Eta Xi Chapter was founded at the University of California, Merced in Merced, California on April 25, 2009.
269 initiates (as of June 2018)
The University of California, Merced (also referred to as UC Merced or UCM), is the tenth campus of the prestigious University of California system. Located in the San Joaquin Valley in unincorporated Merced County, Calif., near the City of Merced, UC Merced was the first American research university to be built in the 21st century. UC Merced is diverse, growing and committed to those ideals that serve the state, nation and world through research, education and public service.
As the San Joaquin Valley was the state’s largest and most populous region without a UC campus, on May 19, 1988, the Regents of the University of California voted to begin planning for a campus in the region in response to increasing enrollment and growth constraints at existing UC campuses. On May 19, 1995, the Regents selected the Merced site, mid-way between Fresno and Modesto, as the location for the University of California’s tenth campus. The campus groundbreaking ceremony was held October 25, 2002, and the first day of class was September 6, 2005.
On May 16, 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama gave the commencement address for the university’s first full graduating class, marking her first public experience as First Lady. Four of the 28 charter members of Eta Xi Chapter, UC Merced, graduated as members of this inaugural class.
In 2009, this contemporary, sweeping, four-year-old, green campus of the University of California system sat in California’s Central Valley—the Gateway to Yosemite—where most students studied biology and environmental sciences. Commencement speaker First Lady Michelle Obama described UC Merced students as those who “know how to get what they want.” She charged the class of 2009 “…as the students who helped build this school…to make your legacy a lasting one.” The charter members of Eta Xi, looking to the legacy of our Kappa Founders, accomplished the charge of the first lady. She asked them to “dream big, think broadly about your life, and…make giving back to our community a part of that vision.”
In fall 2010, the new housing complex, known as The Summits, opened to provide residences for students. The two, four-story buildings, Tenaya Hall and Cathedral Hall, are reserved primarily for incoming freshmen. Colonization and Installation
In May 2008, a group of innovative women petitioned Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity for membership and, following Fraternity Council’s vote, Eta Xi Colony began to grow. Delta Delta Delta and Delta Gamma joined Kappa in the university’s first sorority recruitment.
Kappa welcomed a new member class of 28, and on April 25, 2009, these women became the charter members of Eta Xi Chapter. Simultaneously, the brand-new Central Valley Alumnae Association was born. This group of Kappas, residing from Stockton to Fresno, actively supports Eta Xi.
The installation team, led by Fraternity President Denise Rugani, UC Davis, joined chapter members from Fresno State, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Stanford, UC Santa Cruz and Santa Clara as well as Emily Langdon Nies, UC Davis, Coordinator of Chapter Development, and Pi Province alumnae for dessert and a gift presentation following the Fireside at the home of faculty adviser Catherine Redig Kniazewycz, UC Berkeley.
Kappa Kappa Gamma and Delta Gamma held their installations on April 25th, followed by a brunch on campus. Campus administrators, families, friends and newly installed members of Delta Gamma and Kappa joined in the celebration. Associate Vice Chancellor Dr. Charles Nies, Sigma Chi, and father of two Kappa daughters, challenged Kappas at UC Merced and across the continent: “In 1870, Kappa Kappa Gamma set fire to a movement among college women, a movement that has not lost its relevancy in today’s academy. It is my hope that your fraternity will continue to push the boundaries of age-old walls and will blow the glass off the ceiling that has limited women. The fleur-de-lis now has an identifiable role on our campus landscape—may this tradition of empowering women inspire our students and positively impact our campus community.”
Eta Xi will surely reflect the perseverance of our Founders and will enthusiastically meet the challenges offered by the campus community and the world today.
Information from chapter history reports, scholarship, group honors/awards, traditions, special events, changes on campus or within chapter, overall nature of the chapter, chapter goals, challenges and how they were overcome, etc.
