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Published by Alpha Omicron Pi, 2018-10-18 15:36:12

Fall/Winter 2011 - To Dragma

Fall/Winter 2011 - To Dragma

To Dragmaof Alpha Omicron Pi
Vol. 76 No. 1 Fall/Winter 2011

On the cover: A Nu Kappa (Southern Methodist U)
collegian receives a new member pin from her big
sister in 1927.

Below: Colonization activities at Oklahoma State
U were picture perfect!


To DragmaofAlphaOmicronPi
13 7 Viewpoint
10 8 The Significance of Growth
46 12 Living Our Ritual - The Basics
50 18 Storytelling and Sisterhood
Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 22 I Hereby Solemnly Swear
50 26 The Promise
30 2011-2015 AOII Strategic Plan
34 The Summer of a Lifetime
36 Knock Arthritis Out of the Park
40 Things We Love
42 NPC Month of the Scholar
44 Hoping to Change Lives
46 Get on Board
49 Founders’ Day Messages
50 Sisters for Soldiers
54 Profile - Stella George Stern Perry
56 From the Archives
58 Life Loyal AOIIs
60 In Your Own Words - Original Poetry
62 Foundation Focus
65 Become an ELC
68 2011-2012 Directory of Volunteers

To Dragma • 3

To DragmaofAlphaOmicronPi From the Editor

To Dragma is the official magazine of Alpha Omicron Pi I had the opportunity to experience fraternity recruitment for the
Fraternity, and has been published since 1905. The mission first time as a parent when my son entered college this fall. It was fun
of To Dragma of Alpha Omicron Pi is: to inform, educate and observing the process from his perspective and learning which fraternity
inspire our readers on subjects relevant to our Fraternity, our he selected in the end. It brings me great pleasure to see him settling
chapters, our members, or Greek life; to encourage lifetime into fraternity life, embracing new opportunities, making friends and
AOII involvement; to salute excellence; and to serve as a learning everything historic and honorable about his new fraternity, Pi
permanent record of our Fraternity’s history. Kappa Alpha. Fraternity or Sorority - so much of what defines us as
Greek men and women is the same. We all value our fraternal heritage
How to Contact To Dragma: and our college communities, we encourage and support the betterment
To Dragma, 5390 Virginia Way, Brentwood, TN 37027 of our members, and we are bound to our own brothers and sisters
(615) 370-0920, fax: (615) 371-9736,, through Rituals that surely carry deep significance to us all. I hope
[email protected] the Ritual my son will share with his brothers will be as meaningful as
the one I have shared on countless occasions with my sisters in Alpha
How to Update Your Name or Address: Omicron Pi.
Go to Update Profile on the private side of the AOII website
(, email your new address to Living Our Ritual. As you flip through the pages of this issue, you
[email protected], or call (615) 370-0920. will read numerous stories centering on the idea of Living Our Ritual.
Like all fraternal organizations, the essence of who we are is rooted
How to Subscribe to To Dragma: in our Ritual. Ritual is our guidepost, our north star. If it has been
Subscriptions are $25.00 annually and can be paid by check awhile since you thought about AOII’s Ritual, I invite you to allow
or credit card. Checks, made payable to AOII, should be the essence of AOII to invade your mind again for a few minutes. Our
mailed to 5390 Virginia Way, Brentwood, TN 37027, Attn: Rituals, Traditions & Jewelry Chairman (RT &J) Ginger Banks shares
Accounting. Credit card subscribers (Visa, Master Card or some valuable thoughts on the subject and a couple other longtime
Discover only) should email [email protected]. members of the RT&J committee offer inspiration as well.

How to Join Life Loyal AOII: As we live out our Ritual day to day, we are thrilled to share that AOII
Visit the AOII website or contact lifeloyalaoii@ is experiencing tremendous growth as more and more women are being provided the opportunity of membership in Alpha Omicron Pi.
How to Join an AOII Alumnae Chapter: New chapters are being installed now and in the near future, and our
Visit the AOII website for contact information on an alumnae membership numbers are up as more chapters are pledging quota and
chapter near you. achieving total. Read more about this exciting growth, details on the
fraternity’s new Strategic Plan and numerous other stories inside this issue.
Director of To Dragma and Archives
Mariellen Perkinson Sasseen, Alpha Delta (U of Alabama) If you are not connected to AOII through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
and our blog, I encourage you to do so. Every day, information is being
Creative Director shared on a variety of topics. Find us on Facebook - Alpha Omicron
Whitney Frazier, Rho Omicron (Middle TN State U) Pi Fraternity is our official Facebook fan page. Follow us on twitter
@alphaomicronpi. To subscribe to our YouTube channel, search
Women Enriched through Lifelong Friendship. alphaomicronpiHQ. And to become a blog member on Blogspot -
follow AOII on the road at And
Alpha Omicron Pi was founded at Barnard College in last but not least, the launch of a new fraternity website is just around
New York City, January 2, 1897, by Jessie Wallace Hughan, the corner.
Helen St. Clair Mullan, Stella George Stern Perry &
Elizabeth Heywood Wyman. These are exciting times, but in the midst of phenomenal growth, our
Ritual reminds us that the maintenance and development of Alpha
International President Omicron Pi remains in our hands. If nothing else, I hope this issue
Allison Allgier, Epsilon Omega (Eastern Kentucky U) gives you cause to consider, “How well am I living AOII’s Ritual?”

Executive Director Regards,
Troylyn LeForge, Beta Phi (Indiana U)
Mariellen Perkinson Sasseen
Alpha Omicron Pi is a member of the National Panhellenic Alpha Delta (U of Alabama)
Conference and the Fraternity Communications Association. Director of To Dragma and Archives

4 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

This is your last To Dragma unless you are

An AOII collegian
A current alumnae chapter
dues paying member

A Life Loyal AOII member
An annual To Dragma subscriber

How to Join an AOII Alumnae Chapter:

Visit the AOII website for contact information for an alumnae chapter near you.

How to Join Life Loyal AOII:

Go to the Life Loyal area of the AOII website or contact [email protected].

How to Subscribe to To Dragma:

Annual subscriptions are $25.00 and can be paid by check or credit card.
Checks, made payable to AOII, should be mailed to 5390 Virginia Way, Brentwood, TN 37027, Attn: Accounting.
Credit card subscribers (Visa, Master Card or Discover only) should email [email protected].

To Dragmaof Alpha Omicron Pi To Dragmaof Alpha Omicron Pi To Dragmaof Alpha Omicron Pi
Vol. 74 No.3 Summer 2010 Vol. 75 No.1 Fall/Winter 2010 Vol. 75 No.2 Spring 2011

wofiifnndsoipngirrdatison PTenimciel in Play TimleaevetopleRnteyfolef ct
for a

sisters & chapter Make Time Count
college & community country & mankind

cover3_fall_winter_2010.indd 1 cover_spring_2011.indd 1
12/15/10 1:41 PM

4/13/11 2:02 PM

Sisters of Gamma Alpha (George Mason U) look forward to the sisterhood shared during
their annual “photo shoot” taken each Fall on their campus. Pictured here are Caitlin Lutz,
Shannon Delgato, Jennifer Lougee, Katy Rodgers and Carleigh Hardison.

Photo courtesy of Persnickety Photography.


Many of my most significant AOII memories are tied to our Ritual. Most memorable include the

honor of initiating new members as collegiate Chapter President, initiating my mother as she became an
Alumnae Initiate and most recently being installed as International President. Whether it is initiation,
installation, or a new colonization, our rituals are meaningful beginnings to exceptional member
experiences. As an organization, we are afforded the opportunity to share this meaningful experience
with thousands of new women each year.

AOII is growing! As we move toward our Founders’ Day, it
is amazing to think what has taken place over the past 115
years to bring us to this time and place. Four amazing women
established a strong foundation for our organization based on
their friendship. To date, their life philosophy of friendship,
love, and service has been shared with over 151,000 women
including over 10,000 current collegiate members.
Over the last few years, many of our international volunteers
along with Troy and her staff have been sharing and reading
books on leadership and service. Woven throughout all of these
resources are the same four fundamental principles. They are:
(1) Having a Higher Purpose, (2) Being of Strong Character,
(3) Growing Personally, and (4) Building Relationships.
These themes are essential in developing strong leaders, but
more importantly, in developing ourselves as individuals.
Our Founders were so forward thinking that these same four
principles were explicitly cited as reasons for AOII’s founding.
How lucky we are that the Fraternity’s philosophy, as outlined
in our Ritual, remains as applicable to members’ lives today as
when they first wrote it in 1897.
Regarding the first principle of Having a Higher Purpose, our Founders based AOII on the foundation
that we are to be useful to the world. One current member shared that AOII provides “Ideals to live
life - it is what sets us apart from other groups.” I agree and feel blessed to have AOII’s philosophy as
an added layer to the strong foundational ideals provided by my family. Many of you may feel exactly
the same way. Other leaders of today also hold these beliefs. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, in his book,
Delivering Happiness, shares wonderful insight on leadership, customer service and happiness. After
completing research on the Science of Happiness, he describes three happiness frameworks. At the core
of each, you’ll find the need to have vision, meaning and purpose. To truly be happy, he and others
agree, we need to be part of something bigger than ourselves. (Hsieh, 2010)
There are many ways to find happiness through service - supporting a friend in need, giving time
through community service or raising much needed funds for an organization. Our members give
service on a daily basis and were recently recognized by the National Arthritis Foundation by winning
the Floyd B. Odlum Making a Difference Award. How fantastic that through the AOII Foundation,
the work of our members was awarded. This is living our Ritual!
Whether you serve through time, talent, or resource, it is important to remember that each one of us
can play an important role. Within our organization, there is much work to be done. Please see the
Strategic Plan information and find your place to positively impact our beloved AOII. Together we can
Exceed the Expectation!

Allison Allgier To Dragma • 7
International President
Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

The Significance of

Inspire • Honor • Privilege • Responsibility
by Troylyn LeForge, Beta Phi (Indiana U), Executive Director

The warmth, blessings and significance of Thanksgiving usher in days specifically

marked to celebrate faith, inspire hope and embrace love. As if, by design, Alpha

Omicron Pi’s founding is celebrated among the richness of these two special times
of the year. In the Founders’ Day message of 1927, Stella wrote, “This Founders’
Day greeting is written appropriately in the week of Thanksgiving Day. Thirty years
of growth, of increasing and harmonious usefulness! Who can measure in any
terms but those of thanksgiving the friendships cemented and enduring, the fine
cooperation to every larger ends, the memories and the hopes, the inspiration
and reward, the comfort and tenderness…” Eighty-four years later, her words hold
true and underscore the significance of growth for AOII: to advance the Fraternity’s
principles and enrich women’s lives through our usefulness and service to make a
difference in the world.

AOII is certainly experiencing a tremendous period of growth! Over 90 percent
of our chapters participating in fall formal recruitment achieved quota and
80 percent achieved campus total on their respective campuses. Combined

with greatly improved collegiate retention numbers, AOII has experienced an

impressive 10 percent collegiate member increase in one year. Chapter

growth is on the horizon, too, as NPC Extension is flourishing because of an
enhanced desire of collegiate women seeking affiliation. AOII is honored to

have already received and accepted invitations to join 13 extraordinary
Panhellenic communities (listed below) between now and 2016 as we colonize

and/or re-colonize collegiate chapters.

