In early 1897, five young women attending San Jose High School formed the Greek Organization Alpha Chapter of Omega Nu. They spent a great deal of time hosting luncheons, dances and tea parties. Members of the Alpha Chapter aided in the establishment of chapters in Stockton, Santa Cruz, Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Alameda, and as far north as Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington before laws outlawed secret sororities on high school campuses. Not to be deterred, the Alpha Chapter sought out young matrons as members and the society evolved from a strictly social group to a more charity minded organization.
At the Conclave in 1914, Grand President Georgy Landsborough from Sacramento called upon all chapters to “maintain a special aim for the sorority, namely charity…and that it is up to us to show our critical friends, through the excellent work that we can do along this line that we can be a blessing to the community in which we exist.”
Distance, war and anti-fraternity laws impacted several out-of-state chapters. Thus, since the early 1920’s, Northern California has been home to thirteen (now twelve) extremely active Omega Nu chapters; each distinct within their community but with charity remaining the first and foremost focus of the various chapters.
One hundred and twenty years of charity includes food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas time, donating money and services to the Community Chest (now United Way), Red Cross, American Field Service, American Cancer Society, Alzheimer’s, Salvation Army, Boy and Girl Scouts, Special Olympics, AIDS, abused women’s shelters, children’s crisis centers, Meals on Wheels and many other organizations which have needed our help over the years. Omega Nu also provides clothes for destitute families, dental and eye care for young people and contributes money, services and materials to all levels of the educational system. Many chapters also give scholarships to high school graduates, college students and re-entry students to help finance their college education.
Each year the twelve active chapters of Omega Nu compile a journal of all the activities we have taken part in. The number of organizations which have benefited from our years of philanthropic commitment is unbelievable! In the last fifty years, we have given back to our communities over four million dollars. Besides dollars, our members have also contributed countless hours of their own time and a vast amount of energy, fulfilling the needs of those less fortunate. But more importantly, we have been able to make a difference!