Beta Upsilon Chapter was founded at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia on December 22, 1906.
2,481 initiates (as of June 2018)
The seven members of the local, Kappa Delta, at West Virginia University in Morgantown were pioneers. They conceived the idea of petitioning a national fraternity even though there was much opposition and indifference to fraternities for women by the faculty. Progress was slow, but with the aid of three resident Kappas, they finally succeeded in getting a charter from Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Beta Upsilon Chapter was installed on December 22, 1906, by Grand President Mary Griffith (Canby), Pennsylvania, at the residence of a local Kappa, who felt privileged to open her new home to her new Kappa sisters. After the installation of the 12 charter members, the baby chapter met for the first time, using the new gavel presented by Wooster, the sponsoring chapter. Two new members were promptly initiated.
Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity opened its house for the initiation banquet and a “house party,” as the 13 visiting Kappas stayed there. The large living hall of the Phi Psi house presented a beautiful picture. Logs gave forth a cheery blaze in the great brick fireplace wreathed in holly, and Christmas greens hung everywhere. Red candles in crystal candlesticks accented the long banquet table, and bunches of dark red carnations, the flower of the Kappa Deltas, marked each place.
At the time of Installation, West Virginia had been a degree-granting institution for 30 years, but had been open to women for only 16. During those years, enrollment for women had increased from three in 1890 to 230 in 1906. Alpha Xi Delta and Chi Omega had been installed on campus the preceding spring.
In the fall of 1907, Beta Upsilon attempted to find a permanent meeting place. A dormitory room was rented for $10 a month, but proved to be too expensive, so the chapter met in the homes of town girls.
Beta Upsilon was the pioneer in starting the movement for fraternity houses in 1914, but it was not until 1917 that the university finally gave its approval. The chapter rented a house at 120 High Street … a big undertaking with only $30 in the bank and not a rug, a pan or even a can opener to start housekeeping with. Alumnae donated or loaned furniture, even a piano, or sent money.
The Kappas lived happily there until the property was sold, although the lease had two more years to run. There the chaperone and the girls lived under the new landlord’s strict rules until they longed for a house of their own. During the next four years, the chapter spent $8,000 in rent for a house at 230 Kirk Street, worrying all the time that it might be sold out from under them.
After being the first of the women’s fraternities at West Virginia to rent a house, Beta Upsilon now became the first to own one. With a loan from the Fraternity Endowment Fund, pledges from alumnae, and the chapter savings account, a $16,000 house was purchased at 247 Prospect Street, just a block from campus. Chapter members lived there from 1930 to 1939.
In 1937, Clara O. Pierce, Ohio State, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Executive Secretary, and Margaret Reed Baker, Akron, Kappa architect, came to Morgantown to look into the possibility of building a new and modern home for the chapter. In 1938, a lot was purchased across the street from the house they owned. The alumnae were very involved and interested. Just as construction started, the man in charge of the stone work met with an accident. At the insistence of the Morgantown architect, a local alumna promised to oversee the work and took a course in stone masonry in Pittsburgh. She practically lived at the new building site, supervising every bit of the construction.
Again, Beta Upsilon was first—the first sorority on campus to build a house. Members moved into the upper floors on September 15, 1939, while the lower floor was being finished. Everyone shared the excitement of getting the workmen out and the decorators in with the furnishings in time to carry out plans for a formal housewarming on Founders Day. They proudly welcomed 300 guests to the new three-story Colonial house with the Kappa coat-of-arms beautifully displayed on a chimney above the side porch.
The chapter’s financial problems were many, but the chapter carried on by renting and finally selling the old house, and seeing that alumna members paid their pledges.
Traditions and Honors
Alumnae living in Morgantown have had a good relationship with the active chapter during the years, and are very loyal. The alumnae and active chapter occasionally meet together, and in the early years the alumnae were always welcomed to special Sunday teas. The Kappa mothers in Morgantown have also been most helpful. Mother’s Day is always celebrated with a tea for in-town and out-of-town mothers.
Another early tradition that kept Kappa ties unbroken was the annual breakfast at the beginning of the commencement season. Alumnae gathered to reminisce and exchange news, and the seniors were their guests.
The chapter has always held a prominent place on the campus in college activities, and ranks high in scholarship. Beta Upsilon is the permanent possessor of the Aaron Arkin Scholarship Cup, which had to be won five consecutive times before retiring it. It also twice won the Alfred Jarrett Hare Cup, which replaced the Arkin Cup.
Just as Beta Upsilon developed, so did West Virginia University. From 12 Kappas in 1906 to 237 in 1930, the chapter grew to 981 in 1973. The university had 930 students in 1906; 3,554 in 1930; and approximately 15,000 in 1973. The 10-block 1930 campus had grown to a three-way divided campus covering 610 acres in 1973. There were approximately 3,000 faculty members. Beta Upsilon Chapter has also contributed to the Fraternity during those early years with 3 Field Secretaries; and six Graduate Counselors.
Louise Keener, who was comptroller at West Virginia, was the second woman to be made a member of Vandalia, an outstanding honor in West Virginia. She received the Fraternity Alumnae Achievement Award for the field of business in 1956.
Among other notable Beta Upsilons, one alumna served as dean of women at the University for 16 years; another was a UPI photographer covering the Olympic sailing events in Kiel, Germany, one a professor of law at Miami University and another, a graduate of the law school, received the Order of the Coif. Another early alumna was associate professor of Mathematics at the University and has the distinction of being the first woman to serve as president of the West Virginia University Alumni Association.
Beta Upsilon members are still being chosen for membership in honor societies, elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and being honored in dancing, swimming, speech pathology, audiology and more. Many go on to post-graduate degrees.
The previous information was excerpted from The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870-1976. The information that follows has been gleaned from available resources including Chapter History Reports, chapter meeting minutes, letters and comments from chapter members and alumnae, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity Archives, and The Key. Each chapter is expected to update its history record annually. Contact Fraternity Headquarters at [email protected] with questions.
