Jan Rhodes, director of fundraising and house construction of the Chattanooga Chi Omega House Corporation, said, “I can’t tell you how excited I am about this! Our active members have been without a home to hold their chapter meetings for such a long time. Now the actives and alums can enjoy a beautiful new home.”
Many local alumnae are excited, too.
Pam Fleenor said, “As an alum I cherish the wonderful memories and good times we had at the Chi Omega house in Fortwood. Sharing a house creates a lifelong bond. I am excited that we are breaking ground on this awesome new house so that Chi Omegas in the future can similarly experience a home away from home!”
Her sorority sister Hollie Kent agreed, saying, “Chi Omega was a very special part of my years at UTC. Lifelong friendships were created and nurtured there. It’s been sad for me in the more recent past that our house on Oak Street has been unable to keep up with the growth of the chapter, and it’s exciting for me to have this long anticipated groundbreaking for the beautiful new house on O’Neal Street!”
River Street Architecture designed the new home, and all involved agree it is outstanding. The new house will be even more appreciated after the pandemic.
Amy Bercher, president of the Chattanooga Chi Omega House Corporation explained, “College students today are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. For some, it’s the first time they have left home. They need a place where they can physically connect with each other. The new Chattanooga Chi Omega house will allow young women to support each other personally and academically in a home-like setting.”
Founded in 1895 at the University of Arkansas, Chi Omega is the largest women’s fraternal organization in the world with over 400,000 initiates, 181 collegiate chapters, and 248 alumnae chapters. And there are quite a few of these gals in the Chattanooga area.
“The current 228 Chi Omega Alumnae and Collegians living on Signal Mountain are celebrating a multi-year effort to construct a new home on the UTC campus. The house will be a meeting place of pride and community for education and scholarship endeavors, community engagement, and supportive Sisterhood. Beginning in college, the National organization encourages women to be life-long strong leaders and compassionate friends, as so many Chi Omegas have demonstrated in our Signal Mountain community,” said Claire Smith.
Jan Cooper added, “Becoming an active sister in Chi Omega was the icing on the cake during my years at UTC. I was part of a respected group that was filled with supportive sisters who valued scholarship and friendship and a huge dash of fun. So many of those sisters are still my best friends today. We had wonderful times at our house on Oak Street, and we are all so excited about building a beautiful new house on O’Neal Street for today’s Chi Omega sisters to enjoy!”
Melissa White sums up the feelings of thousands of Chi O’s beautifully, saying, “Groundbreaking on our new home has been a day we’ve dreamed of even before celebrating our chapter’s Centennial in 2019. Chi Omega members, both active and alumni, and friends have been lovingly dedicated to the cause and moving things forward despite a pandemic. One thing is for certain, when a Chi Omega and especially a group of Chi Omegas sisters, set their sight on a goal, it will be accomplished! I am so proud of how far we have come, grateful for our entire volunteer team and generous donors making this day possible, and thrilled to serve on the team pushing forward to the finish line! Let’s go, Sisters!”
by Ferris Robinson