Our alumnae chapters are also experiencing increased participation and
membership. In the past few years we have seen a significant increase in our
alumnae growth, adding eight alumnae chapters in the 2009-2011 biennium plus
our newest alumnae chapter, Inland Empire AC (La Verne, California) this fall.

8 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

Growth has been and will continue to be one of the most important auspices

of our Fraternity. However, the significance of growth lies beyond numbers.

Our Founders dared to imagine the far-

reaching possibilities based on the power Combined with greatly improved
of their friendship as they pledged one

another and formed the cornerstone of our collegiate retention numbers,

Rituals. Together they carefully identified AOII has experienced an
our core values, our beliefs, The Object impressive 10 percent collegiate
of the Fraternity, and our reasons for our

existence. They also set forth the expectation member increase in one year.

for us to inspire and honor the privilege and

responsibility associated with growing AOII.

Just as they did with their selfless invitation of friendship and fraternity to

Annie Richardson Hall, AOII’s first new member, our Founders demonstrated

the significance of extending our membership to those who will cherish and

advance our principles. With their heartfelt gesture and commitment to create

and share the meaning of the Fraternity for “all who are or may ever be,”

growth has been inevitable and strongly desired.

With the opportunities inherent in increasing our membership among both
our existing and future chapters, we have a responsibility to provide the
foundation, infrastructure, and educational resources to support that growth.
In addition, we have the privilege to identify and recruit outstanding alumnae
to serve as AAC members and provide them with appropriate training. We
will honor our responsibility to our new collegiate chapters by allocating the
necessary human and financial resources to achieve and sustain strong, healthy
and meaningful chapter environments. We will also honor our promise to be
a collaborative partner with the college Panhellenic. With our commitment to
fostering exceptional membership experiences, we are prepared to provide
the guidance and services, comprehensive adviser training and outstanding

programming. We are committed to the growth of Alpha

Omicron Pi because of the meaning of our Fraternity, the

power behind the friendships cemented, and the usefulness

and service we offer our communities.

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 To Dragma • 9

Tucked within the pages of our AOII Rituals book are inspirational words that
outline why all these commitments are an honor, privilege and responsibility to
uphold. In many ways, this book tells “their” story - how through the course of their
friendship, our Founders pledged to one another and inspired many. However, this
book also is our story. Its contents can move us to imagine, inspire, and honor the
meaning of our Fraternity, just as our Founders envisioned. It captures the words
set forth by the Founders and is where our story lives before it is impressed upon
our hearts. What is in this book? Words. Symbols. Expectations. It is where our
Founders penned their ideas and their hopes - there for all of us to find. Nestled in
the core values of our Fraternity are the answers to the many “whys” that we ask -
why we exist, why we honor privilege and responsibility, why we inspire growth.

Although colleges and universities can exist
without AOII, they can not thrive without the
values that Alpha Omicron Pi was founded upon.

10 • To Dragma We are expected to reflect credit upon the colleges and campus communities
where we are established and further advance the friendship, love and service
upon which we were founded.

The Candle Lighting Service for Convention, one of our services open to non-
AOIIs, highlights the significance of growth: “May the chapters of our Fraternity
hand down through the generations to come, the spark from the altar of our
Founding. Manifold are the reasons that led to the founding of our Fraternity,
reasons embracing the highest ideals, encouraging personal growth, emphasizing
the dignity of womanhood and creating loyalty to chapter, college, and
community… You, our sisters, are not a favored few enjoying only the privileges of
a Fraternity. To you is committed a task. May our Ritual, as reflected in the lives
of our Founders, be a reality. May it distinguish us as a group and inspire you
to provide whole-hearted cooperation to your college, loyalty and love to your
Fraternity, and conscientious service to our community everywhere.”

On our 75th anniversary, International President Eleanor McCurdy wrote, “Our
Ritual says it to each and every one of us. It is a code for loving and living
from initiation throughout our alumnae days. . . Today we meet to strengthen
our purpose, guard it, expand it, and honor it.” It is indeed our privilege and
responsibility to inspire and honor the legacy of the “friendships, cooperation,
memories, hopes, inspiration, reward, comfort and tenderness for the greater good
on campuses, in communities and around the world.” Why do we inspire growth?
From the beginning, today and always - inspire • honor •privilege • responsibility.

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

Secured Invitations to Colonize

Fall 2011 Youngstown State University

Phi Lambda Chapter (Youngstown, OH)

Colonized September 2011, Installed December 9-10th 2011

Spring 2012 Oklahoma State University

(Stillwater, OK) Colonization January 18-22, 2012, Installation April 2012

Bryant University

(Smithfield, RI) Colonization February 24-26, 2012, Installation April 2012

California State University, San Marcos

(San Marcos, CA) Colonization March 1-3, 2012, Installation May 2012

Fall 2012 University of Arkansas

(Fort Smith, AR)

Purdue University

(West Lafayette, IN) Re-colonization of Phi Upsilon

Texas Christian University

(Fort Worth, TX)

Sonoma State University

(Rohnert Park, CA)

Fall 2013 Florida State University

(Tallahassee, FL) Re-colonization of Alpha Pi

Oregon State University

(Corvallis, OR) Re-colonization of Alpha Rho

Spring 2014 Northern Kentucky University

(Highland Heights, KY)

Fall 2014 Austin Peay State University
Fall 2016
(Clarksville, TN) Re-colonization of Pi Omicron

Arizona Sate University

(Tempe, AZ)


• Ritual: The Basics
• Storytelling and Sisterhood

• I Hereby Solemnly Swear

12 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

Ritual: The Basics

by Ginger Banks, Pi Kappa (U of Texas), Past International President and Chairman of Rituals, Traditions and Jewelry Committee

My dad just didn’t get it. Maybe they can’t determine the answers because
we haven’t given them enough to go on. Besides,
“Why do you spend so much time working for we shouldn’t expect them to come up with the
AOII?” he’d ask. “You’re not getting paid for answers. We should give them the answers. I
it.” A newspaper correspondent by day and a think we should tell them what AOII means – not
free-lance magazine writer and book author by just in lofty phrases, but in our own words and in
night, Dad thought that, by definition, work every-day, real, practical terms.
should generate income. I had spent a lot of
time on AOII as an undergraduate. I seemed to “Wait!” I hear a chorus of AOIIs yelling. “You
spend even more time on AOII as a fairly recent can’t do that! You can’t reveal AOII’s secrets!”
graduate – a graduate who was starting her career. Calm down. I can tell the world what AOII
means without divulging any of our secrets. You
On a regular basis, Dad was mystified about my can, too. Here’s why - and here’s how.
AOII volunteer commitments, but he was truly
astounded by a decision I made. Long before First, let’s consider the basics --
AOII had a professional staff, I worked as the some facts from AOII’s history:
Administrative Assistant to the International
Executive Committee (now the Executive • Our Ritual, which contains our philosophy (values, principles,
Board) to relieve volunteers of some daily tasks.
After a year in that salaried position, I decided and ideals), was written by four wise young women, about the
to leave AOII’s employment and get on with my same age as our current undergraduate members.
journalism career. It was the related decision I
made that flabbergasted Dad. • Our Ritual and our Fraternity were built on several fundamental

I told AOII I would continue handling the principles, including: (1) membership is open to women who
Administrative Assistant duties – as a volunteer. share our beliefs, regardless of their ethnicities, religions, or
“Let me make sure I understand this,” Dad said backgrounds; (2) love for others should be the guiding force
incredulously. “You’re going to do the same behind everything we do; (3) AOII must be helpful to the world
things for AOII that you got paid to do, but now around us, not just to our members.
you’re going to do them for free. Right?” That
about summed it up. My Dad just didn’t get it. • Our Founders were farsighted in establishing the enduring

All of us who devote time to AOII have probably foundations upon which AOII was built. For example, our tenet
had similar experiences. Each of us knows of not excluding anyone from membership because of her
why we work our best with body, brain, spirit ethnicity, religion, or background was among the chief reasons
and substance for Alpha Omicron Pi, but we AOII was founded. That enduring principle was in place from
just can’t seem to explain why. As a result, our the very beginning. That is one of the reasons the Fraternity has
parents, husbands, children, boyfriends and never had to change our Ritual to keep up with the times. Not
others sometimes just don’t get it. Why don’t they every Greek group can say that.
understand? Why can’t they see how important
AOII is to us? Why can’t they see the benefits we • Each member of AOII not only has the freedom, but the
get from participating?
encouragement of our Founders, to interpret our Ritual for
herself. So determined were our Founders to ensure that, they
Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 pronounced that there would never be an official interpretation
of our Ritual. Each member is urged to explore our Ritual and
develop her relationship with it. Members who have done that
have found guidelines for living, inspiration, and comfort they
can rely on throughout their lives.

To Dragma • 13

“Each of us has a spark of life inside us, and we Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011
must set off that spark in one another.”

- Kenny Ausubel

14 • To Dragma

RitualLiving our

These and many other facts about AOII’s history Without a doubt, many of the people who have
and Ritual are such sources of pride and are so most influenced my life and who are lifelong friends
compelling, that should do it. Quoting those are members of AOII who I got to know after I
facts should have explained to my Dad and graduated. I got to know them because I, and they,
your Dad, boyfriend, friends, etc. why AOII is continued our AOII involvement as alumnae. They
important to us. Right? Maybe so - but, maybe lived the values expressed in our Ritual. They acted
not. We certainly need to consider the aspirational as elder sisters to me. They extended feelings of
parts of what AOII means. But, let’s also consider Fraternity and love for me, even though we were
the practical parts. friends who hadn’t met yet. They shared their homes,
their families, their talents and their knowledge
Let’s go back to that point when I decided with me.
to pursue my career while continuing as a
volunteer Administrative Assistant to the AOII And when I had a brain tumor, they looked out for
Executive Board. I could not have predicted me. During 2005, after I had been diagnosed with
what my continued involvement in AOII would a brain tumor, I put out the news to my many AOII
mean to me both professionally and personally. friends. The word spread. Soon I was receiving
I’m absolutely convinced that the countless email messages, cards, gifts and countless other forms
experiences I gained as an AOII volunteer were of inspiration, encouragement and support.
invaluable in my career and helped me advance
more rapidly than I might have
without them. How to work with
people and supervise some of them,
how to plan and manage big budgets,
how to hire and fire employees, how
to work in changing environments,
how to develop lasting relationships
and how to manage many tasks – these
were among the numerous skills I
learned because I continued working as
an AOII volunteer.

I didn’t get paid monetarily by AOII,
but I did get paid in many other ways
– which, by the way, ultimately led me
to earn more as a professional. That’s a
little about the practical part. Here’s a
little about the personal part.

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 AOII’s Candle Lighting Service is open to anyone to attend. It is a special tradition
performed during each Convention. This year the service occured on the open terrace of
the Marriott Starr Pass Resort. It was quite special to share this service with not only the AOII
sisters in attandance, but hotel guests and staff as well.

To Dragma • 15

principle of AOII. The Greek letters Alpha,
Omicron, and Pi represent the words of our
motto. When each member looks at our badge,
she is reminded of that motto. Our Founders
chose our letters to constitute our badge as a
constant reminder of what AOII means and the
mutual obligations and ideals we hold
in common.

