Omega Phi Alpha: National Service Sorority

Tag Archives: Founding Mothers

Ok, I admit it….. I was channeling this song when titling this post. It is stuck in my head!

But that has nothing to do with what I am trying to talk about!! 🙂

For this year’s national president’s project, we are “Archiving OPA.” I am in the “traditions” group and, among other topics, we are working on “families.” (Hopefully now you understand where the title and the song come in… If not, it is really not important, and you are probably even better off that way!) Although this is a little outdated, here is a link to a page about our families.

So, for this project, I collected some information from my grand-big, Liz, a founding mother. Here is what she told me….

How Our Families Began

By: Teigan McIntosh, Zeta Class

Information collected from her Grand-big: Liz New, Founding Mother

The Alpha Zeta chapter of Omega Phi Alpha at Kennesaw State Univerisyt decided to create their families at the suggestion of the sisters from Nu Chapter at Georgia Tech who were instrumental in the founding of the Alpha Zeta chapter. Among them were Heather Pritchard, Amanda Harris, Chelsea Morrisey Navo, and Megan Sheppard, as well as the VP of Expansion at the time, Ginger McGarity. They thought it would be a good way for the Alpha Zeta chapter to trace their members back through the chapter as it grew and got older as well as create a tradition for the new chapter to uphold.

During August 2006, a few weeks after the colonization retreat but before the Alphas’ rush, the founding mothers formed the families at one of their chapter meetings held in the old social science building. (The families were first presented at the Alpha’s rush.) They decided that five families would be a good idea, so they wrote down all their names on slips of paper and put them into a plastic bowl. Then, they drew them out and sorted them into five piles. The matriarch for each family was decided based on which sister was closest to graduation. (Now, the matriarch of each family is determined by oldest pledge class and then graduation date, but, in the beginning, at that time we were all in the same class.

The five founding matriarchs were: Lambda – Kelly Cantrell; Chi – Allison Carder McKay;  Tau – Janice Turner Perea; Gamma – Brandi Gilbert; Kappa – Annie Smith.

Tau was for Turner, Gamma was for Gilbert, and, if Liz New remembers correctly, Chi was for Carder.  The rest of the families discussed the letters that they wanted and decided on something together. Again, if Liz New remembers correctly, the Lambda family traded the letter Kappa to the Kappa family because the Kappa family wanted it and the Lambdas didn’t. From there, each family brainstormed collectively and came up with our own mascots, flowers, and colors that night. Liz, a Lambda, remembers that the members of her family definitely wanted the Lambda’s to be unique, so they chose lavender and teal as their colors.

The family mascots, colors, and flowers are as follows:

  • Lambda – Colors: lavender and teal; Mascot: giraffe; Flower: purple tulip
  • Chi – Colors: purple and gold; Mascot: dinosaur; Flower: purple orchid
  • Tau- Colors: light pink and brown; Mascot: turtle; Flower: calla lilly
  • Gamma- Colors: hot pink and lime green; Mascot: teddy bear; Flower: pink gerber daisy
  • Kappa- Colors: yellow and green; Mascot: Kangaroo; Flower: sunflower


Saturday, October 15th was Alpha Zeta Chapter’s 5th birthday! We celebrated with our annual Founder’s Day festivities, but the night was extra special this year thanks to our amazing Sisterhood chair, Thi. She did a great job- I really enjoyed everything that she planned. She even prepared cute gifts for everyone who attended!

NOTE: With so much talk about the “alums,” I decided to look up the proper terms and found a great outline here. Apparently, we should not use the term “alums” for either men or women. This website says, “Use “alumna” for a woman. Use “alumnae” for a group of women.” So, I will try to follow this guideline…

Since this is my first active fall semester, this was my first time attending Founder’s Day, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I witnessed that night. There were so many beautiful actives and alumnae present that night! I was so grateful that all of them were able to attend- especially my grandbig, Liz! Hearing her tell the founding story was really cool. I will probably mess it up and leave out a lot, but I am going to try to recall what I remember of the story…

Liz loves Hanson. When she was younger, she had a website devoted to the group, and she had friends online that followed her website. Then, one day, she was able to meet up with one of her Hanson friends in person. Later, this friend, who attended Georgia Tech, started to tell Liz about a really amazing service sorority that she was involved in- Omega Phi Alpha. Liz thought that it sounded like something she would like to do, and she hoped that other students would be interested too. She got in touch with the Vice President of Expansions on the National Executive Board who told her that Omega Phi Alpha was not a good fit for Kennesaw. Convinced that she was wrong, Liz decided that she would keep trying. She was not going to take no for an answer! Finding that other students were, indeed, interested, she gathered a group of girls who wanted to start OPA at Kennesaw, and sent the list along with some facts about the KSU campus and community- KSU was no longer the Junior College of the past!- to the VP of Expansions.  After quite some time, Liz got the go-ahead and continued her mission. Along with the other girls interested in OPA, she organized an information night for students to come find out what OPA was all about! The night was a success, and they got a whole list of girls who wanted more information! After this night got the ball rolling, Liz and the other founding mothers started to fulfill all of their colonization requirements. They had a lot of service projects to do, and they just kept working till everyone had filled their service requirements. With a lot of hard work and a lot of time, OPA was finally starting to take shape at Kennesaw State University!

I am so incredibly proud of my grandbig and founding mother, Liz, and all of the other founding mothers and alumnae for all that they have done! Without them, I would not be a part of OPA. It meant a lot to me to be able to attend Founder’s Day in order to honor them and celebrate our chapter.

I really hope that I will be able to get to know the Alpha Zeta Alumnae better through our service projects and sisterhood events. It meant so much to me that my big, Kelly, and my grandbig, Liz, were able to attend Big/Little Reveal, and that I was able to see Liz again at Founder’s Day. Also, I believe that both of them will be able to come to Light the Night on November 5th! I am probably most excited about that. I want to make sure that the night is a great success, for Kelly, Liz, and any other alumna who attend, because I want them to want to come to more service projects. I think that this will be the best way for the active sisters to connect with the alumnae. I would love for the alumnae to be a bigger part of our sorority, and I know that other sisters feel the same. After all, we are not really actives and alumnae, we are all sisters!!!