Beta Psi Chapter was founded at Victoria College in Toronto, Ontario on May 24, 1911, and transferred to University of Toronto in May 1925.
1,223 initiates (as of June 2018)
The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870 - 1930, describes “...a frail wisp of sunny youth, courageous though wracked with pain, smiling always even in the face of discouragement, Rose fought with determination to regain the health that the doctors had long since despaired of.”
Said to have a carefree manner and given to making witty remarks, “Rose was very pretty, with lovely coloring, and though she never looked very strong she had an unlimited amount of energy - energy she should have conserved.”
A 1934 issue of The Key carried a detailed story about Rose. “The youngest of three children, Rose was about 13 when her mother died, followed two years later by her father. She was sent to boarding school and during her last year there her brother, the only remaining family member she could depend on, died suddenly. Another detailed article about Rose appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of The Key. Click to read.
The University of Toronto was founded as King’s College in 1827 and is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Canada. Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in the 1850s upon becoming a secular institution. Toronto has evolved into a large and complex public institution occupying three campuses: Scarborough, Erindale and the historic downtown St. George campus. It is federated with three smaller universities which are on the St. George campus, and is affiliated with several colleges and institutes. Ten teaching hospitals in metropolitan Toronto are affiliated fully with the university.
The university is Canada’s most important research institution and has gained an international reputation for its research. It enrolls more students, employs more faculty members and offers a greater range of courses than any other Canadian university. As of 2010, the enrollment on the downtown campus exceeded 45,000 students.
The university’s insistence on the importance of research in all disciplines has made it the major center for graduate education in Canada. In many fields, it produces a majority of Canada’s doctoral candidates. The quality and range of the programs - undergraduate, graduate and professional - attract students from all parts of the province, from around the country and from abroad.
To support its work of teaching and research, the university has collected a library that is the largest in Canada and among the best in the world. The University of Toronto Press is the chief institution of its kind in Canada and one of the most important scholarly publishers in North America.
The University of Toronto is home to the first men’s fraternity in Canada, Zeta Psi, whose Toronto chapter has been active since 1879. Because few other Canadian universities in the 19th century were deemed comparable to their American counterparts, most early American fraternities and sororities chose to open their first international chapter at Toronto.
If there is certain fervor in the voices of the members of Beta Psi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Toronto when they repeat the ritual words “I will support my chapter in prosperity and peril” there is good reason. Indeed, looking back it is difficult not to see that history as a kind of continuing “Perils of Pauline”* with a new crisis arising in every episode and periods of prosperity all too frequently interrupted by setbacks and threats to the chapter’s continued existence.
To understand many of Beta Psi’s problems, it is necessary to understand the history and structure of the University of Toronto itself. This first university in Ontario, then “Upper Canada,” was chartered in 1827 under the name of King’s College and with a formal affiliation with the Church of England or Anglican Church. This affiliation continued until 1857 when a new charter was issued providing for a nonsectarian university under the name of the University of Toronto expanded to include all the professional and other faculties found in a modern university with the original arts and humanities core becoming University College of the University of Toronto. Eventually, as expansion continued, the university entered into federation with a number of church affiliated universities. Trinity College (Anglican), Victoria College (Methodist from Coburg, Ontario) and St. Michael’s College (Roman Catholic) all moved to the University of Toronto campus. This federated structure has proved to be a great source of strength and diversity in the university, but because the present university is a federation rather than an amalgamation, each college maintains considerable independence in the setting of policy.
Although international women’s fraternities were established in the University of Toronto early in the 20th century, they operated only at University College. In 1906, a group of undergraduates at Victoria College decided to form a local sorority, Xi Zeta Gamma. As a private and unofficial club, the group flourished until in 1909 several members met a group of Kappas at a YWCA Convention. Fired with enthusiasm for the international fraternity movement, Xi Zeta Gamma petitioned to become a chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. After an inspection by Florence Burton Roth, Michigan, Grand President, Mrs. Roth and members of Beta Tau, Psi and Gamma Rho installed the fledgling chapter on May 24, 1911.
