History

In January of 1895, a group of young women in the School of Music at the University of Southern California organized a local musical club. Shortly after, a wonderful opportunity was presented to them by a prominent member of Sigma Chi fraternity. A Sigma Chi in the East had approached his fraternity brother about the possibility of establishing a new sorority at USC. He had been in contact with a chapter of Alpha Chi Omega and learned of their desire to colonize on the campus. The local Sigma Chi brother conferred with a fellow member and together they outlined all the pros and cons of a new chapter and presented them to the women in this club. Needless to say, the young ladies were delighted and felt highly honored. Fortunately, one of the club members had a cousin in the Alpha chapter who helped facilitate the petition to establish the chapter. The process moved quickly and approval was granted June 16, 1895, for the Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega. Announcement cards were sent out to the other campus fraternities of Sigma Chi, Kappa Alpha Theta and Delta Gamma, and welcome receptions were given in their honor.

 

In 1898, the university faced grave financial difficulties. Epsilon, after initiating fourteen members in the first 3 years, became dormant until 1905. The other national chapters of Kappa Alpha Theta and Delta Gamma withdrew their charters. In October of 1905, several students on campus who were eager to form a sorority chapter consulted with the Dean. He knew that the women of Alpha Chi Omega had continued to hold meetings all this time which kept their sisterhood together and advised these students to meet with them. The Alpha Chi Omega Chapter was reestablished October 30, 1905.

The chapter leased a house near campus until 1940 when the beautiful Georgian Colonial house was built at 813 W. 28th Street. The house was designed to accommodate twenty-three girls and a private chapter room. The interior decoration followed a modern theme that was created by the well known designer Cannel & Chaffin. 

Panhellenic was organized in 1906 through the efforts of Alpha Chi Omega. National Panhellenic rules were established to govern the chapters on campus and the sorority women attended monthly meetings. A formalized program was developed to include charity work and exchange dinners which evolved into a more harmonious feeling among the houses. In addition, dancing was approved as a legitimate activity in the fraternity houses and a dean of women was appointed to chaperon these social affairs.

Today the Epsilon chapter house continues to reside at 813 W. 28th Street. The house was expanded in 1965 to accommodate up to 54 live in members. Alpha Chi Omega alumni visit the house regularly during football season, recruitment and throughout the year to reflect on the wonderful memories of sisterhood.