WKU sorority won organization’s highest award

At the Alpha Omicron Pi international convention, Grace Johnson, chapter president; Claire Schneider, vice president of finance; Lauren Elliott, former chapter president; Alivia Maxwell, new member educator; and Abbey Norvell, To Dragma reporter and assistant vice president of finance, stand with the Jessie Wallace Hughan cup they had just won. The JWH Cup is given to the sorority’s top chapter.

Lily Burris

WKU’s chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi was named the nation’s most outstanding among the sorority’s 143 chapters in the United States and Canada earlier this month.

The Alpha Chi chapter of AOPi won the Jessie Wallace Hughan Cup, which is awarded once every two years, at AOPi’s international convention. 

Winning the JWH Cup, named after one of AOPi’s founders, requires a chapter to excel in a variety of areas, including philanthropy, academics and sisterhood. 


To announce who won the award, part of the recipient’s application is read aloud.

“When you hear some of the words that you wrote and when they’re reflecting back on things that we have done in the biennium, it was just really surreal that this was about us and that this was an award about Alpha Chi at WKU,” said Lauren Elliot, former president and a 2019 graduate from Bowling Green.

Grace Johnson, the new president of AOPi and a biology senior from Mount Sterling, couldn’t believe that the chapter’s application was being read. She said that there’s a video of her asking “Are you sure?” as the application was being read.

“It was just complete disbelief, pride,” said Johnson. “We definitely worked extremely hard. I wouldn’t say that I felt like we deserved it, but we definitely put in the work.”

As a part of working toward the JWH Cup, the chapter had to work toward Standards of Excellence in many areas to achieve one of three Levels of Excellence. WKU’s chapter is at the Ruby level, which is the highest level.

Debi Wade Jordan, who is on the Alumnae Advisory Council for Alpha Chi and a 1982 WKU AOPi graduate, said that she can’t remember the last time this chapter wasn’t at Ruby level. Jordan also said that this is at least the third time the chapter has won the award in the last 20 years.

“It just doesn’t get any better than that,” Jordan said. “It is what you strive for every two years.”

AOPi won the Karen Towell Sisterhood Award at WKU during Greek Week. Elliott said that she wanted AOPi to win both KT and the JWH Cup during her senior year.

“I was like ‘Oh my gosh, how crazy would that be?’” said Elliott.

Elliott said she knew it had been a possibility but couldn’t believe it when it happened.

AOPi’s philanthropy is the Arthritis Foundation, and last year, the sorority had two philanthropic events. In the fall, they did a step show called Stomp Out Arthritis, and in the spring, they had a bowling event called Strike Out Arthritis. Johnson said that last year the chapter raised over $20,000 for the Arthritis Foundation.

“We’re really passionate about raising money for this foundation which benefits juvenile arthritis camps and it benefits actual research into arthritis itself,” Johnson said.

News reporter Lily Burris can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @lily_burris.