Zeta Omicron Chapter was founded at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia on May 2-4, 1987.
1,170 initiates (as of June 2018)
As early as 1906, university guidelines prohibited the establishment of sororities, but in 1985, the students voted to establish national sororities. In October 1985 a panel of faculty, administrators and students interviewed nine National Panhellenic Conference groups, and six were chosen to colonize: Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Delta Delta, Pi Beta Phi, Chi Omega and Delta Gamma. On February 6, 1987, colonization teams from these groups arrived on campus to spend a week entertaining, informing and getting to know more than 600 women who had signed interest forms. In a unique undertaking in the Panhellenic world, 540 women donned pledge pins and installations occurred the weekend of May 2-4, 1987. Fraternity president Marian Klingbeil Williams presided over the installation services for Zeta Omicron chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. The installation of six women's Greek groups at the University of Richmond was a landmark event not only on this campus but nationwide.
Fraternity President Marian Klingbeil Williams, Θ - Missouri, presided at installation services for Zeta Omicron Chapter. Assisting her were Rebecca Stone Arbour, ΔI – LSU, director of alumnae; Cynthia McMillan Lanford, ΓΠ - Alabama, director of membership; and Marjorie Matson Converse, ΓΔ - Purdue, Fraternity extension chairman. June Miller Mohr, ΓΔ - Purdue, served as installation chairman assisted by Sue Curry Whitaker, I – DePauw and Mimi Stein Morton, Y – Northwestern, the coordinator of chapter development for this new chapter. Also instrumental in the success of the weekend were Colleen Blough, ΔO – Iowa State, Mary Clarke, ΔZ - Colorado College and Lisa Temple, ΓΞ - UCLA. Over the weekend more than 200 Kappas gathered with the new members, their families and friends capping off the affair with the Installation Banquet held at the historic Commonwealth Club in downtown Richmond.
Zeta Omicron-Richmond is Kappa’s 115th chapter with eighty-nine young women.
From chapter’s History Report: 1987 saw the pledging and initiation of the charter members. Important events of the year that brought this group together included a pledge retreat in April, a sorority formal with the other five sororities, our installation by Fraternity president Marian Klingbeil Williams, our first formal meeting in October, sharing Founders Day with the Richmond Alumnae Association, and preparing for our first recruitment in January of 1988, where we welcomed 49 new members.
Our first pledge class grew close through retreats and a philanthropy project. Sisters participated in Greek Week, the U of R Century Bike Race benefiting Habitat for Humanity and socials with other Greek organizations. Kappa Kidnap became an annual event, where the men kidnapped didn't know who their date was or where they were going.
Philanthropies included the bike race, visits to the Virginia Girls Club, a Thanksgiving food drive and a magazine drive for Rose McGill. Social events included a Kite and Key party with Kappa Alpha Theta, a parent-sister brunch on Parent's Weekend, a successful intramural team and spring formal.
In 1988 we attended our first Biennial Convention in Boca Raton, Florida, where we were officially seated and given the blue and gold Zeta Omicron patch which will remain with the president's robe. This year Alpha Phi joined our Panhellenic group on campus.
We ended the decade 93 members strong, active on campus in many organizations, represented in several honor societies and Dean's List, and involved in several philanthropies.
Virginia Girls Clubs, food drive for needy families, the U of R Century Bike Race to benefit Habitat for Humanity, magazine drive for Rose McGill, Phone-a-thons to support the Spider Athletic Club.
Chapter Convention Awards:
From chapter’s History Report: The charter members of Zeta Omicron have all graduated but with each new pledge class we welcomed bright minds and fresh ideas and are becoming a wonderfully diverse chapter. Members work with the local Ronald McDonald House, with two girls volunteering their Friday and Saturday nights to sleep over at the house to act as managers. Volunteers also baked, played with the children, and helped families in any way possible. For the UR the Difference Day, Kappas went into the Richmond community and raked leaves for Catholic Charities. We are also planning an after-school program at the Girls Club and participate in phone-a-thons, bake sales, t-shirt sales to raise money for philanthropies like Teeter for Tots, a “seesaw-a-thon” for the Friends Association.