During a recent workshop for Georgia area collegians, Ginger Banks I said that I can tell the world what AOII
proves that Ritual workshops should be both educational and fun! means to me without divulging any of
our secrets. I’ve told you the why.
Now, here’s the how:
I don’t even want to think about what it might
have been like without the sustaining buoyancy • Know our Ritual and the principles it
of that love and support. Remarkably, many of advances. Find parts of the Ritual with
the good wishes I received came from AOIIs which you really connect. Paraphrase.
I didn’t know personally. They cared simply
because I was an AOII. And they put that • Think about the values of AOII that mean
caring into action. a lot to you. Think about how those
values are expressed in our Ritual. Now,
The brain tumor was surgically removed with put those values into your own words.
no lasting effects (although some may differ
with that statement!). But, the phenomenal Doing that does not break your vow to keep
love and support I received from AOIIs will AOII’s secrets (such as our motto, specifics
continue to enrich my life forever. about our Ritual and chapter business). In fact,
putting AOII values into your own words helps
Why did I receive such encouragement? uphold another promise each of us made to
Because of what our Ritual says. And because AOII: to advance the interests of our Fraternity.
of what AOIIs do to put our Ritual into action.
Here’s another “how”:
When I look at our AOII badge, I see so
much. I see the people and experiences • Develop your own “30-second elevator
AOII has brought into my life. I see the joys blurb” so you will be ready with a clear,
and disappointments we share. I see future concise summary of what AOII means
opportunities to grow. But most of all, I see to you. Having the “blurb” prepared in
our Ritual. I see what our Founders wanted advance can come in very handy when
us to be as individuals and as an organization. someone asks, as my Dad did, for an
Our badge displays our motto and the highest explanation of why AOII is important and
what it’s all about.

16 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

I told my Dad a lot about why AOII was important RitualLiving our
to me – the lofty parts and the practical parts --
but I had not developed my “blurb” before Dad Here’s my “30-second elevator blurb”
died in 1995. Even without my having said this to about what AOII means to me:
him, I think Dad ultimately got it. He eventually - Be there for your friends.
understood why AOII is so important in my life.
- Keep your promises forever.
Maybe it was Dad seeing examples of how AOII - Do good works, but don’t brag about them.
experiences helped me advance professionally. - Make sure AOII is valuable to others, not just to us.
Maybe it was Dad seeing the lifelong friends I - Let your light shine.
made because of my continued AOII involvement.
Maybe it was Dad recognizing that there were (No secrets were divulged in the publication of this statement!)
intangible, but very real, factors that made it
unthinkable to me that I would not continue
serving as an AOII volunteer.

I’m not certain what helped Dad understand. But,
I think the trip to England that I took with my
sister using my AOII frequent flyer miles may have
had something to do with it.

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 To Dragma • 17

Storytelling & Sisterhood

by Mary Jane Bell Sharp, Omicron (U of Tennessee), Rituals, Traditions & Jewelry Committee Member

Many times we have heard the story of how, This bond of friendship was intended to last a lifetime
as college girls, our Founders went to the and to make all AOII initiates from that point forward,
“a friend of the Founders.” Yes, each new member
stacks in the old Barnard Library to a favorite of AOII, at whatever college or university she may be,
window seat and there pledged themselves one in initiation becomes a friend of our Founders - as
to the other in a special bond of friendship. So well as a friend of yours and mine - even though our
paths may never cross. This is the way those four
dedicated and determined were they in their college women intended this extraordinary fellowship
friendship that the result was Alpha Omicron Pi! to be. They expressed their commitment to each
other, and to each of us, through our AOII Ritual. So
18 • To Dragma I encourage you, and challenge you, to take a moment
to remember our pledge and reflect on what it means
to you.

As long as the Founders lived, they were the dearest
of friends, distinct supporters and enthusiastic
encouragers of anything the others were doing. I first
met three of AOII’s four Founders at the Roanoke
Convention, which I attended in 1947 as president
of my AOII chapter. During the year of 1947, AOII
celebrated our 50th anniversary! Oh, how these
three friends impressed me; the love and respect they
held for each other was most apparent. Helen was
deceased by the 1940s, but during this convention,
Jessie, Stella and Bess each offered memories of all
the contributions Helen made as an AOII. Each one
missed her a great deal. As they laughed and talked to
us during storytelling, each wanted to share what the
other had contributed to their special friendship and
to AOII. It is interesting to me to note as I look back
on my first Convention, and on AOII’s 50th year, that
our Founders spoke of the things they did together,
rather than the specific things each was involved in
individually. They loved sharing what the other had
done to further the careful development of AOII.

At that time, conventions had time set aside for
“Storytelling by the Founders,” just as conventions
include PIP storytelling time today, allowing past
presidents to share tales with new, and newer, little
sisters! AOII’s four Founders were very accomplished
women. Stories were lovingly told about each other,
and the various things they did together. Bess would

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

RituaLiving our

Founders Bess, Jessie and Stella at the 1947 AOII Convention
held at the Roanoke Hotel, Roanoke, Virginia.

start to share about some event or occurrence, and Stella would emphasize later,
Stella might chime in to say, “No, Bess, that’s not “We did not foresee the future,
the way it was.” They would argue back and forth neither did we fear it!”
a bit with Jess adding her bit, then all laugh and
together nish the story! Stella delighted in all who What a joy for these ladies in 1947 to
were the newest members of AOII. She would give see how large their circle of friendship
every young collegian a big hug and say, “You are had grown over 50 years. That cold,
a precious rosebud.” Then she would ask about her snowy day in the Barnard Library in
collegiate chapter, and tell her all about its founding. 1897 marked the beginning of an ever-
Stella knew all the histories of each AOII expanding circle that has become AOII.
chapter installed. At the time of the 1947 Convention,
AOII had expanded into every region
Alpha Omicron Pi grew slowly in the early days, not of the US, and had three chapters in
only because many colleges did not admit women, Canada. This small band of four women
but also because our Founders were highly particular had survived two World Wars by the
as to the colleges and universities where chapters time I graduated from college. As our collegiate
were to be installed. Only the nest schools with the chapters grew in number, so did the number of
same high ideals as AOII holds dear were acceptable AOII alumnae chapters. Jessie said in 1941, “I like to
to them. Our Founders were uncompromising in remember that in our sisterhood there are no sharply
their standards and expectations for AOII. They were divided age groups, as on the (college) campus…
always highly protective of our letters representing The generations shade into one another with pleasant
our motto and how and on what they were used. imperceptibility.” Our Founders were always quite
I recall how in 1947, Jessie, Stella, and Bess were strict in their adherence to AOII’s principles, and they
amazed--and yet delighted-- that their little group of wanted no diversions from the standards, expectations,
four friends had grown to be so large and so ne, and and philosophy established in the beginning. As said
that AOII’s motto and ideals had been shared with before, the Founders were always highly protective of
women on so many campuses. our letters representing our motto and were extremely

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 To Dragma • 19

Mary Jane in her dorm room at the U of Tennessee. house!) Members lived at home or in dorms during
these times, so at house party we were able to re-
particular as to how the letters “A-O-II” were used. connect in the spirit of sisterhood, and refresh our
commitment to each other and to AOII. Oh! What
Throughout the history of the Fraternity, AOIIs fun house party was!
have had many opportunities to work together, share
experiences and support the campuses on which When I was a collegian, and later Chapter Adviser,
chapters are installed. My memories of conventions, “Recruitment” was called “Rush,’ and the entire
regional meetings and State Days are quite vivid, week passed by in a blur. We were on the go - or
but there were many wonderful chapter activities rushed - to meet incoming freshmen, attend every
in which to participate! Chapter house parties were class on time, complete required tests and conclude
weekends spent with sisters at a location an hour lab projects. We were also rushing to invite as many
from our campus. There were about 60 girls in my girls as possible to come and meet us - thus the
chapter during these post-WWII years. We saved descriptor “rush” was quite apropos. Rushees picked
gas ration coupons to ‘car-pool’ to Cascade Lodge up beautifully hand-written invitations to various
in the Smoky Mountains, which involved staying up parties each day during Rush Week. In the late
late, eating throughout the weekend, card playing, 1940s, Greek groups on campus held rush parties in
“short-sheeting” a few beds and a lot of singing of the homes of collegians and alumnae. We had parties
AOII songs! Being together on these weekends gave with themes like “Old South,” where hoop skirts
us a chance to get to know one another better, since were worn, and the chapter members’ songs were
our chapter did not have a chapter house on campus harmonious and well-rehearsed. Many of these songs
at that time. (This is about to change as Omicron at we wrote ourselves. Alumnae chapter members along
UT Knoxville is currently building their first chapter with mothers handled the party refreshments. Back
then we served punch, tea cakes, sandwiches, cookies,
brownies, and other homemade treats.

At the 1931 Colorado Convention, AOII Council
voted to adopt a National Philanthropy. During my
collegiate years, AOII’s philanthropy was maintaining
the Social Service Department of The Frontier
Nursing Service in Leslie County, Kentucky. This
charity’s noble purpose was to bring the finest
medical and midwifery care to the people in these
remote, rural, and inaccessible mountains. The
monies contributed by AOII to the Social Services
Department paid for a social service secretary, and
also paid for such things as seeds for spring planting,
household needs, medicines, eye glasses, dentures,
crutches, and transportation to the Lexington
Hospital. In addition to monetary contributions,
several times each year AOII chapters sent boxes of
clothing, toys and gifts to help make the holidays
merry for more than 5,000 children who visited The
Frontier Nursing Service Clinic and Social Service
Department annually.

All AOII chapters participated in the annual
“gathering up” of clothes, toys, shoes and baby items.
We sought things from family and friends, and saved
these items in our chapter room to ship out each
holiday season to the mountain people, whom we
called the “Tuckies.” I remember a younger AOII
sister of mine left a brand-new plaid skirt and a

20 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

RitualLiving our

matching cashmere sweater in the chapter room by accident. time members of Alpha Omicron Pi, now and in the future!
These brand-new items, plus many others we’d gathered, Additional ways to assist in AOII’s growth would be through
went to the Tuckies! The Frontier Nurses and our Social membership in your local AOII alumnae chapter, by wearing
Service Secretary worked tirelessly, and traveled by horseback your letters often and with pride, by advising a collegiate chapter
up streams and mountain passes into coal mining country to or by serving as an officer in an alumnae chapter.
offer needed assistance as no passable roads existed. After many
years, AOII purchased two jeeps to make transportation easier AOII grows like a wheat field, with times of sowing and reaping.
for our secretary and the nurses. I recall the excitement at the Sow some seeds of encouragement; work toward seeing our
convention when they were presented. The Jeeps were named sisterhood grow in numbers - and in character. Remember that
“Leo and Apple Pie.” The head of the Frontier Nursing Service you are a part of AOII. Your association with AOII reflects on
in Kentucky, Mrs. Mary Breckenridge, spoke at another AOII the reputation that we hold in communities, in Panhellenic and
convention which I attended, and I remember being inspired on college campuses. Do your best to ensure that our reputation
by the stories she shared. This was a marvelous work in which is always positive!
AOII participated. Packing those boxes and shipping them out to
the Tuckies gave us a real sense of joy as we shared our love and One of the touchstones of being an AOII is understanding and
resources with friends just up the road from my own chapter. living AOII’s Ritual. With great care, foresight and love, our
four Founders crafted a philosophy of living. AOII’s Ritual is a
Now as AOII celebrates 115 years of friendship, I hope you will foundation for daily life which enumerates important values and
pause for a moment to reflect on the joyful fun of your own days principles, encourages fidelity, stresses discretion and exhibits
as a collegiate member of AOII. Think of the experience of compassion. Our Ritual reminds us of the ethical and moral
your first AOII Ritual - your own initiation. Recall the moment choices offered to each AOII, reviews character and conduct,
when you learned that AOII is for both your college days and and encompasses great spiritual teachings which can shape hearts
for your lifetime. You voluntarily joined an organization which and lives of women - young and old. If you’re ever discouraged,
values deep friendships, excellent scholarship and strong college lonesome or seeking a friend, an AOII alumnae or collegiate
loyalty. AOII will always be an organization which thrives chapter is as close as your computer or phone - the internet is
through the sharing of friendship. Like our Founders, each one a terrific tool to bring us together and keep us updated on all
of us has pledged ourself to support those who are new or long things AOII. However, nothing can take the place of sharing

sisterhood over a cup of
coffee, or during a phone call!
Just as roses need water and
sunshine to bloom, AOIIs need
interaction and encouragement
to grow! Reach out to someone
with whom you share a
wonderful AOII experience
and - together - celebrate your
sisterhood as members of
Alpha Omicron Pi.

