Changes to the Legacy Policy

Following months of thoughtful evaluation, in-depth discussion and careful review of our policy and member perspectives, Alpha Chi Omega’s National Council voted to eliminate the preferential treatment of legacies during recruitment effective fall 2021.

Who is considered a legacy?

Alpha Chi Omega considers a legacy to be a sister, daughter, granddaughter or great-granddaughter of a member. The Alpha Chi Omega member and her family member define their legacy relationship, i.e. step relations, blended families, etc. No changes have been made to the way in which Alpha Chi Omega defines a legacy.

Are legacies no longer important in Alpha Chi Omega?

No matter how our policy and practices regarding legacies have changed, Alpha Chi Omega will always celebrate our new members – both those with Alpha Chi Omega family members and those who are introduced to our sisterhood for the first time. Family members who are Alpha Chi Omegas will always be invited to participate in the Initiation Ceremony with their new member. We will welcome outstanding alumnae into membership through our National Alumna Initiate Program. And we will continue to provide full support to our collegiate members as they select members who will help us build the future of our sisterhood. It is our goal that recruitment and membership as a collegian and as an alumna will be an enriching experience for the chapter, the legacy and the Alpha Chi Omega member with a legacy.

What does this mean for my legacy going through recruitment?

Any potential new member who meets college/university requirements as well as the membership standards outlined in the policies of Alpha Chi Omega is eligible to receive a bid from Alpha Chi Omega. Beginning in fall 2021, chapters will no longer provide preferential treatment to legacies or any other potential new members in the recruitment process.

What preferential treatment was previously given to legacies?

Previously, an undergraduate legacy who met the membership standards and eligibility requirements was automatically invited to the second round of events during the primary recruitment process or at least one recruitment event in an informal or continuous recruitment process. A legacy who attended a primary recruitment preference event was placed at the top of the collegiate chapter’s bid list.

What does this mean for chapters and the recruitment process?

The process of recruiting potential new members is not changing. Each chapter will continue to follow the policies and best practices of Alpha Chi Omega as well as NPC and its local Panhellenic and college/university recruitment rules.

What if my chapter wants to follow the previous legacy policy?

Each chapter reviews the qualifications of a potential new member and determines if she meets the membership standards of the organization. Membership selection decisions are made at the local level. Chapters cannot create their own policy or bylaw providing preferential treatment to legacies and/or other potential new members.

Are recommendations still important? Can I still submit a recommendation for a potential new member?

Yes! We encourage alumnae to continue to submit recommendations for any and all potential new members they know are going through the recruitment process. Recommendations are still vital to the success of recruitment and the future of the organization. Chapters will use this information to build relationships with potential new members as they promote the sorority experience leading up to recruitment.

What is Alpha Chi Omega’s recommendation policy?

Each chapter shall develop its own internal process to review recommendations and is no longer required to invite all potential new members receiving a recommendation to the second round of recruitment. This removes a barrier to access to the second round for potential new members who do not have the privilege of knowing any alumnae from a sorority or how to navigate the Panhellenic recruitment process. Further, this decision creates a more equitable process, allowing our chapters further autonomy to make membership selection decisions.

Can potential new members still indicate that they are a legacy on recruitment registration forms?

Yes! We encourage potential new members to indicate they are a legacy on recruitment registration forms. Alumnae are also encouraged to indicate a legacy relationship when filling out a recommendation form.

Are other NPC groups also eliminating preferential treatment in legacy policies? How does Alpha Chi Omega compare with other sororities?

Alpha Chi Omega is not the first NPC group to eliminate preferential treatment in our legacy policy. As of January 2021, the vast majority of the 26 NPC women’s organizations have eliminated or altered preferential treatment in their legacy policies. The remaining few report they are studying the topic. This decision came after much reflection as to how Alpha Chi Omega will continue to thrive. We firmly believe that this change aligns with our vision of Alpha Chi Omega: to shape the future through the powerful, transformative and everlasting connections of real, strong women.

Who did the National Council consult prior to making this decision?

The National Council sought feedback from a variety of constituencies prior to making this decision. Each conversation was both thoughtful and intentional with the goal of understanding all viewpoints around this topic. All of these calls were held via phone or video over the past six months. Specifically, National Council members spoke with the following groups:
  • Alumnae members from all geographies and volunteer roles
  • Collegiate members and officers from various schools, both in size and geographic location
  • National volunteers

What if a chapter or member still wishes to honor the legacy relationship?

There are many ways to continue to honor and celebrate the legacy relationship! Chapters may invite a sister, mother, grandmother or great-grandmother to initiation to pin their legacy during the ceremony. Members have the opportunity to pass down Alpha Chi Omega memorabilia to their legacies and personally recognize milestones in their membership experience. That could include giving a special gift on bid day or a token to recognize their graduation at Hall of Commitment, sponsoring their alumnae chapter dues and more!

I have been a lifetime member and volunteer and looked forward to my legacy being afforded preferential treatment. Why should I continue to stay engaged in this experience without this benefit?

Alumnae membership offers women in our sisterhood lifetime benefits extending far beyond the preferential treatment formerly given to legacies. Our alumnae members are the sustaining strength of our sisterhood, and many find participation in alumnae chapters and in volunteer roles to be just as, if not more, rewarding than their collegiate experience. To learn more about the Real. Strong. Women.® Experience that alumnae can have, check out these opportunities that are available to you.

Why was discussion on this topic a priority for the organization?

Eliminating barriers to entry for potential new members in recruitment supports our commitment to providing an inclusive and welcoming experience for all women who meet our membership standards.

How does eliminating the preferential treatment of legacies promote equity in recruitment?

The elimination of preferential treatment of legacies during recruitment provides every potential new member who meets our membership standards the same opportunity to join the sisterhood of Alpha Chi Omega. That opportunity extends to women whose families have been historically excluded from higher education or sorority membership that could have made them legacies. Eliminating the legacy policy creates a more equitable experience for potential new members and acknowledges that Alpha Chi Omega is committed to removing barriers as we strive to build a more accessible and inclusive membership experience.

Where can I direct further questions?

Further questions regarding the legacy policy can be directed to collegiateexperience@alphachiomega.org.
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