Alpha Omicron Pi
FoundedJanuary 2, 1897; 127 years ago (1897-01-02)
Barnard College
MottoInspire Ambition
Colors  Cardinal
SymbolSheaf of wheat
FlowerJacqueminot rose
PublicationTo Dragma
PhilanthropyThe Arthritis Foundation
Chapters143 active collegiate chapters
Members191,000 + lifetime
Headquarters5390 Virginia Way
Brentwood, TN 37027

Alpha Omicron Pi (ΑΟΠ, AOII, Alpha O) is an international women's fraternity founded on January 2, 1897, at Barnard College on the campus of Columbia University in New York City.[1][2]

"AOII," and "Alpha O," the familiar names of the fraternity,[3] is open to women regardless of ethnicity, religion or socio-economic background,[4] with over 140 active collegiate chapters and 159 active alumnae chapters in Canada and the U.S.A.[5][6] The fraternity is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, and is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference.[1] Major symbolism includes the color cardinal, the ruby and the 'Général Jacqueminot' rose. The fraternity publishes a magazine for the benefit of members, named To Dragma.[1]

Alpha Omicron Pi was founded on the ideas found in the object of the fraternity—character, dignity, scholarship, and college loyalty.[7]


The fraternity was founded January 2, 1897, at Barnard College by four women: Jessie Wallace Hughan, Helen St. Clair Mullan, Elizabeth Heywood Wyman, and Stella George Stern Perry. They pledged one another in the Columbia Law Library to begin their fraternity. Within one week of its founding, the four founders used their initiation ritual for the first time to initiate Anne Richardson Hall.[1][2]

National expansion began in 1898 with the founding of Pi Chapter at New Orleans' Sophie Newcomb College (now part of Tulane University). Stella George Stern Perry, who was then the president of the fraternity, contacted a New Orleans classmate, Evelyn Reed, who expressed compatible ideas about fraternities. Reed's sister, Katherine Reed, became the first pledge of Pi Chapter. After being initiated by Perry, Katherine Reed found others to initiate.[1][8]

In 1905, Alpha Omicron Pi joined the National Panhellenic Conference.[9]

In 1967, the fraternity partnered with the Arthritis Foundation.[10] In 1999, the fraternity's national council voted to establish AOII Properties, a branch which manages individual chapter housing, including safety, finances, and maintenance. The subsidiary was then officially formed in 2001 but did not begin to transfer local housing contracts to national corporation control until 2009.[11]


Alpha Omicron Pi has one official color, cardinal, and is the only member of the NPC to have one official color. Its official flower is the 'Général Jacqueminot', or Jacqueminot rose.[12] Alternatively, a deep red rose may be used.[5] The fraternity's official jewel is the ruby, while its mascot is the giant panda, which the fraternity unofficially adopted in 1976 but made official in 2017.[5] The mascot is the panda due to their friendliness and having no natural born enemies. [13] Members of the fraternity wear three different pins depending on membership status. New members who have not been initiated wear a gold sheaf of wheat pin (the sheaf itself being the official symbol of the fraternity) bound by a ribbon bearing the letters AOII, symbolizing individuals bound together by friendship. After initiation, members may wear the membership badge with the ruby at the apex. When the fraternity establishes a new charter, the founding members wear gold rose charter member pins which symbolize new growth.[5]


Alpha Omicron Pi participates in fundraising and volunteer efforts via its philanthropic arm, the Alpha Omicron Pi Foundation. The foundation allocates grants to the fraternity's philanthropy, arthritis research, as well scholarships, educational grants, and emergency funds for fraternity members.[14] The funds also support conference speakers, training events, and personal development programs for members.[12]

The fraternity is partnered with the Arthritis Foundation.[1][10] The partnership began in 1967, with the fraternity members contributing volunteer hours and fundraising events to raise money for arthritis research and camps for juvenile arthritis. Stuffed panda bears are collected each year to give to children attending Arthritis Foundation camps and conferences. The fraternity's national campaign for arthritis awareness is “AOII Goes Blue,” with local chapters creating individual chapter events. "Strike Out Arthritis!" (SOA) Is the fraternity's signature fundraising event. SOA Events are held each year at MLB games since the fraternity cites "strong relationships [with] Major League Baseball teams."[10] Individual chapters hold their own SOA events which vary from bowling tournaments to pageants to barbecues with funds going to AOII Foundation specifically for arthritis research.[citation needed]

Other programs the fraternity supports is Sisters for Soldiers, where members collect items and write letters to soldiers.[10]


The Ruby Fund are grants that are raised by alumnae and collegiate members awarded to past initiated sisters in need of financial help from sisters. Applications for assistance are reviewed and ultimately chosen by the Foundation's Ruby Fund Committee.[15]


Main article: List of Alpha Omicron Pi chapters


Main article: List of Alpha Omicron Pi members

Since 1897, the fraternity has initiated over 209,000 members in 205 collegiate chapters across the United States and Canada, with 136 active chapters.[5][2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Anson, Jack L.; Marchenasi, Robert F., eds. (1991) [1879]. Baird's Manual of American Fraternities (20th ed.). Indianapolis: Baird's Manual Foundation, Inc. pp. IV-13–15. ISBN 978-0963715906.
  2. ^ a b c William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive), showing Alpha Omicron Pi chapters". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved 30 December 2021. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  3. ^ For convenience, all women's fraternities are collectively known as sororities to distinguish them from men's groups, while legal documents and more formal writing may refer to a group as a women's fraternity.
  4. ^ To Dragma. Fall/Winter 2012,
  5. ^ a b c d e "AOII Believes in a Fraternal Culture | Alpha Omicron Pi". Alpha Omicron Pi. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  6. ^ "Alpha Omicron Pi". Office of the Dean of Students. 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2023-06-17.
  7. ^ "Character | Dignity | Scholarship | Loyalty". Alpha Omicron Pi. Retrieved 2020-03-15.
  8. ^ ΑΟΠ's national website notes the Tulane expansion, accessed 26 Aug 2018.
  9. ^ "Manual of Information" (PDF). National Panhellenic Conference. Jan 2018. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  10. ^ a b c d "Alpha Omicron Pi's Philanthropy is the Arthritis Foundation". Alpha Omicron Pi. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  11. ^ "The History Of AOII Properties | Alpha Omicron Pi". Alpha Omicron Pi. 2018-08-06. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  12. ^ a b "Manual of Information" (PDF). National Panhellenic Conference. Jan 2018. p. 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  13. ^ "Alpha Omicron Pi - History".
  14. ^ "Our Scholarship and Grant Programs | Alpha Omicron Pi". Alpha Omicron Pi. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  15. ^ "Our Scholarship and Grant Programs". Alpha Omicron Pi. Retrieved 2020-03-15.