Beta Chi Chapter was founded at University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky on February 12, 1910.
3,431 initiates (as of June 2018)
Kentucky, renowned in song and story, and immortalized in the pioneer history of America, is the home of Beta Chi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Right in the heart of the bluegrass country lies the city of Lexington, which houses the University of Kentucky and Beta Chi Chapter. On February 12, 1910, eight members of Chi Epsilon Chi, a local sorority of long and strong standing, became charter members of Beta Chi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Kappa was the second national women’s fraternity on the Kentucky campus, with Alpha Gamma Delta having preceded it by a few months. The installation took place at the Chapter house located on Limestone Street, just opposite Patterson Hall. Edith Stoner, the Grand President, was the installing officer. She was assisted by members of Delta Chapter, Indiana University.
In the May 1913 issue of The Key Magazine, Carolyn Barker, a Beta Chi member, wrote that the University of Kentucky opened a new department called "Household Arts." She explained in the article that the first year was entirely devoted to sewing, both hand and machine work, and to drafting patterns and fittings. The second and third years broadened out into all the other household arts. Barker noted that this new department was interesting to many women at the university during this time. Also in 1913, a Kappa tea was held at the Chapter house as a social event. The invitations were sent to the whole student body. The house was decorated with pink tulips, ferns, and was lighted with pink shaded candles.
Records show that the first few years of Beta Chi’s history were filled with problems such as housing, frequent initiations, and campus activities. The question of whether the Chapter could or could not keep the house was an ever-present and much discussed matter. The rent in 1910 was an extravagant one--$15 a month! On account of the financial difficulty, faculty pressure, or possibly a little of both, the house was relinquished the following year, and the Chapter was removed to Patterson Hall to hold meetings in a room reserved for that purpose. At this time, the Kappas moved almost annually. The trouble was neither bill collectors nor landladies, but a general feeling of dissatisfaction with the surroundings. The Chapter really preferred Limestone to any other place of residence.
In 1915, the Kappas were still located at Patterson Hall. Meetings were held at 3:30 on Monday afternoons. In October, the chapter rooms in the hall were prohibited by the dean, and meetings, initiations, and parties were held at the homes of various members. The Kappas considered opening a “lodge building” in connection with Alpha Gamma Delta, Kappa Delta, and Chi Omega, but the plan was abandoned for fear that difficulties would arise during rushing season. Despite the frequent moving days, the young Chapter went dauntlessly ahead with its activities. Initiations were held often in these early years in view of the fact that girls were eligible for initiation only a few weeks after pledging. Although a definite scholarship standing was not required for initiation, the Kappa initiates invariably made a good showing and were among the first on campus in scholarship. In addition to new pledges, many Chi Epsilon Chi members returned to school and took enough work to be initiated.
The first five years saw the establishment of many interesting social customs which have become traditional with Beta Chis. The minutes of 1911 record a hearty vote to present the Kappa Alpha Fraternity with a Kappa pennant on two different occasions. It was the custom to exchange pennants and shields as pledges of good fellowship. When the Kappas initiated four girls in 1915, the Kappa Alpha Fraternity sent them a congratulatory bouquet of four dozen roses. The girls responded with an “open house,” honoring the Kappa Alphas, and this event evolved into a monthly tea for all the men’s fraternities. Keys were in vogue as wedding presents. Pie knives for Kappa brides were substituted, and the custom of presenting a spoon with the Kappa coat of arms on it to the first Kappa baby was instituted.
Life within the Chapter was taken up with rushing, charity work, Kappa work, and financial regulations. The dues were gradually raised from the sum of fifty cents a month to a dollar and twenty-five cents a month. In 1912, the actives contributed fifty cents apiece for the Book of Ritual. Even before WWI, Beta Chi Chapter was doing charity and relief work. In 1916, it was customary for the girls to do a certain amount of settlement work each week. At Christmas time, they filled stockings busily to send to a mountain school. In early March, the Chapter assumed the obligation of dressing and educating a young Kentucky mountain girl of high school age. When she married, her place was filled by a French war orphan supported by the Chapter.
Beta Chi also aided during WWI. The girls knitted the usual socks and sweaters, and each member contributed something to the Belgian Relief Fund, the total being given in Kappa’s name. The girls worked in the Red Cross corps, bought Liberty Bonds, and sent a money contribution across the seas in the name of the Fraternity. To Mary E. Sweeny, leaving for the war front to do canteen work, the Chapter gave a radium-dial wrist watch as a parting gift. In 1918, instead of hosting a Women's Panhellenic banquet, the association gave $100 to the War Fund. In its place, a dance was given in the new Recreation Hall at Patterson Hall for all Greek women of the university. All the girls wore white and the "gentlemen" were designated by bands of red, white, and blue ribbon on the arm. Then there came a campaign for the women of the university to give $1,000 to the Student Friendship War Fund. Beta Chi responded, and pledge $150.
Following closely on the tragedy of the war was a terrible automobile accident in which four University of Kentucky men lost their lives. The influenza epidemic swept over the school in the same year, causing the university to close until January 6, 1919. Therefore, all activities were abandoned. During the break, however, several girls made hundreds of "flu" masks for an emergency Red Cross call and made surgical dressings. Some helped in the collecting and shipping of delicacies to sick boys in nearby camps.
