Eta Sigma Chapter was founded at Chapman University in Orange, California on April 19-20, 2013.
441 Initiates (as of June 2018)
Chapman University, one of California’s oldest private universities, is a private, non-profit university located in Orange, Calif., affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Founded as Hesperian College in Woodland, Calif., the school began classes on March 4, 1861. Hesperian admitted students of both sexes and all races—a radical educational concept at that time. In 1920, the assets of Hesperian College were absorbed by California Christian College, which held classes in downtown Los Angeles. In 1934, the school was renamed after the chairman of its board of trustees (and primary benefactor), Charles Clarke Chapman.
In 1965, Chapman took undergraduate education to the high seas when it began running World Campus Afloat, the program that would eventually become Semester at Sea. Known for its blend of liberal arts and professional programs, Chapman University encompasses seven schools and colleges: Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences, George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics, Schmid College of Science, College of Performing Arts, School of Law and College of Educational Studies. Chapman University had 6,398 students in 2011 when it marked its 150th anniversary. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapman_University - cite_note-3
In November 2011, Chapman University opened the campus for extension, and Kappa and two other groups were invited to make presentations to the campus extension committee headed by Alli Segal, Assistant Director for Student Affairs. The presentation team included Fraternity President Julie Marine Leshay, Colorado College; Fraternity Director of Programs and Education Beth Uphoff Black, Illinois Wesleyan; Colonization Chairman and Ritual Chairman Susanne Wolff Vander Heyden, Washington State; Regional Director of Alumnae Region 3 Linda Price Patton, Oklahoma State; Regional Director of Chapters Region 4 Ella Gaumer, UC Riverside; and, from Fraternity Headquarters, Social Media & Communications Specialist Claire Davis, Auburn.
Upon accepting the invitation to colonize at Chapman University May 3, 2012, Kappa Kappa Gamma joined a Panhellenic community which included Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Phi, Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Gamma, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta and Phi Sigma Sigma.
Members of the Colonization team included the following Kappas: Colonization Chairman, Susanne Vander Heyden; Regional Director of Chapters Region 7 Hannah Meehan Spector, Utah; Regional Director of Chapters Region 4 Ella Gaumer; Regional Director of Chapters Region 6 Angela Disalvo, Iowa; Province Director of Alumnae Kappa South Beth Bartle Greulich, San Jose State; Province Director of Chapters Kappa Central Deanne Palmer, Colorado; Province Director of Chapters Kappa North Lauren Nogy, UC San Diego; Province Director of Chapters Kappa South Jessica Klepper, Washington; Leadership Consultants Britt Nelson, Colorado, and Charlotte Rhodes, SMU; and Local Installation Chairman Mary Ruddick Silzel, Whitman.
Recruitment took place February 13-16, 2013. Prior to the colonization recruitment, Director of Membership Susan Pile, Miami (Ohio) and Assistant to the Director of Membership Melissa Shearer, Vanderbilt, conducted a conference call to plan for the membership selections sessions. This conversation brought everyone together to reinforce the common vision and reminded participants of the seriousness of this process. On February 16, 2013, 106 women at Chapman University accepted bids to become charter members of Eta Sigma Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
The chapters that participated in the colonization recruitment were UC Riverside, USC (Calif.) and San Diego. The Coordinator of Chapter Development for Chapman was Kylee Garton, UCLA. The theme for recruitment was Be Kappa Chapman.
Colonization Chairman Susanne Wolff Vander Heyden coordinated the assignments for alumnae as well as flowers and planning with the Chapman catering department. Eta Sigma Chapter Consultant Andrea Schug, Minnesota, and Leadership Consultants Brittany Nelson, Colorado, Charlotte Rhodes, SMU, and Haley Smith, William& Mary coordinated the communication with the Potential New Members during recruitment. The following Fraternity Headquarters staff members assisted: Fraternity Director of Marketing & Communications Ashley Gilbert Moyer, Purdue, Fraternity’s contact with Chapman’s College Panhellenic; Fraternity Marketing & Communications Specialist Claire Davis, Auburn, responsible for audio-visual arrangements, interview scheduling, legacy verification and the details of voting; Fraternity Membership Services Chapter Support representative Libbi Rettew, Virginia Tech, coordinated matters involving Fraternity Headquarters and formal pledging. The recruitment events included open houses, interviews and a preference party. Following the pledging ceremony, the colonization team departed with smiles knowing they were part of history and had been part of a job well done The theme for colonization was Be Kappa Chapman.
