Chi Omega is the world’s largest sorority, and it has more than 330,000 active members and notable alumni. Five young women with help from a local dentist (and Kappa Sigma initiate) established the sisterhood at the University of Arkansas in 1895. Soon after its founding, the sorority joined the National Panhellenic Conference in 1903. Its headquarters are currently in Memphis, Tennessee.
Actress Lucy Liu, author Harper Lee, and the youngest woman elected to the senate, Blanche Lincoln, are Chi-O alumni. Women who join the sorority are committed to building friendships, practicing personal integrity, focusing on service, and centering on academic and personal development.
Chi Omega Symbolism and Meaning
Founding members hammered the first badge for Chi Omega out of dental gold. It featured the same design as modern badges: the symbol for Chi overlapping the Omega. At a 1906 sorority convention, the badge became the standard emblem for the organization. Pearls and diamonds are the only stones allowed on the badge.
Chi Omega’s symbol is the owl—a longstanding representation of wisdom. You can recognize an initiate of Chi Omega by shirts, jewelry, and bags emblazoned with the owl, badge, or sorority colors (cardinal red or straw yellow). The white carnation is the official flower, chosen for its purity and delicate nature.
Since 1899, the Eleusis has been Chi Omega’s official periodical, and this seasonal publication brings sorority members together from across the country. Uplifting stories are included in each edition as well as resources for personal development, current information about the state of the organization, and reflections on shared experiences.
Philanthropy and Chi Omega
In 2002, Chi Omega announced a partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Make-A-Wish provides once in a lifetime experiences for children facing life-threatening medical conditions. A part of the sorority’s mission is to continually improve Make-A-Wish involvement across all chapters. Through the alliance, kids suffering from cancer, cerebral palsy, or other challenging diagnoses can experience one of their dreams. Some ride around with police officers for a day, and others want to go on a shopping spree or meet a celebrity. Each experience is something that uplifts children and families from the gravity of a serious diagnosis. Through the alliance, Chi Omega seeks to instill the importance of serving others in every initiate.
You can show your support and commitment to the values of Chi Omega with customized gear and designs from Houndstooth Press.