The next five year period (1920-25) was a time of substantial reorganization of the Chapter in efforts to strengthen it. Systematic financial reconstruction made it possible to acquire a house during this period. Fan Ratliff, as Chapter President, led the Chapter in the work of reconstruction and fulfillment of national Fraternity obligations. The Chapter devised a system of pledge training, which included supervised study hall and Sunday afternoon “open houses” with the pledges acting as hostesses. Wednesday evening was established as the time for weekly meetings. Bible study groups were also formed. A pledge Honor Roll, to be read at every Founders Day banquet, was used for the first time. Establishment of the Senior Council and the Fraternity honor system assisted the pledge training. As a consequence of aid given by Virginia Rodefer-Harris, Grand Vice-President, Beta Chi scholarship standing on the campus increased. Elizabeth Kimbrough (Park), as Chapter President, efficiently accomplished the task of organizing a harmonious and successful Chapter during the first year in the house. A baby grand piano was quite an addition to the furnishings at this time, and the Sophomore class decorated the basement for a chapter room.
Beta Chi Chapter won the Scholarship Cup for the year 1919 and 1920. This cup was awarded to the woman's fraternity receiving the highest average for the scholastic year at the University of Kentucky.
The chief honor of this period came to the Chapter when Sarah Gibson Blanding, a Beta Chi alumna, was elected by the Board of Trustees as Dean of Women. “The Dean is gone, long live the Dean!” was the cry on the lips of the Beta Chis. She was only twenty-six years old, and the youngest woman in the United States to have the responsibility of such an office. She was a native to Lexington, Ky. After her high school graduation, she took a two-year course at New Haven Normal School of Gymnastics, which qualified her to become an instructor in the Department of Physical Education at Kentucky while still a freshman at the university. In her senior year of college, she was president of Beta Chi, president of the Administrative Council, captain of the varsity basketball team, and national vice-president of Mortar Board. She also served as the president of the alumnae association at Lexington.
Most of the social events of this era were Fraternity or Panhellenic affairs. The Founders Day banquet of 1921 was held in the Lafayette Hotel, which had just been completed. Fan Ratliff presided over the affair, which was cleverly planned as a musical banquet. The tradition of the Mother’s Day tea was inaugurated, and an agreeable custom of paying calls to patronesses was established. The patronesses and alumnae were honor guests at a Kappa picnic on the river banks in May of 1920. An invitation to a Province dance issued by Delta Chapter was recorded in the minutes of the same year. Rushing parties were continued as usual, except that the Fraternity abolished the house dance for rushees.It appeared that men rushing for other fraternities were spreading propaganda at the dance. The biennial formal dance was initiated at this time, and the first of a long series of these good times took place at the Phoenix Hotel. During the year 1920, the Kappas played the Chi Omegas in a basketball contest that has never been forgotten. So enthused were the fair opponents that the inter-sorority basketball tournament had to be abolished! Three new nationals established chapters on Kentucky’s campus --- Delta Delta Delta, Delta Zeta, and Zeta Tau Alpha. Beta Chi entertained each group at a tea. One interesting social event was a Pantry Party given at the house. Mothers and patronesses were invited to come and help re-stock the pantry shelves.
The Founders Day banquet on February 10, 1923, was held in the Lafayette Hotel. The predominant ideas of the program, a building fund for the future Kappa house, was a surprise to all. Among the eighty present, there were many out-of-town alumnae who showed a great deal of interest and enthusiasm. Twenty-three hundred dollars in promissory notes were received from those present. Later in the month, the Beta Chi held a bridge party at the Chapter house and a tea-dance at Patterson Hall. The decorations and favors were in keeping with George Washington's birthday.
In the spring of 1924, Beta Chi gave a big dance called the peacock affair. The whole ballroom of the Phoenix Hotel was decorated in peacock feathers, streamers, and painted peacocks. The girls' favors were peacock quill pens, while the boys were presented with small silver knives.
In the summers, members of Beta Chi often held a Kappa Camp on the Kentucky River. During the camp, they spent the night, and the entertainment included fireworks. Barge dances, stunts, swimming, canoeing, and refreshments followed.
On February 13, 1925, Beta Chi had their Founders' Day banquet at the LaFayette Hotel. They borrowed the idea of the powdered hair and candle light from the Kappa Convention. Tiny blue and blue feather fans were chose as favors and the alumnae were presented with pink roses.
Running down the list of students at the University of Kentucky from 1925 to 1930, there is a long line of Kappa names in every activity. The first fraternity woman to be elected President of W.S.G.A. on Kentucky’s campus was Beta Chi's Eugenia H. Herrington (Green). In 1927, Sarah Lynn Tucker was elected Vice-President of the Sophomore class. Cynthia Hammond Smith won the Chi Omega prize for the best Sophomore record in home economics. Three campus beauties were also chosen from the Kappa Chapter at this time. During the 1927-28 school year, Kappa Kappa Gamma made the highest scholastic record of any social fraternity on campus, and was awarded the scholarship cup. Fraternity honor came to the Chapter when Fan Ratliff was elected President of Gamma Province.
The most marked progress in chapter life was made in this period when the Kappas moved into the house at 179 East Maxwell Street. At last, the Beta Chis had a home of their own. The Lexington girls had passed the previous summer painting and decorating. It has been estimated that in more than sixty-three years since its founding, Beta Chi has owned, occupied, or met in twenty-six different sites in Lexington. The fondly remembered “little white house” on Maxwell represented one of its longest tenancies.
Frances L. Smith (Dugan) was Chapter President at this time, and under her guidance, the Chapter meetings included interesting talks, Bible readings, and individual weekly reports of activities. Members with below C-averages were required to study at the house for two afternoons a week. Another visit from Virginia Rodefer-Harris resulted in great enthusiasm over the National Convention to be held in California, at which Beta Chi was represented by Louise Palmer Jefferson. In the early part of 1927, Helen Farst-Wallace, the Province President, visited the Chapter.