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 Miss Bland Morrow was the first
Frontier Nursing Service worker
supported by Alpha Omicron Pi.
These salaries and other budget
needs were the responsibility of
Alpha Omicron Pi from 1931 - 1967.

To Dragma • 21

“I Hereby Solemnly Swear”

...the power of our promise

22 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

RitualLiving our

by Leigh Perry; Upsilon Lambda (U of Texas San Antonio); Rituals, Traditions and Jewelry Committee Member

Close your eyes and think about the last When we go through the excitement of
time you were in Ritual. For some of us it recruitment as potential new members,
may have been yesterday, while for others it we already know that when we make our
may have been 10, 20, or even 50 years ago. decision, it will be for a lifetime. Yet, we have
Take a moment to be quiet and remember all met adult women and asked about Greek
what it was like... who was there with you? affiliation, only to hear them say, “I was a DG.
Your collegiate chapter sisters, pledge sisters, I was a Theta. I was an AOII.”
or alumnae chapter sisters? How were you
feeling? Excited, scared, anxious? Where was When we are initiated, we learn the core of
it held? In someone’s home, a chapter house, what we are about as AOII, the heart part
a hotel meeting room, or a meeting space - what Past International President Ginger
on campus? As you think back, give yourself Banks calls the “secret misty-misties.” We
a little time to reminisce and think about exchange vows with the Fraternity and as Past
the Ritual itself. Now, answer the question, International President, Mary D. Drummond
“What is the single most important word in said, “This would be frightening except for
our Ritual?” one thing: in Alpha Omicron Pi, pledges and
promises are not a one-way street. We promise
We have a tendency to focus on all the “big” that we will try our best to make real many
words in our Ritual. We automatically think time-honored ideals, that we will never ask of
of the words which outline the reasons we are you anything but that which is true and good.
here, how we are supposed to live our lives, Together we shall grow in friendship and
what makes us different, and the expectations personal development, as we help each other
the Founders have of us. “Oh, I should know to promote tolerance and share responsibility,
that. I should remember that.” individually and collectively.”

Few of us automatically think of the next When we are in college and active in our
collegiate chapter, AOII and our promise to
word in the sequence of the title which is one her are top of mind because we are living,
Alwaysof the easiest words in our Ritual: learning, and growing together daily. When
. we graduate and start our transition to
alumnae, some of us forget our promise. We
It’s a deceptively simple word and easy forget that as we face other transitions in our
lives - from part-time to full-time, single to
to say: Always. married, mother to grandmother, times of loss
and sorrow and joyful times of celebration -
How many times have we said it? In AOII, it’s whatever our personal status, our Fraternity
every time we get together and every time we is right there waiting for us. Like The Giving
participate in a Ritual or ceremony. Every one Tree, always there and always providing as
of the 151,000+ women who have ever been much or as little as we will accept into
initiated into Alpha Omicron Pi over the last our lives.
115 years has said those words hundreds and
even thousands of times. Sometimes we simply let life get in the way,
and we forget what a source of hope and
And yet how many of us have stopped to
think about what it really means and why To Dragma • 23
we use it?

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

inspiration our Ritual can be to us. In her 1913 essay remember, while some never learned to live our Ritual

in To Dragma, Stella said, “…the fraternity relationship daily. It isn’t enough to just talk about it. “If you know

extends all through life and these sacred and poetic it and you don’t show it, it ‘don’t’ count.” As AOIIs, we

signs and passwords have a very real value when we use accepted the responsibility to “Walk the Talk.” Stella

them after years in meeting and greeting sisters in all reminds us, “--it is not enough to know all this and

quarters of the world and under all circumstances.” more than this in our hearts. If others do not see and

recognize it, if we do not show it in a palpably larger

We frequently lose collegiate sisters because of money womanhood, we are failing. By our fruits we must

trouble; a sister “just can’t afford it.” Yet, many times, be known.”

the same sister finds the money to buy a new outfit, get

her hair done and maybe even a mani-pedi when she Start Simply:
gets a phone call from that hot guy she’s been pining

after. In this economy, while there are definitely sisters • Act with love in all we think, say and do.

who are struggling, for most of us, we find the money • Be elder sisters and set a good example.

and make the time for the things that are important • Cherish and hold lovingly in your heart our Fraternity, our

to us. When we feel connected, a part of something friendship, our sisterhood.

greater, we are unable to break our bond. In our • Do the best you can with what you have. You are enough

Ritual, we vow to do our best to make all our sisters just as you are. You don’t have to prove anything to
Alwaysfeel an integral part of the organization. anyone else…or even yourself.
• Founders Rule. If Bess, Helen, Jessie or Stella were there to

The Founders can be seen as early versions of the pink see you, would she be proud? Do the right thing.
ladies in the movie Grease - they supported each other
through thick and thin, they accepted each other where • Guidelines. At all times. Even as alumnae we need to
they were, warts and all. They completely understood remember that we have pledged to follow the guidelines.
It certainly doesn’t mean we like them or even that
we agree with them, just that we will follow them. If we

none of them were perfect, but they appreciated and don’t like them, we can work to help change them. “We
valued those differences. Stella said, “We wanted wanted to be sure of a democratic fraternity, democratic
a society that should continue our companionship in choosing members, democratic in internal
through life.” She later added, “We insisted on life-long government, so that all members to come must share our
devotion to ourselves and to our best visions and to responsibility and feel bound to exercise for themselves
the motives that impelled the Founders.” (Stella Perry, 1936)

unified services to the world.” • Look inward first. Ed King, in Secret Thoughts of a Ritual

Always.The very first time we hear those words, said, “Because I am a system of values I am therefore an
instrument of self-evaluation.”

we know without a doubt that we have been accepted, • Love all our sisters. “We are not in fraternity to decide
unconditionally. Frequently, we don’t return the favor; whom we can like; one of the things we are here for is
we look for excuses why we can’t. We put conditions to love the friends of our friends. If a candidate is dear to
on our participation, on our fulfillment of our promise. a sister that fact should make us desire her if we can. If it
does not the fault may be in us, not in her.” (Stella Perry, 1913)
In the 1954 Founders’ Day Message, Stella said, “We
• Remember that we have two ears to listen and one
insisted on life-long devotion to ourselves and to our
mouth to speak. We don’t always have to be the one

best visions and to unified services to the world. And with the answers. Sometimes, those who speak least are

whatever we might give or do for Alpha Omicron Pi, deemed wisest.

as such and in itself, we would give as selflessly and • Serve with humility, which isn’t the same as martyrdom.

naturally as what one gives for family, country or • Stand up for yourself. people can’t walk over you like a
best ideals.” welcome mat unless you lie down.

“Each of us has a spark of life inside us, and• pUeswersetohnealvraelulaetisoannsdhitpesatcohihneglps from our Ritual in all your
mThue ssitngsleetmoofstfimthpaotrtasnptawraky tiongoivne oer adonosetlfhleessrly.” understand others and be

Wa ndalknatthue raTllaylkfo. Sr oAmOeIIoifs utos dliovne’to kunroRwi,tuo athl edrasildyo.-nK’tenny more productive.

Aus•uTbreealt others the way you want to be treated and treat
yourself the way your AOII sisters would treat you.

24 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

RitualLiving our

Because it is a service open to the public, the Candle Lighting Service for Convention is occasionally
held outdoors, as it was in 1951 at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

AlwaysIs it perfect? No. What relationship is? myself, my thought, my time? Am I? Am I a member
of Alpha Omicron Pi or was I a member of Alpha
In most cases, we value that for which we have to Omicron Pi?” (1946 Founders’ Day message)
work hardest.

Our Founders established AOII to do good work in the It is a promise we make to AOII and she makes in
world; to lead by example. They created our Ritual to return to us. AOII never forgets her promise to us. She
identify the kind of women they were striving to be; is always waiting for us, no matter how infrequently or
the values and characteristics they were looking for in poorly we fulfill our part of the promise or how often
the women they wanted to have as sisters, who would we turn away. She has promised always to be there
follow them and to whom they have left their legacy. In for us, never to turn her back on us and she always
1936, Stella wrote, “Oh, I do not want you to believe welcomes us back with open arms. It is a promise she
that we ourselves always lived up to our ideal, or that always keeps no matter what; continuously, continually,
we never failed to act according to our intention. Of constantly and permanently.
course, we fell down sometimes...But we did keep the
purpose before us as an end, and I know that Alpha The power of that promise? We always hear that you
Omicron Pi has ever done so.” get out of it what you put in to it. In AOII, when we
live our promise, we find it is a multiplier of 1000 -
If you value your own word, how can you just walk bringing one thousand times the joy and reducing the
away from your heart? sorrow by one thousand times.

