After weeks of re-establishing a presence on campus, GW’s Chi Omega colony was formally recognized and members were initiated Saturday afternoon.
The 114 women held an initiation ceremony at the Washington Marriott, where they participated in rituals and a celebratory banquet.
“These rituals are the special connections that brought us together and that will continue to bring all Chi O’s together around the nation,” said Nirali Shah, a freshman member.
Present at the initiation ceremony and banquet were the president and vice president of the National Organization of Chi Omega. Both addressed the new sisters, followed by the GW chapter’s president, Hayley Haldeman.
Members of the colony voted for a “model initiate” who was the first to be initiated. The members chose their current president, Haldeman, as this initiate.
Many of the new sisters saw the event as an important one, inviting family to participate in the celebration. Haldeman estimated that at least one fourth of the women brought guests to the event.
Dean Harwood, assistant director of student activities and Greek life, said that because the process for the sorority’s reinstallation began almost a year ago, the path to its completion was smooth.
Harwood said that Chi Omega’s chapter on campus was dissolved in 1968, due to changes in University policy in response to the political and social changes of the time. The sorority was removed along with others in a systematic shut-down, not for individual reasons, Harwood said.
In addition to working closely with the GW administration, the leadership of the new chapter has been under the guidance of a Chi Omega consultant. Elizabeth Steel, a recent Chi Omega graduate, began working to reinstall the chapter last spring. Since then, she has served as a mentor to the colony members throughout the entire process.
Greek-letter life on campus has met the re-establishment of the sorority with excitement, Haldeman said.
“One of the most striking things to me has been how receptive the Greek community has been to Chi Omega,” said Haldeman.
Over the past weeks, members of the colony spent significant time acquainting themselves with members of the Greek-letter community. They participated in a tea party with the sisters of Alpha Delta Pi and a barbecue with Pi Kappa Alpha and raised $5,000 for Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Sweetheart Week, tying for first place in the event.
But members said the excitement extends beyond GW’s campus.
“There’s this feeling of national excitement about our chapter. The reinstallment is such a big deal that chapters across the country are talking about us,” Haldeman said.
Now, the sisters have begun to focus on planning for the remainder of this semester. Haldeman explained that the chapter’s main goals will be to expand its presence on campus and continue to integrate members into the new organization.
It is expected that the chapter will participate in formal recruitment next fall.