During 2009, the chapter participated in several mixers with other Greek groups on campus such as a Greek dodge ball tournament, a Thanksgiving celebration dinner with Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Chi’s Derby Days which the chapter won.
The chapter built a strong relationship with the Central Valley alumnae. The chapter and association celebrated the Fraternity’s Founders Day together. At this celebration, the first Spirit of Kappa Award was presented to a chapter member. She was presented with a 60-year old badge which belonged to a local alumna.
Eta Xi engaged in several philanthropic events in the local community. It donated pencil boxes to the local Boys and Girls Club, hosted a Sock Hop dance event to benefit the women’s Valley Crisis Center and raised money through sales of hot chocolate and egg nog to donate to the Ronald McDonald House in Madera, Calif.
The chapter strengthened and celebrated its sisterhood through events such as the formal dance, the Sapphire Ball, as well as dinners and t-shirt making. To further develop the sisterhood among members, Hootie was awarded for many reasons varying from helping a sister keep up her grades to saving a member’s house after a bad plumbing situation.
Although the chapter was new, it became stronger every day as it engaged in new experiences such as recruitment and thrived as a chapter. Each member was diverse and eager to learn more about Kappa as the chapter created its own traditions. The members took satisfaction in developing a strong sense of leadership within the chapter, campus and community.
As a new chapter, the members faced many challenges that come with being the first to start something in a new environment. Not having an established foundation or model to look to at times flustered many members. However, having the chapter consultant to guide, support and uplift the members in times of confusion was just what was needed.
Four of the charter members graduated in June, and it was difficult for the remaining members to cope with their loss. Despite this complicated situation, the Kappas remained dedicated and united as a result of their strong bond of sisterhood.
During the spring semester of 2010, the chapter held its first formal recruitment which was successful. Following initiation, the members volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in Madera. The chapter took second place in Sigma Chi Derby Days and held a tri-sorority formal with the two other sororities on campus in April.
During the summer, several of our members attended the 2010 Fraternity Convention in Phoenix. Other members attended Leadership Academy in September. Again this year the chapter and alumnae association celebrated Founders Day together. This was a nice opportunity for the members to meet more of the alumnae.
The third-annual philanthropic Sock Hop raised $800, and, in the fall, Kappa Kandy Grams raised $300 for the United Way in Merced. The chapter was very active in Greek Week held by the Fraternity and Sorority Council, and we held a Kappa Koffee Break serving complimentary coffee and tea on campus during finals prep week. The Public Relations Chairman promoted Kappa FaculTEA break where each member took a cute tea bag to give to one of her professors to show her appreciation.
The UC Merced campus had grown. In 2010-2011, there were approximately 4,400 undergraduaates, more women (70) participated in formal recruitment and two men’s fraternities established chapters on the campus.
Eta Xi continued to strengthen itself while buiding and establishing its own reputation. New ideas and traditions were started while the chapter maintained a healthy Kappa lifestyle balancing academics, leadership roles, philanthropy and positive public relations in a mature and learning way.
Academic excellence is one of the chapter’s challenges. The VP Academic Excellence established incentives for members to put academics as their first priority. Each member set her own GPA goal at the begninning of the semester. At the close of the semester, those who made their goals were rewarded. Recognition was given for most improved grades and highest GPA. Kappa Kash was created to reward members who passed a big test. It could be redeemed for prizes, and an auction was held at the end of the semester.
Another challenge was participating with the Fraternity and Sorority Council (FSC). The council was disorganized, changed its bylaws frequently and failed to communicate. As positions opened on the council, chapter members were encouraged to apply. This way, Eta Xi became more involved in the decision-making for the Greek system and could hold it accountable to standards Kappa holds. At least one chapter member attended the FSC meeting with the chapter delegate. These steps helped the chapter become more involved in FSC at UC Merced.
We rang in the new year with the addition of 20 new members, 18 of whom were initiated. In February, Eta Xi attended its first ever Pi Province Convention held by the Delta Omega chapter in Fresno, CA. The chapter is proud to say we won an award for the amazing programming and organization that the Vice President of Organization, Heidi Zuniga, was able to orchestrate.