Members of the Installation team included: Installation Chairman Carol George Sanders, Cal State Northridge; Fraternity President Julie Leshay; Director of Standards Sharon Pickrell Gober, Oklahoma State; Eta Sigma Chapter Consultant Andrea Schug; Regional Director of Chapters Region 7 Hannah Spector; Regional Director of Alumnae Region 7 Vikki Haag Day, Whitman; Regional Director of Chapters Region 6 Angela Disalvo; Province Director of Chapters Kappa North Carroll Gommel Mueller, Arizona; Province Director of Chapters Kappa Central Deanna Palmer; Province Director of Chapters Kappa South Jessica Klepper; Publications Copy Editor Vicki Hill Carrigan, UC Riverside; Fraternity Ritual Chairman & Chapman Colonization Chairman, Susanne Vander Heyden; Eta Sigma Coordinator of Chapter Development Kylee Garton, UCLA;. Fraternity Extension Chairman Barbara Goettelman; and Local Installation Chairman Mary Silzel.
The Fireside was held April 20, 2013, at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orange. The service was led by Director of Standards Sharon Pickrell Gober.
Following the Fireside service, gifts from alumnae associations and chapters throughout the country were presented to the chapter. Orange County Alumnae Association (OCAA) President Jeanette Justus, Missouri, received Barbara Bradshaw Sillesen’s, DePauw, badge. She said, “It is an honor to accept from OCAA member Libby Sillesen Fuller, UC Davis, this badge that belonged to Libby’s mother, Barbara Sillesen, and present it to the Eta Sigma president tonight and pin it on her tomorrow after the installation. Barbara was widely known throughout Orange County as Foothill High School’s top counselor and a vigorous proponent of a college education. She was president of the Southern Orange County Alumnae Association as well as serving in other offices. She was actively involved in UC Irvine’s colonization and served on its house board for many years. Barbara was highly respected by all colleges and universities in the area, including Chapman, for being such an effective counselor and inspiration for students. She always knew the outstanding women graduates in Central Orange County and made sure that Kappa knew where they were headed! We can thank Barbara for helping us pledge some great Kappas. Barbara was a truly stellar Kappa and role model for Eta Sigma women. When you wear Barbara’s badge, hold high the honor of Kappa, tempering word and deed according to the influence they will have. When you wear the key, give in all things the best that you have.”
The next morning, the installation service was held at the Grand Street Center in Orange. The UC Riverside and USC (Calif.) chapters served as sponsor chapters for Chapman and took part in the service. This installation was very special for five initiates whose mothers are Kappas and shared the weekend with them.
Following the installation, a lovely luncheon was held at The Villa banquet facilities in Orange. The buffet-style luncheon was attended by 230 Kappas, parents and friends. Fraternity Extension Chairman Barb Goettelman was the luncheon speaker and master of ceremonies. Alli Segal, assistant director for student affairs at Chapman, attended and welcomed Kappa to the campus on behalf of the administration. Chapman Panhellenic President Samantha Cressey, Delta Gamma, also attended.
Orange County Alumnae Association President Jeanette Justus, Missouri, presented the President’s Badge to Eta Sigma’s first chapter president, Hayley Chandler, who was also the chapter’s first affiliated member. Hayley was initiated at the University of Arizona, transferred to Chapman, affiliated and was elected president of the chapter.
Jeanette said, “This badge belonged to Barbara Sillesen and was presented by her daughter, Libby Fuller, both members of OCAA and role models for Eta Sigma women. When I wear my badge, I think of Kappa—the True, the Beautiful and the Good. Goodness is the quality everyone has in her heart to shine through the toughest situations. It is genuine caring and sharing of the self unselfishly. Goodness makes us capable of friendship and happiness through a constant striving to live each day to its fullest. Goodness cannot hide because it is what keeps us together. It allows us a humble acceptance of our failures and those of others, and it presents itself in all acts of kindness. Goodness must be displayed wholeheartedly in order to be seen.
The model chapter meeting was held at Covenant Presbyterian Church following the installation luncheon. Fraternity President Julie Leshay preformed the opening ritual and presided until the Chapter President Hayley Chandler was installed. She presided during the remainder of the meeting and performed the closing ritual. The ritual review and meeting instructions were given by Fraternity Ritual Chairman Susanne Vander Heyden. Previous information provided by 2010-2014 Fraternity Extension Chairman Barb Adams Goettelman, Syracuse.