The highlight of 1985 was being the first sorority on campus to fill quota, which was raised to 41 this year. Since the number of girls rushing did not increase, it promoted more competition between the sororities. The main challenge during the year was to improve public relations, which we did with exchange dinners between the sororities, a welcoming committee for a new Greek chapter on campus to promote InterGreek unity. Our philanthropy this year was with Pi Kappa Alpha, to support Cerebral Palsy. Several members were inducted into Mortar Board, Phi Beta Kappa, Rho Lambda and other honor groups. One member was elected to the Board of Governors.
In 1988 Beta Upsilon came out on top during rush with the number one quota of 64 bringing membership to its highest ever with 160 members. At Province Meeting the chapter won scholarship and membership awards, and on campus, placed second in scholarship achievement, philanthropy and Greek Week which helped to benefit the Morgantown Big Brothers/Big Sisters. A new philanthropy program was begun, The Kappa Kids's Club. Kappas visit the Children's Hospital at Ruby Memorial as volunteers and in October held a Halloween party for the young patients there.
Beta Upsilon won first place in the Mountaineer Week competition during the 1989-90 school year and continued it's new Kappa Kid's Club at the Children's Hospital. Campus-wide, new identification cards have been distributed to fraternity and sorority members to use when attending Greek events. A new alcohol policy has been implemented campus-wide for the fraternities, a challenge in getting used to the new policy.
In 1990 Beta Upsilon started a new philanthropy of its own: See-Saw Athon. After making a creative see-saw, all campus fraternities participated by see-sawing for 12 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society, Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation and a Scholarship Fund started in memory of a sister killed in a car accident that year. The new alcohol policy was implemented and successfully followed. The Greek ID cards were discontinued and orange stickers with the word “Greek” are placed on student ID cards. Changes on campus include the colonizing of Zeta Tau Alpha and Sigma Kappa and the closing of Delta Delta Delta. In compliance with the new alcohol policy, a new non-alcoholic barbecue was held with Sigma Chi.
The fall of 1991 Beta Upsilon was voted Most Outstanding Sorority on campus, and for the second consecutive year captured the highest Grade Point Average Award among all fraternity/sorority organizations. The chapter welcomed Fraternity representatives who attended initiation of the new pledges in February. In addition to other philanthropies, members knitted blue toboggans (caps) for cancer patients at Ruby Memorial Hospital. The chapter fulfilled its goal to have 75% attendance at Kappa functions, through coordination of various communication efforts. At Province Meeting in Chapel Hill, N.C., the chapter won first place awards for Social Awareness and Finance, and Honorable Mention in Membership. This year, the first Sapphire Ball was held to honor the pledge class. In 1994 Beta Upsilon received honorable mention at the Fraternity Convention for its pledge membership program. Members regularly attend BADD (Brothers against drunk driving) as alcohol policies are strictly followed withing the fraternities.
In 1995, a new philanthropy, Homerun Derby, was an outstanding achievement, taking place on the softball field. A new sisterhood activity, movie night, was instituted at the chapter house, helping new and older members become better acquainted. The goal this year was to increase involvement, spirit, moral to 90%, and to have 90% of the chapter above a 2.5 grade point average.
In the Fall of 1997 we were voted Most Outstanding Sorority on campus and captured the highest Grade Point Average Award among all sororities for the second consecutive year. In 1998 the chapter received honorable mention at Convention for its Race Against Violence philanthropy and for its Alumnae/Active relationships, plus Most Efficient and Outstanding House Board award. In the fall the chapter hosted a successful Parent's Date Party to orient our pledges' parents with Kappa. The chapter continues to use the newly implemented Rush policies focusing on communication rather than skits and decorations.
The close of the decade found Beta Upsilon continuing to have the highest GPA on campus. The biggest challenge was participation, with members balancing studies and sorority events, but instituting Sister of the Week awards for participating in activities helped turn a negative into a positive. the chapter is also the only sorority on campus who participates in all of the sororities' philanthropies. It raised $1,600 in its 5K race which went to the Rape and Domestic Violence Center, the Children's Network and to the Melissa Blum Scholarship Fund.
Housing: Owns their chapter house.
Participates in all other sorority philanthropies on campus. Rape and Domestic Violence Center, Children's Network, Homerun Derby, Salvation Army Clothing Drive, Ronald McDonald House, Rose McGill Fund, Mountainview Rehabilitation Hospital, visiting sick children as part of “Kappa Kids Club,” knitting blue hats for cancer patients at Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Chapter Convention Awards:
Most Efficient and Outstanding House Board, 1998
The chapter excelled in philanthropies, the only sorority on campus participating in all sororities' philanthropies. It placed first in the Delta Gamma Anchor Splash, first in Phi Sigma Phantasia, second place in Sigma Chi's Derby Days and third place in the TKE Feud. It also claimed the highest GPA on campus.
For the 23rd consecutive year Beta Upsilon held the title of best grades on campus in 2007. The chapter participated in spring informal Recruitment for the first time in five years. At Province Meeting the chapter won Best Overall chapter, Risk Management, Scholarship and Best Advisory Board awards. It started a new philanthropy called First Book and joined Kappa Alpha to hold a Christmas Party for the Boys and Girls Club. This year the campus began restoring and remodeling older buildings, enrollment on campus is grew and a new University president was installed.
Through the year of 20112-2013 Breana Marquand and Lakyn Hose were awarded the Kappa Kappa Gamma undergraduate scholarship award from the foundation. If you would like the full list of each scholarship awarded to all chapter women, please contact me. Kappa Kappa Gamma Beta Upsilon chapter won the WVU spirit stick for being very school spirited and involved on campus.