The situation of Beta Psi Chapter in those early years was enviable. As the only women’s fraternity at Victoria College, it had no need of Panhellenic, no formal rushing, no rushing rules and no competition. The only restriction on its membership policies was an informal arrangement with the dean of women who adopted the principle of sophomore pledging. Beta Psi did not have a chapter house, and meetings were held in the homes of members and alumnae who lived in the city.
This halcyon period was short-lived. Anti-fraternity feeling, which began smoldering on the campus in 1913, flared up during the term 1914-15, and it appeared that the senate of Victoria College would legislate the group out of existence. Only through the intervention of alumnae who worked tirelessly to influence husbands, fathers and friends on the senate was it possible for Beta Psi to continue.
Canada was already heavily involved in the Great War, and members directed all their energies to combining academic excellence with a heavy commitment to “war work.” In the chaos of world conflict, fraternity took on a new meaning and so, in 1916, the chapter decided it should establish its first independent home, one room in a picturesque old house close to the Victoria campus.
In 1925, chapter membership had passed the 100 mark with 70 enthusiastic alumnae offering their support from the four corners of the globe and 30 actives continuing to attract outstanding new members. It was an appropriate time for a memorable event—the first General Convention of Kappa to be held in Canada. The location was Bigwin Inn in Ontario’s Lake of Bays resort area, and Beta Psis were overjoyed to welcome their sisters from the United States.
A more somber event with far-reaching effects grew out of the illness of a much-loved young chapter member, Rose McGill. Rose joined Beta Psi in her freshman year in 1920. As she was an orphan, she was forced to withdraw after her first year because of financial difficulties. Nevertheless, her fraternity ties remained strong, and it was a blow to the entire chapter when she suffered an attack of pleurisy, which quickly developed into tuberculosis. In the early years of Rose’s illness, chapter members and their families attempted to supply the personal and financial support she so desperately needed. Although their love and attention continued until her death in 1927, it was only through the prompt action of the Fraternity in establishing the Rose McGill Fund that adequate money was available. Small wonder that even years later, support of the Rose McGill Fund has a very high priority with all Beta Psi members. It is a matter of pride for Toronto alumnae that they have led consistently in the magazine sales which support the Rose McGill Fund. This private tragedy coincided with a new threat to the chapter. During 1925, another local sorority was established at Victoria, and all the anti-fraternity feeling of 1915 revived. By the end of the year, it became apparent that a victory would split the college and result in damage to Victoria that could not easily be repaired. An unselfish but extremely difficult decision was made. Beta Psi decided to withdraw from Victoria College where, from a modest base in the apartment of four of its members it would attempt to rush in competition with six strongly entrenched international groups. This abrupt upheaval was made particularly difficult because all but four of the actives remained Victoria College students with little opportunity to know, much less attract, potential members in University College.
By 1927, the chapter was strong enough to rent an apartment of its own, and by 1928 was ranked the highest in scholarship among the nine women’s fraternities at University College. In addition, Beta Psis found time to work at the University Settlement House, to work as volunteers in a local hospital and to mount successful fundraising projects for both the Endowment Fund and the Women’s Building Fund of University College. Highlights of the 1930s
The 1930s might be described as Beta Psi’s nomadic period. In the space of a decade, the chapter occupied five separate off-campus apartments. This was an inevitable consequence of the fact that fraternities had never been recognized at the university, so that on-campus housing was not available and, at that period, neither the chapter nor its members were able to afford permanent quarters.
Far from recalling those Depression days as hard times, members of the 1930s remember their various homes with a good deal of affection. With budgets stretched to the breaking point, “gourmet” dinners, featuring sausages and mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese, were greeted with enthusiasm. A flourishing mothers club earned everyone’s gratitude for the help it provided when each temporary home had to be furnished.
The grimness of the economic climate was certainly not reflected in chapter life where creativity was substituted for cash. Social events included formal rushing parties, progressive dinners and scrip dances after football games. The chapter used the scrip dances to raise money for its philanthropies. When engagements were announced and fiancés were expected to honor the Beta Psi custom of presenting the chapter with five pounds of chocolates (then about $2.50), it was often the chapter member who slipped her hard-pressed future husband the necessary cash.
