Story 5 resonates with every Chi Omega as a symbol of our Sisterhood and of the longevity of our legacy. Because of this, it is only fitting that our very own S.H. author Story 5, sharing her thoughts on Chi Omega and women seeking more.
As I reflect upon my experience as a student at Texas A&M University, formerly an all-male, military school, I longed for a community of women of substance who sought to develop their leadership skills. I found it in Chi Omega, and the experience has truly enriched my life beyond measure and in ways I could have never envisioned as a student. Even then though, I could sense that Chi Omega offered more.
Similarly, almost 125 years ago, four young friends – Jean, Allie, Jobelle, and Ina May – gathered on the steps of Old Main at University of Arkansas with the dream of coming together, not only as a group of friends when women numbered few, but also as a group committed to helping one another seek more from their collegiate experience, as well as opportunities far beyond graduation. What they knew was that the world was changing – and opportunities for women were beckoning. With local dentist and Kappa Sigma Dr. Charles Richardson advising the group’s formation, these four women became Chi Omega.
Since then, Chi Omega has delivered on its brand promise, fostering authentic friendships, withstanding the test of time, and helping Sisters cultivate a lifetime of purpose.
When talking about the founding, Jobelle noted that the five of them were seeking: “the idea of trained intelligence, the principle of social obligations and social responsibility, all associated with the womanly ideal of striving to be the best sort of woman.”
Indeed, our Founders had a great vision – for Chi Omega to project a national reach – and for it to have real meaning in our lives.
As we look back on Chi Omega’s history, it is clear that the concept of ‘seeking more’ has been a driving force – a cardinal and straw thread, if you will – that has connected and inspired generations of Sisters through the teachings of our Ritual and the beautiful encouraging words of Ethel Switzer Howard’s Chi Omega Symphony, written in 1904.
S.H. Shelley Potter flanked by the four Model Initiates at Convention 2018
Additionally, the Chi Omega Greek Theater at the University of Arkansas was dedicated in 1930 to honor not only Chi Omega’s Founding at the school, but also as a symbol of our devotion to the human struggle for enlightenment – the intellectual and spiritual knowledge which defines us as individuals and unites us in our humanity. The elegant, timeless classical architecture of the Theater and the purposeful selection of the powerful words carved on the frieze above the columns – Intelligence, Culture, Knowledge, Courage and Integrity – are emblematic of the best qualities of womanhood and carry forward this principle of ‘seeking more’.
Today, I think the Founders would be proud of who and what Chi Omega has become and celebrate our vision: ‘Sisters inspired by our values who serve the world while keeping Chi Omega ever at heart’.
Just as they imagined in 1895, the Fraternity remains focused on our priorities – which have been and will continue to be our six purposes to help Sisters seek more as they cultivate a lifetime of purpose.
For 125 years, everything we have done has been purposeful, thoughtful, and for “the greater happiness of our Sisters in Chi Omega.” We are Sisters on purpose – and the double entendre within our tagline is intentional.
We celebrate that Chi Omega continues to be a life-changing and life-enriching experience, challenging our members to seek more, do more, and give more, while maintaining authentic connections that form friendships so special and so close, that there is only one word to describe them…
The dreams of our Founders have been realized by over 360,000 Sisters and counting…….with each sunrise offering opportunities for Sisters ‘seeking more’…
To learn more about our S.H. and her vision for our Fraternity, click here to listen to her recent episode on the “She Said, She Said” podcast.