By Ginger Banks, Pi Kappa (University of Texas at Austin), Rituals, Traditions and Jewelry Committee
Have you ever considered yourself to be a founder of anything?
Because of the esteem AOIIs have for the four Founders who started our Fraternity, we may consider it to be presumptuous to even think about putting ourselves in a similar league.
But, guess what. Not only is it okay for us to consider ourselves founders, but our doing that is entirely in keeping with what AOII’s original Founders prescribed for us members. In effect, they also called upon us to make “founder” a verb as well as a noun.
In a letter to new initiates in October 1939, AOII Founder Stella George Stern Perry wrote:
To you, a new Founder of Alpha Omicron Pi, this joyful welcome from an old one!
That you are, in very truth, a Founder, I ask you to believe.
For this order of ours is not static – not a stone set up long ago for you to decorate today. It is like a field of wheat…The wheat field would have ended its fertility after its first harvest had not ready hands, each season, prepared it anew…
Also during 1939, Stella wrote to the Ohio Valley District AOII Convention:
“…you are all founders of Alpha Omicron Pi today, quite as truly as were we in the beginning. We know that you will always lay the same external foundations and that you will build upon them with constancy, patience, and unfaltering faith.
May you have the joy in it all, dear children, that we have had all the way! May you love one another as happily always as we four have done in a life-long fellowship without a break! And may your descendants in Alpha Omicron Pi bring to you the glory that you yourselves are to us today!”
Through her poetic prose, Stella exhorted us to action, but also reminded us to nurture, treasure, and find joy in the friendships we make because of our continued AOII involvement as collegians and alumnae.
When a collegiate chapter is installed, members are told that each individual and the chapter represent all AOIIs everywhere. The collegians are entrusted with that responsibility with love and perfect confidence. And, so it is when collegiate chapters choose new members. The collegiate members merit that trust with competence, care, consideration, and circumspection.
Even with having to navigate the countless adjustments in recruitment necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, AOII collegians are undaunted in fulfilling these responsibilities. Credit is reflected upon all of AOII as new members are chosen.
Those new members are sisters of every member of AOII – past, present, and future. The collegians choosing new members could be intimidated by the responsibility, but aren’t. That’s because the collegians deep down know – whether it is realized or not – they are acting as AOII founders and are selecting future founders of our Fraternity.
Collegians inspire all AOII members to ask how, in our own lives, we’re making “founder” not just a noun, but a verb.