In 1936, another General Convention brought the start of World War II, and campus life was soon a far cry from the innocent good times of the thirties. Both men and women left their university to enlist. All intercollegiate sports were suspended. Men remaining on the campus spent their leisure hours drilling with the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps, and female students were required to complete 100 hours a year of voluntary service as nurses or food service aides, Red Cross volunteers or day nursery assistants. Many members of Beta Psi continued at college while their fiancés and husbands left for overseas. The chapter rooms resounded to the scratch of pens on overseas mail forms and the click of knitting needles creating not only much-needed comforts for Canadian servicemen, but also producing the first of a veritable mountain of baby clothes for Nora Waln’s and the Fraternity’s magnificent efforts on behalf of European children.**
Since all expenses of the chapter were borne by actives, financial disaster was always just around the corner. Ingenious cost-cutting measures were undertaken. These included not only subletting the chapter apartment for the summer but doing most of the maintenance and repair work for which workmen, now in the armed forces, and money were unavailable. The shortage of domestic help was overcome by ordering daily boxed lunches from local department stores for the sum of 25 cents.
Fraternity life was not made easier by the dean of women at the University College who was militantly anti-fraternity. In these days when in loco parentis sounds like an archaic Victorian disease, it is hard to remember that, even though fraternities were not recognized, it was possible for an unsympathetic dean to forbid female undergraduates the right to live in their fraternity houses and, in addition, to exercise a great deal of control over the timing, form and content of rushing.
As is often the case in difficult times, the warmth and support of fraternity life were important to college women of the 1940s, and the fraternity system flourished. By the spring of 1943, when a house became vacant on the university’s unofficial fraternity row, it was finally possible for Beta Psi to acquire a home of its own. Kappa Kappa Gamma House Corporation was formed and, by means of donations, the selling of shares and a much-appreciated loan from the Fraternity, 134 St. George Street became Kappa’s address. During the summer of 1943, members acquired a virtually lifelong aversion to painting, wallpapering and rubbish removal. By fall, 12 alumnae and other boarders, the first house mother and a wildly enthusiastic active chapter were settled and ready for bigger and better things.
By the end of the decade, campus life was again in full swing. The university had successfully managed an expansion from about 10,000 to more than 28,000 students to accommodate those returning from the services.
In the 1950s, Canadian Kappas enjoyed almost an embarrassment of riches with two General Conventions—1950 at Murray Bay, Quebec, and 1954 at Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta’s beautiful Rockies.
In the relative calm of this period, scholarship, always a major concern of Beta Psi became a positive passion. Study charts were kept and conscientiously filled in. Informal tutoring of lagging sisters was encouraged, and the scholastic achievements of members were reflected in a gratifying number of college, university, national and international awards. Chapter officers were required to maintain a better-than-average standing to retain their positions. During the year, two full meetings were devoted to scholarship and four more to cultural enrichment. In 1956, a theatre night raised money for three scholarships at University College and two in physical and occupational therapy. Throughout the decade, Beta Psi retained its standing at or near the top in scholarship standing.
However, members were not one-sided drones. They also increased their participation in college organizations and university athletics and awards for achievement were a continuing source of pride.
Social service was also emphasized and through a variety of fundraising activities, including a mammoth bazaar opened by alumna Maryon Moody Pearson, Beta Psi, wife of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, and volunteer work through which the chapter gave substantial support to the Interfraternity Cerebral Palsy Clinic. Social activities flourished, and there were frequent exchange parties with men’s fraternities, chapter formals and end-of-year house parties. In 1957, the chapter won the snow sculpture contest during Winter Carnival.
In spite of this record of achievement, certain disquieting trends were beginning to be felt. Although the Beta Psi alumnae were honored at the Alpha Province Convention in 1955, active chapter records show a declining performance in administration. Reports were often late, parliamentary procedure grew sloppy, so that by the late fifties a determined effort was required to bring the chapter back to its former efficiency. More alarming was a small but steady annual decrease in the number of women electing to go through rushing. Both Panhellenic and Beta Psi itself made a determined effort to eliminate some of the rushing abuses, which were providing ammunition for anti-fraternity feeling, but the decline in membership in women’s fraternities continued. Finally, in spite of considerable opposition from official quarters, it was decided to extend rushing beyond University College, and relief was felt when no issue was made of the expansion. In spite of, or perhaps partly because of this extended community, numbers continued to decline.