“Let each one of us ask ourselves, am I accepting these
responsibilities, these opportunities which are offered
by my sorority? Am I doing my part, the most of which
I am capable? Am I making my contribution –giving of

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 To Dragma • 25

the promise

In August, AOII introduced our new provides them with activities to discover their L
own leadership style. As their collegiate years
membership education manual - e Promise. progress, so does the curriculum.
e Promise was designed to be an educational
Sophomores are considering leadership positions
guide for all four collegiate years, not just for the and discovering how they can contribute to their
rst year member experience. chapter. During their rst year, they learned
about their personal leadership style and as
Realizing that the needs of a rst year AOII sophomores they now begin to learn speci c
college student are di erent than the needs of a ways they can lead in their chapter and on their
senior, e Promise adapts to that concept and campus. Because taking on a leadership position
provides useful education at various points along adds more to your plate, this AOII resource also
helps teach time management and budgeting
“It’s a refreshing, new way to skills. While a New Member learns how we
learn about AOII. I get to re ect in uence our philanthropy through service, a
throughout the process and then sophomore delves into service to their chapter.
it is a keepsake at the end!”
As junior year evolves, our sisters begin to think
Kailey Mills, Lambda Eta Chapter of life outside of the chapter and e Promise
encourages leading healthy lifestyles through
the collegiate journey. e primary sections are safety and self-awareness. e book discusses
titled, Live, Learn, Lead, Serve and Senior. ese what it means to live our values and how to
are based on the values AOII promises to live out. be a successful AOII woman. e Promise
encourages sisters to serve the Fraternity as well as
e book begins with a New Member section their collegiate community.
chock-full of AOII information and common
facts about our Fraternity. ese soon-to-be As we all know, senior year is full of excitement
initiates learn our history, symbols and core and anxiety about the unknown and
values. In meetings, they discuss our international unpredictable “real world.” Because of that
philanthropy and how their chapter gives back. lifelong commitment, e Promise provides
seniors with tips for surviving in the post-college
eir New Member Educator will help them “jungle.” Interview and etiquette tips, as well as
learn campus resources, and e Promise

26 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2010

nancial suggestions aide the senior and set them promisethe
up for success. Seniors learn how to network and Alpha Omicron Pi
how AOII can serve as a tool for nding careers
and opportunities. e Promise also reminds aOndnesimngoletntoe,sosnoef badge, one bond–
seniors of the knowledge and experience they heart!
have to o er their chapter. ey are encouraged
to mentor upcoming leaders and chapter
members. Finally, Life Loyal AOII information
concludes the senior section for a lasting
impression of the love of AOIIs around the world.

AOII believes in a lifetime commitment to
our organization. e Fraternity is grounded
in creating not just strong AOII members, but
strong women who are prepared for a successful
life based on the values and ideals instilled in them
through their AOII experience. e Promise was
created just for that reason.

ourselves and upon the Fraternity.

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2010 To Dragma • 27

New M

NYsoheeurgwNuideMwesMeyomeumtbhbreeorruEgEdhudtchuaetcobraewgtioinllnrbinecgoomf yeovuerryjoiumrnpeoyr.ta

OtrhiucerhrJureebwdye.clI:ot wloare.s AOII jewel is OiesIwxutpcrauoilMtbmsiolnieasgfnhgoia.encTzdufoionstDerhemsr:raeoTagenotmitDoaiamrnrtmaieacgsbelmeaaosnauyose(tfTa“otirohnuceetroe-csDrnhhetresaaatapihnfft.og”einr-rmgs. a) eafnmloaoecdnreoyooaoiacdrsadunnbOrhlssvretugyjtaaayaegancriogen;ctatbarietetfsvcriOcosdeiejomtatetcrem,sbsfshsietrecnptcji,reeetmhtdihjitincvurhoeeiaibettgrostovpF,eenofiroestrnorfeeierfafstaarrtwt;itfydlnsehart,lh.harnotsegantecidetoecFsrhittrteharsoahnyFsaulnctleitospatrsehdhfyrbparfasaAonaeaohptltnrglireitOtabpittedynlrh,ertlIolansnhetIotnriiaeoasmvnidrantebegkecdyeioesonswftolslethiefnavgatltelhteeerwerdyepe,nsartpeneswrsdootfimimgnteheinseomeorctbwooelaloreymugtroeemseteinmgb, ers. NewPlaMce a epimcturbeeorf yoEudaun
chosen for its
OsiuasounpafrdlewABroiaamlnpydlshpgywaoeb:Osoyerdimnn.eioitcliveareotetretnbedthraPsmdeiA.gheem,eOabrtearnsd II are AONPF_ha_aAm__ov__o_n__en_re__:o__it_N_t_e_e_____mu_f__r_m__oe____mbm_____e__o___rh_r:___e__y___r___w:_______e________s_____h_____a____r______e____:_____________________________________H_________o______mE______m_e_____
Our Color: caenAOndIIitcoevloerryiswhere YpiooninufdrsiisviNsiatdeesurhwhaeloMasofuodenmf.itwibnhegeraiPntisntyh:me cbooemlnizemiwnogmnmbeamonnbyder
cardinal. You ObopeunlcaragcCureesrweeekswet, :ureaAswtehOetehrreIeItfhdoaounensmdneeoddtihevavale, iadceraelss.tIn its
ijnecwluedl ainngdouorwer. image of a rose.

OthueriJsFapcloqarwuteiecmru: lianroreteA(djorOocksIeI-mwoeaw-skcenhrooiswse)nrofoser.its
richness in color
and fragrance.

Oios utfhrAeMlupanhsoacOotc:miailcmreoapnsacPnodi.ta
this time.

Those who purchase The Promise are encouraged to place
pictures and memorabilia in designated spots. With more
than 25 spaces for pictures, you won’t forget a moment!

SfcbopoeuenancsuditatalyinnAotOlTyfhIoIbeuterrParFrdeorimatmitoeininsrdensiecftodya.rnoybfoteuheto “ e Promise is everyday life for any member of
AOII. e learned values of Alpha Omicron Pi have
28 • To Dragma
made me the person I am today; my character, my
judgment, my con dence. Becoming a member has
strengthened my leadership skills and has taught me

the value of service to others.

Lora Moore, Chi eta Chapter

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

Member The Promise is full of AOII information to kcTeoheloeprbsmrfioegmuhntbdgertrahsprcohouicmgshinaongudbteaTychekecfoParrtocmmhionisrgee!
help our new members get acquainted
ant to you as with our values and beliefs! Quick facts
like those shown here are great refreshers
for our “seasoned” members!

nd your There are lots of opportunites within the book for journaling
memories of AOII and collegiate events! These will last long
ucator here! past your collegiate years and serve as a treasured keepsake!

OIIfamilym_e_____t_a___o__i__l_w___:_____n_______:_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ My AOII family. My Chapter

A____________s__p_____e_____c______ia______l____t__h______i__n____g________a____b______o______u______t____t__h______e______m_________e___m___________b_____e___r_____s______o_____f___m__________y______f_a_____m________i____ly______i_____s_:____________________________________ My Grand Big:_____________ O__________u_____r____f____a____v____o_____r____i__t____e______p_____l___a____c____e______t____o______g______o______a______s____a______f__a______m_______i___l__y______i___s___:______________________________________________________
A____________le______g______a___c___y_______I_____h______a_____v___e_______l___e____________w______i___t___h______m__________y______f__a______m______i____l__y______i__s____:__________________________________________________________________________________________ My Big:___________________ ____________e______b______e____s___t_____a_____d_____v____i____c____e______I_____g____o______t_____f___r___o______m__________m________y______b______i__g_______s___i__s____t___e____r_____w_______a_____s___:___________________________
My Little:__________________
My Little:__________________ My AOII family.

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 To Dragma • 29

30• To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

finding your place in AOII’s strategic plan

Consistent Membership Growth

Unparalleled Membership Experience The second major defined area of focus is centered on
membership growth, both in collegiate and alumnae
Our first defined area of focus in the plan is aimed at chapters. Over the last two years, we have seen major
providing an “unparalleled membership experience.” growth in collegiate numbers because of a shift in
More times than not, the members that have an culture regarding achieving quota and campus total.
exceptional experience are the members that stay It is AOII’s expectation that all our chapters will strive
engaged. How can you as an alumna or collegiate to support the best interests of the colleges and
leader help to provide an exceptional membership universities where our chapters are installed.
experience AOII?:
As a collegiate leader, you are an integral piece of
• Serve as a chapter officer or remain active this puzzle. Here’s how you play a role:
throughout all your collegiate years.
• Strive to fulfill our promise to your college
• Serve as an alumna chapter officer, local panhellenic by extending membership
adviser or as an international volunteer. opportunities to the fullest extent possible.
This means matching to quota during formal
• Offer to mentor collegiate members. recruitment or through snap bidding immediately
afterward, and also recruiting to campus total at
• Write Membership Information Forms all times.
for potential new members.
• Use AOII’s new collegiate status options to
• Talk freely and openly about your AOII maximize a member’s ability to stay active
experiences whenever possible. throughout her collegiate years and to minimize
early alumna status requests and self-suspensions.
Each member of Alpha Omicron Pi makes a
commitment to AOII to live the values found in our • Retain members by continually providing lifelong
Ritual. As a leader, help build this culture into your sisterhood experiences through fun and friendship.
chapter and your AOII environment. You are the one
that can help enhance your chapter culture. Although alumnae membership is measured
differently, the emphasis on growth is much the same.
Here’s a few ways that you can help:

• Gauge the interests of alumnae in your area by
using a free evaluation service like Survey Monkey
to see what our members are interested in doing.

• Engage your alumnae where they are. Make a
Facebook group for the alumnae in your area—and
USE it. Keep all area alumnae informed on the
activities and initiatives underway.

• Engage your alumnae chapter in finding new ways
for members of all ages and stages in their
personal lives to connect. That may mean happy
hours, play dates, service events, mentoring
opportunities, lunch dates and more!

• Reach out to other alumnae groups for best
practices and ideas.

32 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

Increase Inter-fraternal Involvement Exceptional Financial Management

The third defined area focuses on making AOII a The last area of focus for our Strategic Plan relates
leader in the interfraternal community. Much of to financial management. How can you as an
this can be done through involvement with other alumna or collegiate leader contribute to sound
Panhellenic groups. However, the majority of this is financial management for AOII?
done through managing our reputation. How can
you as an alumna or collegiate leader contribute to • Meet all your AOII financial obligations fully
advancing AOII’s brand? and on time. When dues are late and go unpaid,
all areas of collegiate or alumnae chapter
• Wear your letters. Take pride in your management are affected. Remember your
appearance when doing so. Anytime you are vow to work your best with body, brain, spirit
making a positive contribution or impact on and substance to AOII.
your community, wearing your AOII letters
and knowing they stand for our motto and • Help AOII to minimize costs by identifying lost
our Ritual helps us bring the values of AOII sisters or updating incorrect contact information.
to others. Remember that the world can get by
without AOII, but it cannot exist without the • Consider regular donations to the AOII
values for which we stand. Foundation. The Foundation is committed to
enhancing the lives of our members and
• Wear your badge. It is to the outside world a securing the future of our Fraternity through
sign that you are a sworn member of AOII, and leadership development, scholarships and
it shall be to you and to us a constant reminder philanthropic endeavors. Any donation
of the mutual obligations and of the ideals amount serves to further advance Alpha’s
which we hold in common. interests and cherish them as our own, and
no amount is too small to make a difference
• Remember that you are a part of AOII. Your for someone.
association with AOII reflects on the
reputation that we hold. So, do your best to
ensure our reputation is always positive!

