by Shokooh Miry, Sigma (University of California, Berkeley), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
In 2004, Beverly Landes Townsend (Alpha Phi and member of the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee) wrote a wonderful article for To Dragma on the connection between recruitment, retention and Ritual. She wisely reminded us that the word “recruitment” comes from the French word “recrue,” meaning “fresh growth.”
As we look forward to the start of the spring season, it seems important to reflect on how a connection to Ritual can and should be a vital component of how our organization supports our new members – the vital, fresh growth of our Fraternity that we welcome into our sisterhood.
Ritual is more than a performance or activity. It is a set of principles and core values we commit to making part of our lives. There is no single interpretation of the Alpha Omicron Pi Ritual. Rather, Ritual is open to the interpretation of each member of our organization. Our founders intuitively understood that each sister who joins our Fraternity will come with her own set of values, but that there are core values that connect all of us.
As we support our new members, it is important to remember that each of them comes to our sisterhood and our Ritual with her own set of personal, family and community beliefs and experiences. It is vital that we consider specific and tangible ways to connect each new member with Ritual and allow her opportunities to explore this beautiful set of values and incorporate them into her own life.
How do we do this?
- We share information with new members about our founders, their lives and experiences during the new member education period.
- We share some information with them about Ritual and our values before initiation.
- We meet before and after initiation to discuss the experience, exploring discussions about the shared ideas.
- Throughout their collegiate experience in AOII, we continue to present Ritual education and weave Ritual into recruitment, sisterhood, business and planning meetings, and all chapter programming.
- We allow all sisters—not just the KOR and President—access to Ritual materials and Ritual education.
- We create an atmosphere that fosters exploration of Ritual and encourage sisters to integrate the ideas of Ritual into their lives as they strive to become their best selves.
As we prepare to welcome the spring season and some chapters prepare to welcome a new group of members to our sisterhood, let us remember our values and commitment to living our Ritual, and let us use these ideas as ways to support and encourage the “new growth” of AOII.