by Amber Williams Countis, Pi (Tulane U), International Vice President
On December 2, I will celebrate 23 years of being an initiated member of Alpha Omicron Pi. It is amazing to think about all the people I have met and the opportunities I have experienced since that day.
I love seeing the reports from our fall recruiting chapters as you bring in new members across the Fraternity. The joy and excitement is contagious. The fun Bid Day themes and decorations get more and more creative each year.
Our founders created an organization and a Ritual that would become a family and home to so many. As you make plans to move from Bid Day to Initiation Day, I hope that you will help your new initiates understand how important and impactful this day is too. It may not make the front page of the website, but it represents so much, and its importance should never be minimized. This is the day where we formally promise to be there for one another for a lifetime, and that alone is enough to celebrate!
There are a few things that I always like to remind newly initiated members:
Take a breath, and enjoy your collegiate experience, but know that this is truly just the beginning. You are just starting your AOII journey and have so many opportunities ahead. I often see collegians burn themselves out because they are trying to do it all in a short period of time. AOII will always be there for you, as much or as little as you need at any given time, so pace yourself for an exciting and inspiring experience that only gets better with time!
To our newest sisters, please make it a priority to seek out your Keeper of the Ritual and ask to spend some quality time with the Rituals book. If your Initiation is anything like mine, it will pass by in a blur. Take the time to reflect on what you heard and saw, read it through a few times, think about it, and discuss our Ritual with your sisters. That was (and remains) the best way for me to truly understand it and be able to appreciate and do my best to live it daily.
Seeing the words, saying them often, and really believing and inhabiting our Ritual is the key to what makes us AOII. No matter our differences or challenges, this is who we are and why you will always feel that special connection to each sister you meet for the first time.
I encourage all of our chapters, advisers and volunteers to help make Initiation as memorable as Bid Day. Let’s make sure that the words, expectations, and promises shared on this day are repeated and lived in some way each and every day. Find the red book, think about how amazing those four Barnard College women were when they conceived this, and think about how you will contribute to living those words and inspiring those around you! Congratulations on your Initiation. The best is yet to come!
Pictured above: Amber on her initiation day with Pi chapter sister Lisa Poche’, the current Denver Alumnae Chapter Alumnae President.