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|Alpha Chi Omega|
|Founded||October 15, 1885|
DePauw University, (Greencastle, Indiana)
|Motto||Together let us seek the heights|
|Colors||Scarlet red Olive green|
|Patron Greek divinity||Hera|
|Philanthropy||Domestic Violence Awareness, Alpha Chi Omega Foundation|
|Headquarters||5939 Castle Creek Parkway North Dr.|
Alpha Chi Omega (ΑΧΩ, also known as Alpha Chi or A Chi O) is a national women's fraternity founded on October 15, 1885.
As of 2018, there are 194 collegiate and 279 alumnae chapters represented across the United States, and the fraternity counts more than 230,000 members initiated through its history. Lynne Biggio Herndon is the National President of Alpha Chi Omega and oversees all collegiate and alumnae chapters in the nation.
In the fall of 1885, Professor James Hamilton Howe, the first Dean of the Music School, invited seven young women from the school to a meeting with the purpose of forming a fraternity. Those young women were Anna Allen Smith, Olive Burnett Clark, Bertha Deniston Cunningham, Amy DuBois Rieth, Nellie Gamble Childe, Bessie Grooms Keenan, and Estelle Leonard. Howe collaborated with James G. Campbell, a Beta Theta Pi, to form a national fraternity. Campbell laid out the first constitution and by-laws. This first constitution read: "The object of this fraternity is as follows: To attain the highest musical culture and to cultivate those principles that embody true womanhood." On February 26, 1886, the fraternity was given its formal introduction by a soiree musical.
Alpha Chi Omega joined the National Panhellenic Conference in 1903.
Early musical requirements
Association with the music school was required early on, as the fraternity only allowed School of Music students. Later on, this was changed and the minimum requirement became registration in one music course of any kind. Members then graduated in many other departments of the university, including the liberal arts department. In 1889, a national literary fraternity offered to merge with Alpha Chi Omega; however, unlike professional fraternities, Alpha Chi never considered taking members of other fraternities. In its early years it was externally considered to be a professional music society, but due to disagreement with this designation, in 1900, the sorority added literary qualifications, which led to it being considered a general (social) sorority by 1905.
Beginnings of philanthropy
In 1911, Alpha Chi Omega began supporting the MacDowell Colony, as Marian MacDowell was an alumna of Alpha Chi Omega. During World War I and II Alpha Chi Omega offered its support by helping working mothers who were married to service men by providing day nurseries and helping orphaned French children. In 1947, Alpha Chi Omega adopted Easter Seals as its philanthropy and supported other projects associated with cerebral palsy.
In 1978, the fraternity created the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation to merge funds for the fraternity's philanthropic projects and educational programming into one nonprofit organization. In 1992, the fraternity voted adopt a new primary philanthropy of supporting victims of domestic violence. Alpha Chi Omega was the first major organization to speak out and adopt Domestic Violence Awareness as their philanthropy. Alpha Chi Omega continues to support Easter Seals.
Alpha Chi Omega's Founders chose "Alpha" (Α), the first letter of the Greek alphabet, because they were forming the first fraternity in the school of music. Since they thought they might also be founding the last such fraternity, "Omega" (Ω) seemed appropriate, considering it stands for the end. "Kai", meaning "and", was added to form "the beginning and the end". "Kai" was soon changed to "Chi" (Χ), a letter of the Greek alphabet.
Alpha Chi Omega's colors of scarlet red and olive green were chosen to commemorate the fraternity's fall founding. The fraternity's official symbol is a three-stringed lyre and the official flower is a red carnation, which exemplifies the fraternity's colors. There is no official stone. The badge (pin) worn by initiated members is in the shape of a lyre, typically featuring pearls and the fraternity's Greek letters on the crossbar. Alpha Chi Omega chose the lyre to be their official symbol since it was the first instrument played by the Gods on Mount Olympus. Although Alpha Chi Omega no longer is strictly a musical sorority, they are still connected to their musical heritage through their symbol of the lyre.
The new member badge (pin) worn by uninitiated members is a lozenge emblazoned with the symbol of a lyre and the sorority's colors of scarlet red on the upper half of the badge and olive green on the lower half of the badge.
The fraternity manages its philanthropy through its nonprofit arm, the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation. This branch continues to grant funds to the fraternity's former partners, the MacDowell Colony and Easter Seals, as well as to services and programs for domestic violence victims and on education on the subject. The Foundation also helps to support members and those closely related to Alpha Chi Omegas through other funds and grants to ensure continuous support for its members.
Individual chapters focus their attention on increasing the awareness of domestic violence, its effects on individuals, families, and children, as well as actively aiding victims of domestic violence through hands-on activities and service projects. This work is done through local agencies, which undergraduate and alumnae chapters support physically and financially. Local agencies include rape crisis centers, emergency shelters and safe houses for victims of domestic violence and their children, and long-term assistance centers for battered women across the nation.
