God bless house moms. You know, those “adults” that live in our sorority houses and deal with all of the stuff we don’t want to, from the disaster the bathroom becomes after forty girls all black out on a Saturday night to figuring out a menu that suits 150 girls with every allergy known to man, from gluten to nuts to dairy. Oftentimes, these angels aren’t even members – just ladies who were looking for a job that provided room and board and had no idea what the hell they were signing up for.
But what if your house mom is a little bit extra special? So special that you, in fact, do want to make her a sister? Well, you can do what Alpha Chi Omega at Indiana University did, and initiate her.
74-year-old Beverly Feldmann has been the house mom at Alpha Chi for about five years. She never had the opportunity to join a sorority earlier in life, as that she lived in Europe with her children during the “traditional” college years and then attended the College of DuPage to receive a degree in massage therapy later on in life. She also was responsible for taking care of her husband, who had Alzheimer’s disease. So it’s no big surprise that sorority wasn’t a priority for her – until she returned to Bloomington (where she grew up) and came to live with the Alpha Chi sisters at IU. During the time that she has been house mom, she has seen how close the sisters are and decided she wanted to become a part of it. “It’s a bond that I don’t think you have elsewhere like you do here,” Beverly told The Indiana Daily Student.
The chapter members were happy to welcome “Mom Bev,” as they call her, into their sisterhood as an alumna initiate, a rather uncommon practice (although growing) among sororities. “It’s kind of unusual to have a house mom be so integrated into the culture of your house,” chapter president Claire McElwain told the Indiana Daily Student. “We kind of treat her like she’s kind of like the grandma of the house. We see her every day, and she keeps us running. She’s really special to us.”
And so the chapter initiated Feldmann on March 5 during what sounds like a sentimental ceremony. McElwain said, “It was really a big deal for all of us. We all cried a lot.”
It was a really big deal for Beverly, too: “To me, the sorority has a lot of really strong women. And I feel honored I get to be a part of that, as well.”