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 To Dragma • 33

34 • To Dragma THE


of a


by Poorvie Patel, Alpha Chi (Western Kentucky U)

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

As a woman, endless. Some of the briefings included Supreme Court Associate Justices
sitting in on budget control, energy, Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
that too of color, and furthermore a first job creation and homeland security. and Elena Kagan, and Secretary of
generation American citizen, I was more Writing memos and summaries were Health and Human Services Kathleen
than humbled to know that I would get my subsequent obligations. My Sebilius to name a few, were quite
to spend this past summer interning for favorite, though, was education reform a treat. These are just a few of the
a Congressman in our Nation’s most because that department is so close to daily meet and greet opportunities I
controversial yet exhilarating city - my heart. Being in the midst of some was able to be a part of as a House of
Washington, D.C. With the fortunate of our nation’s top leaders and scholars Representatives intern.
experience of having interned with in policy and issues allowed to me to
the Republican Victory office last year learn from the brightest and the best The saying “work hard, play hard” is
during mid-term elections in November our country has to offer. Every day, the college student’s mantra. I definitely
and one of the most transformative there was something new to do and took this into consideration while in
elections of our time, I was able to new to see. Because all of House and D.C. Working in the Capitol was a full
further my knowledge in the political Senate buildings are connected with the day’s worth of work, but that does not
field and land a position as an intern Capitol underground, it was rare for me mean I did not enjoy what the city had
working for Congressman Brett Guthrie to walk around outside in the middle to offer. I was fortunate to experience
from the 2nd district of Kentucky. It of the day. Subsequently, running the fireworks over the Washington
was my first summer after being an into Congressmen and Senators in the Monument for the Fourth of July, attend
Alpha Omicron Pi new member. Never underground connectors and having chit Smithsonian Museums (US History,
did I imagine the effect AOII would chats became a common occurrence. Natural History, Art, Native American)
have on me to accomplish my endeavors, for days, and visit all of the historical
nor did I ever think AOII would allow During my time in the Capitol, I monuments, memorials, festivals and
me to make the most of my experienced first-hand two Washington never-ending parades. Along with
D.C. experience. D.C. milestones. One was the two these activities, I was blessed to be
and a half continuous weeks of 100 able to go on runs enchanted with the
I have always been open to new things degree plus temperatures and unbearable historical city (pathways of Monuments
and meeting new people, and AOII humidity. Dressed in a full suit every and Memorials) and kayak down the
has reinforced these characteristics single day, my body became adjusted Potomac River numerous times.
in me. The things I experienced to the extreme heat, and sweat was
in Washington are indescribable on the last bit of my concerns by the end AOII was also part of my experience.
paper, incomprehensible through of it all. Hotter than the weather was Prior to my departure to D.C., I had
communication and unimaginable the infamous debt crisis of 2011. My contacted the Southern Maryland
through anecdotes. Every moment, I time in D.C. lasted from the beginning Alumnae Chapter. Their President
learned something new about myself of July until August 18. This time was extremely cordial and invited me
and used my fundamental AOII attitude frame included the pinnacle of the debt to their annual barbecue where every
toward situations. With AOII’s tagline crisis with August 1 being the ‘default member welcomed me with open arms.
instilled in my mind, “Exceed the deadline.’ The people, politicians, and An especially helpful alumna member,
Expectation,” I put forth my best effort policy changes I witnessed in the House Greta, even came to pick me up from
and attempted to go beyond what was Chambers are ones that will inevitably the Metro to drive me to the barbecue
expected of me, always representing be imprinted in my memory forever. event, 40 minutes away. Though I had
Alpha Omicron Pi to the best of never met Greta, she was there for me,
my ability. Besides engaging in daily duties that just as an AOII sister always is.
coincide with ones of the congressional
The eight weeks I spent in D.C. staff, I was also given opportunities I I feel I left a part of my heart in
involved full 8:00-5:00 workdays could never have imagined. Because D.C. thanks to the wonderful
in our nation’s Capitol building. there were interns from all over the people and experiences that
Congressman Guthrie’s office is located United States interning for their I encountered. With new
in the Cannon Building, one of three respective Senators and Congressmen, friendships, new knowledge, and
House of Representative office buildings the Capitol provided opportunities to new AOII sisters- this truly was
adjacent to the Capitol building. From hear exceptional guest speakers. Guest the summer of a lifetime.
answering constituent phone calls speakers and luncheons with people
and writing/sorting mail, to going like Donald Graham (CEO of the To Dragma • 35
to Senate/House of Representative Washington Post), Aaron Schock (the
briefings and hearings, to even giving youngest Congressmen in Congress),
constituent personal tours of the Attorney General Eric Holder, Ex-
Capitol building, my duties remained Secretary of State Colin Powell, US

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

Knock Arthritis OutAOII, The Arthritis Foundation and the Atlanta Braves

36 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

by Rachel Boison, Kappa Kappa (Ball State U), Assistant Director of Public Relations

When Arthritis Foundation employees, philanthropic efforts benefit arthritis. She contacted a former
Auburn classmate, now working in AOII’s Headquarters
friends of the Foundation, and family building, who got her in touch with the AOII Foundation
office. AOII knew immediately that a night dedicated to
members of people affected by arthritis arthritis awareness – not to mention on the field of one of the
most reputable teams in Major League Baseball history – was
paraded across Turner Field for the first- an opportunity that could not be refused.

ever Arthritis Awareness Night with the All three organizations – AOII, the Arthritis Foundation,
and the Atlanta Braves – advertised Arthritis Awareness
Atlanta Braves, it was the beginning of Night on organization websites and through social media.
The response from AOII’s membership was overwhelming,
something truly special – for the Braves, and the support from our collegiate and alumnae chapters in
Atlanta and surrounding areas was tremendous on the night
the Arthritis Foundation, and for AOII. of the event. A total of five collegiate chapters participated
in some way, along with the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter.
On September 13, a total of 1,003 tickets were sold to Collegiate chapters who participated include Delta Delta
Atlanta Braves patrons through the special ticketing options (Auburn U), Delta Lambda (Columbus State U), Gamma
offered for Arthritis Awareness Night. An event table was Sigma (Georgia State U), Beta Zeta (Kennesaw State U) and
set up outside of Turner Field that advertised Arthritis Delta Epsilon (Jacksonville State U).
Awareness Night and drew the attention of passers-by,
who approached to ask questions about arthritis and to For Gamma Sigma Chapter at Georgia State, Arthritis
buy tickets or make donations. The Arthritis Foundation Awareness Night happened to fall immediately after the
provided special T-shirts for those attending on behalf of week of recruitment. “We brought our new members to the
the Foundation that were proudly worn by participants in game so they could see how much fun we have!” said Katie
the ceremonial parade of honored guests that takes place Tahami, Gamma Sigma’s Chapter President. Many chapters
before the game begins. who attended the game created Braves-themed AOII
T-shirts just for this particular night – Gamma Sigma’s had
Arthritis awareness was abundant throughout the entire the Atlanta “A” logo in “AOII” and the Braves tomahawk
evening, and Braves fans were abuzz with new knowledge logo going across the “II.”
about arthritis, or a renewed passion for the cause. The
Arthritis Foundation logo was displayed on signs all “It was exciting to get the opportunity to work with our
over the stadium, including the stadium’s giant LED favorite baseball team for arthritis. We also got to meet
boards where fans could see and learn about the Arthritis sisters from different chapters that had come to support our
Foundation from any seat in the house. A young arthritis philanthropy,” Katie said. A few of the women were lucky
patient representing the Arthritis Foundation was invited enough to get shirts from the Arthritis Foundation that
onto the field to call the historic phrase, “play ball!”
Additionally, an AOII attending the game was invited onto
the field during the 8th inning to bang the oversized Braves
drum – a tradition and special honor included in the Top 30
of “101 Things To Do and See” at Turner Field.

The idea for Arthritis Awareness Night began with the
Atlanta Braves trainee program – two young ladies in
the program needed a ticket sales project to complete
their staff training. One trainee involved with Arthritis
Awareness Night is a former intern from the Arthritis
Foundation’s national headquarters office in Atlanta. When
she suggested the idea of partnering with the Arthritis
Foundation, another trainee remembered from her college
days at Auburn University that AOII’s Foundation and

Delta Epsilon (Jacksonville State U) sisters display some AOII spirit for Arthritis Awareness Night at Turner Field. To Dragma • 37
Gamma Sigma members Jessica Roberts, Katie Tahami and Rachel Bindbeutel at Turner Field.

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

read “Knock Arthritis Out of the Park!” with the Braves Out of the 1,003 tickets sold through Arthritis Awareness
and Arthritis Foundation logos. Gamma Sigma member night, those five collegiate AOII chapters and the Atlanta
Laura Owen, the chapter’s Vice President of Chapter Alumnae Chapter accounted for 452 tickets. The evening
Development, was the selected AOII out of everyone in was such a success that the Braves have already committed
the crowd to bang on the giant drum – “a Braves tradition to an Arthritis Awareness Night with the Atlanta Braves for
when we do the ‘tomahawk chop’!” Katie said. And of next season – it has been scheduled for September 27, 2012,
course, AOIIs and other Arthritis Foundation attendees a Thursday evening to accommodate more AOIIs and
made it onto the jumbo-tron several times throughout other attendees who are interested in coming to Arthritis
the night. Awareness Night from out of town.

Tying perfectly with the international “Strike Out
Arthritis!” program that AOII has championed for so many
years, Arthritis Awareness Night with the Atlanta Braves
was the perfect event to further solidify AOII’s support of
the Arthritis Foundation in a way that reaches a new group
of people and incorporates sisterhood as well. It is no doubt
that someone attending the Braves game that evening
learned something they never knew about arthritis and its
affects on our lives.

A few of the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter members in attendence include Jenny Lambert, Phyllis Austin and Michelle Finley.

Gamma Sigma members Catherine Chu and Jessica Hampton with a banner that the chapter made to kick off their
participation in the event. The banner cleaverly features a scoreboard that has AOII “winning” and Arthritis “losing.”

38 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

LEveearAydoeOnresIhiIs ti’asplkin2Eg a0vboe1unt2ts!

With the incredible line-up of speakers and breakout sessions, these events are sure
to be a hit with collegians and alumnae alike. So, go ahead and mark your calendars.

LFeeabdreurasrhyip3-A5c, a2d0e12my 2012 Tell Me About It!


Ask Me Why…AOII! Leadership Institute 2012
June 22-24, 2012
icIAnnoOtrFepIrrIoan’srnaak2tti0lioio1nnn2,asTelavNEnev.dneLtnesontasoc!rkoeBufcooretarhrgmtioanofingrAelyyOionnIufIoor’strsmt2ios0atb1et2eirosLmnteoicasodjsomeeirdnisn.hygSiopoiun,e! mvmWeaonkhnteastthywbloyieullterttdepairlktaiweonanpsysltaotocodfeasTahyHt-a-trEhseetPaoIFruPtrrEafsunRinksatdleinnrrdhaCoiosooniondtlghtS,heptaaArnliOknaigItnIsAgwMOteoabIIyrs’rsoiituoetr. t

Gina’s JourneyConquering an Ironman
by Mariellen Sasseen, Alpha Delta (U of Alabama), Editor

An Ironman Triathlon is a gruelling race requiring < In the spring of 2005 her niece, Kate Graham, was
participants to complete a 2.4-mile open-water swim, talking about participating with friends in a Mermaid
a 112-mile bike ride and a full 26.2-mile marathon < Triathlon and approached Gina to join them. These
– all in succession – all completed in under 17 hours. smaller, but still seriously significant women-only
Participants are usually hard-bodied, hard-core athletes competitions, presented numerous hurdles for Gina
who dedicate years to training schedules, diet regimens to overcome. None greater than the fact she was not
and building mental toughness. The popular Arizona a strong swimmer! She had dabbled at biking but not
Ironman Triathlon takes place in Tempe and the to competition standards, and as for running, that
surrounding Sonoran Desert each November. This past was sure to be a challenge with bad knees, a bad back
year, an inspiring 54-year-old AOII sister, Gina Zofrea and an arthritic hip. Somehow Kate still managed
Fish, Lambda Beta (California State U - Long Beach) to convince Gina that the experience would be fun
completed her first Ironman – proving that age is merely and, together, they entered the race. She finished that
a number, not a handicap. first race by side-stroking the entire 400 meter swim,
Gina’s amazing journey to Tempe had its roots planted toddling along the 11-mile bike route and walking the
way back in 1982 while watching Julie Moss compete 3.2-mile run – but she loved every minute! Everyone
in her first Ironman on TV. She remembered her was so supportive and the insane competitiveness that
parents commenting, “Why would anyone do that to she had always witnessed in team sports was not present.
themselves?” at the same time Gina recalls thinking, Ultimately, this cooperative spirit was one of the aspects
“Wow, I wish I could try that someday!” It was an that would most shape her life going forward.
unlikely reality for a Gina who was married, pregnant
with her second child and finishing her nursing degree, Over the next several years, Gina entered numerous
so that spark of interest was suppressed for the next Mermaid Triathlons, learned to swim, lost 40 pounds,
twenty-three years. and grew to love the open water swimming that
had initially terrified her about this sport. More
40 • To Dragma importantly, she gained immense confidence that she
believes has made her a better wife, mother, friend and
woman. In the back of her mind, however, competing
in a full Ironman competition always loomed large.
When her friend Mary Keane learned Gina was
considering the 2011 Arizona Ironman, she encouraged
Gina to sign up as a volunteer giving her access to
register before the general population. This event sold
out in 20 minutes – 2,800 participants.

