Work with me here; just continue reading...
I recently had the opportunity to join Carrie Youell, Kaya Miller and Julie Anne Houghey in presenting to extend an AOII chapter onto the Bryant University Campus. This chapter will join the already established Delta Zeta and Sigma Sigma Sigma sororities there.
A whole day was devoted to meeting student-leaders, faculty and staff on campus in order to tell them all about AOII, while also allowing us to get to know them and their campus culture.
We had an awesome tour of the Bryant University campus, with a tour guide who should definitely look into being a salesman. By the time we were finished, all four of us were contemplating applying to Bryant University to attend school again!
(Gorgeous day in Rhode Island! Fountain in the middle of campus...word on the street is that the University President dove in the pond for a fundraiser! )
Though I had several favorite parts of the day, I'll explain only one in detail. (The rest are in pictures at the end! Stay tuned!)
Throughout the day, we discussed everything that AOII would bring to campus and how we would create a colony (and future installed chapter) that would benefit and strengthen their community. As the responsible and concerned Greek leaders they were, they asked how exactly we planned to do this? In much detail, Carrie laid out in front of them the colonization schedule that was made for a University like Bryant. After overviewing that, we showed them different aspects of this colony development that would help AOII's longevity on the campus. Where does it all begin? How do we start? How can we assure they will be successful? Many factors play into this...but the first one we every new chapter/colony member now begins with?
Why, "The Promise", of course!
They "ooh-d" and "ahh-d" over "The Promise", our newest edition of the New Member Booklet that we passed around to share and read. Watching other women and men, who already were affiliated with NPC and IFC chapters, show such excitement and desire for a book that is all about AOII was a proud moment as an AOII member.
At first, I related the day of presenting to my past experiences in sorority recruitment, clearly a similar experience. However, as the day went on, I realized how similar it was to working back home at "the family business", Auburn Valley Buick GMC and RV; a car/RV dealership my father owns and was started by my grandfather and two friends in 1964. A bit of a further reach than the easy comparison to recruitment...but once again, bare with me!
Not unlike Greek Life, most [used] car dealers don't have the best reputation; that is if you only trust what you see in the movies (think back to Matilda...). Those of us on the 'inside' know the truth, about car dealers...and Greek Life.
Growing up around this business and having worked in a few different capacities (scrubbing toilets, filing papers, and answering phones to customer service and selling two whole cars!), I've seen how important it is to trust and back the product/services you sell. Something my father, a successful businessman, has always emphasized to our family. Though I wasn't gifted a car on my 16th birthday, I knew that the car I had saved up to purchase needed to be a GMC, Pontiac or Buick, all brands that we sold and stood by at the time (Pontiac is no longer around). It didn't matter if I liked a Chevrolet truck better, in the end I purchased a GMC because it was a product that the Claudon family backed and took pride in for all to see.
Spending a day presenting about AOII and everything we stand for made me realize how important it is to back up our 'product' that is AOII. I was reminded of what we are to be to the world about us and how we must always stand for these values in order to show others how our membership is congruent with what we claim to be the fundamentals of Alpha Omicron Pi.
So, to give you a different outlook on this all and to connect two concepts I know well...a car dealership and AOII Women's Fraternity...let me continue the 'car dealership' analogy, using the idea of the 'big' AOII as our vehicle line/brand,
- Each dealership is a different AOII chapter (all selling the same product at different locations in different quantities)
- Each potential new member is a customer (an opportunity to make a profit by sharing our product that would positively impact the life of another woman)
- Initiated members (collegiate and alumnae) are our saleswomen (representing our product daily in the way they live their lives and tell others about AOII)
- Staff at International Headquarters are our corporate office and/or human resources department (Taking care of the big picture and helping coordinate between all of the different dealerships, saleswomen, mechanics etc making sure they represent the whole in a positive light and are taken care of as employees)
- LC's and AAC's around the Nation and Canada are our service departments (mechanics taking care of the worn down parts of the vehicle, or suggesting the need to replace parts before they break, keeping the vehicle running smoothly day-to-day, year-to-year)
- Network teams 1-8 are our regional directors (assuring the employees are getting the support they're needing and keeping them in line with the corporate office)
- Alumnae Chapters are our extended warranties on our vehicles (guaranteeing that our vehicles are taken care of past their first few years [college years] in order to continue running)
Anyway, that was just a fun analogy that I thought of while 'selling' AOII to everyone at Bryant University.
We're always saleswomen for our AOII product...how do you advertise AOII everyday???
Here's some pictures from our day at Bryant University!
Myself, Kaya Miller, Nicole Hamilton (Phi Mu-Bryant U Program Adviser, Student Life), Carrie Youell, and Julie Anne Hughey (Walter).
Julie Anne Hughey with the statue version of the Bryant mascot...Tupper, the bulldog!
FAVORITE PART OF THE DAY! WE GOT TO MEET THE REAL-LIFE TUPPER! (He and I had been tweeting back and forth all morning and his 'Mom' arranged a meeting so we could meet! Follow him on twitter @BryantTuppy !)
He's such a cutie!
Huge thanks to all of the alumnae in the area that showed up to show their support and eagerness to have AOII at Bryant University!
We couldn't help but picture the colonization ceremony here on campus. So pretty!
Hope you are as excited as I am about AOII's most recent colonization news! This is just a small portion of all the new chapters and re-colonizations that are happening in the near future for AOII! If you're interested in helping with any of the colonizations or re-colonizations, contact Carrie Youell at firstname.lastname@example.org . With so many new chapters on their way, its so important we have alumnae and fellow AOII collegiate support at each one of them!
Let your light so shine :) -Nicole Claudon