At convention, the Beta Upsilon chapter was awarded the Most Improved Academic Excellence award.
We had quite a few special events throughout the year. We hosted a Chapter Founder's day, Senior Luncheon, Sapphire Ball, Spring Formal, and Parent's Weekend. We had a lot of philanthropic involvement this year. Every year we host Kappa Klassic for all the fraternities on campus to raise money for Reading is Fundamental. We also participate in every fraternity philanthropy on campus to remain very active in Greek life. We participated in Relay for Life, Dance Marathon for Children's Miracle Network, Alzheimer's Walk, and Greek Clean-up.
Last year, our chapter's goal was to get back to the foundation about what Kappa really means to us and try to better the chapter by following the bylaws. One of the major challenges we noticed was our policies and procedures were out of date. To overcome these challenges and we chose to reach out for help from chapter alumni. We also kept a strong chapter council to help lead the chapter. When Hurricane Sandy came and wiped out a lot of cities and towns, we decided to help anyway we could. We donated toiletries, clothes, and other necessities to relief organizations in the New Jersey, New York area.
We had quite a few special events over the past year. In the spring we enjoyed our annual Spring Formal and hosted Senior Send Off for our members graduating. We hosted Founders Day where sixteen alumnae came, which we thoroughly enjoyed. They shared their favorite memories and told us what Kappa means to them. In the fall, we participated in Formal Recruitment in mid-September. We also hosted a parent date party where we had a raffle to raise money for Reading is Fundamental. We are very involved in philanthropic work on campus. We host several events of our own, such as our annual Bowling for Books, in which fraternities on campus participate to raise money for Reading is Fundamental. We also remain active in Greek life on campus and participate in every fraternity philanthropy. We also participated in Relay for Life, Dance Marathon, and Greek Clean Up. We recently worked with a local homeless shelter, the Bartlett House. We had the opportunity to serve there by cleaning the facilities, tutoring and playing with children, filing paperwork, sorting clothes, and donating necessities. We are currently in the process of starting a Big Sis program with the Bartlett House, which we are very excited about. It has been years since our chapter has had a newsletter, but our new Public Relations chair published the first Kappa Klippings for January-February 2015. We hope to continue this throughout the years to come. Our registrar is creating a scrapbook for the school year, and we would like for this to become a tradition. We received a warning of probation, which was definitely a wake up call for our chapter. We are striving to get back to the ideals that Kappa was founded on, and we have seen tremendous progress. We are working together to enforce risk management procedures, improve chapter management, and increase sisterhood. We have already seen a huge improvement, and we can't wait to see what this next year brings.
Our chapter prides itself on having the reputation of being "Kappa Klassy." We are a service-oriented sorority, and we have maintained great relationships with all of Greek life on campus. We have a strong sisterhood that is only increasing. Many chapters, including ours, are on a warning of probation. We are working together to change our chapter for the better, and other chapters on campus are as well. In mid-November, all Greek organizations on campus were placed on a moratorium. This was spurred by the death of a fraternity new member in a fraternity related event. This fraternity had already lost its charter previous to the death of the student, but the University saw this as an opportunity to rebuild Greek life on campus. During this time, sororities and fraternities were not allowed to engage in social events. The only events allowed required approval by Student Activities at least 48 hours in advance. These were mostly weekly chapter meetings and philanthropic events. Although the circumstances were unfortunate, this provided time for our chapter to increase sisterhood become more involved in philanthropic projects. We took this as an opportunity to improve the chapter as a whole. We fulfilled the 2/3 requirement for a sisterhood event and a philanthropic event to be lifted from moratorium on Feb. 4.
One member from Beta Upsilon received an undergraduate scholarship from the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, and many of our members have scholarships through various other sources. If you would like a full list of each scholarship awarded to all chapter women, please let me know.
We had numerous special events throughout the past year. In the spring we had our annual spring formal, and we also hosted the annual Senior Send Off, honoring our graduating members. In October we hosted Founder’s Day. We also hosted a Parent Date Party, where the proceeds benefited the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund.
We are very involved in philanthropic work on campus. We are involved with Greek Life on campus, and we participate in every fraternity philanthropy. We have even had the opportunity to participate in other sorority philanthropies as well. We also host our own philanthropies, such as Bowling for Books (spring philanthropy) and Hoops for Huggins (fall philanthropy). In the spring we volunteered quite a bit at the Bartlett House, which is a homeless shelter in our community. We have also continued to donate food the shelter this semester.
Our registrar made a scrapbook for the 2014-2015 school year, and she presented it to the chapter in August. Our PR chair is continuing to make the monthly newsletter, which members are enjoying. In August, we were told that our Warning of Probation would be extended. We have already seen so much progress in the chapter. We have placed emphasis on improving risk management procedures, chapter management, and increasing sisterhood. We recently won several awards at the Panhellenic Banquet. These awards included Maintenance of Fine Standards, Excellence in Risk Management, Order of Omega Award for Academic Excellence, Excellence in New Member Education and Retention, Greek Woman of the Year (President Ellen Walburn), and Outstanding Alumna of the Year (Whitney Hatcher). We also just had initiation this month, and we welcomed 45 new sisters into Kappa.
Due to the moratorium last year, WVU’s Greek Life is continuing to see changes this year. Greek Life on our campus is striving to become more service-oriented and academically focused. The University decided to change recruitment to deferred recruitment. Although details are uncertain, we believe this will be put in place next year.
What organization(s) has your chapter historically/traditionally raised money for, or donated hours to, in your community?
We have always raised money for our national philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental. Last spring we hosted Bowling for Books, where fraternities on campus brought books to donate and their entry fee was donated to Reading is Fundamental. In October we hosted our first annual Hoops for Huggins. The money was donated to the Norma Mae Huggins Research Endowment Fun, which funds cancer research in West Virginia.