Although women’s fraternities had once supplied a high percentage of college and university leaders, by the end of the fifties, students in general and even some Beta Psis were perceiving fraternity life as interfering with participation in the wider university community.
These small but disquieting clouds on the fraternity horizon seemed to diminish in the early sixties. Although official recognition was still withheld, professors accepted invitations to dinner and discussion. The chapter and other fraternities gave substantial support to the newly formed Varsity (Alumni) Fund and other university fundraising activities, and it appeared that fraternities had finally been accepted as a valid part of the university life.
The year 1961 was particularly happy since Beta Psi celebrated its golden anniversary by welcoming a most successful Alpha Province Convention to Toronto in September. This happy year proved to be the calm before the storm. By the mid-sixties, the University of Toronto had become a strong link in what one harassed official described as “a radical chain stretching from Berkeley to Chicago to Toronto to Columbia to Harvard.” Student agitation for greater participation in university government, the student peace movement, a drive for relevance in courses and radical social action resulted in a sharp drop in interest in fraternities, and the suspicion of elitism created a wave of anti-fraternity agitation.
The year 1967 was one of celebration for all Canadians as the country marked the centennial of its Confederation, but with this celebration came a much more vocal and emotional commitment to nationalism. A French table, where only French was spoken, was a feature of chapter dinners. Traditional skits and songs were played down in rushing, and national and cultural themes of a more serious nature took their place. Unfortunately, this overdue coming of age for Canadians was accompanied by a backlash of student feeling against what was perceived as American imperialism operating in Canadian cultural and economic life, and international fraternities fell into further disrepute.
To add to Beta Psi’s problems, Kappa’s permanent home and a number of other fraternity houses were expropriated for university expansion. Fraternity row became a thing of the past, and new houses had to be purchased at a much greater distance from the center of campus. With strong alumnae support, Beta Psi was able to buy a fine old house on Madison Avenue, and both actives and alumnae took considerable pride in the renovations planned by a local architect and Beta Psi alumna.
Of course, the news was not all bad. Those who did elect to join fraternities found welcome friendship and strength in a university community that was suffering acutely from depersonalization, which seems to be an inevitable part of the modern multiversity. In addition, a new spirit of community responsibility resulted in an upsurge of philanthropic activity centering on such community services as St. Christopher House, a multinational settlement house, and work with underprivileged children. An annual alumnae project was the Christmas decoration of the Thistletown Hospital for emotionally disturbed children.
For Beta Psi, as for all chapters, 1970 was a special time of celebration—Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Centennial celebration! Beta Psis enjoyed a formal banquet at the Granite Club in Toronto. The ballroom overflowed, and everyone, from beloved founding sisters to greenest pledges, renewed the bonds that had become so precious. Although the virulence of the opposition decreased, membership decline continued to plague Toronto fraternities in the early 1970s. Beta Psi reached its lowest ebb in the rushing season of 1973. Common sense dictated that the trend to apartment living for students, which made it difficult to finance the house, a failure to attract new members in sufficient numbers for a healthy chapter and a hostile attitude on campus should mark the end of Beta Psi Chapter at the University of Toronto. Fortunately, common sense did not prevail.
The alumnae group remained strong and supportive, and the small active membership proved once again that quality can surmount difficulties even though quantity declined. Alumnae agreed to increase their financial support of the house, the house board made heroic and successful efforts to fill rooms with paying boarders and enthusiasm and hard work were substituted for numbers in the 1974 rush season. It was heartening to report that the pledge class of 1974 was more than four times the size of the class of 1973.
This is only one step in what promises to be a difficult uphill climb. The chapter’s future is brighter but far from secure. If enthusiasm, determination and mutual affection between actives and alumnae are the prerequisites for a resurgence of fraternity strength, then it is fair to hope that Beta Psi has come through another period of peril, and that prosperity lies ahead.
*The Perils of Pauline (1914), Pathe’s silent film episodic serial, is considered the most famous suspense serial in cinema history.