Months of training were ahead for Gina and three of
her friends who were also signed up for the race. She
overcame many ups and downs, not the least of which
was her nagging arthritic hip and pain radiating down
her legs from nerve damage from a previous back
injury. Contemplating an Ironman was a stretch by any
standard, but friends, family and her Team Mermaid
teammates encouraged her all through the process.
Gina’s Lambda Beta sisters were huge supporters,
too. Gina added, “AOII has taught me the value of

Gina at packet pick up for her first Ironman competition.

The 26.2-mile marathon is just one third of the competition.
Gina takes it all in stride.

A Retro Tote

From ballgames to holiday events, we always have
occasions to use one of these stylish casserole car-
riers. We found these at


Sparkle is not just for your holiday parties any more!
Our favorite trend this season is adding a little
pizazz to your wardrobe. The key to wearing
sequins is to keep the rest of your outfit
simple and plain. Stick to one color palette,
don’t add more lines or patterns, just let these
sequinned pieces be the center of attention
and keep accessories to a minimum -
okay, maybe add one or two cocktail rings!

Reading on the Go! On the Web

It has never been easier
to Kindle a romance,
a mystery, a biography or We have to tip our hat to, a site that
a self-help book! With this actually helps us organize the things we love. Read
built-in lighted cover for more about why and how we love this online virtual
our Kindles, we can read pinboard in a feature article beginning on page 50.
anywhere at anytime.
And since the light pulls To Dragma • 41
its power from the Kindle
itself, no batteries are
ever needed.

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

The Month of the Scholar

The National Panhellenic Conference established the Month of the Scholar to
highlight the importance of scholarship and academics for all 26 member groups.

Now in its eleventh year, this annual event is held each February and is a great

time for collegiate chapters, College Panhellenic Associations and alumnae
associations to recognize the importance of learning.

There are many ways to celebrate the Month of the Scholar, and here are a few
examples. However you celebrate, remember the Panhellenic Creed, “We as
undergraduate members of women’s fraternities stand for good scholarship …”
and “We, as fraternity women, stand for service through the development
of character …”

42 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

Collegians: Alumnae:

Invite women who achieved the Dean’s List Organize a book club for the month of February
the previous term to a scholarship dessert. with your board to encourage continuing
Encourage each woman to bring a faculty education for alumnae.
member who inspired her to achieve her Sponsor a graduate students’ night out event
outstanding GPA. for all of your members currently enrolled in
graduate programs, doctorate programs, etc., to
Select one student with outstanding show your support of continuing education.
achievement as Scholar of the Week. Recognize Support your local collegians by creating
her at a meeting and present her with a gift midterm and/or finals goodie bags. Organize
card to the campus bookstore. the plans during the Month of the Scholar
in February, then distribute them at the
Create a book scholarship for all unaffiliated appropriate time.
women. Ask them to write an essay on Sponsor a program on building a successful
academics or their favorite course on campus. career. Include opportunities for members to
Meet and interview the top three candidates connect through a career mentorship program.
and then present them with gift cards to the
campus bookstore. It’s a great way to show March 5, 2012
everyone that sorority women value good
scholarship and their campus community. The theme for the 2012 International Badge
Day reminds us to wear our letters on
Organize a stress and/or time management our hearts. This fitting tribute to our AOII
workshop. sisterhood is also a show of unity by all
National Panhellenic Conference women to
Sponsor a faculty appreciation meal in February. proudly promote our Greek heritage. On
Members and officers invite their favorite March 5, 2012, pin on your badge or wear
professors, and everyone participates in your letters to let the world know you are a
discussions about good study habits and tips proud member of Alpha Omicron Pi.
for academic success.
To Dragma • 43
Work with your Panhellenic Association
to create a scholarship round table where
participants discuss quarterly and yearly
academic goals, past successes
and challenges facing chapters.

Arrange goodie bags containing candy, erasers,
pens, pencils and study tips for distribution on
campus during one week.

At the beginning of the month, ask all members
to complete an online quiz to identify learning
styles. Those completing the assessment will
have their names entered in a drawing to win a
gift card to the campus bookstore.

Be sure to coordinate any of your activities with
the other Panhellenic chapters on campus.

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011


Hoping to Change Lives

When Meredith Holbert, Omega (Miami U), first Carolina. After sharing her ongoing symptoms, she
began losing weight the fall of her senior year in 2004, was prescribed a medication designed to treat an
she was delighted. She knew she hadn’t changed her intestinal condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome
eating habits enough to warrant the sudden drop that was getting lots of media attention because a new
in pounds, but quickly dismissed the changes to a prescription drug had just been released. The doctor
hectic schedule as AOII Vice President Membership did not have her undergo tests to confirm his diagnosis.
Development, along with senior capstone projects as The medication gave her sporadic relief, but over the
she prepared for graduation the following spring. In next four months she continued to experience most of
the months to follow, she began feeling unusually the same symptoms with the addition of severe pain
fatigued and noticed a change in her bowel habits, but in her side and oftentimes difficulty standing for even
when she mentioned some concern to her housemates, short periods of time. She convinced herself that these
they agreed the cause could be from a change in diet or problems were just part and parcel of having chronic
stress. She continued to dismiss these symptoms, partly gastrointestinal issues. With symptoms growing more
because she was just too busy to schedule a trip home to severe, she checked in with other doctors in the clinic
Minnesota to see her doctor. where she was receiving medical attention, but each
one convinced Meredith that this was just something
After graduation in May 2005, Meredith almost she would have to learn to live with.
immediately began experiencing other symptoms
including discomfort in her abdomen, diarrhea, Finally, after an especially difficult night, she decided
constipation, and occasionally an evening when she she needed to get serious about finding a doctor
felt feverish and just simply exhausted. But because who would find the root of her problems. The
she was between college and full time employment, following day, a new doctor ordered an x-ray and,
she bore through the symptoms, thinking she would after inconclusive results, recommended her to a
see a doctor as soon as she landed a job with benefits. gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. Three weeks
It was January 2006 before she was finally able to see before she was to be married, the colonoscopy revealed
a doctor in her new hometown of Greenville, South a tumor in Meredith’s colon. The grim diagnosis was
stage 4 colon cancer that had metastasized in her liver
and lungs.

Even with that news, Meredith was determined to go
on with her life. Three weeks later, she married the
love of her life and together they journeyed for 23
months through treatment for her terminal illness.
Over those months, Meredith was blessed by the love
and concern of family, friends, and especially her dear
sisters at AOII. When Meredith was no longer able to
work, those same people made certain that Meredith
did not have to worry about the financial obligations
associated with living with such a horrific disease.
Indeed, even though Meredith faced pain almost every
day of those 23 months, if you asked her, she would tell
you that she was the luckiest girl in the world.

MMCCF Board Members Elizabeth Mix, Kathy Courtney, Meredith’s mom Julie Meredith passed away on April 22, 2008, but
Holbert and Meredith’s sister Laura Platt, join Omega CP Mary Kate Sweeney after not before she shared her dream of establishing a
their presentation at Miami U. foundation devoted to caring for the needs of other

44 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

victims of colon cancer. Today, Meredith’s Miracles Early detection is essential in helping prevent colon cancer as most types
Colon Cancer Foundation is doing just that. “When start in the form of non-cancerous polyps. Meredith’s Miracles Colon
we learn of young adults who need financial support, Cancer Foundation challenges young adults to listen closely to their
it is our charge to find the best way to meet those bodies, to establish a relationship with a doctor they trust, receive regular
needs. We are devoted to our mission of sharing medical exams, and to remember that serious health problems can strike
Meredith’s story, hoping that when other young at any age.
men and women hear about the early, undiagnosed
symptoms Meredith experienced, they will listen Colon Cancer risk factors:
more closely to the symptoms they are experiencing,
and will be tenacious advocates in finding a doctor - Polyps (a noncancerous or precancerous growth associated with aging)
who will listen and respond more quickly. With - Age
a more immediate call to action, we believe the - Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s Disease)
prognosis will be different than the one Meredith - Diet high in saturated fats, such as red meat
received in 2006,” states her mother, Julie Holbert, - Personal or family history of cancer
secretary of the foundation’s board of directors. - Obesity
- Smoking
In October, Meredith’s Miracles Colon Cancer
Foundation was invited to address all of the sororities Colon Cancer symptoms:
at Miami University, telling Meredith’s story and
encouraging the young women attending to be - A change in bowel habits — constipation or diarrhea that lasts more
tenacious advocates for their own health. than a couple of weeks.

Mary Kate Sweeney, this year’s president of the - A feeling that the bowel does not empty completely.
Omega Chapter of AOII worked closely with the - Bright red or very dark blood in the stool, black stools that may
leadership at Miami University’s Panhellenic Council indicate hidden blood.
to arrange for all of the universities sororities to - Stools that look narrower or thinner than normal.
participate in the presentation. “When Meredith’s - Abdominal discomfort such as frequent gas pains, bloating,
mother contacted us at Omega, I knew right away fullness, or cramps.
that all women at Miami University needed to hear - Weight loss with no known explanation.
Meredith’s story. Hearing about Meredith’s journey - Constant tiredness or fatigue.
hit close to home for me personally since my uncle - Unexplained anemia (low number of red blood cells).
battled this awful disease a few years ago, but to learn
that a woman in her 20s suffered the same disease, To Dragma • 45
that is not very common, and it struck me that no
one is exempt from colon cancer, no matter how
old, young or healthy you may be. The sisterhood
bonds that all AOIIs share are strengthened through
triumphs and tragedies alike. I know Meredith’s story
will impact all who hear it, and will help us realize
that AOII is for a lifetime, not just those four years at
college. Meredith’s light continues to shine before us
here at Omega.”

