By Kelly J.
As the O∆K Fellow, I have the pleasure of visiting with our Circles throughout the United States. Traveling to three or four Circles each day I’m on the road, I meet with Circles to learn about O∆K on their campus, help brainstorm ideas for successful membership selections, discuss best practices and inform the local group of upcoming National opportunities and deadlines.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, I visited 95 different campuses in 15 different states. Today, I will end my first trip of the 2012-2013 school year, during which I visited 40 more campuses over the course of the past three weeks. Through all of these visits, I have learned about many unique and exciting programs and events that our Circles are hosting and participating in across the country. As each O∆K Circle has its own unique identity, I am always eager to learn exactly what O∆K is at each school, and how it has, or will be, a meaningful experience for each member.
- At Johns Hopkins University, chartered in 1916, joining O∆K means joining many prestigious and recognizable names throughout the main campus in Baltimore, MD, as most of the named buildings throughout campus were also initiates into the local Circle.
- At George Washington University, chartered in 1929, actively engages their membership by attending “5 Pillar Events” each semester to support the various activities on campus that are recognized through the five O∆K phases of campus life.
- Highlighting the campus and community service phase of O∆K, the University of Baltimore Circle, chartered in 2007, has recently planted and continues to tend to a 9/11 Memorial Garden on campus, in addition to co-sponsoring an annual campus-wide food drive to collect canned goods for the Maryland food bank.
- Chartered in 1978, Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA hosts a noteworthy “Teacher of the Year Award” and annual Senior Celebration that has grown to be a wonderful tradition at the University.
- One of our newest Circles at Ashland University, chartered in 2012, looks forward to establishing similar traditions on their campus and is excited to be hosting one of our National O∆K Drive-In Conferences this spring.
During this trip I was excited to attend the Sigma Circle’s 85th Anniversary Celebration at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Sigma Circle has created a great tradition of O∆K at the University, especially through the famous O∆K fountain (pictured above) that is located in the middle of campus and includes the name of each Sigma Circle initiate engraved along the edge. At the anniversary celebration on Saturday evening, September 22nd, more than 200 members – present and past – of the Sigma Circle gathered for an evening of fellowship, complete with delicious drinks and deserts, a string quartet and lit luminary bags bordering the lower level of the fountain. University President Wallace D. Loh, Faculty Secretary Brooke Supple, Circle President Katherine Rennenkampf and O∆K’s Director of Development and Alumni Engagement Bobby Ann Stanton each addressed the guests with inspiring words of congratulations while sharing their personal experiences and involvement with the Circle. To end the evening, each guest was given a small stone engraved with the new O∆K logo. It was a wonderful event and a perfect way to celebrate all of the accomplishments of the Sigma Circle and its many members.
Whether your Circle is simply an honorary group that recognizes members for their high academics and established leadership qualities, or perhaps an active student organization on campus that holds regular Circle meetings and group activities, at the end of the day, we are all O∆K! Take pride in being a member, and be sure to share your O∆K story with the National Office so we too can help to celebrate these wonderful accomplishments and successes with you!