In the first year of the Eta Sigma chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Chapman University took two classes, the original Charter Class and in fall, the Alpha Class. When the chapter was colonized, the Charter Class bonded and held a Brandy Melville sisterhood, their first formal, and prepared for their first formal recruitment!
After fall recruitment, Eta Sigma welcomed the largest pledge class on campus, and began integrating them into the sisterhood. We participated in Gamma Phi Beta’s Airbands show, FIJI’s Turkey Bowl, and Kappa Alpha Theta’s KAT walk philanthropies, as well as putting on our own philanthropic event, Kappa Klassroom, where different greek organizations on campus competed in challenges to be named the “wisest owl.” We were part of the Orange County Breast Cancer Walk, and on a smaller scale to complete 15 required community service hours, sisters volunteered at a local elementary school and at another organization, Operation School Bell.
Since we have been a new chapter, one of the main objectives we’ve focused on is creating lists of words we would like associated with us as a whole, such as classy, genuine, and diverse. We also conducted our second full cycle of elections and elected a new chapter council! Finally, we were a part of Greek Week at Chapman, held a semi formal, and are looking forward to Spring Recruitment! !!!
Our chapter itself has been a change on campus, as we colonized in the Spring of 2013, and since then we have focused on building our sisterhood as well as integrating ourselves into campus. Eta Sigma is a diverse, supportive, and exciting chapter to be a part of, and since colonization has participated in most Greek life events as well as philanthropic endeavors off campus.
In May 2013, chapter members Kira Weiner and Annaliese Baker were honored as two of the ten freshmen to receive Chapman’s Outstanding First-Year Award.
Spring 2014 Membership The Eta Sigma chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma started Spring Semester at Chapman University off with an extremely successful Spring Recruitment. After a week of informal recruitment events such as “Kappa Kappaccinos”, “S’Mores with Sisters” and “Kick Up Your Heels with Kappa” Eta Sigma welcomed in an amazing Beta Class.
Our New Membership Chairman and her committee planned “The Kappa Games” a Hunger Games themed Bid Day in celebration of the Beta Class at a nearby park. The chapter as a whole played many bonding games and enjoyed lunch together from an InAndOut food truck.
Philanthropy The Spring Semester brought on many philanthropic opportunities for Eta Sigma. On March, 8th 2014 we hosted women from the Orange County Alumni Association for luncheon entitled “LoyalTea”, raising money to apply for Girls Academy and building our relationship with the Alumni Association. With the success of LoyalTea, Eta Sigma and OCAA have plans to host similar events in the future.
Eta Sigma was also very involved in the philanthropy events hosted by other chapters on Chapman’s campus to assist in the fundraising for their philanthropies as well as to bond with the Greek Community. These included:
● Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s “Chapman Idol” (2nd Place)
● PI Kappa Alpha’s “Chapman Olympics”
● Phi Sigma Sigma’s “Phi Set Spike”
● Delta Gamma’s “Anchor Splash”
● Delta Tau Delta’s “Delta Queen”
● Beta Theta Pi’s “March Madness”
Outside of Chapman the ladies of Eta Sigma were highly involved in philanthropic endeavors in the Orange County and Los Angeles. Each member logged 10 hours of philanthropy. Some philanthropic events included:
● “Standup for the Cure Paddle Board”
● Operation School Bell
● St. Jude
● Walk For Wishes
● Chapman’s Relay For Life
Events Eta Sigma’s Events Chairman and her committee were busy last Spring planning exceptional events for our chapter. The first event of the semester was our Sapphire Masquerade formal. This was a night of dancing and celebrating our senior members who were graduating in just a few months. The event included a dance floor and photo booth to keep the night fun and exciting.
The second event hosted by Eta Sigma was our Date Party called Kappa Olympics. Our sisters dressed up in sports themed outfits with their dates and celebrated the night with fun games and activities.
Other events included sorority swaps with other sororities on campus as well exchanges with Chapman fraternities.
Sisterhood Eta Sigma went into the Spring semester with goals to continue growing as a sorority as well as a sisterhood. With these goals in mind our Vice President of Standards and her committee put on a wide array of sisterhoods to foster sisterly bonding and chapter appreciation. For our all chapter retreat the chapter went to a local beach to bond and share a meal together.
