15 Reasons to Celebrate OPA
What is Omega Phi Alpha? It’s a national service sorority dedicated to performing service. OPA also builds leaders and binds lifetime friendships.
On June 15, 1967, Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority was founded by Alpha, Beta and Gamma chapters at the first national Convention, which was held at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Almost 50 years later, with 30 chapters at colleges across the nation and more than 1,250 active collegiate members, OPA’s cardinal principles—friendship, leadership and service—are growing better than ever.
The 15 reasons to celebrate Omega Phi Alpha:
1. Serving the community with your sisters
Whether working at a chapter event or with a group, nothing is more humbling than volunteering with sisters who share the same passion for helping.
2. The best friends you make
“Some of my BEST friends have come from OPA, and it has made me grow as a person and a sister!”—Katie McGrath
3. The incredible “Big” (sister) who guides you through life
If there is anything I’ve learned about having a Big, being a Big, and pairing Bigs, it’s that a Big is the one person you’ll look up to and learn from in the chapter, in school and in life. My Big is inspiring—the perfect definition of an OPA big sister!
4. Giving you a place to call home away from home
“OPhiA helped me find where I was meant to be in college, and helped me gain lifelong memories and best friends!”—Lauren Gray
5. District Summits
Every spring, regional OPA chapters come together to learn about national policies, meet new sisters, share ideas, form bonds, and become better sisters. During the past school year, members of the Heartland district (Alpha Kappa from University of Kansas and Alpha Gamma at Oklahoma State University), became pen pals to get to know each other ahead of time.
6. Memories are created forever
“OPA helped me continue to do what I love, which is help others. Plus all of my favorite college memories come from being with my sisters!”—Emily Beeman
Whether it’s serving at a local food bank, attending football games, those infamous lip sync battles at a sisterhood retreat, or enjoying a movie night, the memories made with your sisters are the ones you’ll hold onto dearly and tell your children about.
7. Your little(s)
Your little sister is the person you’re unhealthily obsessed with—she’s your “go-to,” and maybe you have a cute duo name. She’s who you pass on your wisdom to and watch grow up—in OPA and in college—and support 100 percent.
8. Your pledge class and moms
Whether or not everyone clicked at first, your pledge class is where you spent your first 10 weeks as a potential member. You learned policies, found sisterhood, and performed service projects together. You get a little nostalgic when a pledge sister recalls a memory from those first days—when you realize how old you are now or when one of you graduates. You even come up with unique names, like “hakuna maTAUta.” Your pledge moms were the first actives you met. They were there for you when you had questions, when you didn’t know what to do, or if you had a problem. They shared their passion for OPA in those 10 weeks and educated you on what it means to be a sister. They root for you in everything you do and are excited to see everything that you bring to the chapter.
9. The best support system away from home
“I’m thankful for the lifelong friends I’ve made. I feel so blessed to have had my sisters’ support when I was in the hospital. Without their love, the mental and physical process would’ve taken a lot longer.”—Nina Arszulowicz
During tough times, your sisters are the ones who are always there for you, with unconditional love, support and understanding. During the Homecoming tragedy at Oklahoma State this past year, the Alpha Gamma Chapter held an Ophia pass (also known as Pass the Rose), where we shared our thoughts, concerns and feelings with each other. During Nina’s heart surgeries and recoveries, we participated in her Epic Orange Friday. We also supported our sisters’ outside activities, such as attending other club events they’ve organized, dance recitals, or partnering with other groups. An Ophia’s love for a sister is really true.
10. Becoming a leader
“This sorority has helped me develop my leadership skills, and I have made lifelong friendships, all while doing service for others!”—Georgia Fruendt
Omega Phi Alpha offers wonderful opportunities to learn leadership skills, whether it’s being a member of the executive team, a part of the standards board, on a committee, or just leading a project. As an older member, it’s exciting to watch younger or older members become leaders and take new positions.
11. Mental health matters
Omega Phi Alpha’s permanent project is mental health. This year, mental health was also selected as the national president’s project. Chapter members participated in projects such as: St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event, hosting a mental health seminar, Operation Beautiful, attending sexual assault seminars, volunteering in nursing homes, Mental Health Mondays, TWLOHA suicide awareness week, and many more projects that support mental health.
12. Membership events
Between recruitment, bid day, pinning, reveal and activation, old and new members make plenty of memories welcoming the newest members of the chapter. Big/Little reveal is like Christmas, and you are able to see your family grow bigger and better than before. Even more exciting is the activation ceremony, when the pledges we watched learn about OPA become official sisters! There is no better way to end the semester than “raising some hell for OPhiA” and celebrating new sisters.
13. Our wise alumnae
They are the sisters who have come and gone before us—shaping the way for new members—and who have revised the constitution or even wrote it! They work hard to help serve after graduating. They are a part of our executive board. They are our G-Bigs, our Bigs, our best friends, and even our family members. Alumnae—we thank you for being a part of our chapter and coming back to visit.
14. Your OPhiA family
You have your Big, your Little, but you also have your G’s and GG’s, your aunts, cousins, second cousins and other lines in your family. Everyone claims their family is the best family. You have hand signs, family T-shirts, group messages, inside family jokes, hashtags for reveal, or family pictures. You love your line, and you can’t imagine being in any other family.
Every active chapter plus regional alumnae delegates gather in one city for a four days of sisterhood, service, learning and voting on new legislation, voting for board members, and sharing ideas. Convention is the greatest Omega Phi Alpha event, because you get to meet 100-plus sisters who share the same passion as you do. You can explore a new city and new ways to improve your own chapter, plus form new friendships. I am ready for some “sunshine and sisterhood” in Phoenix this July!
Omega Phi Alpha, we celebrate you every day for giving us a place to serve our communities, to grow as leaders and to make friendships forever! We especially celebrate the founding OPA sisters from 1967 for spreading their love of service so that we—and future sisters—can continue to spread their love.
Morgan Mills (Alpha Gamma), Oklahoma State University