*The Nora Waln Fund for Refugee Children began in 1940, at the suggestion of The Key Editor Helen Bower, Michigan, when she learned that well-known author and Kappa Nora Waln, Swarthmore, would not be permitted to leave war-torn England to speak at Kappa’s 1940 General Convention.
Helen proposed that the money budgeted to bring Nora to America be used instead as the start of a fund, to be distributed by Nora to children and others in England who had been bombed out of their homes. Donations poured in as the project became a Fraternity-wide cause. After the war, Nora learned while on an assignment for the Atlantic Monthly that many Norwegian babies had only newspapers for swaddling clothes, and immediately promised that Kappa Kappa Gamma would create and send 5,000 layettes.
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 member 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.
In 1990, the chapter hosted a Monmouth Duo event with Pi Beta Phi. It was very proud to have Sabrina Mitchel recognized by the university as its outstanding graduate.
The initiation banquet was held at the Park Plaza Hotel, and the Sapphire Ball was held at the Toronto Women’s Club. The actives held a retreat at a fraternity house where the chapter goal was set, Kappa Konsideration. In the fall, Greek Week was held, and Beta Psi raised money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Eight new women pledged Kappa. The pledges created a Kappa flag as their class project, held a semi-formal at Trish Rorison’s home and enjoyed a pledge breakfast.
The alumnae and active members got together for the annual Taste of Christmas party, and the active chapter members held its Christmas dinner and Kris Kringle gift exchange.
In 1991, Beta Psi celebrated the Monmouth Duo with Pi Beta Phi with an evening dessert night. The graduate banquet was held at Mr. Greenjeans. At this banquet, the following awards were presented: outstanding graduate, president’s award, outstanding pledge, contribution pin, scholarship pin, scholarship cup and the K.B. Dignan award.
The chapter was busy with numerous activities including the annual initiation banquet which was held at the Park Plaza Hotel, Sapphire Ball held at the Hilton International Hotel, its first Kappa Krush and the active retreat where the chapter goal, Kappa Kommitment, was set.
Three women pledged Kappa during fall rush. The pledge semi-formal was held at Kellie Broderick’s house, and a pledge breakfast was held. The Kappas-only event was a group outing to see Les Misérables.
The secret sister program was part of the fun during 1991. It was where each active was assigned another sister to whom she would anonymously give a gift during a gift exchange and send positive messages during the year. In December, the annual Taste of Christmas alumnae and active Christmas party was held.
The 1994 year was satisfying and exciting for all the members of the chapter. The members were proud to record perfect attendance for the last term, and during Greek Week the chapter won the volleyball tournament. Due to the hard work and dedication by the chapter members, fall rush succeeded in increasing the chapter numbers by more than 100 percent.
Since the chapter hadn’t fulfilled its requirements in the past, the chapter received a Letter of Concern from the Fraternity Council. This motivated the six actives to work hard to show that they were capable of leading the chapter in an efficient manner. These members were happy to discover that most of the challenges had been met, and the Letter of Concern was removed.
This year was very eventful. In July, the chapter sponsored a philanthropy car wash event. At Christmas time, the chapter held its annual alumnae event where everyone had a lot of fun. In October, the Kappa Krush formal was held, and everyone had a great time. Everyone will always remember these events.
During formal rush in 1995, the chapter had the pleasure of getting to know the Fraternity Director of Membership who visited. In November, the members were surprised to learn that the chapter had won the Founders Circle Award. We were excited and proud that the chapter had moved from being on a Fraternity Letter of Concern to receiving this great award in such a short time. It was a big accomplishment! Another significant source of pride for the chapter was the fact that the chapter’s GPA increased from 2.4 to 2.74.
The challenge for the chapter in 1995 was to increase its membership. The chapter pulled together, and under the guidance and supervision of the membership chairmen rush went smoothly. All of the actives knew their jobs and places in the rush process. Two new members were pledged and initiated. To meet its goal of increasing chapter membership, the members decided to hold informal rush throughout the year.