To continue fostering sister bonding Eta Sigma has “Kappa Kompliments,” a private Facebook page, where sisters can anonymously send in compliments, words of encouragement, and any other positive messages that will then be submitted for the chapter to view. The Spring marked a full calendar year of Eta Sigma being on Chapman’s campus. The chapter was able to successfully become a part of the chapman Greek Community as well as become close as sisters.
Fall 2014 Summary Membership Eta Sigma started Fall 2014 off with another amazing recruitment. We were able to welcome a fantastic Gamma class. Our Membership Chairman and our chapter were able to put on a flawless recruitment that brought the chapter closer as a whole and also helped start the year off with a bang!
Our New Membership Chairman and her committee hosted another exceptional Bid Day. The chapter and our new Gamma Class went to a nearby restaurant to enjoy food, a photobooth, the beautiful sunset, and of course get to know the new Gamma Class! The celebration had an “American” theme, and the chapter sported shirts saying “KKG, The American Dream”.
Philanthropy Knowing that we would be hosting Girls Academy in Spring 2015 Eta Sigma eagerly began our philanthropic work. The first philanthropy event put on by Eta Sigma was Kappa Karnival. We welcomed other chapters in the Greek Community to take part in a carnival to fundraise for Girls Academy.
Eta Sigma also took part in other chapters’ philanthropy events such as:
● Gamma Phi Beta’s “Air Bands” (3rd Place)
● Kappa Alpha Theta’s “KatWalk” (1st Place in Sororities/3rd Place Overall”)
● Alpha Phi’s “Mr. University”
● Alpha Gamma Delta’s “So You Think You Can DiaBEAT This”
The women of Eta Sigma also individually logged 10 philanthropy hours. Sisters becameinvolved in a variety of philanthropies in the surrounding area of Chapman.
Events Our Events Chairman and her committee were able to put on many wonderful events this past semester. One of the highlights was our Kappa Kabanna Semi Formal. This tropical themed semiformal was a blast for our sisters as well as friends.
Eta Sigma also put on many events with other fraternities and sororities. One highlight was an exchange with the Phi Delta Theta fraternity where we played laser tag.
We were also able to co-host Founders Day with University of California at Riverside. This was a great experience for initiated members, as well as a great way for our newest members to see how much Kappa Kappa Gamma means to so many women. Our events brought us all closer together in a fun and exciting environment.
Sisterhood With such a large pledge class our chapter grew substantially this Fall. In order to keep our chapter close and make sure everyone felt that they had found their home within Eta Sigma our chapter hosted a variety of sisterhoods and events. These included sisterhoods such as backyard movie nights, attending a trampoline gym, crafting with sisters, and many other small events that foster chapter bonding. Eta Sigma sisters also took part in Greek Week. We worked as a team to represent Kappa and support our fellow Greek Members. One of the major sisterhoods was our chapter retreat that doubled as Big/Little Reveal. With the whole chapter coming together to attend this one event everyone was able to see how great it is to have such an amazing group of women as our sisters and friends.
Challenges/Goals Eta Sigma was challenged to become closer as a sisterhood as well as to work on understanding and knowing ritual. By hosting sisterhoods and fostering chapter involvement Eta Sigma has become much closer. Our Marshall also worked on ritual review with initiated members and we were able to put on a flawless initiation ceremony.
Campus Changes/Nature of Eta Sigma Chapman University is constantly making changes. Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council made changes to Greek Week by pairing each sorority up with a fraternity. This was great for Eta Sigma because it gave us an opportunity to meet more members of the Greek Community. More so, a new sorority will be coming to Chapman this Spring, this has been a great opportunity for Eta Sigma to reflect on what it means to be a newer sorority on campus and how we would like to present ourselves in the Greek Community. As a whole Eta Sigma is a group of women who are proud and excited to be members of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Chapter Meetings and Housing The Eta Sigma chapter holds meetings as well as our events on Chapmans campus. The chapter does not have a house.
Women Behind The Badge Members with Historical Badges: Kelsey Leach has her grandmother’s pin from 1952. She was in the Gamma Alpha Chapter at Kansas State.
Emmy Gyori also has her grandmother’s pin from when she was a Kappa at University of Arizona.