By 1930, with Beta Chi having developed from a sturdy child to a young, energetic adult, Frank L. McVey, father of two Chapter members, was President of the University, and Sarah Blanding was Dean of Women. Beta Chi members were serving as President of the Women’s Administrative Council and as class officers. There were seventeen fraternities and ten sororities on the campus. Beta Chi boasted forty-one active members.
During the 1930s, intramural sports began on the campus to strengthen ties between sororities. A new student union building was also created. Beta Chi Chapter was host to Mu Province convention during cold and wet weather, with a robbery to add to the excitement! During the economic crisis of the 1930s, sorority expansion halted at the University of Kentucky, but Beta Chi weathered the Depression.
In true Kentucky style, it was written of Kappas in the 1934 yearbook, the Kentuckian: “Traditionally a very high class stable, always a goodly number of nifty thoroughbreds.” The next year’s entry read: “The Kappa Gams manage to pledge a beauty queen every so often…they also manage to grab a share of the military sponsors without the aid of campus politicians. They suffered very little opposition with their rushees this year, and walked off with a number of nifty thoroughbreds.”
In 1939, Beta Chi had its first College of Law graduate, Bettie Gilbert (Wiglesworth). She was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Delta Phi, and editor of the Kentucky Law Journal.
During World War II, Beta Chi, eager to serve on a campus where only ten percent of the student body consisted of civilian men, contributed its iron grille fence to the scrap metal drive. The Maxwell house was sold and the Delta Tau Delta house on Audubon Park was rented. During the war, men’s fraternities were vacant. Many Kappas, who were victims of gas rationing, thumbed their way in and out from the main campus. After the war, the house at 232 East Maxwell Street was bought and lived in for the next ten years.
The achievements of Beta Chi’s honored member, Sarah Blanding, who was the recipient of the Alumnae Achievement Award in 1947, are nationally known. However, perhaps only Beta Chis remember that she was honored as an undergraduate in 1922 by being unanimously elected to play Santa Claus for the annual Christmas party. Blanding Tower, as well as the low-rise Blanding I, II, III, and IV dormitories on the University of Kentucky’s campus, are named after Sarah Blanding.
Housing: In the 1950s, plans were developed for a chapter house, and lots were purchased. However, complications arose, and another house was bought---238 East Maxwell. By the fall of 1960, the chapter moved into the renovated mansion.
In the mid-1960s, The Key “visited” Beta Chi chapter at the University of Kentucky, and the word from university President John W. Oswald was, “The university is proud to have this Chapter on our campus.” He mentioned three Beta Chi alumnae who had recently been in the ranks of seven women to receive Distinguished Alumnae Centennial Awards. These three were Sarah Gibson Blanding, president emeritus of Vassar College; Nancy Duke Lewis, Dean of Pembroke College and Director of the National Merit Scholarship Program; and Mary E. Sweeny, noted home economist and former director of the American Economics Association. The Dean of Women at the time, who pronounced Beta Chi a “welcome asset,” was Doris M. Seward, a member of Delta Chapter.
The 1960s was a decade of unrest, a feeling of frustration, and wanting to do one’s own thing. No doubt because of Kappa’s fine heritage, Beta Chi made it through the 1960s and into a new decade where the pendulum seemed to be swinging back to sanity and peace once more.
Most of the previous information was excerpted from The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870-1930 and 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 Beta Chi Chapter in the 80’s found themselves working very hard to improve their scholarship and they were successful in bringing up their GPA to the top 3 on campus. They set a goal to have a more positive image on campus and did this by more campus participation, intramurals and joint philanthropies. In this era of the 80’s they also had a great deal of work done on the house with redecorating and adding more space to the House. They also had a new IBM XT computer installed that made Beta Chi the first chapter on campus to conduct finances, chapter information and house funds on a computer. Recruitment was successful with meeting quota or above every year. In an effort to improve participation, pledge retention and overall positive attitude, they instituted a program with 3 groups…the owls, keys and fleur de lis who attended events together, etc. This program worked well to improve attendance and sisterhood. In 1989 they celebrated their 80th anniversary with alumnae. They closed out the 80’s with continuing their quest for top 3 on campus in academics and participations in their own and other Greek philanthropies.
The Beta Chi Chapter in the 90’s pledged to continue their pursuit of academic excellence. The also continued the practice of dividing the chapter into Owls, Keys and Fleur de lis . At every campus event at least one of these groups is in attendance. They won many intramural events as well as other all campus events and philanthropies. At the 1990 KKG Convention they won first place in Ritual. They had song practice or Ritual facts every Monday at Chapter Meetings several of these years. The House Board continued to make improvements to the house. Their recruitments we were always successful meeting or exceeding quota with outstanding young women. They also found ways to interact with the Alumnae in the area with Founders Day, babysitting their children, having bridge ”dates”. The chapter supported their own philanthropy events as well as other Greek groups’ events contributing to the welfare of the campus and community.
Beta Chi started the 2000’s more dedicated than ever to participate in all Greek on-campus events and be supportive of all philanthropy fundraisers. Many years we faced lack of participation and lack of feelings of sisterhood. With help of LC’s, alumnae and strong Chapter Councils, we feel like our monthly sisterhood events and philanthropy events have brought the chapter closer. In 2006 the Chapter Council amended the by-laws requiring each Kappa to attend on IGPA event each semester. This helped make Kappa more involved on campus. This has also helped as we have larger and larger recruitment classes and it takes all of us to get the best pledge classes on campus…and we have! Emphasis is always placed on academics. In 2004 we were awarded a pizza party for earning the most A’s out of all the sororities on campus. That year we also raised $7800 at Kappasta for rehabilitation services. A Focus Letter in 2008 was a blessing in disguise as we took everything the LC and Fraternity suggested and improved our attendance and participation by improving the moral of the chapter. Our adviser relationships are stronger than ever. The letter was lifted in 2009 due to our hard work to improve. In 2010 our chapter celebrated it’s Centennial with a brunch with all alumni, a ball, lots of good food and Kappa memorabilia. In 2011, the campus of UK was designated as a unified Greek system. This new unity has involved having Greeks join together for different events such as hazing forums and campus security. They also had the first Greek Ball.