This past calendar year, Beta Upsilon has been quite busy! Last Spring we held our annual Spring Formal and Senior Send off that honored our graduating members. Over the summer, some of our members attended National Convention. Here, we received quite a few awards. The Gracious Living Award was given to us for our chapter's graciousness and hospitality at our facility and on campus, our members have best secured the art of living and working harmoniously together. We received the Risk Management Award for practicing sound risk management in accordance with Fraternity guidelines and procedures. We have provided our members with educational programming about Risk importance. The Strive to Succeed Award was given to us for exceeded academic expectations. Lastly, we received the Standards Award for having the best overall, comprehensive Standards programming. It was such an honor to have received each and every award from National Convention! This past Fall we hosted our Parent Date Party. This event was very successful considering we were able to raise money or our philanthropy. In October, our annual Founders Day celebration was held. Many Beta Upsilon alumna were able to join us this year for such a special day. We also had our annual Fall Formal this past November. Beta Upsilon is very involved in philanthropic work on our campus. We participate in fraternity philanthropies and even some other sorority philanthropies as well. Last Spring we hosted Kappa Dodgeball that raised money for Reading is Fundamental. Our members also went out to a local elementary school last Spring on Dr. Suess Day to read to children. This promoted RIF. In the Fall we raised money for our local philanthropy, The Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund, through our Hoops for Huggins Event. This gave fraternities an opportunity to come out and compete in a basketball tournament to support our philanthropy. We returned back to a local elementary school over the Fall to donate books to the children, again promoting Reading is Fundamental. Furthermore, our chapter is very involved with community service. Over the course of this year, out chapter completed 3,697.35 hours of community service. Being very involved on campus and around the community helped us to achieve this. In particular, there is an organization, Sundale Senior Living, that Beta Upsilon reached out to and completed many service hours for. We also participated in WVU's Greek Day of Service. For this, we were paired with other fraternity and sorority members on our campus to complete service projects at different locations throughout the community. As a chapter, we are proud of our accomplishments and growth that has been seen within Beta Upsilon over the past year. We plan to continue to make improvements and increase our sisterhood to help our chapter grow even more. We are excited to see what this coming year has in store for us!
This year WVU implemented an Accreditation Program for Greek Life. This was a huge adjustment and change on our campus. The evaluation of every Greek chapter on campus was based off of basic requirements, chapter house management, membership development, philanthropy, community service, panhellenic involvement, and conduct action. Beta Upsilon is projected to receive "chapter of prominence". This is a huge accomplishment considering it is the highest ranking able to be received. We have exceeded the minimum expectations for the program! We have also experienced change with our new house renovations. A brand new heating and air conditioning system were added along with anew study area and TV area in the house. Our third floor bathroom was remodeled and the basement is still in the process of being redone as well. Although change can be difficult to undergo, these are changes that have helped to improve our chapter even more!
Our chapter has historically/traditionally raised money for Reading is Fundamental. We also raise money locally for the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund.
As a chapter we support Reading is Fundamental not only because it is our national philanthropy, but because we see the impact it has in our local community. Reading is Fundamental is the largest reading non-profit in the entire country. It promotes leadership and creativity through reading. In the state of West Virginia there is a major literacy crisis. About 73% of third graders read below grade level. This organization allows us to interact with the children in our local schools and neighborhoods and inspire them to read and succeed.
We support the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund for similar reasons. This organization raises money for cancer trials for West Virginia residents. The fund was created by the university's head basketball coach Bob Huggins in memory of his beloved mother who passed away of colon cancer. Our chapter strives to support our local community as much as possible, and we feel that these two organizations help us do so!
A current member of Beta Upsilon, Kallie Nealis, had the honor in receiving 2016 Homecoming Queen at WVU. Here is her story:
"People say that the sisterhood you gain from joining a sorority is one of the greatest treasures you could ask for, and I can say that I experienced that more this fall.
This year I was able to receive the greatest honor that I could ever hope to achieve, becoming West Virginia University's 2016 Homecoming Queen. However, I can wholeheartedly say that achieving this honor would not have been possible without Kappa Kappa Gamma and my fellow sisters of the Beta Upsilon chapter. The women in this chapter are undoubtedly the most selfless women I have ever met. As a four-year member of the WVU Dance Team, my sisters have shown unwavering support in all of my endeavors that Dance Team entailed. However, nothing can compare to the love and support during my three-week journey on Homecoming Court. They did whatever they could to help me campaign. From standing outside our student union for hours yelling "Kallie for Queen", pulling all-nighters to help me paint banners to deck the other fraternity and sorority houses, and doing all they could on social media to help spread the word. But what really meant the most to me are the sisters who dropped everything to help me, be it moral support or with campaigning, to make this dream of mine come true.
Years down the road when I look back at my Homecoming experience, the feeling of having my sisters behind me and support me no matter what will always mean the most to me. It was more than I could have ever asked for and I will certainly never forget it." Best Wishes, Kallie Nealis
Throughout the past year, Beta Upsilon has grown tremendously. We opened up our year with the spring semester strong. After electing the new chapter officers, chapter council worked diligently to ensure the success of the chapter. This year, we actually held recruitment in the spring so we welcomed a new pledge class into our chapter and eventually initiated those new members near the end of the semester. We held our Spring Formal that allowed members to mingle and spend quality time together. We also had a senior send off for the seniors that graduated. We also held a parent date party that showcased our hard work to our parents. Over the summer, many individuals continued their leadership skills learned through Kappa at various summer internships. As I mentioned before, something that changed for our fall semester is the change that West Virginia University made to formal recruitment. WVU will no longer hold fall formal recruitment. This is still a huge adjustment for our chapter but we are working towards improving this.