The Eta Sigma chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma started our fall semester with an extremely successful formal recruitment. Rooted in Kappa values, our chapter took one of the largest Fall 2015 pledge classes at Chapman, exceeding quota by 4 women. Leading up to recruitment, the Eta Sigma chapter put many hours into practice and preparation which started in late spring. This included our chapter retreated called Kappa Kamp. The entire chapter headed to the Gamma Xi Chapter at UCLA to spend a night in their beautiful house. This gave our members the experience of living together, and an opportunity to leave the Chapman community to be with just our Kappa sisters. A successful recruitment, and fantastic new pledge class, was an amazing start to the semester.
The 2015 calendar year was a busy philanthropic time for Eta Sigma. Within the first week of the spring semester the chapter hosted Kappa Kloset, which sold donated clothes to raise money for Girls Academy. Not soon after the event, in April, Eta Sigma had the honor of hosting our first Girls Academy. Our sisters came together as role models, friends, and leaders to provide an inspiring weekend for 50 local middle school girls. Our fall philanthropy event was a great way for our new Delta class to experience Kappa’s philanthropy first hand. Our Kappa Karnival hosted the local Orange community offering carnival games and food. The event also had carnival games in which each of the other Greek chapters on campus could compete against each other. The event was not only a fundraising success, but also a great way to show the Greek community Kappa’s value of philanthropy. Throughout the calendar year, Eta Sigma also took part in all of the philanthropic events held on campus by the other Chapman chapters. During which, our chapter took third place in Delta Gamma’s Anchor Splash, first place in Alpha Phi’s Mr. University, and first place in Phi Sigma Sigma’s Phi Set Spike.
A major goal the Eta Sigma chapter had for the 2015 calendar year was to bring our sisterhood closer together and raise chapter moral throughout the year. This was achieved through many sisterhoods, events and exciting chapter meetings. Eta Sigma had two formal events in 2015, the spring Black Tie Affair event included an In-N-Out food truck and all guests were encouraged to wear either black or white. The chapter’s fall semi-formal was held on a boat, which cruised the Long Beach bay. The events were truly magical. In the fall, sisters were able to invite a special woman in their life to “Ladies Who Brunch.” Women brought their mothers, sisters and friends to this beautiful event which showcased the close sisterhood of Eta Sigma. Standards Committee put on a variety of sisterhoods, which included yoga, rock climbing and bowling. These sisterhoods gave the Eta Sigma members an opportunity to spend time together in a fun and casual way. With the goal of keeping chapter moral high, Chapter Council members worked to make Sunday meetings fun, concise, and organized. Making sure chapter meetings were efficient and enjoyable was a major part in increasing moral. We were able to shorten meeting times by electronically taking roll through student ID cards, keeping announcements organized and well prepared as well as having interesting speakers such as a personal stylist come to chapter. Eta Sigma has grown so much since its first year at Chapman and was awarded the Chapman Greek Award for Chapter Growth. Eta Sigma has proven to be a strong chapter that can only continue to grow. Describe the recent changes on your campus and describe the overall nature of your chapter. Chapman University recently announced a shift to deferred spring recruitment. This change in recruitment will change the nature of Chapman Greek Life. With this major change in mind, Chapter Council worked to brainstorm the many ways in which spring recruitment will have an effect on our chapter in both positive, and negative ways. To best prepare for the Spring 2017 recruitment Chapter Council discussed a new budget to accommodate the shift in payments, ways in which each Chapter Council position will need to be altered, as well as a discussion of future officer transitions to make sure there is a smooth officer change during such a busy time. These discussions will continue on with the new Chapter Council to insure that Eta Sigma continues to have successful recruitments. Overall, the shift to spring recruitment will put pressure on all of Chapman University Greek Life, but Eta Sigma is working hard to be as best prepared as possible. We are confident that this shift will ultimately be positive for our chapter, community, and potential new members.
Chapter Meetings and Housing:
Where does your chapter hold chapter meetings? In the chapter owned or rented facility? In a university owned facility, house, dorm, lodge or classroom?
Eta Sigma holds meetings inside a classroom on campus.
What is the history of your chapter’s housing? Have your members had the opportunity to live together in any way? Does your chapter have a house, lodge, apartment or suite? If yes, is it chapter owned or rented, or university owned? How many sisters can live there? Has your chapter owned or lived in more than one house during its history?
Eta Sigma does not have any official housing. However, many of our sisters choose to live together in apartments, houses, and even dorms. The sisters who live together off campus provide a space for the members of Eta Sigma to get together off campus in a casual way, bringing our sisterhood closer together.