In November, the members participated in the Lambda Chi Alpha food drive. Beta Psi donated a total of 3,691 pounds of non-perishable food – 3,000 pounds more than the second-place group. Considering the number of Beta Psi members compared to the membership of the other six chapters, this was a great accomplishment. In December, the chapter held a clothing and toy drive and donated the items to the Salvation Army. The Alpha Gamma Delta, Kappa Alpha and Sigma Nu chapters helped Beta Psi with this drive.
The 1997 year can be summarized in one word: membership. Beta Psi was a small chapter of 12 members which was its greatest concern. Therefore the members were extremely happy to welcome 10 new members during informal Rush in the spring, bringing the chapter total to 22 members. The fall of 1997 began with a successful fall rush. The chapter again grew from 22 to 31 members as it pledged nine women who embodied the ideals of the Fraternity. The chapter was proud that it improved its GPA from 2.5 to 2.8 this year. The chapter was sorry to say good-bye to nine graduating seniors.
The chapter goal in 1997 was sisterhood. All the chapter committees coordinated sisterhood events which were held once a month. Some of these included big/little sister bowling night, a potluck dinner and a clothes swap. These activities brought the chapter members closer together.
The standards committee took an active an active role in creating and promoting a positive atmosphere by presenting SEEK workshops, fun games at dinner and a chapter retreat which was a good tool in fostering sisterhood and cohesiveness. Everyone enjoyed themselves during these activities.
Another concern the chapter addressed in 1997 was efficiency. The corresponding secretary developed a useful way of reminding the officers when reports were due, or if they were overdue. She reminded everyone of reports using a cookie system. Each time a report turned in to her, the officer received a box of cookies. This was extremely helpful in overcoming the challenge.
Kappa Krush was very successful this year. The sisters and their guests had a wonderful time mingling, writing messages to each other and dancing. It was a very popular event for the chapter, and everyone looked great, as usual.
Beta Psi held its annual winter clothing and toy drive in December with the items donated to a women’s shelter in Toronto. Another philanthropic event was the chapter’s Christmas dinner with the alumnae. The event raised approximately $300 which was donated to the Toronto SickKids Hospital.
The initiation banquet was held at the University of Toronto Women’s Club. This was a great opportunity for the initiates and the alumnae to get better acquainted with each other. The evening included speeches, pledge song presentations by both active and alumnae members and an exquisite dinner.
In 1997 the chapter members were actively involved in campus life. One member served on the student Governing Council at Victoria College. One of the initiates was involved in numerous campus theater productions. She is studying theater and hopes to be a successful actress one day. Beta Psi sisters supported the university’s annual clothing drive, raising material goods and money which it donated to a homeless shelter. The chapter members also participated in the Panhellenic Row Boat Races and won first prize. The $1,000 prize money was donated to a women’s shelter in the greater metropolitan Toronto area in the name of Beta Psi. Once of the graduating members underwent a selection process hoping to join the Peel Police Force during the summer. The 1999 year was one of turn-around for Beta Psi. Although it isn’t a large chapter, the members worked efficiently together. One of its philanthropic events in the spring was selling daffodils on behalf of the cancer society. Not only did the chapter raise money for this important cause, but it also strengthened the members’ communication skills.
During the summer, the members worked hard to clean up the chapter house, and cleared out the back yard to make it a pleasant little area. Cleaning the interior and outside gave the house a fresh look. Working together made the jobs go quickly.
Many of the chapter’s seniors graduated in May. Once again, the members had to work hard to recruit new members. The chapter maintained a high academic standard, and the new members were very dedicated. The chapter’s challenge this year was to improve participation at its events. The chapter met this challenge in various ways and participation improved immensely as a result, strengthening the chapter.
In addition to the daffodil philanthropy event, the Taste of the Holidays event when parents came to meet the members and see the house was lots of fun. Everyone brought goodies, and it was a nice chance to meet everyone’s family. In addition, the members took part in small chapter events such as movie and pizza night where everyone could get together at the house and have a sleepover, another way our sisterhood was strengthened.
Since Beta Psi is a Canadian chapter, the tragedy of September 11, 2001, had a different impact on it than its American counterparts. Emotion and sympathy for the lost lives came from people around the world and similarly from we Canadians. Canada, like America, is a country which stands for peace and freedom.