We held our annual Founders Day celebration and welcomed many alumna into our house. During the weekend of Founders Day, one of the past pledge classes held a reunion and they all attended our ceremony, making this Founders day one for the books. This year we also held our annual Hoops for Huggins philanthropy that raises money for the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund. In addition to that, we held Kappa Dodgeball that raises money for Reading is Fundamental. To also assist with RIF, we continued our tradition of reading to the local elementary schools. During this effort, we donated over 150 books to children in surrounding schools. We also participated in Greek Day of Service, which is a school-wide community service event. This event allows all the fraternities and sororities to interact with each other by participating in various community service efforts. While this day is extremely important to Beta Upsilon, the assistance doesn't stop there. We participate in a wide range of efforts around the city of Morgantown, as well as the other fraternity and sorority philanthropy events. As you can see, Beta Upsilon cares about community service and always shows interest in helping those in need. To build our chapter as a whole, we host a lot of sisterhood events to help members connect and bond over fun activities. We take pride in all the activities our chapter participates in and we hope that our mentality for leadership and involvement will stay with all our members when they graduate and leave West Virginia University and Beta Upsilon.
This year, our chapter has seen a lot of changes that have been campus related. First, we received a new Director of Greek Life. This changed a lot of things for our chapter. This also changed some of the rules to the previous Accreditation Program that was implemented. In addition to that, we are still trying to adjust to the changes that WVU made to recruitment. With formal recruitment being in the spring, we had to make some changes to our normal practices.
Beta Upsilon has historically/traditionally raised money for Kappa Kappa Gamma's philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental. In addition to that, we raise money for a local philanthropy, the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund. The Endowment Fund supports clinical cancer research that focuses on diseases that are common among West Virginians. Our chapter also enjoys participating in various fraternity philanthropy events. Our chapter requires all members to participate in one philanthropic event per semester, outside of the ones Beta Upsilon coordinates.
With Reading is Fundamental being our national philanthropy, we feel that it is really important as a chapter to contribute to this initiative. Aside from that, this philanthropy is extremely important to our local community and state. Seventy three percent of WV third graders read below grade level. This issue is extremely prevalent in our state which makes it more important for us to take action. As a chapter, we are able to connect with children in our local schools by motivating them to read and stimulate their creativity.
The Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund is also important to our chapter for the local impact it has. This fund was created by West Virginia University's men's basketball coach, Bob Huggins, in memory of his mother who passed away of colon cancer. This fund assists clinical cancer research for West Virginians. Supporting this organization allows us to see a positive impact for the great people in the mountain state. Every year we hold "Hoops for Huggins" which is an event that helps us raise money for the endowment fund.
There has been multiple philanthropic efforts we contribute to as well for other reasons. Whenever Beta Upsilon notices a need for community service, we show no hesitation to jump into the community and help out.
Over the past year, Beta Upsilon has had many successes and accomplishments.
We began the Spring semester with recruitment. WVU has a deferred recruitment policy, so our formal recruitment occurs in the spring semester every year. We welcomed an amazing pledge class and initiated them in April after completing their new member period.
We had successful philanthropies including Hoops for Huggins, in which we raised money for the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund. We held Bumps for Books, which was a volleyball tournament benefiting our National Philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental. We also experimented with a new event in which we welcomed a traveling boutique into our Chapter House, with proceeds benefiting Reading is Fundamental.
We had amazing sisterhood events including bowling, movie watching, and Sundae stations after chapter meetings. We held a Behind Happy Faces educational session which discussed the importance of mental health with our members and allowed us to open up and be understanding with one another. We had our Founders Day celebration at our chapter house, where we were given the opportunity to bond and chat with our sisters of all ages.
We held events such as our Kappa Krush date party and Spring Formal in the spring, which were both successful. We sent off our seniors with an amazing Senior Sendoff event, as well as all of the fun activities included in senior week.
In the Fall, we held several date parties and Fall Formal which allowed our members to relax and socialize with their sisters.
In the spring semester, WVU Greek Life established a moratorium which suspended activities until chapters could complete a Reaching the Summits program. Each chapter was required to have a membership review. Beta Upsilon passed the Reaching the Summits program with flying colors.
Our chapter was awarded for highest GPA, which is an amazing accomplishment, since we take pride in our academic achievements. This year has been successful for Beta Upsilon and we are very proud of our accomplishments.
Recent changes on campus include several fratnernities disassociating from WVU's Greek Life to form their own Independent Interfraternity Council. This has posed some challenges for Beta Upsilon as we now have a smaller number of organizations participating in our philanthropies. The Beta Upsilon chapter has historically supported our national philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental. The illiteracy rate in West Virginia is high, so we find it important to continue to raise money through efforts to decrease this. We additionally raise money for the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund which supports clinical research that focuses on diseases common among residents of our state. We chose this organization because it is in honor of the mother of our school's head men's basketball coach.