In early March, we had our Reading Is Key event where we visited the Boys and Girls Club in the local community to read to kids, engage in group activities with the different age groups, and donate the amount of books we collected. Each kid was able to take two books home with them. It was a very successful philanthropy event. In April, we were able to throw our annual Sapphire Ball. The event went off without a hitch, and Eta Xi is proud of how well the event went. Eta Xi chapter also hosted the first annual Spelling Key in the fall. In order to attend this event, people brought in childrens' books so that we could donate to the Boys and Girls Club. In October, we held our fourth annual Sock Hop where we raised $1000 for the local organization, Valley Crisis Center. Every year we hope to raise money for Sockhop by an increase of $200.
Campus: University of California, Merced has grown by an influx of campus buildings as well as an increased amount of students. With more students, Greek life has attempted to grow through more and more interest groups. A chapter of Order of Omega has been established on campus, and the chapter was founded by a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. We have many members who hold other leadership positions on campus.
Chapter: Our chapter grew this year, in terms of sisterhood and numbers. We gained 20 new members, pinned 19 of them and in April we proudly initiated 18 members. Our total number of members is 43.
One of the biggest challenges that were faced in the year 2011 was academics. After having been put on an Academic focus plan to raise the chapter GPA above the All Sorority Average in Spring of 2011, Eta Xi was able to raise its GPA above the average and was taken off of the Academic plan. We were able to use different incentives to get women to study harder for their grades such as Kappa Kash for Good Grade Reports of As and Bs as well as banquet for the women who received a GPA over a 3.0 the previous semester. Kappa Kash is an incentive that was originally created by one of the VP-AEs to reward our women for good grade reports, however, over time, we started to hand out Kappa Kash for a variety of different reasons. For example, addressing the chapter correctly during chapter meeting, or dressing up on our formal dress days. Kappa Kash is basically paper money, which we hold an auction for at the end of each semester that auctions off items such as Kappa gear, gift cards, etc. This has helped our chapter be motivated to attend events, whether mandatory or optional.
After a beautiful recruitment featuring "Ain't No hood like Sisterhood" and "Kappa's Greatest Hits," we started the year 2012 with the addition of 22 new members, 19 of whom were initiated and one of whom continued as a new member to be initiated Spring 2013. Starting off the semester right, we spent our first sisterhood hanging out and participating in Bounce House races.
Eta Xi had its first Tri-sorority philanthropy event, with Delta Delta Delta and Delta Gamma, called a Sweet Affair where we raised over $300 dollars to each groups philanthropy. In early March, we had our Reading Is Key event where we visited the Boys and Girls Club in the local community to read to kids, engage in group activities with the different age groups, and donate the amount of books we collected. Also in March, Kappa had its annual New Member Retreat as well as our active crash where we teach the new members songs and chants and hang out for about 10 minutes. Later in March, we had our Big and Little Reveal that showed off the bonds of friendship that our chapter creates for eternities. We were honored to have Joanie Cohen come to our chapter as a Kappa Trainer to show not only our chapter but all social Greek chapters how to be a Better Greek. In April, our 3rd annual Sapphire Ball went on without a hitch, and Eta Xi is proud of how well our event went. With Sad farewells in May, 14 of our chapter graduated. Over the summer our vice-President of Standards, Adariana Garcia, was sent to Convention in Florida and was able to bring us home an award for our Signature Philanthropy Event Sock Hop.
