AOPI's History

Alpha Omicron Pi

In January of 1897, four women came together to form a women's fraternity at Barnard College – Columbia University's women's college. Those four women were Stella George Stern, Elizabeth Heywood Wyman, Jessie Wallace Hughan, and Helen St. Clair Mullan. Meeting in the Columbia Law Library, these women started the society to seal the bonds of their friendship and promote academic excellence, lifelong learning, and leadership development. 

They decided to offer membership to other women, regardless of their socio-economic background or race. Their philosophy of lifelong friendship and learning is still present in everything Alpha Omicron Pi does today. 

Symbols of Alpha Omicron Pi 

Today, Alpha Omicron Pi has 204 chapters and an additional 320 chapters for alumni. Alpha Omicron Pi is a member of the National Panhellenic Council, and it is the only member to have one official color: cardinal. Likewise, they have only one official jewel: the ruby. Their bond is represented by a sheaf of wheat, which represents the women’s close personal ties to each other. 

The official flower is the French rose. It symbolizes the virtue of a fraternity in its deep red color, and the image itself represents courage tempered by softness and modesty. Alpha Omicron Pi was originally known as a fraternity for women because it was founded before the term "sorority" was invented. 

Alpha Omicron Pi Magazine

The fraternity publishes a magazine three times a year: To Dragma. This name, roughly translated as "The Sheaf," echoes the image and meaning of the wheat sheaf. It unites its members and records the accomplishments (or harvest) of the fraternity's members. Since the magazine started, it has received multiple awards, most recently gaining the Fred F. Yoder award for overall excellence. The women of Alpha Omicron Pi follow the principals of service, scholarship, and leadership. Under these principals, they work to support one another and the community around them.

Alpha Omicron Pi Philanthropy and Values

The fraternity's official charity is Arthritis Research because arthritis is a major cause of disability in women, and it affects women of every age. The women support arthritis research and the American Juvenile Arthritis Organization. They also work with charitable organizations for other causes, like breast cancer, cardiac awareness, help for the homeless, natural disaster relief, and many more. Alpha Omicron Pi has many values which support these efforts, including trust and respect, promoting integrity, and promoting teamwork and collaboration. 

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