Phi Omega Pi

Phi Omega Pi (ΦΩΠ) was a national collegiate sorority operating in the United States from 1922 until 1946 when its chapters were absorbed by several larger sororities, and merged with national sorority, Delta Zeta.

Phi Omega Pi
ΦΩΠ
Phi Omega Pi sorority pin.jpg
FoundedMarch 15, 1910; 112 years ago (1910-03-15)
University of Nebraska
TypeSocial
AffiliationNPC (former)
ScopeNational
Colors  sapphire blue and   white
Flowerlily-of-the-valley
PublicationKochev, and later
The Pentagon of Phi Omega Pi
Chapters0 surviving
Merged withDelta Zeta (1946)

HistoryEdit

The sorority originally formed as Achoth (Hebrew: אָחוֹת signifying one's blood sister or a female relative), created on the campus of the University of Nebraska on March 15, 1910. The fifteen founding sisters were all members in good standing of the Order of the Eastern Star. In a letter to the fraternity, Jessie Downing explained to Sigma Phi Epsilon that Achoth "is similar to that of the Acacia fraternity, but in no way are the two connected". In 1911, it was officially recognized by the Order of the Eastern Star organization and only Eastern Star members were permitted to join. Chapters were named in Hebrew alphabetic order, The first chapter was Aleph (Nebraska), the second Beth (Iowa), etc.[1]

The sorority published a magazine called the Kochev.

Sources from various fraternal organization demonstrate that Achoth was functioning as a typical collegiate sorority. The Trident of Delta Delta Delta (1920) recorded Achoth's petition for admission to the National Panhellenic Congress, but that this was denied (The Adelphean, 1921).

 
The original Achoth sorority pin, used prior to the name change to Phi Omega Pi.

Achoth may have changed their official name as early as 1922. Kappa Sigma's Caduceus (1922) reported that the "Supreme Governing Council of Achoth announces the change of the name 'Achoth' to 'Phi Omega Pi' fraternity." Other contemporary publications refer to Achoth as Achoth, e.g. "A chapter of Achoth, the organization of Eastern Star members, was installed last March" (IU Alumni Quarterly, 1922). The chapters were renamed according to the Greek alphabet and the sorority's periodical was renamed from Kochev to The Pentagon (Miner, p. 146).

In 1933, Phi Omega Pi dropped the Masonic requirement and was thus given full membership into the National Panhellenic Conference.[2]

That same year, the sorority absorbed two other organizations. Sigma Phi Beta was a national group with ten chapters. Founded on November 1, 1920 at New York University as Sigma Sigma Omicron, in July 1927 its name was changed to Sigma Phi Beta (Miner, p. 148). Additionally, Phi Alpha Chi, formed at the University of California at Berkeley, was founded as The Tanewah in 1919. In 1926, that group renamed itself as the Alpha chapter of Phi Alpha Chi. They joined with Sigma Phi Beta just prior to the merger into Phi Omega Pi (Miner, p. 148).[3][1]

One source describes a relatively uncomplicated merger: Miner (p. 146) explained that "after 1933, Achoth, Tanewah, Phi Alpha Chi, and Sigma Phi Beta members were all sisters in Phi Omega Pi. In the 1937 Pentagon, sixteen collegiate and 39 alumnae chapters and clubs were listed." However Baird's Manual (20th ed.) notes:

"The chapters at Iowa State Teachers College, Newark State Normal and Montclair Teachers College were placed on the inactive list by order of the Panhellenic Congress when [in 1933] Phi Omega Pi joined it. In the period following, chapters were taken over by Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Gamma Delta, Sigma Kappa, and Kappa Alpha Theta. The group disbanded in 1946. Through an NPC committee, Delta Zeta was asked to consider the alumnae and a few chapters which remained. [Thus, i]n 1946, the members of ΦΩΠ} were accepted into Delta Zeta sorority.[4][1]

It appears, therefore, that the chapters which were dropped as part of negotiations to join the Panhellenic Congress had come from Sigma Phi Beta, and were not original Achoth or Phi Omega Pi chapters.

