Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
ALPHA CHI OMEGA’S COMMITMENT
“To see and appreciate all that is noble in another…”
– The Symphony of Alpha Chi Omega
Diversity, equity and inclusion are unequivocally essential. But we know they have been challenging for us, for the entire sorority/fraternity industry and for our world as a whole. We acknowledge that we haven’t always lived up to these principles throughout our history. It is in the trying and the striving to do better that we learn more about what is at the core of Alpha Chi Omega – our values of wisdom, devotion and achievement – and we define and redefine what it means to be a real, strong woman.
We know our work in this space is never done. Our intention in this work is to facilitate the hard conversations that members, leaders and our national organization want, and need, to have. We continue to learn and explore new avenues to increase diversity and create inclusive and equitable environments where members can feel safe and confident to connect, lead, grow and serve as real, strong women
Educate and Take Action
Alpha Chi Omega is committed to being on the forefront of the challenging conversations and the hard work necessary to achieve this goal.
Alpha Chi Omega has two desired outcomes from our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work – to increase diversity in our membership throughout every level of the organization and to nurture and develop a membership experience that is increasingly equitable and inclusive for members, volunteers and staff. This project list represents our highest priorities at this time and is not meant to be all inclusive.
We ask for your dedication and support as we commit to these next steps.
There is much work to do. Together let us seek the heights.
Statement of Position
We are Alpha Chi Omega.
We are real women: diverse in our experiences, our identities and our stories. Our sisters must reflect the diversity of our communities, and we must welcome them to an accessible, inclusive and equitable experience. We are a sisterhood committed to creating spaces where all members are respected, are included and feel a sense of belonging.
We are strong women: eager to embrace the interconnected and diverse world in which we live. Our unique experiences provide an opportunity to learn from the personal narratives of others; we listen with humility and openness as we commit to appreciating all that is noble in another.
We are real, strong women committed to fostering diversity, cultivating equitable and inclusive environments, and empowering all of our members to seek the heights.
Bias Incident Reporting Process
As part of Alpha Chi Omega’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, our goal is to nurture and develop a membership experience that is increasingly equitable and inclusive for all members, volunteers and staff. To further advance this goal, Alpha Chi Omega has created resources to help volunteers and chapter leaders navigate possible bias incidents.
Further, as part of this effort, an anonymous and confidential bias incident reporting system is now available for members and alumnae to use as needed and desired. The reporting system is available through a vendor partner, Ethical Advocate, a company specializing in enhancing the ethical and financial well-being of society and commerce. For more information about the Bias Incident Reporting Process, please refer to the Bias Incident Reporting Process FAQ document.
SIGNATURE IN-PERSON EVENTS
Diversity and inclusion training and education is prioritized as part of signature in-person national leadership programs: Leadership Academy, Collegiate Growth Academy, national convention and Volunteer Summit. Specifically, the focus is on issues related to creating and promoting inclusive environments. Training targeted at collegiate chapter leaders as well as chapter advisors and operational volunteers ensures the highest priority is given to working toward change in our chapters, campuses and communities.
COLLEGIATE CHAPTER PROGRAMMING
MyJourney, Alpha Chi Omega’s member education program, connects our core values of wisdom, devotion and achievement to the life experiences collegiate members face during their college career and beyond. This peer-facilitated program includes a diversity and inclusion learning path with sessions such as “Advocates Make a World of Difference,” “Being an Inclusive Sister,” “Being My Sister’s Ally,” “Embracing Diversity in Alpha Chi Omega,” and “Why Define, Refine: Learning to Unlabel.”
Alpha Chi Omega’s new member education program, the Dedication, includes learning, conversations and explorations about diversity, equity and inclusion. Topics include defining diversity, equity and inclusion; understanding the difference between equality and equity; identifying components of identity; and exploring the history and today’s role of national fraternities and sororities.
Kaleidoscope, Alpha Chi Omega’s newest collegiate chapter rotational program, is designed to educate members on social identities, power, privilege and intercultural communication. The program helps participants understand their own identities and how they can leverage their privilege to ensure all members of Alpha Chi Omega feel a sense of inclusion and belonging in their chapter. In addition, it provides the opportunity to discuss strategies for dealing with challenging situations and offers resources for those seeking additional support.
Educational webinar training for collegiate members and advisors is hosted periodically. Past webinar topics have focused on conversations about race in recruitment, cultural appropriation, stereotypes, how harmful attempts at humor are not required to have a successful event, how to intervene when something isn’t right and how to take responsibility for harm in their communities.