As of 2018 Alpha Chi Omega is partnered with Mary Kay, Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, The One Love Foundation, RAINN, and It's On Us, various organizations which also support domestic/sexual violence awareness and education and survivor support. The fraternity also supports Kristin's Story in cooperation with Delta Delta Delta, a nonprofit set up by the Delta Delta Delta mother of an Alpha Chi Omega member who committed suicide following a sexual assault.
There are 194 chapters of Alpha Chi Omega at colleges and universities in the United States. There are also 279 alumnae chapters, which allow women of all post-graduate ages to come together and continue the mission and values of Alpha Chi Omega. Collegiate chapters work directly with alumnae chapters to link sisters from around the country. In addition, alumnae chapters continue the cause of working to eliminate domestic violence. The fraternity states its membership values as "academic interest, character, financial responsibility, leadership, and personal development."
Members of Alpha Chi Omega have several national programs for important dates:
- Founders' Day — Sisters gather on October 15 of each year to recognize the fraternity's fall founding at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Members wear their badges, along with scarlet and olive green ribbons.
- MacDowell Month — Every February, Alpha Chi Omega women celebrate the fine arts and their fine-arts heritage. Most collegiate chapters encourage their members to attend and perform in fine art events during this month. "Named for the MacDowell artists' colony in New Hampshire (Alpha Chi Omega's first philanthropic p
- Local Founding Days — Each collegiate chapter recognizes its founding anniversary annually.
- The National Convention — Members join together every two years to conduct fraternity business, reunite with sisters, and celebrate the fraternity.
Arts and entertainment
- Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler (Alpha): Austrian-born U.S. pianist
- Maud Powell (Alpha): American violinist
- Eleanor Coppola (Alpha Psi): Emmy award–winning documentarian
- Maddy Curley (Epsilon Chi): actress, former gymnast
- Melissa d'Arabian (Alpha Iota): The Next Food Network Star winner and host of Ten Dollar Dinners
- Carol Duvall (Beta Epsilon): host of The Carol Duvall Show
- Alyson Hannigan (Theta Xi): actress ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "How I Met Your Mother")
- Jenilee Harrison (Epsilon): actress (Dallas, Three's Company)
- Nancy Hoyt (Delta Kappa): participant in "The Amazing Race" during the first season and teamed with her daughter, Emily Hoyt
- Janet Hsieh (Theta Omicron): Television host, Golden Bell Award winner, model, violinist
- Laura Innes (Gamma): actress (ER)
- Sarah Jones (Epsilon Kappa): contestant on season 4 of Survivor
- Tami Lane (Zeta Eta): make-up artist and Academy Award winner
- Audra Levi aka Audra Lee (Alpha Psi initiate/Epsilon affiliate): star of Kid's Beat on TBS in the 1980s, co-founder of the SoCal VoCals
- Beth Mitchell (Zeta Xi): dancer, 1998 National Shag Dancing Champion
- Meredith Monroe (Upsilon): actress (Dawson's Creek)
- Agnes Nixon (Gamma): four-time Daytime Emmy–winning TV writer and producer
- Aubrey O'Day (Epsilon Psi): singer (former member of Danity Kane, MTV's Making The Band 3)
- Martha Quinn: Original MTV VJ, Radio host, actress
- Atoosa Rubenstein (Theta Psi): Magazine editor
- Melissa Rycroft (Psi): former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and reality show star on The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars.
- Sarah Shahi (Iota Sigma): actress (The L Word)
- Gail Sheehy (Alpha Iota): author
- Trista Sutter (Alpha Mu): star of The Bachelorette
- Dawn Wells (Rho): actress (Gilligan's Island)
Beauty pageant contestants
- Betsy Bobel (Gamma Mu): 2000 Miss Indiana winner
- Hannah Brown (Alpha Upsilon): 2018 Miss Alabama USA winner and star of The Bachelorette
- Jen Corey (Beta Rho): 2009 Miss District of Columbia winner, top 10 Miss America 2010 contestant
- Deidre Downs (Zeta Lambda): 2005 Miss America winner
- Jane Anne Jayroe (Gamma Tau): 1967 Miss America; Oklahoma government official
- Taylor Kessler (Delta Kappa): Miss Texas USA 2020
News and journalism
- Rita Braver (Kappa): CBS News correspondent
- Linda Cavanaugh Clark (Psi): News anchor/journalist
- Shannon Fisher (Beta Delta): journalist
- Georgie Anne Geyer (Gamma): journalist and author
- Natalie Jacobson (Alpha Tau): News anchor/journalist
- Kristen Soltis Anderson (Gamma Iota): Pollster/Writer/TV Personality
- Ronda Carman (Delta Kappa) Author/Public Figure
- Jari Askins (Psi): Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, lawyer
- Megan Barry: Mayor of Nashville
- Condoleezza Rice (Gamma Delta): Former U.S. Secretary of State
- Victoria Toensing (Alpha Mu): former deputy assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Justice Department
- Sherron Watkins (Alpha Phi): Enron whistleblower, USA Today and Time Person(s) of the Year 2002
- Alpha Chi Omega Symbols and traditions
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Alpha Chi Omega– Professional (Music) Society
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