The 9/11 attacks occurred right before the chapter held its Recruitment in 2001. The members really didn’t know how it should go about everything because some people were highly emotional and others seemed unaffected by the event.
The chapter placed a bouquet of flowers by the chapter’s front entrance with a framed message: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the sisters of Kappa, friends and families of those affected by the recent tragedies in the United States. Let us stand united.”
In November 2004, the chapter registrar arranged a display of historical material from the chapter’s archives including the cipher, scrapbooks, Bylaws and Standing Rules, Book of Ritual and song booklets. This was the new members’ first introduction to the chapter and Fraternity history, and the actives came together to teach and explain the different elements of the archive and their purpose within the Fraternity.
This year began with the annual initiation banquet at the University of Toronto Women’s Club. This evening was full of good food, friends and conversation. It was a great chance for all the new members to meet the alumnae and share a wonderful and inspirational Kappa experience.
In the fall, the chapter held several philanthropic events. It organized a food drive for Caribbean hurricane victims and added the local food bank as one of the agencies to receive the food. In October, a group of members went to the Daily Bread Food Bank to volunteer for a day. In December, Beta Psi sponsored an underprivileged family and helped them during the Christmas season. Each member was responsible for purchasing one item for someone in the family such as socks or toys.
Recruitment in 2004 incorporated a breast cancer charity by making and selling faux pearl bracelets. The chapter was proud to raise more than $500 for cancer research.
The social events were as fabulous as ever this year. In April, the members celebrated the Sapphire Ball at Marlowe Lounge in Toronto for a fun night of dinner and dancing. In November, the actives and 11 new members enjoyed the evening at Beba Lounge in the heart of Little Italy downtown. This event was our semi-formal and a celebration of the successful Recruitment.
In October, Beta Psi was proud to send one active and one alumna to the Fraternity’s Leadership Academy in Indianapolis. The active made a presentation to the chapter about her experiences and the opportunities she had at the academy that weekend. This information proved to be helpful for the whole chapter.
Beta Psi’s lovely house at 32 Madison Avenue went through a major beautification process in 2004. The house received several much-needed renovations, such as new carpeting, fixing the basement leak, fully updating the fire system and an overall cleaning of the house and the archives. The members were very proud of the hard work they put into improving the chapter house and appreciated the alumnae sponsors who made it possible. This year, the chapter started a new initiative, Kappa Kore Groups. These were small groups made up of actives and one new member. The goal of the groups was to introduce the new initiates to Kappa history, traditions and ritual as well as promote Kappa awareness and sisterhood.
The main focus for the chapter in 2004 was sisterhood, and new aspects of sisterhood were introduced to the chapter. The Support Award was decided upon by the whole and presented to the member who showed exemplary sisterhood or helpfulness. The Owl of the Week Award was presented at Monday meetings. In November, two chapter members who did not regularly spend time together were paired up. Additionally, this was an exemplary year for the weekly Monday night dinners. Working together to prepare and serve a delicious dinner to hungry Kappas proved to be a great time for Kappas to bond, build friendships and share experiences. These many sisterhood events increased the members’ Kappa spirit. It was decided that sisterhood would continue to be a point of focus for the chapter as it continued to grow.
This year began with the 2005 initiation banquet which was held at the University of Toronto’s Women’s Club. Actives and alumnae Kappas of all ages gathered for a lovely evening together.
Recruitment was very successful, and the chapter received great reviews about its excellent theme night, Aladdin/Arabian Nights. It was that event, as well as the chapter’s welcoming and friendly attitudes, that made Beta Psi one of the most eye-catching fraternities.
Beta Psi was always known for its philanthropic efforts. The members gave to charities every chance they could, and this year was no exception. Several wonderful events were organized. In January, the members had an amazing event at which the participants could pay a small fee and tie-dye their white shirts. A great time was had by all.
In September, the chapter’s annual bake sale was held. All proceeds were sent to a fund for cancer research. In December, each member bought a Christmas gift which was sent to children living overseas who normally received very little or nothing at all during the holidays. Also this month the chapter held a clothing drive to support the Ingles Rehabilitation Center. The chapter’s philanthropic year also included a successful trip to the local food bank.
