Thursday, August 2, 2012

Inspired by Alpha Chi Omega Convention: Alumnae Initiation

Leslie and Jennifer both chose the Alumnae Initiation ceremony Friday evening as their most inspirational event of the 2012 Alpha Chi Omega Convention.

The new initiates.
{Kelly, Pilar, Jamila}
"Seeing the joy on the faces of these three women made me realize what an incredible experience it has been for them already - and just how much more joy they will get out of Alpha Chi Omega. I actually was so moved that I cried." - Leslie

Through the Alumna Initiate program, women who have not had a sorority experience during their college years can apply or be recommended for membership in Alpha Chi Omega. Once accepted for membership, each candidate receives an Alumna Educator who works with her to prepare her for the Initiation Ceremony, sharing our history and heritage as well as our values and expectations. [Read more about the experience of being an Alumna Educator in this post.] Alumnae chapters and collegiate chapters both initiate alumnae members; at Convention, Sigma Sigma alumnae chapter hosted the ceremony.

Leslie reflects on her experience:
As Alumna Educator Coordinator, I've worked with the Alumna Educators to provide the Prospective Alumna Members with a consistent and quality education program. It's been a great experience. I've had the opportunity to witness one of my closest friends initiated by the Beta Rho (American) chapter as an Alumna Initiate. 
Every time I participate in or observe initiation, I have the opportunity to focus on a different part of the ritual. But there was something about experiencing the Alumna Initiation ceremony that really spoke to me. 
Given my work with the Alumna Initate program, this was one of the most inspiring parts of the weekend for me - seeing the education of these women culminate in their initiation, and getting to be a part of it by attending the ceremony. 
I was particularly moved to see Kelly Kirchoff receive her pin from her daughter. One of the successes of the program has been the reverse legacy - daughters sponsoring their mothers or even grandmothers.
Jennifer noted that being a part of the Initiation ceremony the first night set the perfect tone for the rest of Convention:
What an amazing event that encompasses all we are as Alpha Chi Omega women. It renews our bonds, extends the bonds to other Real. Strong. Women., allows us to sing (love that!) and gives you a happy glow.
It was especially exciting for me at the Reunion Night Dinner when I sat next to my chapter's assistant vice president for recruitment Arielle. She expressed that her interest and excitement in attending Clemson and joining a sorority stemmed from her aunt. I inquired about her aunt and Arielle told me she had graduated from Clemson (the same year as me!) and was the COO of a company and a practicing industrial engineer. I put down my fork right then and RAN to the table in the lobby with all the Alumnae Initiate material to share. Arielle texted her aunt after I returned and her aunt was both honored, thrilled and excited to start down the path of becoming an Alpha Chi Omega!
Those of you who know Jennifer well will be able to picture her running to the lobby full of excitement! She completed her thoughts by sharing:
I love the amazing, 'I'm bursting inside with WDA feeling!' that comes from Convention!
[Alpha Chi Omega is centered around wisdom, devotion, and achievement (WDA): three ideals our founders highly valued and that we strive toward in our daily lives.]
Learn more about the Alumna Initiate program here.

Thank you, Leslie, for the photo, which is courtesy of and was taken by Pat Logan, Chair of the National Alumna Initiate Panel. And thank you, sisters, for sharing your thoughts with us!

Leslie Abramsky Block is an initiate of Theta Tau chapter (Rutgers University) who serves as the Alumna Educator Coordinator for Alpha Chi Omega. A long-time member of the Alpha Epsilon Alpha alumnae chapter, she is currently working with other Rutgers sisters to form a virtual alumnae chapter for Theta Tau alumnae. Follow her on twitter @snaphappy.

Jennifer Sue Butler Harris is an initiate of Theta Lambda chapter (Clemson University). She gives generously of her time, serving on Epsilon Tau Epsilon alumnae chapter's Executive Board and advising Beta Eta (Florida State University) and Gamma Iota (University of Florida) chapters. Follow her on twitter @jennsueb.


  1. so fun! and what an honor. thank you Amy and super cool to be in here with LeeLee.

  2. I just came here to comment the same thing - honored to be in a blog post with JSBH!!!


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