The spring semester of 2019 was a very successful period for Beta Upsilon. We started the semester off with recruitment, which was held the week of January 20th. We also had a lovely LC stay with us that week, which was a huge help in making our selection process run flawlessly. Our bid day took place on January 27th , and it was disco themed! We received 3 33 new members. We rented out a local restaurant, Almost Heaven Bar and Grill, and had lunch provided to the entire chapter. On January 28th we held the New Member Pinning, where all new members pledged their name and interest to the Fraternity. On February 9th, our chapter had our annual Valentine's Day date party, which we call "Kappa Krush". Big and little clues were held on the nights of February 12th, 13th, and 14th, where each new member received a craft made by her Big sister. Big/Little night was on February 15th, at the house. On February 23rd, our chapter had the Initiation sleepover and on the morning of February 24th 32 new members became sisters of KKG (one member had dropped before then for school/financial reasons). February 28th, we had a sisterhood event at a local trampoline park. This was a huge hit with all of our members! Around this time we also had KKG Parents weekend, where parents could come tour the house and meet some of their daughters new sisters. Composite pictures were taken at the house on March 20th. Our chapter held our annual "Bumping for Books" volley ball tournament at the WVU Recreational Center, in support of RIF, on Sunday, March 24th. We had a great turnout and raised hundreds of dollars to donate to RIF. On April 8th, a group of 20 kappas went to read at a local elementary school, "Reading is Key", in support of RIF. A few weeks later, our chapter spent a week to celebrate our graduating seniors. On April 10th, we had "Senior Wills", where seniors can come pass down t-shirts, crafts, or tell fun memories of their time in Kappa. Senior Fireside was held at the house on April 12th, where the entire chapter came dressed to pin to further celebrate our kappa seniors. "Senior Send-Off" was held at Almost Heaven Bar and Grill on April 13th. This was a fun day to eat food and spend time dancing and talking with all of our sisters. We had a sisterhood event planned for April 14th, but it was cancelled due to weather related reasons. This event was going to be called "Kappa Kappa Games" and was going to have obstacle courses and games such as a balloon toss. On Monday April 15th, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life hosted it's Annual Award Banquet. Our member Rachel Rogers won "Rising Star of the Year", and our chapter as a whole won "Excellence in Academic Achievement" for maintaining the highest average GPA of all WVU sororities. WVU Panhellenic installed their new executive team on the evening of April 4th. Rachel Rogers, Hannah Davis, and Amanda Natale became part of the executive board. Rachel is the President, Hannah is the VP of Recruitment, and Amanda is the Director of Recruitment Counselors. This was a very proud moment for our chapter! To end the semester, our Spring Formal was held on Saturday, April 27th. SUMMARY OF EVENTS FALL 2019: We kicked off the new semester with a social with Pi Kappa Phi, on September 6th, which was "Koachella" themed! On September 21st, we had our first date party of the semester. The following weekend, we had a tie dye sisterhood event where all the sisters dyed shirts at the house and we wore fun blue and blue clothes to take pictures for our social media pages! We hired a videographer to come and take fun shots of us. The evening of September 11th, the entire chapter hosted a call-a-thon in support of raising money for the Kappa house. On September 25th we had a welcome back ice cream the house for all members, called "Sundae Funday". On October 16th we held a Chipotle fundraiser to raise money for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, and also had a senior only sisterhood event which was pumpkin painting. Our chapter held a halloween themed date party of October 18th, which was the first time we had done this. It was very popular and a different theme that we all enjoyed! A few weeks later we elected our new Chapter Council for the new year. The Sapphire Ball, was held on November 2nd at the WVU Alumni Center. Also on this day, our chapter attended an event called "Phired Up", which taught us about how to properly talk to girls during recruitment. Around this time as well our chapter sent 25 girls to read at a local elementary school, "Reading is Key", in support of RIF. Triplet meetings were held at the house on November 17th, so incoming officers were able to be filled in and trained for their new position. On November 22nd we had a social with Phi Kappa Psi, which was 80's Skiing in Aspen themed. On December 8th, we have our first recruitment practice for the entire chapter. We also had a new chapter council photoshoot to update the website and other social media pages. Our annual philanthropy, Hoops for Huggins, in support of our local philanthropy the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Foundation, was supposed to happen but unfortunately there was a mistake in the paperwork and the event was unable to be held. The new date for that is being currently being established for the beginning of Spring 2020. On December 6th we had our Holiday themed date party, at Blaze Nightclub. CHAPTER GOALS: The main goal that our previous and current chapter council have is to bring back the "Golden Key Luncheon". This was a fundraising event that our chapter used to have once a year to raise money for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. This is something we are currently in the works of planning and have set goals that we want each chapter member to accomplish. Our chapter is also focused on improving anything that the members want to see worked on. In effort to do so, our new President, Eviana Barnes, has created a comments box where any member can anonymously leave a note for chapter council to review.
Our local philanthropy is the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Foundation. Our chapter also supports Reading is Fundamental and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. The chapter chose the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Foundation because this is a local philanthropy for the mother of the WVU Men's Basketball team coach, Bob Huggins. KKG at WVU has a lot of school spirit, and this was a great way for us to support WVU and put an end to cancer.
Our chapter celebrated Founder's Day on October 6th at our house. On this day, our entire chapter and alumni came to eat food, share stories of our beloved Beta Upsilon, and vote on our house board. The house board talked to us about previous renovations to our house, and future plans for the summer.
