An active AOII would be one that lives out the gifts of Faith, Hope and Charity that we hold so dear. - Barbara Zipperian
Faith. When we think of our Faith in AOII, most of us recall our Initiation. We had the opportunity to renew our “Faith” this weekend as we participated in Ritual. Let’s take that Faith back 25 years. The Faith of Theresa Levenduski and 36 others, known as our founding sisters. They knew their task at hand, they pursued, and because of their Faith that they could create an organization with high standards and ideals, we have been brought together. Thank you to our “Faithful Founders” for joining us this weekend…: Deb Allen Wirth, Karen Allen Anthony, Lisa Ford Copenhaver, and Theresa Levenduski!
Hope. 25 years ago, a special group of women had Hope. A group of friends from Shippensburg talked about forming a sorority unlike the others. They decided that AOII met their standards. They succeeded during their ‘trial period’ and were given a charter, meaning they were recognized by our International group as well as by the campus. With that Hope, they knew they wanted their era to continue… they welcomed more additions to their group… they knew their union would be strong in years to come; there was Hope for a future. Our Hope for AOII is our current sisters. The past few years, the chapter has been working to improve many areas: they have been closely monitoring and improving their grades, they have increased membership and are one of the 3 largest sororities on campus, and their hope for next semester is to increase their philanthropic activities and fundraising efforts. We see Hope and a bright future for AOII… In light of recent events, they have a lot MORE to hope for! My response to the current sisters is a Hope they can put the past behind, but make certain to learn from mistakes made… and we'll ALL HOPE for another 25 YEARS!
… And the greatest of these… We know what Charity means; there are so many causes, quite honestly it’s hard to keep track! The Charity that is AOII is one that is often not recognized. It is the little things we do and how we fulfill the promises we made. There is one job in AOII that is probably the least recognized and demands a great deal of Charity. That is the position of Chapter Adviser. This alumnae is a liaison between our Inernational organization and the Chapter. (So now you understand the challenges!) We took the time to honor a few of our past Chapter Advisers who were with us this weekend.
As a collegiate, my generation was spoiled. Deb Allen Wirth served as our Adviser, and looking back we realize how well things ran. We were given directives from one of the “sources” (our founding sisters) and the result was a strong chapter, adhering to all of the expectations set by AOII as well as our predecessors. As well as Chapter Adviser, Deb was also an active member of the Greater Harrisburg Alumnae Chapter for many years.
Heather Bigler Swartz later took on the task of Adviser. She was the Chapter President when I was initiated and I saw firsthand how Heather can be an exceptional leader and inspiration. Seeing Heather on campus, you wanted to BE an AOII. She has a true “team spirit” that is contagious, And a serious side that makes Ritual read by her something special. I am certain that she was a great match in this role.
Another personal note, the next Adviser was one of my pledge class sisters. Knowing her organization, attention to detail and ability to relate to others I have heard how much the chapter enjoyed their time with Beth Metzger Conrad. She is an active member of the Harrisburg Alumnae Chapter, and has given me a lot insight. I had never appreciated how much involvement is required of a good Chapter Adviser.
Karen Weigel, also a Harrisburg Alumnae, currently serves this position. I have the pleasure of working with Karen’s for the past 3 years and have seen some of the ‘behind the scenes’ within the organization. She volunteered to this group to fill in a gap, when the Chapter was going thru a difficult time of transition. She was there to help Tau Lambda get back on their feet. When you hear that AOII is for a lifetime and that we’re all in this together, this rings true since Karen has become a very important asset to Tau Lambda.
Thaank you to Karen, Deb, Heather and Beth... and all who served as one of our many Alumnae Advisers.
You have heard many alumnae remain active after graduation. Alumnae chapters can benefit in so many ways, one of which is to support the collegiate chapters. Our "partner" for Tau Lambda has always been the Harrisburg Alums. Over the years we have celebrated many Founder’s Days together, attended ceremonies, and they have offered constant support. We are proud to point out that the current Harrisburg Alumnae President is one of our own, Danette Gabner Swartley and we appreciate her and the other Harrisburg alums who were able to join in our celebration this past weekend.
Our ideals: Faith, Hope, and Charity… but where would we be without LOVE? I LOVE that we were able to celebrate 25 years! I LOVE being an AOII, meeting new friends, and the bonds we formed. I LOVE that Shippensburg is the type of place that, no matter how long you’ve been away, still has a sense of coming home. (Even if you don't recognize most of the campus!) And I LOVE that so many joined us for this milestone weekend!!! . . . For those who missed it, there's always next year...
Coleen Murphy Fickes