Woman Behind the Badge:
As we look ahead to the Fraternity’s Sesquicentennial celebration in 2020, please tell us the story of any historical badge being worn by a member of your chapter. Such a badge might be worn by your chapter’s president, another officer or a member who is recognized for her high scholarship. We are compiling information about the fantastic women who have brought us to this point in our history, the Women Behind the Badge.
What is inscribed on the back of the badge?
This badge is worn by Kelsey Leach, it was her grandmother’s pin from 1952 from the Gamma Alpha Chapter at Kansas State.
Eta Sigma has had a fabulous year. From our New Orleans French Quarter Semi Formal to our surprise date party Kappa Gone Country, our events were a blast. Our Spring Retreat was at Ronald Reagan Park with the goal of having a meaningful conversation with someone that you haven't before. The entire standards committee helped facilitate bonding activities. We hosted our first annual Golden Key Gala, raising over $6,000. It was a night to remember as we were able to showcase all the philanthropic work our chapter has done thus far. In regards to academics, from fall 2015 to spring 2016 our GPA went up from 3.381 to 3.407. Eta Sigma had 13 4.0’s in Spring 2016 and 61% (117) of the women maintained or improved their GPA’s. In union with the Greek community, Eta Sigma participated in Chapman University's annual Skit competition. We won 5th place overall and 3rd place for sororities with our performance to Mamma Mia. At the 2016 Biennial convention, we are honored to have won the Recruitment Award for campuses with 8-11 Panhellenic groups and received Honorable Mention in Chapter/Advisory Board relations, Excellence in Chapter Management, and Standards.
During Labor Day Weekend we held our second annual Kappa Kamp. This weekend was a key factor in furthering our sisterhood as we kicked off the Fall semester. Kappa Kamp was filled with stories, inspiration, bonding, and all things Kappa! Another exciting event for Eta Sigma was our philanthropy event that was completely new to Eta Sigma: Fleurish. It is a week dedicated to bringing the Chapman community and surrounding areas together to create a space that fosters conversation on important topics. This year we chose to focus on the topics of empowerment and respect. The week consisted of daily self empowerment activities on campus; these events were used to tackle some of the problem that college students face on a regular basis, all leading up to our keynote speaker on that Thursday evening. We were fortunate enough to host the founder of I Am That Girl and Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Tau alumnae Alexis Jones. The event was a huge success as we had over 530 people attend, the majority of which were not involved in Greek life. We look forward in hosting this event every fall semester! To wrap up the semester, we had our Winter Wonderland Semi Formal and a Parent's BBQ during Homecoming weekend. We are so excited to welcome our new members next semester!
One of the most recent changes on our campus is deferred recruitment. Chapman University's Panhellenic Council has moved formal recruitment from the Fall to Spring. This is the first year our chapter is having formal recruitment in the Spring. We are adjusting well and Chapter Council is extending positions to go through recruitment so the upcoming officers can shadow throughout the two month transition.
Our fundraising is split between Kappa’s national philanthropies. Our fall event “Fleurish” raises funds for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. And our Spring event “Golden Key Gala” raises money for Reading is Fundamental. We volunteer with over 50 different organizations in the area! In the past some of our repeat organizations have been the Ronald McDonald House of Orange County, Operation School Bell, and local elementary and middle schools. We hope to be rebuilding our mentorship program, in partnership with Reading is Fundamental of Southern California, where we will be paired with a local school to meet with some of their students.
We donate to the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation and Reading is Fundamental because they are the nationally supported philanthropies for Kappa, and because their values closely align with those of the Eta Sigma chapter specifically. Additionally, we choose to volunteer for a variety of local organizations to help promote community relations, but specifically seek out organizations that focus on empowerment; whether that be academic or personal empowerment. We also love organizations that focus on the theme of promoting literacy and a love for learning.
The Eta Sigma chapter holds meetings as well as our events on Chapman's campus.The chapter does not have a house.
This year our chapter was proud to successfully put on our annual event Fleurish for the second time. Fleurish was designed to bring the community and students together to raise discussion about important topics affecting our society. As it is more important now than ever to build one another up, this year we focused on a platform of love, respect, and desire to seek common ground despite our differences. We wanted to empower one another by practicing intentional acts of love. In addition to Fleurish, our chapter actively participated in philanthropy events of other greek chapters on campus and was proud to place first in Kappa Alpha Theta's annual event KATwalk, supporting Court Appointed Special Advocates, (CASA), and place second in Gamma Phi Beta's Airbands, supporting Girls on the Run. We gladly initiated 2 women into our chapter who transferred from other chapters. Another special event our chapter held again this year was Kappa Kamp, a weekend spent at the UCLA Kappa house full of meaningful bonding to continue to grow as a chapter and strive towards goals we created.