Chapter Convention Awards:
2002: House Board Honorable Mention, Finance Honorable Mention
2006: Gracious Living Honorable Mention, Signature Event Honorable Mention, RIF Honorable Mention, Risk Management Honorable Mention, Excellence in Chapter Honorable Mention
2010: Excellence in Chapter Management Award, Honorable Mention in Standards, Risk Management, Signature event, Rose McGill and Chapter/Advisory Board relations
Beta Chi had an extremely successful and fun year during 2012. In the spring semester, we participated in the philanthropic event called Greek Sing with the theme of ‘News’. We also competed in the sorority stomp competition, where we earned 3rd place with our Remember the Titans themed routine. Kappa showed that we aren’t afraid to get a little dirty when we won a mud-wrestling philanthropy event. We also were recognized for having the most members donate blood at our on-campus blood drive. We hosted a 5k with the help of the men of Delta Sigma Pi, and we raised significant funds to donate to Holly’s House, our local charity. Beta Chi also hosted all of our mothers at our house for a very fun tea party. At the end of the semester, Kappa had the 2nd highest Greek G.P.A. on campus.
Beta Chi was recognized at our national convention, winning the Standards award, and also winning an honorable mention in Risk Management. At the Panhellenic Banquet, we won an honorable mention in Risk Management and Treasury. We were all very excited to come back from summer break to spend Fleur-de-Lis week and Recruitment Week together. Beta Chi put on an amazing recruitment; we gained many impressive new members. During the fall semester, we decided to create a new philanthropy event. With the help of the brothers of Theta Chi, our first annual Greeks Got Talent event was a huge success. Beta Chi hosted the families of all the members during our Parent’s weekend trip to Keeneland horse track. Many girls got involed outside of Kappa by participating in the 2012 election campaigns, playing UK and intramural sports, participating in the Honors program, student government, studying abroad, and joining clubs.
One challenge that Beta Chi faced in 2012 was managing huge recruitment parties. A record-breaking number of girls decided to go through UK's Fall Recriutment, so we had to adapt our rushing processes to fit the large numbers. We were able to handle the large amounts of PNMs successfully and had high return rates throughout the week.
In 2012, the University of Kentucky basketball team won their 8th National Championship. As a chapter, we are very dedicated UK sports fans, so this was a thrilling victory. The championship win created a large influx of students to the University of Kentucky. Our campus is expanding before our eyes. Many older buildings are being renovated or completely torn down to make space for expansions. UK will continue to grow quickly, and Greek Life will also experience major growth within the next few years.
The Beta Chi chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma had a great year in 2013. We were involved in many philanthropic events this year. One of the first events was in February called Greek Sing. Our theme for this event was Kappapalooza, where we dressed up as different genres of music that you would hear at the music festival Lollapalooza. We also competed in a stomp competition with the theme of "Despicable Me" where our girls dressed up as minions for this routine. One of the events that anyone at the University of Kentucky can do is called DanceBlue. This is a 24-hour no sitting dance marathon that donates all of the proceeds raised to pediatric cancer research. Last year they raised over $1,000,000. This is an event that so many Kappas do and stick together throughout the entire time, while the rest of us go and cheer them on for this unbelievably great cause.
Our spring philanthropy event that we put on was Kappa Kappa Jamma. This was a concert we had with Brian Davis and David Adam Byrnes and the proceeds went to Holly's House. The fall philanthropy was Kentucky's Got Talent in which we were paired with Theta Chi. This is a talent show in which so many people and Greek organizations get involved with; the proceeds raised went to DanceBlue.
Province was hosted at the Beta Chi chapter this year. This was such a great experience with chapters from the Nu Province attending and sharing Kappa love. Beta Chi was so happy to receive the award for 2013 Outstanding Chapter for Nu Province.
One of the most important things to Beta Chi is sisterhood events. There were so many opportunities for the girls to participate in sisterhood events this year. There was an activity during Dead Week before final exams that was a nice study break for the girls, a trip to the pumpkin patch, and also a scavenger hunt around town for the girls to have bonding time with each other and the new members. One of the many exciting things Kappa did was make a "Harlem Shake" video which included our house mother; this was a blast to make and was great for everyone to be able to see.
August began with Fleur-de-Lis week and Recruitment. There was a record broken for how many girls went through formal Recruitment this year, which was extremely exciting and we were blessed with a great amount of new girls. Recruitment was very successful and brought the chapter even closer.
Race For The Cure is a 5K that we do every year for breast cancer research. This year the race was during parents' weekend so everyone's parents were encouraged to join and meet at the house before. This is a great time for us to come together and support a great cause that is often near and dear to our hearts. We also made blankets for Wrap Up America, which go to the homeless and were so much fun to make.
The year concluded with us having a Sapphire Ball with the brothers of Alpha Tau Omega. Everyone wore formal attire and had a great time. Overall, 2013 was a great year. Many changes are occurring at UK right now; with building remodeling and new dorms being built all over campus, the times are changing and improvements are happening everywhere. The chapter also only continues to improve and excel and we look forward to watching our chapter continue to grow even more in the future.
