a celebration during happy times, and a steadfast reminder not only of who I am, but that I am never alone.”

Alumnae Network Specialist Rene Fitzgerald (Pi Kappa, 1957, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin Alumnae Chapter) recalled a conversation alumnae chapter members had following the installation of officers.

“We…realized that we all use our Ritual without even recognizing the fact that we call upon it,” said Rene.  “…[Our] system of values is clear. Honor, courage, integrity, fidelity, tolerance and loving judgment, self-control, humility. These values make us better human beings.”

The words of our Ritual have helped Past International President Joan MacCallum (Kappa Phi, 1957, Montreal Alumnae Chapter) lead her daily life.

Joan wrote, “Many situations in my life have recalled to my mind phrases from our Ritual. It is truly amazing how [they] have guided me when (1) I have to decide my course of action; (2) I have had difficulties with other people; and (3) I try to instill values into my four grandchildren. For me, Ritual has a far deeper meaning and applicability as an alumna than it had for me as a collegian.”

Our Ritual has never changed. But we have.

We’ve grown. We’ve matured. We’ve had life experiences that led us to evolving perspectives.

So, our Ritual never changes in substance, but it does change for us in meaning as we consider it throughout our lives.

Our Ritual never changes. But our relationship with it does.

We have our Founders to thank for those irrefutable, enduring, and deeply personal truths.

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

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