A recent change on our campus is a change to deferred recruitment. Chapman University’s Panhellenic Council moved formal recruitment from the fall to the spring the last academic year. This is the second year our chapter will hold formal recruitment in the spring. It is a hard adjustment, but it will get easier year by year. We have extended Chapter Council position transitions, so that upcoming officers work with their outgoing officer through this period. This is largely beneficial to the incoming membership chairman because she is able to participate in recruitment with an outlook that she will be in charge the following year. She has the opportunity to play a significant role in the recruitment process, so she has a better idea of her role and expectations. Additionally, we must modify the budget to accommodate this change. It was a challenge the first year, but it was much easier this time around.
Whether it be a fundraiser to support one of our sisters such as Relay for Life or a beach clean-up on a Saturday morning, the Eta Sigma Chapter is always looking for new ways to give back. In support of our national philanthropy, we have fundraised nearly $1,000 for Reading is Fundamental in the Spring of 2017 while partnering with the Friendly Center for our first Reading is Key Event. We were able to donate books to over 130 children from grades K-8. The Friendly Center provided us with a list of the reading levels, helping us cater to each child's needs. There were different shift sign-ups throughout the week allowing Kappas to pair-up one-on-one with a child. There were fun games and activities to help promote a love for reading. Further, we hosted our second annual Fleurish event this October. Fleurish was designed to bring students and the community together to raise discussion about important topics. The theme for this year was “Choose Love” with keynote speaker Houston Kraft. Houston talked about how we could increase our capacity for compassion and choose love in the hardest of situations. We had over 500 students, high schoolers, and community members join us in this conversation. It was a night where we all could laugh, be honest with ourselves, and come together to better ourselves and better those around us. All while raising $2,000 for GIRLS Academy this coming April.
As detailed above, Eta Sigma has established itself as a chapter dedicated education and empowerment. We choose organizations that members in our chapter can connect to. With events such as Reading is Key, Fleurish, and our upcoming GIRLS Academy experience, it is important that our members can see the effects of their efforts. Not only are we encouraging members to explore their passions, but we are creating more hands-on opportunities and ways to build relationships within our local community.
The Eta Sigma chapter holds all of our chapter meetings, as well as the majority of our events, on the Chapman campus.
An exciting highlight for 2018 Eta Sigma was taking First Place in our university’s annual Skit competition put on by the Greek Life community. It was our first time winning and our video actually went viral online. It is a choreographed presentation of The Parent Trap condensed down to six minutes. All hands were on deck for this huge event, with Kappas stepping up to make the show happen through everything from planning the dance to designing costumes, music, and lighting. Our favorite part about Skit is the fact that it allows so many members in the chapter to step into different leadership roles that allow them to utilize their gifts and strengths. Numerous members are nominated from the floor and voted into positions such as “choreography chair,” “costume chair,” and “skit chair.” All positions have the opportunity to work together in creating the set, sound design, lighting effects, costumes, as well as working on administrative responsibilities and communication efforts. They develop their teaming skills while developing their leadership skills and presence in the chapter as well.
Our chapter was honored to have been recognized at Kappa Convention for earning one of the top five for “Most Outstanding Chapter,” a “Lifetime Education Award,” and six honorable mentions (finance, chapter management, new membership, membership, standards, and public relations). We feel blessed to have been able to send seven actives, and were blown away by how much they got out of their experience. They came back with new ideas, new passion, and a renewed sense of focus and excitement about their involvement in Eta Sigma.
We were proud to debut a brand new event this past semester. On the weekend of October 13th, we held a combined Parents Weekend and Founder’s Day brunch in which we highlighted all of the important reasons that we call Kappa home. Here we held a silent auction to raise proceeds for our fall philanthropy event, Fleurish. It was incredible to hear current active members speak as well as alumni who were being honored for their years of devotion. We found that by combining our Parents Weekend event with our Founder’s Day Celebration, we were better able to convey the meaning and value that Kappa holds in our lives while honoring our founders. We were also able to increase chapter and parent buy-in regarding our annual philanthropy event, Fleurish (details below). It was amazing to see and hear the parent and alumni reactions to the unveiling of our Fleurish theme for 2018 – “Turn On a Light.”