This year Beta Chi has completed a lot of amazing things. First in March we competed in a Philanthropic Event on campus called Greek Sing. Our theme this year was “TSM”, otherwise known as “Total Sorority Move”. We dressed up as basic ideas that many girls in sororities love including: Starbucks, frat stars, and bid day. We also participated in Stompapalooza, a step competition. Our theme was “Jaws” where our team split up into two parts. There were sharks and lifeguards. Another event we participated in was Dance Blue. This is an event that so many Kappas do and stick together throughout the entire time, while the rest of us go and cheer them on for this unbelievably great cause.
Our spring philanthropy event was Kappa Bowl. We paired with Kappa Alpha, the Fraternity, and had a soccer tournament with a twist. We had giant, blow up balls that made running into one another a little more fun. This was a huge tournament not only with Greek chapters but also with other groups on campus that wanted to get a team together and play.
As fall quickly approached, we were preparing for a record amount of PNM’s coming in for recruitment. We had amazing return rates and got 90 amazing new members that we are extremely proud of. Recruitment was fun and exciting, as everyone in the chapter got closer.
Early in the fall semester, we paired with Triangle fraternity for an event called Greek Seize. This event was very fun! There were several different activates that each group did to help complete the event.
This year the ladies at Beta Chi grew closer to one another but also closer to the University. We joined many more clubs and activities on campus and are very involved outside of Kappa. We had amazing sisterhood events that show our unbreakable bond and fun we are able to share with each other.
This year Beta Chi has completed and participated in a lot of amazing events. This February we had 30 girls participated in the University of Kentucky Dance Blue marathon. The marathon raised over 1.6 million dollars for the Golden Matrix Fund, which supports the kids of Dance Blue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. During the month of February Beta Chi also competed in a Philanthropic Event on campus called Greek Sing. Our theme was “Kappavengers” modeled after the Avenger movies. During this event our team came in 2nd place. Another event Beta Chi participated in this past spring was Stompapalooza, a step competition. Our theme for this event was “Ghost Busters”. The girls that participated had a great time learning the dance, making costumes, and performing for a great cause. In April, we hosted our spring philanthropy event called Kappa Bowl. We paired with Kappa Alpha, the Fraternity, and had a soccer tournament with a twist. Participants dressed up in inflatable balls and played soccer. This made the game very fun to play and entertaining to watch. Out event was opened to not only the Greek community but also the campus community.
During the summer Beta Chi had 4 members attend the Kappa Convention. At the Convention Beta Chi was inducted in the Adelphi Award and was an honorable mention for the Gracious Living Award. Our members had a great time at the Convention and learned a lot of new information that our chapter has benefited from.
As fall quickly approached, we were preparing for a record amount of PNM’s coming in for recruitment. We had amazing return rates and got 98 amazing new members that we are extremely proud of. Recruitment was fun and exciting, as everyone in the chapter got closer.
In the fall, we paired with Triangle fraternity for our philanthropy event called Greek Siege. This is a water event, we have 3 different activities for teams to compete in such as fort building, water balloon fights, and water slide kickball. Once again this event is a blast to participate in and exciting to watch.
This fall Beta Chi was very excited to host another Philanthropy event with the Chi Psi fraternity called the Run Forrest Run .5K. This event was a hit, participants completed a .5 mile run then enjoyed some shrimp and the Forrest Gump Movie. In November Beta Chi also hosted “Kappa Kindness Week” throughout the week Kappas participated in random acts kindness such as free doughnuts or buying someone Starbucks. We also raised pop can tops for the Ronald McDonald house, visited the hospital for Hospice Appreciation week, and made tie blankets. To celebrate the end of the week we had a RIF event at Picadome Elementary here in Lexington. This semester alone Beta Chi completed 2,729 service hours as a chapter. To end the semester, we celebrated with decorating the house for Christmas and attending a University of Kentucky Hockey game. To conclude this semester was filled with philanthropy and sisterhood.
This year the ladies at Beta Chi grew closer to one another but also closer to the University. We joined many more clubs and activities on campus and are very involved outside of Kappa. We participated and hosted many philanthropy events. We had amazing sisterhood events that showed our unbreakable bond and fun we are able to share with each other and our campus.
Twenty-Seventeen was a year of growth and change for Beta Chi. We started off 2017 with a bang. We began with the announcement that our beloved home was going to be renovated for the 2017-2018 school year. While excitement ran high, this also caused some worry about how the chapter would function without a home.
With the knowledge that chapter life was going to change without a house, the chapter created goals to ensure this year of transition and change went as smoothly as possible. The first goal was to improve chapter communication and organization. This was achieved by creating a chapter Google Drive with all important information and included a thorough calendar of everything happening. We also utilized digital media and social networking to keep our sisters in the loop. Chapter meetings were held every Monday at 6:30 PM in the Don and Cathy Jacobs Academic Science Building.
Our second goal was strengthening our sisterhood, this was achieved through new and creative ways to get our sisters together, even though we didn’t have our house. Our standards committee worked hard to put on weekly sisterhood events for all interests ranging from cookie decorating, to watching the Bachelor, fitness classes, night out at the movies to see “Bad Moms: Christmas”, attending the Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs baseball game, and many other fun and exciting events. We also worked to grow our sisterhood by recognizing our sisters weekly for amazing things they have done. We gave out “Keys” to recognize their sisters who had positively impacted others with random acts of kindness, we had the “Polished Kappa” award for sisters who were best dressed to social functions and we recognized the sisters who inspire us, guide us, and support us through our Hero Book.
