It was Spring 1987 and Ginger McGarity was really missing the sisterhood of Omega Phi Alpha. She had pledged at Texas A&M (Delta Chapter) and now, halfway across the country studying mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, Ginger was really missing her sisters. At the time, OPA had eight active chapters: Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Kappa, Lambda, and Mu. Ginger knew it was time to make nine.
She figured out how to reserve campus meeting space and how to leverage the campus post office box system for marketing. The post office employees wouldn’t distribute the fliers for her, but if each one was addressed (with pre-printed labels courtesy of the helpful Dean of Students office) they would allow Ginger to stuff them in the boxes herself. So she spent hours designing and copying fliers, attaching the address labels, and stuffing the mail boxes. Then she went to the meeting room (a classroom in Skiles) and waited for her future sisters.
No one showed up. Not one person. Ginger was crushed and humiliated. She couldn’t figure out why no one on campus realized what a great opportunity they were passing up, but she wasn’t going to open herself up for more rejection. She would just give up on bringing OPA to Georgia Tech.
Then someone called and apologized for missing the meeting, but asked for more information. (Thank goodness she had put her phone number on the flier!) And another person called. And another. Ginger discovered that she had inadverdently scheduled her informational meeting on the same night as the Regents Exam, and every sophomore on campus had to take the exam that night. At least that explained why the sophomores hadn’t shown up! She decided to schedule another meeting.
This time half a dozen girls showed up. They brought friends to the next meeting, and the interest group quickly morphed into the Georgia Tech colony. They started doing service projects with Girl Scouts and Georgia Public Television. They colony even sent a non-voting delegate to Convention 1987 in Bowling Green, Ohio – the first time a colony had ever been represented at a national convention. But over the summer, several colony members dropped out, driving Ginger to almost give up again. Luckily, the newly elected National Expansions Director Jan Titsworth talked her into yet another recruitment drive in the Fall of 1988 which more than doubled their size. The group had to do a lot of service projects that fall so their newly recruited members could meet the colonization service requirements, but they did it. It took almost a year, but twenty women completed all the requirements of colonization, becoming the founding mothers of the Nu Chapter of Omega Phi Alpha.
(Strange note: those colonization requirements did not include taking pledge quizzes or the national test. This created some awkward moments when they were trying to teach OPA policies and history to their first pledge class because some of the founding mothers didn’t know the material themselves! Nu Chapter sponsored legislation the next year to add the pledge education element to the colonization requirements outlined in the national constitution.)
Kathryn McCamy was the president during most of the colonization period and inspired this random collection of female students to work together toward their goal. Active sisters from Epsilon and Mu chapters, as well as alumnae from Tennessee, traveled to Atlanta to induct the new chapter. Twenty young OPA women wearing white dresses took the oath of membership in a room on the 2nd floor of the Georgia Tech student center. And just two years after being inducted, Nu Chapter hosted the rest of the sorority at the 1990 national convention, held right there on Georgia Tech campus.
Omega Phi Alpha Nu Chapter is the only community service sorority on Georgia Tech campus.