Widgets Magazine
Stanford’s newly installed Zeta Iota chapter of Alpha Chi Omega (Alpha Chi) has worked hard to establish its sisterhood.

Stanford’s newest sorority establishes a sisterhood

Alpha Chi is Stanford’s newest sorority (Courtesy of Savannah Pham).

Stanford’s newly installed Zeta Iota chapter of Alpha Chi Omega (Alpha Chi) has worked hard to establish its sisterhood this spring.

Over the course of the quarter, Alpha Chi alumnae and active members from other schools have helped the new chapter navigate its inaugural year. After the Inter-Sorority Council’s (ISC) formal recruitment, Alpha Chi Omega conducted a two-week-long informal recruitment that consisted of 15 minute interviews led by Alpha Chi alumnae.

Newly elected chapter president Savannah Pham ’18 joined Alpha Chi to make a difference in the greater Stanford community.

“A big thing for me was the idea of being able to challenge what Greek life looks like here at Stanford and to really practice diversity and inclusion,” Pham said.

Leah Slang ’18, vice president of standards for the chapter, joined seeking strong sisterhood.

“I was really looking for a community of women who were interested in leadership and service,” Slang explained. She had never considered joining Greek life through formal recruitment before, but after hearing about the new chapter, Slang decided she wanted to experience sorority life.

Following recruitment and interviews, Alpha Chi’s official bid day was April 30. The group welcomed 43 women into its inaugural pledge class. Since then, the chapter has focused intensively on building its new community.

On April 26, the chapter participated in Sexual Assault Awareness Month by tabling in White Plaza for “Denim Day,” a day on which participants wear all-denim to draw attention to sexual assault. Sisters gave out turquoise ribbons to show solidarity for sexual assault victims.

On May 13, the new sisters bonded on their on-campus sisterhood retreat. The girls gathered in Tresidder to get to know each other through group activities that ended with a hike to the Stanford Dish.

To foster close friendships between members, the chapter paired two sisters together each week. The chapter then implemented a “twin sister” arrangement. Mirroring the “big-little” system in existing sororities, students were asked to list a few other Alpha Chi members whom they would like to get to know better. The chapter’s alumnae consultants then paired the new members according to their preferences. The chapter held a twin reveal at which each sister was given a pair of unique socks and was sent to find a girl with a matching pair.

New member Taryn Fitzgerald ’19 describes the chapter as “a group of girls with a lot of diverse interests, who are all very much looking forward to the sisterhood, supporting one another and being actively involved in the community.”

“They are all talented, bright beautiful women who really wanted to take on the challenge of being a founding member of a new chapter and also wanted to leave a legacy here,” Pham continued. “One of the most inspiring things for me is that we all have very different backgrounds and all have this common goal of being part of something new.”

Both Slang and Pham stated that getting to know the other members and learning about their impressive interests has been a highlight of their experience in the chapter so far. The range of class years, freshmen through senior, gives new members the chance to make friends outside of their own circles, they said.

As their sisterhood becomes more cohesive, the chapter is eager to start working on its philanthropy project: domestic violence awareness. On May 24, Alpha Chi joined Stanford’s Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority to make care packages for local women affected by domestic violence. In the future, the group plans to partner with other sororities and to co-sponsor events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in addition to holding smaller philanthropy events over the course of the year.

“I am excited to see what kind of impact Alpha Chi Omega can have on the community through service,” Slang said. “I am also excited to work with other sororities and fraternities to elevate our presence on campus and do good work together. There’s a lot of potential here.”

Following the initial bonding events, the sisterhood also selected its executive and non-executive leadership boards. Members interested in leadership positions met with the chapter’s alumnae advisors to discuss their interest. Two sisters were then slated for each position. Each gave a short speech detailing her platform, followed by a chapter-wide vote.

Originally hesitant about the time commitment her senior year, Pham was inspired by the chapter consultants to take on a leadership role as a platform for encouraging diversity in Greek life.

“I came in with all these big ideas about what I would like to see Alpha Chi look like, and as a rising senior I really wanted to leave a legacy and impact change,” Pham said. “It’s a way for me to challenge myself and continue developing as a leader and be a role model for the younger girls.”

Most recently, each of Alpha Chi’s new members was initiated into the sorority by alumnae and consultants on June 2. The following morning, the chapter was officially installed at Stanford and given a charter, making it the 144th national chapter of Alpha Chi Omega. The chapter will continue to integrate new members over the course of next year through a continuous open bidding process.

“My goal, which is pretty lofty and something that hopefully will be worked on in years to come, is that Alpha Chi be a chapter that practices diversity and inclusion and be known within Greek life as very accepting,” Pham said.


Contact Caroline Kimmel at ckimmel ‘at’ stanford.edu.