It remains the family’s hope that through telling the
story of a former sister, lives will be changed and
awareness will be heightened for this disease that is
the second leading cause of death from cancer in the
U.S. Colon cancer will claim over 51,000 lives this
year alone.

For more information on how Meredith’s Miracles
Colon Cancer Foundation can speak to your alumnae
or collegiate chapter/university, please visit:

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

Get on Board
by Courtney Dillard, Tau Omicron (U of Tennessee, Martin), Director of Communications & Public Relations

Just when you think the popularity and accessibility you want each of these boards to encompass. You
of social media has encompassed your life, along might have separate boards for recipes, home décor
comes an innovative, functional and wildly- ideas, craft projects for the kids, or party themes—
addictive new tool - Pinterest. First launched truly, the possibilities are endless! When you nd
in March 2010 as an invitation only Beta-site, an idea, picture, or story from a blog or website that
the number of users now grows exponentially you really like, you can “pin” the virtual idea to
every week. As of October 2011, the company your board on Pinterest. For example: You nd a
was valued at $200 million. Pinterest allows users great appetizer recipe in an article on RealSimple.
free virtual storage and organization of housing com that you’d like to remember for an upcoming
crafting ideas, recipes, home décor, apparel styles party you will be attending. By saving the site
and more. Users can develop their own theme- and the picture, you can add this “pin” to your
based storage boards using “pins,” essentially like “Recipe” board on Pinterest—thus, keeping all of
you would pin a “to-do” list on a bulletin board in your recipes together in a virtual recipe box.
your o ce. For newcomers to, there
is new terminology with which you will need to Within AOII, Pinterest’s popularity has spread like
familiarize yourself. Terms such as “pins” and wild re as well. Our social media initiatives now
“boards” will now be commonplace, but just what include a personal Pinterest account for AOII, so
does this all mean? users can follow each of AOII’s great ideas which
include some of AOII’s favorite items. AOII’s
Think of your Pinterest boards as bulletin boards boards are lled with ideas for recruitment and
on which you post your to-do list. These boards news articles of interest, but users will also be
are categorized by your interests, so you have privileged to have a blueprint for countless home
complete creative and strategic control as to what décor ideas that boast some of AOII’s favorite

things—pandas, roses,
rubies, pearls and sheaves
of wheat.

So, your curiosity is
peaked with the bene ts
of Pinterest, but you are
resistant to add just one
more electronic medium
into your daily routine?
With the cold weather
pushing us all indoors, the
following simple and easy-
to-create ideas are sure to
sell you in the bene ts of
Pinterest and how it can
add some organization
into the chaos that
consumes our lives.

Follow AOII on Pinterest by searching “Alpha Omicron Pi.” Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

46 • To Dragma

A Simple Cold Weather Beverage
to Warm the Soul:

With the arrival of cold weather, it’s nice to have a
warm drink option to keep you cozy. This spiced tea
recipe will have you reminiscing about late nights in
front of your grandparents’ fireplace, and the smell
will fill the house for hours!

Mix the following ingredients:
1 cup of dry instant tea
1 cup of orange Tang
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of lemonade mix
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup of cinnamon candies (or Red Hots)

Mix together in a large bowl and ladle into glass jars.
To prepare one cup at a time, spoon two heaping
teaspoons into a mug of steaming hot water. This
mix can easily be used for gifts as well. Just add the
mixture to a jar, garnish with a bow, and add a tag
with instructions. Voila!

Ultimately, Pinterest helps users streamline all virtual
medias into one, user-friendly program. We are
convinced Pinterest is not an additional time-waster
because it simplifies and organizes the current
practices in which we are already participating.
Anything that can provide ideas and help organize
our crazy lives is certainly worth noting!

A Simple Hostess Gift Idea:

Drink mixes and wine are generally an easy fix
for a hostess gift for a seasonal party. With a few
minutes and a little bit of creativity, you can add a
personal touch by making customized coasters for
your standard gift-in-tow.

You’ll need a few four-inch tiles from the local
hardware store, Modge Podge (or any type of
decoupaging mixture), scrapbook paper, and clear
spray paint. First, cut the scrapbook paper to fit
the tiles. Apply a thin coat of the Modge Podge to
the tile and place a piece of cut scrapbook paper
on top. Let that set for a few minutes while you
continue the process on the other tiles. Then
apply another thin layer of Modge Podge atop
the scrapbook paper on each tile. Let the tiles dry
completely, and then apply a thin layer of clear
spray paint to seal the coasters.

You can make these as simple or as elaborate as
you wish. To add a little bit of personality, add
additional layers of coordinating paper in different
sizes and shapes. The possibilities are endless for
these functional and personable pieces. These
coasters also make great teacher gifts!

If you can A Simple Home Décor craft project:
think it, you
If the thought of do-it-
can pin it! yourself home decorations
brings back nightmares
Start pinning of a time when you
TODAY! attempted your best
Martha Stewart-esque
flower arrangement, rest
assured that making your
own at-home frame is not
quite as difficult and does
not require a 30-minute
video tutorial. These fun
frames would add a festive
touch to your front door or
even bring some color to a
bare spot on a
hallway wall.

Here’s what you’ll need:
a wooden picture frame
(new or old), spray paint,
wired ribbon (at least one
inch thick), a medium sized
wire hook (these can be found in the jewelry section of your local craft store), and
any additional accessories you might want to include. Spray paint your wooden
picture frame in whatever color you prefer. Why not mix it up a bit, and be a little
bold? Cut off one yard of thick, wired ribbon and tie into a large bow. Drop a
wired hook from the bow and attach accessories of your choice. Cute ornaments,
a fun tag, or the first letter of your last name make great additions. With one last
hook on the back, this little frame is ready to hang.

48 • To Dragma A Simple Snow Day or Rainy Day Project with the Kids:

As a school-aged child, there are few moments more exciting
than hearing the word “closed” on the television snow day
report. As a parent, the foreshadowing that your house is
about to turn into a construction area littered with mittens,
hats, snow suits, and boots—all wet from the 30-minute
playtime in the snow - is enough to have you scrambling for
ideas of projects to keep your little helpers contained and
constructive. Most every child loves to create with crayons,
so try making crayons with your little ones to occupy their
creative minds!

To do so, grab all of the rogue crayons in the house, and
assign the kiddos the task of peeling off the paper. Once the
crayons are free of paper, an adult can cut them into small
chunks using a sharp kitchen knife. The kids can mix all of the
bits of crayon together and place into a silicone muffin pan.
Place the pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes at
230 degrees. Once the crayon creations come out the oven,
place pan in the refrigerator to allow them to cool. With the
fun shapes and colors of these new crayons, just add a roll of
paper and you have happy children!

Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

Founders’ Day Messages

Alpha Omicron Pi was formally organized on January 2, 1897 at Barnard College in New York City.
Due to con icts with holiday breaks and festivities, AOII Council voted in 1912 to designate December
8, Stella Perry’s birthday, as the o cial date to commemorate the Fraternity’s founding. Many chapters
opt to celebrate the occasion in January or February. Whenever you celebrate as a chapter, share the
following messages with your sisters or publish them in your next newsletters:

Ruby Fund Message Founders’ Day Message

Happy Founders’ Day! “Alpha Omicron Pi has given us an eternal blessing in that, while enhancing our
Each year at Founders’ Day, we highlight the Ruby Fund and ask for your enjoyment of our golden youth, it makes us not squander, but invest it….The
donations to secure it. The Ruby Fund was created to provide nancial bank of this investment is togetherness. I promise you that this togetherness will
assistance to sisters in dire need who su er from economic hardship due to ever be reality, strength, comfort and joy in a changing world.”
an accident, loss, disaster, medical expenses, death of a family member or
unemployment. Founders’ Day is an appropriate time to remember this fund Stella G.S. Perry, 1950
because our founders set a standard of commitment to one another that is
characterized by loyalty and most importantly, being a friend when a sister In the last few messages that Stella authored for the Fraternity during the annual
needs support. time of our Founders’ celebrations, members can see the poetic sentences
Some of our sisters have been dealt devastating blows with hurricanes, res, interlaced with the ideal of togetherness throughout. By studying the writings
oods, loss of income, loss of insurance, loss of home, personal or family critical and relationships between our Founders, their displayed bond of togetherness
illness, divorce and domestic violence. The Ruby Fund is available to them and sisterhood is a cherished model of friendship to which we all aspire. After
when all other resources have been exhausted. It is a blessing to meet their all, these four young ladies had profound vision for something that was new,
needs on behalf of all who have contributed, and their gratitude is boundless. di erent, and special—something that was lasting.
Thankfully, most of you will never nd yourself in dire need. However, if you
do, the Ruby Fund is here to assist you. It is just another way that AOII can be Helen, Stella, Elizabeth and Jessie traveled through the everyday activities of
the friend upon whom you should have no fear to call. life before there were methods of instantaneous communication, and they
Please give generously to the Ruby Fund this year because your donation will managed to remain the best of friends. Through words typed on translucent
help provide relief to sisters who need it. Give generously because you made paper or shared by wire, they wittingly shared laughs or sadly shared unfortunate
a commitment to bear one another’s burdens. Give generously because news. Their unbreakable friendship sustained tragic economic conditions and
our founders would have expected nothing less. Most importantly, give world wars. Not only did their friendship sustain—it blossomed.
generously because you can be sure that some nameless, faceless sister will be
thankful you did. These four women have given members of Alpha Omicron Pi one of the greatest
Fraternally, ful llments in life—lifelong friendship. They’ve sel essly shared this gift with
AOII Foundation Ruby Fund Committee over 151,000 women since this time. Moreover, they’ve given us a blueprint of
Cynthia Ska , Chairman (Theta Psi ’78) how we should apply their model of sisterhood today to our own relationships.
Rachel Lyles (Kappa Omicron ’95)
Tracy Herand McCarty (Upsilon Alpha ’93) Sisterhood is an investment. Although our Founders solidi ed AOII’s plan in 1897
Jessie Wang-Grimm, Board Liaison (Phi Chi ‘87) through our ideals and Ritual, each of us has to make the investment to discover
the fullness that accompanies a lifetime of friendship—a “simple devotion to
Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011 some worthy end.” Stella makes her promise to each of us that togetherness
within the sisterhood of Alpha Omicron Pi will be a constant source of light and
love in an ever-changing society. The rewards of your investment will be reaped
by living the ideals which form the cornerstone of our beloved organization—by
being a good friend, giving of yourself and your time, forgiving others, treating
others with compassion and always striving for your personal best.

Stella’s promise that our sisterhood will be a reality, strength, comfort and
joy in a changing world is as true today as it was in 1897. It is our hope that
Alpha Omicron Pi continues to bring eternal blessings to you and to all future
generations of AOII sisters.

2011-2013 Executive Board of Alpha Omicron Pi

Allison Allgier, International President
Krista Whipple, Vice President of Finance
Susan Danko, Vice President
Gayle Fitzpatrick, Vice President
Karen Galehan, Vice President
Kandyce Harber, Vice President
Rebecca Herman, Vice President
Joyce Strout, Vice President
Barb Zipperian, Ex-O cio

To Dragma • 49

In a show of support, several AOII Headquarters staff members purchased items to fill 55 Sisters For Soldiers boxes for the Veterans Day project.

50 • To Dragma Issue no. 1 • Fall/Winter 2011

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