Family has always been important to me, so I
had mixed emotions when I was selected as the
national consultant who would live with Chi
Omega’s new colony at Sacred Heart U (SHU).
I was nervous about leaving my family in Pittsburgh
to move to Connecticut for the fall semester.
Also, I was apprehensive about not being
able to fulfill my usual duties as a national
consultant, visiting chapters across the country
and meeting Sisters where I am reminded of
what it is to be part of Chi Omega’s family.
However, because I’d attended a small university
similar to SHU, I was confident that I
would find a level of community during my
experience in Fairfield, Connecticut—community
with my fellow Chi Omega alumnae, our
colony members, and the university. I thought I
understood family when I left my comfort zone
in September 2011; what I found through the
colony experience was a new, pure look at Sisterhood
Chi Omega’s colonization
week at SHU was a wonderful experience.
Imagine recruitment, then speed it up, and
multiply it by 100. Amazing, right?!
The university was warm, welcoming, and certainly
encouraging. We met fantastic women
from all walks of life, and the entire Chi Omega
colonization team was instantly welcomed into
the Sacred Heart family.
As in other recruitment experiences, I distinctly
remember conversations with certain
potential new members, not because they were
particularly deep or philosophical, but because
I was making connections with these women.
These connections are the foundations of Sisterhood;
they create bonds that last forever.
One such conversation happened with Erica
Kociolek, who later became the colony’s personnel
chair. She told me about tagging horseshoe
crabs. It was the first of many conversations
that Erica and I had in comfort and ease, and
it was the beginning of our Sisterly relationship.
All of the Chi Omegas present during the colonization
process had several of these kinds of
conversations, and they became the foundation
of our Chi Omega family at Sacred Heart.
Strangers on the path to Sisterhood.
as a plethora of women stood outside SHU’s
Commons Auditorium, wild with anticipation
on Bid Day. I always say Bid Day is like Chi Omega
Christmas, not just because the women look
like kids on Christmas
morning, but because
every new member
is a present to Chi
Omega, bringing her
own thoughts, talents,
experiences, and gifts
to the Sisterhood; and
Chi Omega is a gift to
each new member, an opportunity to find family,
comfort, and inspiration. This is most significant
to a charter class because members will be figuring
it all out, together, for the first time.
A family forms.
The colony experience flew by!
Like many families, we met on Sunday nights
for bonding and business. A couple of weeks
after Bid Day, we had a retreat. We talked about
values and these new members almost unanimously
identified “family” as one of their most
important values. They spoke about the meaning
of family: love, dependability, consistency,
honesty, tradition, loyalty, and fun.
By the end of the semester, the colony was operating
as well as any Chi Omega chapter and acting
like a family. And not only were they acting
as a family, I think being Chi Omegas enabled
them to understand family on a deeper level.
From colony to chapter.
The Kappa Mu Chapter
was installed January 28, 2012, a day of pride
and excitement at SHU and for me. There was
a moment when I saw and felt pure Sisterhood
and the power of Chi Omega for the first time.
At the banquet following the installation, the
chapter participated in its first Chi Omega tradition
with alumnae. They stood with the S.H.,
S.N.V., national representatives and volunteers,
and local alumnae and sang “Shades”
first time as initiated members. It was magical
to see these women, who, four months prior,
were anxiously awaiting Bid Day, now handin-
hand with Sisters, officially embracing and
embraced by the Chi Omega family.
We all think of family in different ways, but, to
me, family is feeling comfortable among people
with shared values and individuals who can encourage,
inspire, and bring out the best in one
another. My time serving as the national consultant
for Chi Omega’s colony at Sacred Heart
is one that encouraged, inspired, and brought
out the best in me and I have my new Kappa
Mu Sisters to thank.