In August. We invited a third of our chapter to our Academic Banquet which celebrates those with GPAs over a 3.00 or 3.14 depending on the semester. Our second annual Spelling Key in September saw us raise over $200. In October, we held our fifth annual Sock Hop where we raised $800 for the local Women's Crisis Center; the chapter held our first ever Alcohol Awareness event that helped raised alcohol safety on campus; and last but not least we held Founders Day in Modesto for the first time which saw an increase of alumnae attendance. Our goals for the 2012 year were to increase academic standing as well as to continue fostering growth in each member through leadership and friendship. One of our biggest challenges has been academics, and we are slowly overcoming that by more and more positive enforcement of good grades. This has been something that the chapter spends energy on improving and growing. Another challenge has been spreading ourselves to thin by going to other chapter's events. We are learning to curb that impulse to do everything by limiting the girls that do attend events and also emphasizing time management.
Our campus has changed for the better during the year of 2012. The campus has added a new building for more classes as well as starting the construction for new science buildings and a five story building for our on-campus students. The school is growing in numbers as well making it more difficult to obtain needed classes but also encourages more people to go through recruitment. Our Fraternity and Sorority Life has grown by having two chapters Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. and Gamma Zeta Alpha installed onto our campus with FSC and Student Affairs approval.
In Spring of 2013, Eta Xi continued expanding this year with 31 new members, 30 of which were initiated. Our first sisterhood event involved bonding by playing get-to-know-you games and creating Kappa-themed headbands. With the help of our Philanthropy committee, we partnered with the Girl Scouts of the America to sell girl scout cookies on campus and managed to raise over $500 in the first day of selling. We were also able to partner with the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program and host an event on the UC Merced campus for students to donate their hair. Our annual Sapphire Ball this year was held at the Branding Iron for the first time with a Parisian theme. This year our annual visit with the Boys and Girls Club was held on Earth Day; and Kappas had the opportunity to garden plants and spend time interacting with children of all ages. During the Greek Gala held in May, we won two awards for our outstanding university relations and scholarship. The first all-sorority mixer in the history of UC Merced was also held in May, where we were joined by the ladies of Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, and Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Inc. for a day at the park with tons of games and a beautiful lunch. Our chapter has strived to stand out on campus and make our presence known by joining several new social media websites, such as instagram and twitter. We have continued with our goals of academic success in Eta Xi, and this year we ranked number one out of all fraternities and sororities on the Greek Grade report with a 2.819 GPA for Spring semester. We also had the largest percentage of members on the Dean’s List, with 22.54% As the Spring 2013 semester came to an end, we said farewell to 14 graduates and wished them luck as they embarked on their alumnae journeys.
Eta Xi had a very busy yet successful 2013 Fall Semester. To start off the semester, we held an event on August 29th called Under the Sea with KKG in the cat quad. We had a game booth for people to win goldfish and had other activities to welcome back students. Our annual Kappa Kandyland tabling event was held on September 4th outside of OSL where we passed out candy and to students throughout the day.
On September 13th our AE chair held an Academic Banquet to celebrate those in the chapter who achieved a 3.0 GPA the previous spring semester. On September 20th our Philanthropy chair held our first ever Katcha Katha Frisbee event where Greek organizations and other students on campus created teams and played in an ultimate Frisbee tournament. On October 11th we had a mixer with Omega Delta Phi Fraternity Inc. starting with a service event with the Early Childhood Education center in the morning, and having the mixer later that afternoon. Founder’s day lunch was held on October 13th at the Branding Iron restaurant.