At the 1991 Lambda Province meeting in Chapel Hill, NC, Zeta Omicron won honorable mention for Efficiency and Finance, Membership Award, Personnel Award and Best Alumnae Association Award. By the mid-90s new philanthropies were added: a Spaghetti Pull, a Halloween Party at the Boys Club, Christmas Caroling at local nursing homes and helping out at soup kitchens. In 1995, knowing our scholarship needed help, we met our chapter goal of improving our GPA, and held a celebration recognizing those who made the Dean's List. We again met this goal in 1996. We ended the decade with two goals: “Strive for Pi” where each member tries to achieve a 3.14 GPA, and “Dedication Through Participation” where each sister tries to fulfill at least ten hours for our philanthropy or for community service each semester.
Kappa Klassic Golf Tournament supports the Kappa Foundation and YMCA. Volunteering at William Byrd Community House each month helping children enjoy arts and crafts, a carnival for inner-city children, selling Hershey Kisses to deliver to students on Valentine's Day, making crafts for the YWCA women's shelter. We participate in other Greek organization's philanthropies.
Chapter Convention Awards:
From chapter’s History Report: Zeta Omicron continued most of its traditional chapter activities while also adding some new ones. Memorable activities include participation in philanthropy projects such as Trick or Treat Street and Kappa Klassic Golf Tournament. In 2005 we held a contest to determine “Kappa King” to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. We began a “Kappa Kindness” project to strengthen the spirit of sisterhood. We worked during the mid-2000s to increase our knowledge and participation in Rituals with ritual reviews at chapter meetings, worked on strengthening our Recruitment, worked to strengthen our GPA and implemented a new e-mailing system with a Google Group to improve communication among members.
Chapter challenges included probationary sanctions from Panhellenic and the Fraternity, and we worked to improve our relationships with other sororities, our Advisory Board and Greek adviser, educated our chapter on Panhellenic and Kappa regulations and increased our philanthropy requirements to 8 hours of service from each sister. The chapter instilled a policy prohibiting members from posting on Internet gossip sites and censored photos that involve alcohol. We had leadership changes in 2009 when the president resigned, with others stepping into roles they were unaccustomed to, but with the help of the Advisory Board we took on these new responsibilities.
In March of 2009 we hosted Province Meeting which enhanced our chapter's leadership skills. We successfully hosted a new campus-wide philanthropy, mobilizing the university to accomplish several service tasks. We started a letter writing campaign to keep in touch with sisters studying abroad. At the end of the decade our chapter challenge intensified focus on increasing our chapter GPA with individualized attention and programs.
Trick or Treat Street, Kappa Klassic Golf Tournament, Habitat for Humanity, International Hospital for Children, mobilizing the campus with philanthropy service projects like clothing and canned food collection and sandwich making, volunteering at a local elementary school and a rehabilitation center, raising funds through Kappa Kisses and Kappa Kickball and hosting events for RIF.
Chapter Convention Awards:
2011 was an exciting year in the Zeta Omicron Chapter. Kappa brought home the Powderpuff Football 1st place trophy for the Sigma Chi Derby Days philanthropy. We also were intramural champions at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. In the second half of the year we held a new philanthropy event, Kappa Kourtide. This co-ed tennis tournament attracted a lot of participants and helped raise a ton of money. The event went so well we hope to make it an annual affair. Girls continue to help out weekly at the Faison School for Autism, and we have continued to strive to maintain the highest standards and ideals of Kappa.
Campus: Last year we learned that the University will be building cottages for each sorority. The new buildings will be used for recruitment events, chapter meetings, sisterhood events, and just hanging out. Everyone in the chapter is extremely excited to have a central anchor point for the sorority. They will be finished in the fall of 2012.
Chapter: People would agree that Kappa this past fall semster had the most energy and excitement for January recruitment than ever before. Every officer, especially the president, was devoted to improving our chapter's standing with both the school administration and nationals. Also, because another sorority lost their charter on campus, the quota for Kappa's new pledge class increased, allowing us to welcome 46 new members.
The chapter struggled with standards issues. A few of our events lacked necessary organization to keep things under control. However, the incoming officers really turned things around. Officers came to Chapter Committee meetings with more preparation and ideas for further improvement. Leading by example was the most valuable lesson the girls learned. Both of our fall socials were exceptionally successful. The chapter continues to try to improve our academic standing on campus.