Crest, Colors and FlowerEdit

As described by Miner,

"[The crest of Phi Omega Pi] had a sapphire blue ground crossed by an inverted chevron of white upon which were placed five five pointed stars. Below the chevron and to the left was placed the sword and veil and to the right the lily of the valley with five bells. Above the chevron was the Roman numeral X. Surmounting the shield a crown below which was a rod. Beneath the shield a white ribbon upon which are the Greek letters ΦΩΠ."

The colors were sapphire blue and white. The official flower was the lily-of-the-valley.[4]

PinsEdit

While the sorority was known as Achoth, the badge and its symbolism were described as follows: "...the pin bore the Hebrew characters Shin, Nun, Aleph, the initial letters of the organization's motto, but in 1920 the letters were changed to Greek, and in October of 1922, the name was changed to correspond with the letters on the pin. The chapters formerly were named in the order of the Hebrew alphabet, but with the change of name, they automatically took [names based on] the Greek alphabet."[5]

This change occurred at the 1921 convention in Minneapolis. Thus the badge of Phi Omega Pi became "an irregular pentagon. The center was raised and in black enamel. The upper section was surmounted by a raised five pointed star set with a blue sapphire [above the letters ΦΩΠ engraved in gold.] Around the edge of [the pentagon or] blade were set 20 whole pearls." (Miner, p. 146)

The pledge pin was "a black enameled pentagon bearing the Greek letters ΦΩΠ in gold. The pentagon was banded in gold also." (Miner, p. 146)

Chapter ListEdit

The Chapter list:[1][5] Prior to 1923 these had Hebrew language chapter designations, so the Nebraska chapter would have been Aleph, the Iowa chapter Beth, etc. The chapter designations were recast into Greek form in 1922-23.[6][7][8][9][10]

Additional chapters were formed, including:

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive), section showing Achoth and Phi Omega Pi chapters". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved 31 December 2021. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  2. ^ Phi Omega Pi history Accessed December 30, 2008
  3. ^ The Spring 1995 edition of The Lamp of Delta Zeta, p.10, has an article about the sorority's several mergers. Accessed 25 Aug 2020.
  4. ^ a b Anson, Jack L.; Marchenasi, Robert F., eds. (1991) [1879]. Baird's Manual of American Fraternities (20th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Baird's Manual Foundation, Inc. pp. VIII-33. ISBN 978-0963715906.
  5. ^ a b Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities. G. Banta Company. 1923. p. 450.
  6. ^ North Dakota Agricultural College The Weekly Spectrum April 17, 1918
  7. ^ Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities. Alcolm Company. 1915. pp. 463–.
  8. ^ Acacia Fraternity (1913). The Triad. Acacia Fraternity. pp. 1–.
  9. ^ Order of the Eastern Star. Grand chapter of Kansas (1920). Proceedings of the ... Annual Session. p. 3.
  10. ^ William Raimond Baird (1940). Manual of American College Fraternities. G. Banta Publishing Company. p. 71.
  11. ^ Northwestern's chapter of Phi Omega Pi originated as a local called Aeukiga, which some time after 1928 became a chapter of Sigma Sigma Delta, a non-NPC regional sorority. By 1938, ΣΣΔ had dissolved, with the Northwestern group affiliating into Phi Omega Pi. In 1946, if it survived, it would have been released to merge with Delta Zeta's chapter on the campus or join one of the other successor national sororities.
  • Kappa Sigma Fraternity. (1981). The Caduceus. Charlottesville, VA: Kappa Sigma Fraternity. googlebooks Retrieved December 30, 2008
  • Miner, Florence Hood (1983). Delta Zeta Sorority 1902- 1982: Building on Yesterday, Reaching for Tomorrow. Delta Zeta Sorority, Compolith Graphics and Maury Boyd and Associates, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana.

See alsoEdit