Finally, our third goal was to welcome in the new members with open arms and share the amazing sisterhood that Beta Chi has with them. Going through recruitment without a home was a challenge that only brought us closer as a chapter. During formal recruitment all but two of the fifteen Panhellenic chapters were in their homes, Beta Chi was one of these two. The chapter recruited out of the home of Sigma Chi Fraternity which is located centrally in UK’s Greek Park neighborhood. The recruitment team and all members worked hard to make the new space feel like home with crafts, rugs, photos and special touches that made the space feel a little bit like our beloved home. At the end, Beta Chi welcomed home 85 beautiful women into our sisterhood in Greek Park. These women truly uphold the legacy of Beta Chi and we cannot wait to see how these women impact the university, the Beta Chi chapter, and the world.
The Beta Chi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma supports our national nonprofit “Reading is Fundamental”. The chapter is very passionate about working with RIF and their mission. This past semester Beta Chi has developed a unique relationship with a local Title 1 Elementary School, Russell Cave Elementary in north Lexington. Before the school year began, the Beta Chi chapter donated over $2000 worth of school supplies to the teachers to help supplement some of the cost that they pay out of their own pockets. This semester our chapter members have had the opportunity to assist in classrooms on a weekly basis. Sisters helped with reading activities in the classroom, grading papers and other tasks teachers needed help with. During Recruitment, with the help of potential new members, the chapter made over 7000 flashcards to promote cognition of sight words and basic math and number recognition skills. These flashcards were in English and Spanish to accommodate the 54% of the students who come from Spanish-speaking households. The students were then able to take these flashcards home during our Reading is Key Carnival that occurred later in the semester. At the Carnival, chapter members assisted in running various carnival games which were open to all students and the public. All funds raised at the carnival went straight to Russell Cave Elementary. At the carnival, Beta Chi hosted a booth where children participated in a literacy activity and at the end of each student received a book. Throughout the year, Beta Chi has purchased over 1400 books which went directly to the students and extras were given to teachers to keep in their classroom libraries.
This fall, Beta Chi held our two philanthropy events, our 3rd annual Kappa Bowl with the men of Kappa Alpha order and our first ever Amazing Race event! This fun event was based off the hit TV show The Amazing Race, but was here, at the University of Kentucky. This event consisted of twenty-three teams from student organizations, both Greek and others. During the event Beta Chi chapter members ran the stations and cheered teams onto victory. This was an awesome event for players and our chapter. We can’t wait to make this our annual fall event. Overall through this event we raised over $1000 to support Reading is Fundamental!
Another area of focus for Beta Chi this year was academics. This year sisters encouraged each other to dive deeper academics. The academic committee worked hard putting together fun incentives for spending time studying together. The committee put together a program where members are rewarded for their academic successes and the member with the most points received a prize. This year the prize is a Kendra Scott necklace and bracelet. As a chapter we were able to be ranked third on campus for grades, which we are very proud of.
Throughout Lexington and on campus, the sisters of Beta Chi continue to be involved in the communities around them. Over thirty sisters danced in the annual Dance Blue dance marathon, helping raise over 1.7 million for the Golden Matrix Fund, which supports the kids of Dance Blue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. We also had a large group of sisters participate in Greek Sing, where our theme was “Forrest Gump”, and sisters also participated in Stompapalooza. Sisters were also involved in other student organizations ranging from student government, to equestrian teams, and pre-professional groups. Kappa’s also participated in intramural flag football, futsal, and basketball.
During the fall, Beta Chi Chapter was lucky enough to host many alumni. In August, we held the official ground-breaking ceremony for our new home, in which the entire chapter, alumni, House Board, and construction team were present to celebrate the occasion. In October, we hosted the pledge class of 1967 back to campus to receive their 50-year pins and celebrate Founders Day with the chapter. Later in the fall, we had visits from author and sister, Holly K. Dunn, who shared her story and her new book with Beta Chi and the UK community, as well as a visit from sister Ashley Judd, who came to spend time with sisters on campus.
We also hosted our families throughout the year. We welcomed our moms into our home this spring to a brunch and afternoon of canvas painting. After spending time at the house many ladies and their mothers attended a day at Keeneland for horse races. We also held tailgates for held a Dad’s Day and Family Weekend, both were well attended events which we plan to do again in the future.
As the year winds down, the sisters of Beta Chi are excited for the future which includes the unveiling of our new home, serving our community, and continuing to grow in our sisterhood.
The chapter house, located at 238 E. Maxwell, began renovations and expansion in May 2017. Due to construction, the house was left vacant for the 2017-2018 school year. Over 40 sisters elected to live together in a local apartment complex off campus to keep the feeling of the house. For weekly meetings we utilized campus classrooms and lecture halls. Sisterhood events were held on campus, and off campus in homes, apartments and at local parks.
The Beta Chi chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Kentucky has seen tremendous growth in the past year. Our chapter house was under construction for renovations during the 2017-2018 school year causing us to be without a central location for girls to come to, having to hold chapter meetings in classroom lecture halls, and a recruitment done in another chapter’s house. In August 2018, the house re-opened and we did the new “delayed recruitment” style in our new house. Recruitment is the first two weekends of school, rather than the whole week before. This was a big change for the Panhellenic community as we have done early recruitment for many, many years at UK. It went well, and we will be doing recruitment this way for years to come. Recruitment went very well this year, we love our new fall ’18 pledge class! Sisterhood is a top priority to our chapter. Maintaining friendships is very important to the members of Kappa and we encourage it in many ways. Ways that we encourage strengthening friendships in our chapter are by holding sisterhood events. A few we had this year are a roller-skating event at Champs Roller dome, movie night in the new house, and a trip to Boyd’s Orchard. Another aspect that is very important to the members in Kappa is academics. We promote studying by holding study hours and having academic events, such as study nights with other chapters. Now that we have the house again, sisterhood will be promoted in a whole new way with having sisterhood events.