The Beta Upsilon chapter in the spring of 2020 held all functions per usual. we started on the week of January 11th and 12th with our recruitment practices, called “Kamp Kappa” with all current pledge classes. During this time the girls are able to run through the ropes of recruitment and practice the rounds and talk about ideals based recruiting and the future of the chapter. Spring 19 and all who were receiving littles within this new pledge class attended ritual reviews and practiced for the initiation of the new members. The following week, recruitment week took off and our girls were put to work! Recruitment started on the week of the 19th and continued during the weekends for the next two weeks. We gained a new pledge class of 38 girls and welcomed them home on Bid Day, February 2nd. The following day on the 3rd the new members attended the New Member Pinning Ceremony and started their new member meetings with the new Member Chairman. They had their new member retreat on the 13th of February and ended the weekend with our annual “Kappa Crush” date party. The following week of the 16th was the begging of the Big/Little Clues, where the new members were given clues by their big of who they were. Our Big/Little reveal was on the 20th, and the girls were so excited to see who their big finally was after a week of clues! Inspiration week took place that Saturday and started the week of the initiation process. During inspiration week, we had an Ice-Skating sisterhood Event at the local ice rink and spent time skating and having fun with our sisters and new members. that week also included the return of the new member pin ceremony, ritual reviews for the bigs and initiation practices. To finish off the week we had our crest ceremony and finished the weekend with initiation. We were so excited that during this initiation, the beta upsilon chapter had initiated their first alumna, who is also the current house director, Rickie Huffman. This was a huge milestone in our chapter’s history because she was only the 12th overall alumna initiated within the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity. To kick off March, our newly initiated pledge class had their first ritual review and ended with our parents’ weekend. Over that weekend we had our parent date party on Saturday the 7th and had our Golden Key Luncheon the following day. The Golden Key Luncheon was a fundraiser for our philanthropies, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation and the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer research Endowment Fund. We had guest speakers and parents and members and local alumni were able to take place in raffles and had a buffet style lunch served. To honor our 4.0 members, we hold a dinner for them every semester and the dinner for that semester took place on March 6th. Our Spring Break began that weekend,little to know shortly after that would be the last time we were on campus for the semester. During the end of the spring semester and virtual classes, the elections of the Panhellenic Executive Board were completed, and our member Blair Lewis was the new Vice President of Communications. Over break the university had informed all students and staff that we would switch to remote learning due to the outbreak of COVID-19. It was unfortunate that we were not going to be able to see our sisters for the rest of the semester, but all kept in touch over the following months. The chapter continued the weekly chapter meetings, and it was a nice way to keep all of us together and keep all members still involved within our organization. We had to become creative with all the ways we could virtually spend time together, which was now going to be the new “norm” for us. Our members had completed their spring semester and were at home with their families for the summer break. with COVID-19 still spiking and spreading over break, girls were limited on the travel and contacted we had with one another in person to make sure we all kept one another safe. Our break was filled with sisters participating in FaceTime calls, emails, and social media to make sure we all were staying healthy and to check in on one another in such hard times. unfortunately, although we were allowed to return to campus, 90% of classes were to be held virtually the upcoming fall semester. The was going to be challenging for our chapter council to continue their duties and events now switching virtually. But with resilience, our chapter council had found a way. We started the fall semester with themed chapter meetings and giving away prizes to the member best dressed. As in person events and meetings were now cancelled, we still found ways to have chapter and member involvement. We had our virtual founder’s Day on October 13th and celebrated the 150th year of Kappa Kappa Gamma. our Sesiquentcentennial celebration was very important to us and celebrated in a way to keep all our members safe and healthy. Our Education Chairman had put together our founder’s day with alumna speakers and our annual house board meeting with all members present. Alumna had the time to share their favorite memories of kappa, and what kappa has given them. We also opened the floor to current members, and it was a heartwarming time to share with each other all the amazing things this organization has given us. We all can agree it had given us many friendships, memories, and had opened so many doors for all of us to excel and become the best version of ourselves. Our founder’s day concluded with pictures of the house over the years and all the members and pictures from over the past decades. Later on in the semester, our Risk Management Chairman had put together a dunking Donuts drive thru for our members which was a great pick me up before we had all gone home for thanksgiving break. She had also spent time doing a chapter game night of two truths and a lie, and members were able to send in fun facts about themselves for sisters to guess! Prizes we also given away for winners and our chapter had really loved getting to know some interesting things about one another. We unfortunately would not be having any in person classes and most students would return home for the rest of the semester when leaving for fall break over thanksgiving. Panhellenic meetings were now virtual and members joined in, being able to interact and had played a Kahoot trivia game against the other sororities on campus. A member of our chapter, Emily Lyle had won first place out of over 100 other women! We had finished off the semester with the presentation of the slate and our 2021 Chapter Council elections and voting was held virtually over formal chapter meetings to conclude our chapter functions for this school year. This past year was nothing short of unique, and like said before we had faced it with the utmost resilience.
Locally, our chapter supports the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund while nationally supporting Reading is Fundamental and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. We chose this local organization in honor of the WVU Men’s Basketball Team Head Coach’s beloved mother who had passes away after a long battle with colon cancer. This fund supports the local WVU Medicine’s Cancer Institute for future clinical research and all proceeds stay in the area to help suffering West Virginians.
This year, we had added DEI training into our educational meeting requirements. We had a guest speaker come in and train all our girls appropriately. As the next chapter council is inaugurated in January, they will be appointing a DEI chairman to add to our chapter council. Also, PanHellenic as a whole released a statement regarding DEI that speaks on behalf of all the chapters. It has stated, “Silence is compliance and the West Virginia University Panhellenic Association does not tolerate discrimination, bigotry, intolerance, or racism in any form…Panhellenic is dedicated to upholding strong moral values specifically related to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Community Responsibility. Therefore we expect all of our members to speak out against racism and discrimination. Just as begins with accountability and requires all of us to commit to combating racism. It begins with acknowledging and that there’s a problem.” Our chapter will continue to become educated and be a resource for our WVU community and within Greek Life.
During the 150th founders day, our education chairman put hours of work into having guest speakers, our formal ritual for founder’s day, activities for sister over zoom, and cute stickers for all of the girls to have. We also were able to get the sesiquentcentennial badge for any member.
