The assimilation of new members (known as pledges until the mid-1990s), has been,
OUR NEWEST MEMBERS as all members can attest, one of the organization’s most vital and complex functions.
In 1937, National President Minerva Osborn Donald shared her own unique perspective on the matter with the membership: Honesty compels me to admit that Alpha Chi Omega chapters have not yet reached the Utopian state.
A few are blessed with serene existence but too few realize the necessity for greater unselfishness of purpose—for individual effort that gives each member the individual impetus to new growth.
Even though some effort has been made in the assimilation and training of newly pledged members, we still fall far short of perfection.
It is the sincere wish of the Council that we may formulate the promotion of a wiser plan of orientation,
a more understanding recognition of aptitudes and interests in new members, a more thoughtful program for the development of the individual.
There is still need for thought of the duties and responsibilities of alumnae advisers.
A valid concern among Greek groups at this time was that they were not initiating enough of their pledges.
At this time, approximately 60% of pledges were being initiated. In 1938, Western Counsellor (and future National President) Ruth Miller Winsor pointed out,
“We need to find out why we fail to initiate such a large percentage of our pledges and we must question all phases of fraternity life in relation to this. Is it poor rushing, poor recommendations, poor adjustment to college and chapter life?”
Ongoing efforts to recruit members who would succeed academically in college impacted the area of pledge guidance and retention.
OUR NEWEST MEMBERS This was vitally important, since in the 1950s the average annual turnover in a chapter could be as high as 50%.
In 1958, the Fraternity implemented a minimum scholastic requirement for pledging to ensure that academically qualified students were being pledged,
and it also required study hours to maximize pledges’ scholastic achievement and, in turn, improve initiation rates.
Alumnae advisors providing increased assistance with the support of pledges was credited with improving the Alpha Chi Omega experience for the newest members, as well.
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