October 19th our chapter was invited to table at PAA’s annual Barrio Fiesta event on campus. October 21-25th our chapter participated in Kappa Sigma’s first “Kappa Sigma’s Most Wanted Week.” During the same week on October 25th, our award winning philanthropy event “Sock Hop” was held. The next day we had our annual sisterhood event at the pumpkin patch, and the following week from the 27th through November 1st our LC Mary Beth came to visit. From November 12th-15th Eta Xi was partnered with SAE for this years Greek Week that involved various competitive events throughout the week, where we won first place. On November 15th Eta Xi co-hosted a Karaoke Night with PAA that was welcome to all students on campus. On November 22nd Eta Xi co-hosted UC Merced’s first ever Bare Necessities Run which was held in honor of reaching our fundraising goal for Promise for Education to help fund the University of California schools. On the same night, we had our annual thanksgiving mixer with Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
On December 4th, we held our annual Kappa Koffee Break in the bobcat layer before finals and offered free coffee and other snacks to students. To finish off the semester, On December 5th we participated in FSC’s Meet the Greek’s housing event where we got to meet and talk toPNM’s. Eta Xi had an incredibly busy semester, and adding to all of our accomplishments, Eta Xi finished the highest Fall GPA amongst all other Greek organizations. Also this year, Janine Fernandez was chosen as Kappa Sigma’s Star, Ashley Sigel was chosen as a Sigma Alpha Epsilon Violet, and Leah Beza was chosen as Sigma Chi’s Sweetheart. At the beginning of our spring 2014 semester we had a recruitment of 40 new members.
During the Fall 2013 semester, our campus grew tremendously. The UC Merced campus opened a brand new housing building called Half Dome that is five stories tall and is open to upper classmen as well as freshman. We also had a new student class classroom building open called the SSB (Student Services building). In construction currently is a brand new amphitheater and a second science and engineering building.
Eta Xi started the exciting fall 2014 semester with welcoming week tabling on the date of 28th of August, and on the date of September 5th, we hosted a welcome week event for anyone who is interested in going Greek, and it was our Kappa Kool Down event at the bowl for anyone who wanted to get away from the summer sun.
On the 11th of September, we had an event, “Scoops for Troops” which was collaborated with the veteran club on campus where we sold ice cream to raise funds that was completely donated to the wounded warriors. We also had our Academic Excellence Banquet at Toni’s Courtyard Cafe on the 13th of September to celebrate the hard work the ladies had put in for the past semester. The 19th of September, a few of our athletic sisters participated in the Sigma Chi volleyball tournament. On the 20th of September, we had our Chapter retreat to Santa Cruz, despite the accident that happened on our way there, we were able to handle it efficiently and minimized any sort of further damages.
We welcomed our LC Lauren to our chapter during the week of October 5th to help us to improve our chapters in many different ways possible, and also October the 6th marked the beginning of Kappa Sigma’s Most Wanted Week and our chapter participated in the week-long event that helped to raise funds for Kappa Sigma’s philanthropy, the wounded warrior home. Our education chair, Jasmin Blas held our fabulous Founder’s day at Vista Ranch and Cellar on the 11th of October. On the 17th of October, we had our very first Kappa Kup, human foosball tournament and the purpose of the event was to raise money and awareness for our very own philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental.
On the 24th of October, we had our very own and exciting mixer with Omega Delta Phi, and we also had an exciting event Carnival of Pink throughout the day and were collaborating with Kappa Sigma and helped to raise awareness on breast cancer. We also competed in a powderpuff competition event that was held by Delta Delta Delta. And on October 25th, we had our annual Pumpkin Patch sisterhood event which was held by our wonderful event chairman, Katrina.
On the 27th of October, we joined the Fraternity and Sorority Council for the Sisterhood Soiree for any women who were interested in becoming part of Greek. Our very own Nomination Committee presented the slates of new officers for the year of 2015 to the chapter on November 2nd. We as a whole participated in the Greek Week that was organized by FSC to promote Greek unity with Omega Delta Phi in the week of November 3rd. We also held our very first Kappa Kookoff Chili contest for the first time in the light of the accident and hoping to help out our sisters in need. The following date, November 16th, we voted and finalized the positions of officers as a chapter during our formal chapter meeting. On the 21st of November, we also had our amazing and exciting Thanksgiving Mixer with Sigma Alpha Epsilon. On December 1st, we finished the officer installation during our last formal chapter of the semester. Before the stressful finals week, on the 5th of November, we held our very first distress sisterhood event and the event definitely brought all of us closer and strengthened the bond of sisterhood. We ended our amazing semester at UC Merced with the budget presentation during chapter on the date of December 7th.