The Beta Upsilon chapter had many sisters this year that had great academic success. We had 37 sisters receive Dean’s List awards and 20 sisters that received Presidents List awards in 2022. Our chapter celebrated these academic successes with a 4.0 brunch held on March 27th, 2022 at Table Nine. In addition to our success in academics, our chapter has had great success in sisterhood event participation, philanthropy involvement, and panhellenic participation. Our chapter has had many members attend panhellenic general assembly, peer mentoring programs, and serve on the panhellenic council. Ali McDaniel, a spring 19 Kappa, served as the panhellenic president in 2021-2022. Our chapter has many traditions that have been a part of our chapter for many years. One of our favorite traditions is singing “Oh Pat” in the street during our Founders Day and Bid Day celebrations. This year, we were lucky enough to have two Bid Days. On February 6th, 2022 we welcomed the spring 2022 pledge class with a “Lucky Me, I’m a KKG '' Bid Day celebration at the house. On September 15th we hosted a “So Fresh & So Clean'' Bid Day for our Continuous Open Bidding fall 2022 pledge class. Both Bid Day celebrations began with the new members running to the house to greet the current chapter members. Then, the celebrations ended with all the members holding hands singing “Oh Pat” in the street. Another tradition that we have is hosting a new member retreat/sleepover at the house. This year, we had two new member retreats, one for spring 22 and one for spring 21. At these retreats, the new members have the opportunity to bond with the current members and learn about the chapter. During the sleepover, we share big/little letters and the new members write a letter to their future little. We also have the new members bring three objects to the house that represent Kappa’s ideals (the good, the beautiful, and the true). Each member shares an object that represents the good, beautiful, and the true to them. This sleepover brings the girls closer together and creates a stronger sisterhood. Our house on 265 Prospect Street has been the main location for our chapter’s events and sisterhood gatherings. Our house provides a comforting place for all members to meet and socialize. This year, our house chair created a new tradition of hosting a dinner twice a semester for all members. The dinner takes place before an informal chapter meeting. Having another opportunity for the members to socialize before a meeting promotes and strengthens our sisterhood. We hope that this tradition continues in the Beta Upsilon chapter. In addition to those traditions, our chapter has traditions that contribute to our ritual and history. Beta Upsilon hosted two initiation ceremonies this year for the spring 2022 pledge class and the fall 2022 pledge class. Those initiations were held on March 4th, 2022 and September 24th, 2022. Our chapter has a tradition of hosting a fireside ceremony in the evening and having the new members sleep at the house after it. The next morning, the new members are woken up, receive breakfast, and participate in the red and white room ceremonies for initiation. After the initiation ceremonies, the new members receive an iris flower bouquet with a special message from their families and their first pair of stitched letters. The traditions that our chapter has kept throughout the years has contributed greatly to our goals. Beta Upsilon had goals of creating a stronger sisterhood and increasing knowledge of the chapter's ritual and history. The goal of increasing sisterhood has been met through the chapter’s participation in sisterhood events. On April 16th, our sisters went to a WVU baseball game to cheer on the Mountaineers. Our chapter also had a large sisterhood event on October 1st for the WVU football game vs Texas. The sisters all gathered at the house to eat food and socialize before cheering on our football team. These events create an opportunity for everyone in the chapter to gather together and participate in an enjoyable activity.
Our 2022 Philanthropy chair and the other members of the Beta Upsilon chapter have worked together to coordinate philanthropy events to raise money for our new mental health philanthropy. Kappa Kappa Gamma has partnered with many mental health organizations, but our chapter’s main mental health partner is the Jed Foundation. We supported the Jed Foundation by hosting a “Kappa Kornhole” tournament on September 16th and hosting a “Kappa Karwash” with Phi Kappa Psi on October 8th. Both events raised over $500 for the Jed Foundation. Another large philanthropy event that Beta Upsilon hosted was our Golden Key Luncheon for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. This event was hosted on April 3rd, 2022 at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center. Each guest paid for a plate and had the opportunity to participate in silent auctions to win gift baskets. This event was a wonderful opportunity for the members of Beta Upsilon and their parents to learn about the beneficial things that the Kappa Kappa Foundation provides for its members. What kind of service activities did you do for any local organizations? The main local organization that Beta Upsilon supports is the Norma Mae Cancer Research Endowment Fund. We raise money for this organization by hosting a “Hoops for Huggins” basketball tournament. Our chapter is currently planning our “Hoops for Huggins” fundraising event to take place at the WVU Recreation Center on December 2nd, 2022.
Beta Upsilon celebrated Founders Day on October 23rd, 2022. On October 22nd, the chapter hosted a luncheon for the alumni at the Waterfront Marriott Hotel. During the luncheon, the West Virginia University Provost spoke and praised the fraternity. The next day, the chapter hosted our Founders Day celebration at the house. This ceremony allowed the alumni to gather and remember their great times in the Beta Upsilon chapter. The ceremony began with a speech from our house mom and the president. After the speeches, senior members of Beta Upsilon performed the Founders day ceremony. Following the ceremony, the chapter received a surprise speech from the president of the university Dr. Gordon Gee. Then, the alumni and active members took a group picture, performed “Oh Pat” in the street, and ate lunch at the house.
Beta Upsilon takes DEI very seriously and made that a large part of our chapter’s education this year. Our chapter has a DEI chair that is incharge of educating the chapter on how they can be more inclusive to others. Our chapter’s Public Relations chair posts informative graphics on instagram to educate and bring awareness to our chapter members and community. Our chapter also hosted an education program last spring on diversity and inclusion topics. During this education program, a DEI speaker shared a presentation they had created for our members to make sure that we are maintaining an inclusive and welcoming chapte.
Our chapter celebrates our connections in many ways. One of the main ways that we celebrate our connections is through our alumni participation. Beta Upsilon has a great alumni network that is very involved in our chapter events. Our chapter invites alumni to participate in our fireside ceremonies and our initiation ceremonies. In the past year, we have had over 10 alumni, of many different pledge classes, travel to our house to participate in initiation events. We also had over 50 alumni visit our house during the weekend of our Founders Day celebration. During our Founders Day celebration, an alumni approached the marshal and volunteered to participate in a Ritual Review that will be hosted in mid November of 2022. Another way that our chapter celebrated our connections was through our participation in leadership conferences. On June 23rd through the 26th 2022, our chapter president attended the Kappa Kappa Gamma National Convention in Palm Desert, California. At this convention, our president had the opportunity to connect with current Kappas and alumni from all over the United States. At this convention, our president was able to vote on important decisions for the fraternity and learn about the new officer structure for all of the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapters. In addition to the national convention, Beta Upsilon had two members attend a regional Kappa Leadership Academy on September 15th through 18th in Marengo Ohio at the Heartland Conference Retreat Center. This conference was a great learning experience for our members where they learned about leadership skills and traditions that other Kappa Kappa Gamma chapters have.