In April 2005, several members attend the Alpha Province Meeting. A lovely dinner was held, and the Beta Psis were excited and proud to receive the award for the best website in the province.
The social events for the year couldn’t have had better attendance. At each event, the Kappas were ready and willing to welcome friends and have a wonderful time. The chapter held its annual Sapphire Ball in April at the wonderful Plaza Flamingo where everyone had a great time eating and dancing the night away. During the evening, awards were presented to some of the members such as the best new member award. In November, the semi-formal Kappa Crush was held at a large, beautiful venue: Up Lounge.
The chapter house at 32 Madison Avenue underwent some much-needed renovations. A group of members worked together to redecorate the house and, with the arrival of new sofas, made the house look better and more attractive than ever before.
One of the Fraternity’s Traveling Consultants visited the chapter in January. Her visit was great, and she complimented many of the chapter members on their hospitality skills and welcoming ways. She pointed out some of the chapter’s challenges such as attendance at meetings and events, and cooperation with one another. She suggested great ways to improve many of the areas of the chapter and observed that if everyone worked together as true friends more could be accomplished. In her letter back to the chapter, she wrote that Beta Psi has a great reputation within the community as individuals and a group. We lead with kindness and integrity. Throughout the chapter house, there were numerous archive displays that were constantly being added to or improved in 2008. These displays contained many pictures of former members of Beta Psi, awards won, Fraternity facts and information.
This year was quite successful for the chapter. Although experiencing ups and downs, the chapter truly prospered. It received the Panhellenic award for the highest GPA of all the Toronto chapters. This was a real accomplishment, and receiving this award became an annual occurrence. This award was an example of the chapter’s academic values and separated it from the other chapters on the campus.
The chapter held its first chicken wing-eating philanthropy event which was a huge success and demonstrated the members’ creativity and ability to be original.
Beta Psi had a strong formal Recruitment and pledged many new members to build the chapter and add to its group of strong members. This year’s academics and philanthropy emphasis was applauded and remembered for its high degree of originality.
The Toronto campus is very academic, highly populated and in the downtown core of Toronto. The chapter in 2008 was composed of academic and responsible women. However, it was smaller in numbers compared to the other sororities on campus.
Though accomplishing a lot during the year, the chapter faced several challenges, the biggest being informal Recruitment which was not very successful. Therefore, Beta Psi was smaller in numbers. Better organization and more time and effort were going to be put into Recruitment to increase the chapter membership in 2009.
It is amazing the amount of effort that goes into running a chapter each year, and how so much can happen in eight months! Our chapter experienced some growing pains, as we expanded from a chapter of 9 to 23. This year our chapter won Most Improved Chapter in the Panhellenic Sorority Awards. This was a big award for our chapter for the past two years because we have improved so much; in our retention, our spirit, our community involvement, and our academic achievement in particular. Our president Vanja organized a Sexual Health Workshop for all fraternities and sororities on campus; it was well attended and very informative! This year was the first year we began to have Monday Night dinners each month, which was the highlight of formal meeting night and ensured that everyone was on time (what can I say, Kappa's love food!). We hosted a Halloween party for the children of the Toronto St. Felix Centre and visited them during their after school program to play games, paint faces, and have fun. We also partnered with the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity to host a Christmas party for the same children from the St. Felix Centre, where we decorated gingerbread houses and played games. It was nice to be reminded how to play like a youngster! Overall, most of our work was directed internally, as we wanted to build our chapter in a way that facilitates personal and chapter growth, individuality, community service, and sisterhood.
There have been no large changes on our campus this year. We are trying to mix more with other sororities on campus because it is so meaningful to have friends in other houses. Our chapter is a mix of different women from different backgrounds, countries, and cultures. We feel we are the easygoing sorority on campus, putting a real effort into true friendships. It has been an experience to meet other Kappa chapters from the states; they feel so different from our own. I think it is our uniqueness that lends us the ability to try new things and learn from each others' experiences.
We have a chapter- owned house, that holds 10 women. In 1965 we moved to our current location because our university kindly offered us $45,000 to vacate so they could build our present-day library. We bought our house in 1945 and have been here ever since. If you would like more information on this transaction, I have preserved the letters pertaining to this transaction with the university.