By: Angela Costley Harris (Alpha Beta, Purdue University), National President
While visiting with our Epsilon (University of Southern California) chapter collegians last week, I was asked why I chose to join Alpha Chi Omega. In response, I told them that I chose Alpha Chi Omega because during my preference night speech I distinctly remember looking around – and those Alpha Chi Omega sisters were feeling it. They were looking at each other with such belonging, affection and joy – and I knew that I wanted to feel like that. Not just at that moment, but for the rest of my life.
Since that preference night 33 years ago, I have felt love, support, belonging and encouragement in an exhaustive list of ways through my Alpha Chi Omega membership. In terms of the “feels,” our sisterhood has exceeded my very high expectations.
In reading the many stories and memories of Past National President Ellen flooding in from members and NPC friends, I have been transported back to my preference night. I’m looking around, and the Alpha Chi Omega sisters are feeling it.
Even though this feeling of sadness and loss hurts, it feels good to me too. All around Alpha Chi Omega I am seeing and feeling an incredible sense of devoted friendship. Sisters who served together with Ellen in some capacity and haven’t been in recent touch are reconnecting. NPC colleagues have reached out with gratitude to Alpha Chi Omega for our sister Ellen and to share their stories of how she impacted them.
I am typing this en route to San Francisco for Northern California / Northern Nevada Province Day. Ellen and I traded phone messages a few weeks ago and had made plans for a visit this weekend while I was in the area. It is difficult to look at my schedule now, which has a big blank spot where she should be. Yet as I sit teary in this window seat headed west, I do not feel alone. In this moment, I am feeling what I saw between sisters on my preference night all those years ago – genuine warmth and devoted friendship between women across the miles and generations. You are all at least 30,000 feet away, but I can feel you with me.
And feeling like that is all I ever wanted from my Alpha Chi Omega experience.
Together, we are always seeking the heights.