Omega Phi Alpha

Alpha Zeta Chapter

National History

In 1953, a group of men from Zeta Kappa Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity decided they needed another organization to help them with projects on campus and in the city of Bowling Green, Ohio. These men met with the deans of the various departments of the university to decided whether there should be another service fraternity at Bowling Green State University. A meeting was held to see if any interest existed, and many women attended. Realizing a change was needed for various projects, plans were made to organize a women's service sorority. Since the objectives of the two organizations were to be the same -- service, leadership, and friendship -- a similar name was chosen: Omega Phi Alpha. Membership was open to university women who had been Girl Scouts or Camp Fire Girls. This rule was later changed in 1958.

In 1958, Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti wrote to Bowling Green State University about how to form an Omega Phi Alpha chapter. The material was sent to Michigan, and that group held its first meeting on April 22nd, 1958. The women of Eastern Michigan's new OPA chapter conducted several service and fund-raising activities. They took their first pledge class the following fall. Communication began between the two groups about the possibility of becoming a national organization, but the formation of a national sorority did not materialize.

In late 1962, a group of women at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut communicated with the group in Ypsilanti about becoming an Omega Phi Alpha chapter. The Bridgeport and Ypsilanti groups continued communication, with the women in Ypsilanti acting as "big sisters" to the women in Bridgeport for an induction ceremony. The new group was designated Beta Chapter, Omega Phi Alpha. The Ypsilanti group called itself Alpha Chapter, Omega Phi Alpha.

At Bowling Green, a lack of common ground in the requested projects and the background of the members led to a great decline in the chapter. But in September 1964, a few remaining members, Carole Close, Bonnie Widder, Maureen Welder, Joan Demuth, and others decided there was still a need for O Phi A at Bowling Green State University. They women met with Dr. J. E. Timm, the original advisor, to see what could be done to reorganize. In order to obtain active membership, they decided to pledge any interested women in good standing with the university. The response was tremendous as the fall 1964 pledge class had 105 women.

In the spring of 1966, Bowling Green's dean of women, Fayette Paulsen, notified the chapter that a letter was received from the Omega Phi Alpha chapter at Ypsilanti. The letter said the Michigan chapter had combined with the chapter in Connecticut and were now a national sorority. They wanted Bowling Green to affiliate with them. It was then discovered that the chapters in Ypsilanti and Bridgeport were not legally registered as a national sorority. As a result, Omega Phi Alpha in Bowling Green registered their petition first and asked the other two chapters to affiliate.

Thirteen months of hard work and organization began. A national convention was scheduled at Bowling Green in June 1967. At the convention, the three groups discussed ideas and found compromises that led to the formation of Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority. They decided that the Bowling Green group would be the Alpha chapter, since it had been in existence the longest and had filed the proper papers to register the Omega Phi Alpha name nationally first. Bridgeport retained the name of the Beta Chapter to avoid confusion. Ypsilanti became the Gamma chapter. The consolidation of the three groups into a national service sorority was finalized on June 15th, 1967.

Alpha, Beta and Gamma chapters continued for several years as a national sorority until women at Texas A&nsbp;M University formed Delta chapter in 1971. Omega Phi Alpha continues to promote service in various areas through young women in university communities. There are four areas of service that the sisters commit to: university-community, community-at-large, nations of the world, and the members of the sorority. Omega Phi Alpha is consistently growing in the numbers of active chapters at the national level, as well as the number of memberships at the local level.