Legislation was presented at Convention 2022 to remove Omega Phi Alpha alumni chapters from our Constitution and By-Laws as they are not currently compliant with legal regulations. This legislation passed and became effective at the close of Convention 2022 on Saturday, July 16. Effective immediately, Omega Phi Alpha will no longer recognize alumni chapters.  

A lot of thought and consideration was put into the decision to propose this legislation and much of the rationale goes back many years. When the alumni associations were dissolved ~20 years ago, we formed the process for creating alumni chapters but did not complete the steps needed to ensure that they report all activity under our group tax exemption. We’ve spent the past few years debating the best path forward for our alumni chapters, and we must consider the requirements necessary to maintain our group exemption. Our initial plan was to formalize alumni chapters and their requirements much like active chapters. This plan would have required alumni chapters elect officers, open bank accounts, implement meeting requirements, service hour requirements, and collect dues on behalf of the alumni chapter and national organization. However, it became clear that this is not a viable solution for us to move forward with at this time due to resources, sustainability, and member feedback. 

Additionally, we received feedback on the Member Engagement Survey last year (with 800 alumni participating) that many alumni members don’t understand the purpose of alumni chapters, do not wish to participate in them, and/or have not been able to connect with the one in their area over the last several years. Out of the current list of alumni chapters (including provisional), only 3 are what we would consider “active.” Many of them have struggled with participation (prior to COVID) and identifying alumni to become leaders of these groups. We understand that some alumni chapters are better organized than others but ultimately, the Board of Directors feels that sisterhood is much more important than getting into the logistics of forming official alumni chapters following the criteria required by regulations. 

Later this year, we will begin the process of archiving alumni chapters on OPAportal and will work to assign alumni to their respective regions instead. Those who are associated with current alumni chapters can continue to organize as a local alumni group, but will not be recognized as and cannot refer to themselves as a chapter of Omega Phi Alpha. You are more than welcome to retain the group name but remove the word “chapter” (ie, Omega Iota Chapter can become Omega Iota Alumni group). We encourage you to continue the traditions that you’ve established and consider inviting folks from your entire region to participate. The National Team is available to help in spreading the word about local groups as well as help with any questions you may have regarding this transition.

Speaking of regions, we recognize the need to continue to encourage sisterhood and service as alumni and plan to do that through alumni regions. With the elimination of alumni chapters, we are refocusing on alumni engagement through regions. The approval of the legislation proposal immediately activated the new alumni regions identified by the Board of Directors. For many years, we had only 4 regions (East, South, Midwest, and West) with thousands of alumni in each region. The regions are also very spread out geographically and make regional gatherings nearly impossible. This is one reason that we stopped seeking Regional Alumni Activities Coordinators a few years ago. The Board of Directors has redistributed alumni regions to create 7  geographically smaller regions to encourage more engagement, much like alumni chapters were doing. They identified the number of alumni living in each state and sought to make regions as “even” as possible in terms of membership numbers. Additionally, the Board of Directors considered potential gathering points (large cities, etc.) and ensured that within regions there were states that were connected and could engage in person more easily. As we’ve gotten proficient in virtual gatherings during the last two years, we would love to see alumni connect virtually in addition to in-person events. 

We will encourage collegiate chapters to include alumni in their region in all district-level activities to promote greater sisterhood among the generations. Because there may be multiple districts in one alumni region, alumni will have the opportunity to engage in the district that is nearest to their location. All members can also subscribe to emails on OPAportal for their region. Regional events will be added to OPAportal and our Alumni Engagement Coordinator will work to encourage sisterhood and service in each region throughout the year. In addition, we will be sharing information regarding upcoming new chapter inductions in each region so that regional alum can gather to show support and reconnect with other sisters.