Chapter Philanthropy Kappa is very involved in the Panhellenic and UK community. We love getting to know our fellow Greek organizations and helping raise money for other causes. DanceBlue is a 24-hr dance marathon that raises money for UK DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Kappa typically has a team of about 30 girls dancing. Each year, UK students raise over $1.5 million. Greek Sing is a philanthropy event held by Chi Omega at UK. It is a big dance competition. It is a lot of fun to watch all the chapters perform their routines because so much work goes into it. This past Greek Sing, our theme was “Apps,” so our dances included Twitter, Weather, Find My Friends, Uber, and Snapchat.
Kappa supports Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), GIRLS Academy, and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. We work the closest with RIF. Each semester, we are paired with an elementary school where we work closely with the teachers and students. Our spring 2018 events were Kappa Bowl, Kappa Kindness, and Reading is Key events. Kappa Bowl is our biggest event – all organizations on campus are invited to make teams to participate. The participants are dressed in orb suits and play soccer. It is a tournament style game and the winning team receives money that will be donated to a philanthropy of their choice. Kappa Kindness typically takes place during midterms in the spring semester. Typically, we set up a table somewhere around campus and give out free coffee donuts and other motivational things to add a little brightness to people’s difficult exam week. Reading is Key events are events we hold where we go into the elementary school we are paired with for that semester and have a carnival for the students. There are different reading stations, such as speed reading, storytelling, puppets, bookmarks, snacks, and other fun carnival games. The children really enjoy the events and we have gotten a lot of positive feedback with previous events from the teachers and parents. Spring semester 2018, our theme of the Reading is Key event was Dr. Seuss Oh the Places You’ll Go and all the active members of Kappa wore crazy, mismatch socks, which the students thought was silly and fun. This past semester, fall 2018, our theme for the Reading is Key event was superheroes. All the active members of Kappa wore superhero masks during the event, again which allowed a light, funny, silly atmosphere with the kids. Each time we hold Reading is Key events, each student gets to go home with a new book, and we are able to donate over 2,000 books to the school library. Our fall philanthropy events this semester were: the Reading is Key event, a Bake Sale, and The Amazing Race. As previously mentioned, the Reading is Key events are themed events that are held at the elementary school were paired with and is a carnival-like event. There are reading stations, games, and snacks. The Bake Sale was new this semester, it was a success! Active members made baked goods and each item was sold for $1. The bake sale had two locations, one station was set up at our chapter house and another was outside of a classroom building on campus. We had girls tell their friends and post on their social media to get the word out. The Amazing Race is our fall philanthropy event based off the TV show “The Amazing Race.” Teams of four must finish a certain number of challenges the fastest to win a monetary prize of about $100 and they get to choose a philanthropy to donate money to, as well.
Chapter Facility Chapter meetings are held in our chapter room in our newly renovated chapter house. In the old house, the chapter room was way too small to hold every member, so we had meeting in the dining room. But now, our chapter room seats 300 people, comfortably, which is more than enough room for the entire chapter. Beta Chi Chapter Room – White fold up chairs are set up for meetings.
The History/Ritual and Treasury Advisor helped us out a lot this past year with the financial aspect of the new house. She also planned our Founders Day celebration at the new house with other members of our House Board. They did an amazing job of showcasing the new house to the alumnae and set up a nice program to thank everyone for their help with the house. She helped our chapter tremendously over the past year. She attended chapter council meetings and always let the CC members know that she would be there if they needed anything.
We celebrated Founders Day by having an event at the house on October 13th. We had set out old scrapbooks and items from years past and had an official Founders Day ceremony with speaking parts representing the founders. We also had a 50-year pin presentation for the women celebrating their 50-year anniversary. We had a small reception with provided brunch foods and an opportunity for active members to mingle with alumnae.
Recently, we welcomed a new chapter to campus and have had representatives from the new chapter visit with us and discuss their plans for fortifying the Panhellenic community. We have welcomed our largest pledge class yet from the largest freshman class that UK has seen. Overall, the chapter is excited to welcome our new members and has enjoyed all of our events this year and the chance to become closer as a sisterhood. This year, we focused on making our sisterhood grow stronger through sisterhood events and exemplifying the values of our chapter across campus.
Reading is Fundamental, Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation
We chose to partner with Millcreek Elementary School and we picked this school because they have an underserved population of students that do not have access to the books that they need to stay on track with their reading abilities. Partnering with a school in Lexington allows us to see the immediate effect of our fundraising efforts on children so close to our school. This year we hosted Reading is Key events at the elementary school where we had themed events with students. In the spring, the theme was Dr. Seuss and this fall, it was Disney-themed. This consisted of having different stations, each with a different theme and activity for the students to participate in.
This year, Beta Chi has held many philanthropy events to raise money to support Reading is Fundamental and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. In the spring, we held our Kappa Bowl event where participants from other chapters on campus play tournament style soccer within large plastic blow up suits. We also held a Reading is Key event at Millcreek Elementary with a Dr. Seuss theme where we were able to donate 650 books. We held the Amazing Race in the fall where chapters signed up as teams and competing in a scavenger hunt across campus with tasks to complete at each stop before they can move onto the next station. We raised $1000 from the Amazing Race and $1335 from Kappa Bowl that we were able to use to support our philanthropies. In the fall, we held our second Reading is Key event with a Disney theme and were able to donate around 900 books to the elementary school. This year, we were also able to raise $750 to donate to a scholarship fund for a Beta Chi alum who recently passed away from cancer. This was a wonderful way for us to show support for an alum who meant so much to this chapter and her family shared with us how important our chapter was to her. This year, our goal was to work on fortifying our sisterhood through various events geared towards strengthening our bond. We had different events throughout the year such as roller skating, laser tag, and a visit to a local apple orchard. This year, as a chapter we were still adjusting to being back in our new house after being renovated and it was exciting year to expand our sisterhood and get settled in to our new house. Kappa also participated in other chapter's philanthropy events such as Greek Sing, an event hosted by Chi Omega and Beta Theta Pi, where teams perform and themed dance. Beta Chi also had a team participate in DanceBlue, an on campus organization that raises almost 2 million dollars a year in support of pediatric cancer research and clinic funding.
