100 Years is a Long Time

I’m a little behind on my posts because of the wrath of a nasty cold that finally freed me from its misery after 11 days. Even though I felt terrible over April 2-3, I still headed down to my alma mater – the University of Illinois. Here are some of my pledge sisters with me at the Alma Mater statue in the heart of campus town.

Alma_mater

My sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, hit a big milestone – 100 years on campus!

To celebrate, my sorority planned a whole Centennial Weekend. Saturday morning, I headed down to campus with 3 of my closest pledge sisters. When we got there, one of the first things we saw was confirmation that our favorite campus-town restuarant, Za’s, was lost in a fire only a week or so before we arrived. Boo.

Burned_zas

We took a second to mourn, then headed down to the street to Murphy’s, a pub on campus. There, we waited until the rest of our group arrived, 9 of us in total. We had lunch together, then went straight to the Alpha Omicron Pi house, located in Urbana.

Iotahouselarge

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of it from the weekend, but what a sight it was to see. The house was decked to the nines, and every surface in it gleamed with pride. The house was built in 1927, 16 years after our sorority was founded on campus. It’s been the AOII house ever since. It has undergone some major work since I lived there, and it shows. Walls were re-painted, new furniture was purchased, and our fountain was working once again! Gorgeous!

I’ll skip ahead to the main event for the day – the Centennial Banquet. It was held at an off-campus hotel and over 300 of my fellow AOII women arrived for dinner, entertainment, and story-telling. Women came from pledge classes as far back as 1975, and we were graced with the presence of AOII’s current International President, Barb Zipperian, and a Past International President from the University of Illinois, Peg Crawford! Here’s all the girls from my pledge class who attended Centennial. Look how fancy!

All_06s

The next day, a smaller group convened for the farewell brunch, where we said goodbye to the many sisters we hadn’t seen in quite some time. Dismiss the fact that we’re all wearing white. It’s tradition, but we all know how washed out we look.

Brunch

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend, and I’m so glad I went. I was more than a bit under the weather, but I knew I’d regret it if I stayed home.

I went to U of I as a nervous 17 year old girl. On such a huge campus, I wasn’t sure I’d ever find where I belonged. I went through recruitment, and ended up at AOII. I honestly cannot imagine how my life would be without being friends with such strong, smart, beautiful, and amazing women. I don’t think I really noticed it until this past weekend, but these women helped shaped me into who I am today. And the best part? I still see about 9 of my sisters on a regular basis, but while back on campus and at the house, it was like no time at all had passed. Sitting and chatting on sofas in the living room, I stopped and thought this could have been a scene from many years ago, when all of us lived at 706 S. Mathews. It felt like home.

Aoii_house

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