AOII to close chapter at the end of Spring 2021 semester

The announcement was made through Instagram on Feb.11 and cited a decline in membership.

AOII

Emery Little

AOII House on Greek Row. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little)

Lorenz Chen, Staff Writer

The Nu Omicron chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII) officially announced its decision to close at the end of the semester. The Feb. 11 official statement cited a continual decline in membership as the primary reason for the closure. 

“Our decision to suspend operations was largely due to the fact that despite years of promoting our extensive involvement, inclusivity and genuine sisterhood, our numbers continued to fall,” the Instagram statement reads.

Former AOII President Emma Holz declined to comment and referred The Hustler to the official AOII statement.   

The closure of AOII comes at a time when membership in Greek Life is at a record low. In the most recent Office of Greek Life report, AOII ranked last in terms of membership size in the Panhellenic Council with 27 members. 

However, President of the Panhellenic Council Susan Hollenbeck said that she does not believe that the closure of AOII is reflective of the overall health of the Greek Life community.

“We have just completed a successful virtual recruitment and [are] still in the process of COB [Continuous Open Bidding],” Hollenbeck said in a Feb. 18 email to The Hustler. “So far, we have had 335 new members join Panhellenic which, given the circumstances of the past year, is a great success.” 

Per the official statement released by the sorority, the decision to close the Vanderbilt chapter of AOII was also made independent of the Abolish Greek Life movement (AGL) that swept through Vanderbilt last summer. While AOII acknowledges that AGL has raised issues within the sorority, they believe that the movement did not affect the chapter’s decision to close.  

Hollenbeck voiced a similar sentiment, believing that the AGL movement can act as a catalyst for bringing positive changes to sorority life. 

“The Abolish IFC/Panhellenic movement has created additional opportunities for our members to engage in thoughtful conversations about reforms and action steps that we see fit for our community, both internally in our chapters and across the community as a whole,” Hollenbeck said. 

Courtney West, director of public relations representing the national organization of AOII, stated that the chapter felt like it could no longer provide an exceptional membership experience to its sisters.

“Over the past several years, the AOII Chapter at Vanderbilt has received exponential support to combat a growing negative perception on campus and within a Greek Community experiencing challenges,” West said.

West said that the national organization is proud of the members for addressing diversity, equity and inclusion head on with their words and actions.

“AOII believes in the future of sorority,” West said. “As an organization we have taken essential steps to acknowledge our past and strive each day to provide a safe, inclusive and equitable space no matter of race, sexual orientation, socio economic status, religion or background.”

Director of the Office of Greek Life Kristin Torrey did not respond to a request for a comment. However, a university spokesperson sent the following Feb. 18 statement to The Hustler. 

“Our Greek organizations are formed and led by our students, and we support those members’ right to make decisions about the future of their chapters,” the statement read. “We support the current members’ right to make the difficult decision to petition their national board to close their chapter at the end of the spring 2021 semester. As we do for all students, we will provide assistance to the members as needed during this time of transition, and as they continue their Vanderbilt experience.”