This has been a crazy year but we have made the most out of it all! When we got sent home because of COVID-19 in the spring, Beta Chi still managed to have many virtual sisterhood events like Zoom work out classes and Netflix watch parties. We were finally able to come back to 238 E. Maxwell on August 8th. We hosted virtual spirit week with different types of recruitment workshops. Beta Chi also hosted virtual recruitment which was a huge success. We were able to welcome home 78 new members. Bid day was Kappa Girls tour themed, and everyone had a great time dressing up and welcoming our new member class home! We hosted it in shifts so everyone could join! We have had numerous sisterhood events this semester including pumpkin painting on the porch, coffee tabs at local coffee houses, tailgates in Kappa’s parking lot, and Bachelorette night in the student center movie theater. Big little was held in person and virtually, and it was a huge success! All 78 new members got initiated on October 24th virtually through Zoom! We have had a fun filled year at Beta Chi and we cannot wait for the next adventures.
Beta Chi supports Reading is Fundamental and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.
This year has been a little different. Due to COVID-19 we have not been able to volunteer at Millcreek Elementary School here in Lexington, KY. However, Beta Chi has done other things to help this school. We chose this school because they have an underserved population of students that do not have access to the books that they need to stay on track with their reading abilities. Being in this schools allows us to see the immediate effect of our fundraising efforts on children so close to our hearts. This year we hosted Kappa Kickball. This event helped Beta Chi raise money to support our local elementary school while staying socially distanced with our sisters. We were able to raise over $5000 to RIF during the fall semester.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We have encouraged our sisters to go to other Panhellenic events in our community. Chapter Council has received the letter from Kappa Headquarters about adding a DEI position. We have begun planning on adding this position to our Chapter Council.
This year we filmed a video to celebrate Founders Day and posted it on Beta Chi’s facebook page for all alumnae and members to watch. In this video, chapter members shared why Beta Chi is special to them.
Beta Chi kicked off our spring semester with a valentines themed date function, “Kappa Krush”. We then welcomed our spring COB new members with a lovely valentines themed bid day. In March, we had spring break and travelled all over with our sisters. April started out with Greek Sing, where we did a Barbie themed dance performance. Soon after, we had our philanthropy event, Kappa Kookout, where we grilled burgers at the Kappa house and hung out! We closed out the spring semester with our formal, Sapphire Ball. Then we said goodbye to our senior members as they graduated.
Fall semester started off with Spirit Week, where we got ready to welcome every PNM and strengthened our sisterhood. We had fun themes like “Top Spotify Artist” where we dressed as our top artists, and several others. We celebrated our new member class with a Candyland bid day theme, and welcomed them to “Kappaland”! We had a Kamp Kappa for our new members, where they got to grow a bit closer with arts and crafts, as well as a low ropes course. Our first date function of the semester was disco themed, and had us getting “KKGroovy”. We then had our parents weekend tailgate, where we welcomed all our families into the Kappa house! After meeting with Key Sisters, our new members were more than ready to meet their bigs at big/little reveal! The theme was “I Can’t Wait to Watch You Grow”. It was then time to initiate our new members, and we celebrated I-week with a drive-in movie! Next was Kappa Kup, our philanthropy event where teams would play soccer in big inflatable hamster balls. Our next date function, “Nightmare on East Maxwell” was just as much fun as the first. We dressed in our halloween costumes and danced the night away. Most recently, we had Founders day. Alumni visited the house, and one Alumni spoke to the whole chapter. We had so much fun hearing old memories from the Kappa house.
For Kappa’s Mental Health and Wellness philanthropy initiative, the Beta Chi chapter supports the JED Foundation and the Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families. Our chapter is hands on with our local organization, where we are able to help families and children who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
Our Philanthropy officer planned a Kappa Kup tournament, a soccer style tournament where the participants would compete in inflatable hamster balls. Other chapters on campus joined and made up the competing teams. Kappa girls were the coaches, referees, and even cheerleaders. Kappa donated to the winning team’s philanthropy, and all of the fundraising for the event went to the KKG Foundation. Our chapter raised money for the JED Foundation by making and selling Suicide Prevention ribbons, and we donated supplies to the Kentucky Center for Greiving Children.
Our chapter celebrated Founders day by hosting a class of Alumni in our house. We had one Alumni speak to the chapter at our Founders Day, and she shared some of her memories from her time at Kappa. After, we had a brunch with the chapter and Alumni.
Last year was the first year we had a DEI coordinator, and this year we added a DEI officer to our Chapter Council. She has been doing weekly “Mental Health Minutes”, where she shares advice and tips to manage mental health. Our DEI officer has also been highlight different cultural events on campus and in Lexington. There have also been programming presentations about diversity and inclusion, including a presentation on unconscious bias and cultural appropriation that helped educate our chapter.
This summer our President went to the Kappa Convention in Palm Springs, where she was able to connect with Kappa members from all over. She learned more about the chapter’s history as well as helped in strengthening Kappa’s bylaws.