The Heights Learning Center, Alpha Chi Omega’s learning management system, includes power-skills development sessions for collegiate chapter officers and operational volunteers on how to be inclusive leaders. Additional educational modules are available about the six major umbrella organizations in the fraternity and sorority industry, including information about their histories and missions. These training modules are designed with the audience in mind and feature engaging, interactive and impactful content to ensure success as a collegiate officer and volunteer and create a more inclusive Real. Strong. Women. Experience.
Volunteer onboarding and orientation training includes a focus on inclusive volunteering for our operational volunteers. These self-directed trainings include defining what inclusive volunteering means to Alpha Chi Omega and an exploration guide with suggested reading and self-reflection questions. Additionally, various volunteer roles are asked to participate in training throughout the year focused on a variety of topics.
As a women’s organization, Alpha Chi Omega is committed to creating a more inclusive membership experience and removing barriers to joining. Revisions to policies and practices continue to evolve as an increasing number of individuals choose to join Alpha Chi Omega. Whether joining via a collegiate chapter or through the National Alumna Initiate Program, there are so many opportunities to maximize the lifelong membership experience.
Alpha Chi Omega strives to maximize communication channels to share critical content. One of those ways is intentional social media highlights focused on honoring and learning about our diverse membership. In addition to recognizing a wide range of holidays important to our members – from Eid al-Fitr to Bodhi Day – our social media channels highlight heritage and identity recognition events, such as Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month, through education about the events’ history and impact and through members sharing how their heritage or identity has been part of their Alpha Chi Omega experience. You can review some of our past posts related to heritage and identity in the Highlights section on the @AlphaChiOmegaHQ Instagram account.
Communication continues through e-newsletters, blogs and our quarterly magazine, The Lyre, as we share member stories and education on topics like cultural appropriation. To read more about our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion work on a broad scale, see this spring 2020 Lyre article. Explore a few of our member stories and educational pieces below:
- Black History Month 2022 social post
- Women's History Month 2022 social post
- March 2022 blog post about a member’s journey to learn more about her history
- Alpha Chi Omega Cinco De Mayo social post about cultural appropriation
- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2022 social post
- LGBTQ Pride Month social post
- Ramadan 2022 social post
- Juneteenth 2022 social post
- Social post about how a member celebrates Easter
- Seeking the Heights DEI and Inclusion Award Winners announcement
- LGBTQ blog post – Ask an Alpha Chi
- Summer 2022 Lyre article: Champions for Change
Throughout the 2020-21 fiscal year, a DEI Work Group comprised of dedicated collegians and alumnae outlined a statement of position for diversity, equity and inclusion; created the resources and support materials for the new collegiate chapter DEI executive board officer; and recommended a process for reporting bias incidents. Further, this fiscal year a Membership Recruitment Task Force comprised of collegians and alumnae reviewed membership recruitment policies and practices, evaluated barriers to membership and made recommendations to the National Council for consideration.
In 2016, Alpha Chi Omega formed a Diversity and Inclusion Study Group to explore all issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion and to pursue opportunities for education, policy development and programming to address the needs of our collegians and alumnae in this complex area. The group focused on the five areas of data collection and assessment; organizational policy, language and practices; collegiate programming; alumnae programming; and marketing and communications. The recommendations of the study group continue to guide the organization’s work.
HEADQUARTERS STAFF AND BOARD MEMBER EDUCATION
The headquarters professional staff participates in ongoing education and discussions on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion, including social identities, privilege and current events impacting historically marginalized populations. These conversations and trainings occur at all-staff retreats, as part of consultant training, via webinar training series and monthly at all-staff meetings or within dedicated department discussions.
The 2018-20 National Council participated in trainings and talks with national inclusion expert Jessica Pettitt. Further, in 2021 the Enterprise boards established an Enterprise DEI Board Committee to focus on further education and development of board members as well as opportunities to further diversify the Enterprise boards. Our national leaders do not shy away from challenging topics or conversations and continually seek opportunities for education.
COLLEGIATE CHAPTER RECOGNITION
Alpha Chi Omega believes in the importance of supporting individual and local actions of our chapters. The national Diversity and Inclusion Award has been presented annually since 2018 to recognize chapters’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at the local level.
Past award recipients have hosted trainings for their campus on racial justice; collaborated with campus offices such as the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity and other student organizations such as the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the National Multicultural Greek Council; hosted biweekly lunch discussions to create the opportunity for sisters to come together and talk about current topics related to race, power, privilege and social justice; and created a community closet for sisters to donate items for other sisters who may have financial barriers to keep or borrow.