We are also proud to have had Kaitlin Wong, an active member, serving on the 2018 Chapman Panhellenic council as Vice President of Recruitment. We found that having one of our members on the council increased our chapter’s allegiance to the Panhellenic community as a whole, and we are looking forward to two new active members serving on the council in 2019.
Another notable event from the year included Kappa Kamp, a 3-day sisterhood retreat held at the UCLA kappa house. Each year we find that Kappa Kamp instills a renewed sense of pride and excitement for the coming year in each and every one of our members lives. We are also able to define our values and priorities as we enter into recruitment season, and get to know sisters we may not know as well while deepening the bonds we have with our good friends as well.
Our Chapter Council held a retreat during January of 2018 and set forth 5 strategic goals for the year. They included the following: 1. Improve timeliness of programming. 2. Increase chapter member retention. 3. Utilize committees more. 4. Improve Ritual and Chapter History Knowledge. 5. Increase Accountability and Compliance with Bylaws and Standing Rules. While we truly saw improvement in each and every one of these aspects of the chapter, we especially saw improvements in numbers 1, 2 and 3. Programming was bettered through the VPO role which created a within-chapter-council calendar that allowed us to communicate dates, times, and events far in advance before releasing them to the chapter to avoid potential over programming. This, in turn, had a positive effect on attendance at chapter events. We also saw an increase in chapter member retention. We believe that this is primarily due to the betterment of the sisterhood within our chapter as a whole, the establishment of a more fluid and bonding new member program, and the intentional programming that we put forth for the chapter. We also saw many members step into leadership roles within their committees. We felt that this could be attributed to the pre-set and thought through agendas for their meetings, and different group chats that were created to increase communication between committees. Additionally, with some of our committees, we were able to nominate/ assign different roles that were larger to girls looking to take on semi-big leadership positions in the chapter. We saw many of these girls step into chapter council positions for the 2019 year. We look forward to continuing to improve on our goals in 2019 as well.
We have adjusted to Chapman Panhellenic’s switch to spring deferred recruitment, as historically recruitment was always held in fall at the beginning of first semester. With two sessions under our belt, we feel confident stepping into this next recruitment and are proud of the goals and values we uphold as a chapter and look forward to adding new members.
Our chapter is dedicated to supporting a number of philanthropies. Fleurish is Eta Sigma’s annual fall philanthropy event that is focused around the keynote performance of a motivational speaker. However, it is so much more than that. From October 22nd to 25th, the women of Eta Sigma set up a table in the Piazza to lead our community in meaningful activities and fundraise money. This year’s theme was mental wellness, prompting our community to think empathetically about our mental health and consider it in the same light we think about our physical health. The tabling activities asked students to sign a pledge committing themselves to mental wellness, share things that help them get them through the day, reframe everyday intrusive thoughts and worries in a positive light, and consider how they can individually turn to our Chapman community for support.
Then, on Thursday, October 25th, award-winning mental health advocate Ross Szabo gave his keynote speech about mental health in Memorial Hall. He shared his story of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in high school, in a community where resources and education about mental wellness were scarce, and how building a platform for him to be vulnerable and share this story has helped him and others heal. He spoke in a candidly and uplifting manner, finding a way to make the audience laugh while asking sincere questions about how we treat ourselves every day.
In addition to this programming, Eta Sigma fundraised $21,000 for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Orange County chapter. This donation will help provide free support groups and educational resources for individuals in our community who struggle with mental health, as well as their families. This is a record amount of money fundraised for Eta Sigma chapter! Overall, Fleurish was a representation of the values of the women in our chapter. We gave our community a platform to open up, be vulnerable, and support each other, and the results of this have surpassed the week of Fleurish. As a result of this event, our community has barriers and stigmas broken down so people feel more comfortable asking for help when they need it, even if it just means talking to their friend about something difficult. Additionally, we raised funds for Reading is Fundamental and spent a week tutoring students at the Friendly Center in Orange and were able to donate over 100 books to them. Also, we raised money for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.
We chose to have Fleurish this year focus on the issue of mental wellness, something we see affect our own sisters, the Chapman community, and beyond, and felt it imperative to foster positive conversations for how we can acquire tools to increase our mental health. We selected the local chapter of NAMI to fundraise for because they provide mental wellness resources to the nearby community.