The past year went very well for the Zeta Omicron chapter. We gained 47 new members after recruitment in the spring. We kicked off the semester with our hershey kiss delivery fundraiser for our philanthropies: Kappa Kisses. Several new members and returning members volunteered at the Faison School for Autism in the spring. In the fall we hosted our second Kappa Kourtside philanthropy event, which improved after the first year. More participants signed up this year to play co-ed tennis and we raised a ton of money. This outcome is promising for the event to occur in future years; Kappa Kourside is becoming one of our most successful fundraisers. In November of 2012, our cottage opened; a project that was five years in the making! Now we have a new space for chapter, sis-events, and sisterly bonding.
This past November, University of Richmond's "Cottage Court" opened, consisting of seven new cottages for all the of sororities on the UR campus. We have our very own Kappa Kappa Gamma cottage where we have chapter. Though we've only had the space for a couple of months, it has already brought our members closer together by giving us a space to spend time together throughout the week. The cottage was also an amazing addition to recruitment because it allowed the Potential New Members to see our chapter's new "home" and how we use it to supplement the success of our chapter.
The past year went very well for the Zeta Omicron chapter. We gained 46 new members after recruitment in the spring. We kicked off the semester with our Hershey kiss delivery fundraiser for our philanthropies: Kappa Kisses. Several new members and returning members volunteered for the Boys and Girls Club in the spring. In the fall we hosted our second Kappa Kourtside philanthropy event, which improved after the first year. More participants signed up this year to play co-ed tennis and we raised a ton of money. This outcome is promising for the event to occur in future years; Kappa Kourtside is becoming one of our most successful fundraisers. In November of 2011, our cottage opened; a project that was five years in the making! Now we have a new space to have chapter, sis-events, and for our sisters to bond.
In November 2011, University of Richmond's 'Cottage Court" opened, consisting of seven new cottages for all of the sororities on the UR campus. We have our very own Kappa Kappa Gamma cottage where we have chapter. Though we've only had the space for a year or so, it has already brought our members closer together by giving us a space to spend time together throughout the week. The cottage was also an amazing addition to recruitment because it allowed the Potential New Members to see our chapter's new "home" and how we use it to supplement the success of our chapter. In the next year the University of Richmond is adding another chapter to Greek life. We are not sure which chapter will be the addition, but we are very excited to expand the Greek life at UR.
After a very successful recruitment in January of 2014, Kappa Kappa Gamma added 38 new members to our sisterhood. We celebrated their initiation with a brunch hosted by some of our older sisters. This event provided the new initiates with the opportunity to get to know their new sisters as well as all the sister with the chance to relax and enjoy each others company. Our next activity was one of our campus philanthropies, Kappa Kisses, which we participated in around Valentine's Day. The chapter got together and created Hersey kiss goody bags and delivered them to students across campus. In April of 2014 we brought back Kappa Kickball. This Kickball Tournament was a success, creating a fun day of competition amongst the students on campus. We were also able to raise more proceeds for RIF than expected considering it was the first time we have held this event in four years.
In the fall in addition to our traditional Kappa Kourtside Doubles Tennis Tournament, we held our first Kappacino event. The goal of this event was to provide students with coffee while studying for finals, and it was a huge success. By selling cups of coffee for $0.25 we were able raise over $200 for RIF. Kourtside continues to be our most successful event. It provides both sisters and university students with a day of fun activities to take a break from the high standards of academics at the University of Richmond. We had some very successful bonding events in this fall in our cottage as well. One of these was directly related to our philanthropy, RIF, as we all got together and made book marks to hand out with the books at the RIF events we attend. Our youngest pledge class also spent an evening making shoes to wear for 2015 Recruitment. The girls wore these for one of our events and it was a perfect representation of the great bond between our sisters
The major change on our campus in the previous year is the decision from our Panhellenic Council to add Kappa Delta to the University of Richmond Greek Community. Multiple Kappa Sisters were members of the Extension Committee and helped to determine which sorority would fit best into the culture of Richmond's Greek Community. In addition to our direct involvement within the committee, Kappa sisters attended the presentations throughout the year from the other potential new sororities, offering their input on the different applicants for colonization.
Richmond also introduced a new Standards of Excellence program which encourages Greek students to attend informational programs. They have covered a multitude of topics, and included a range of activities from hazing lectures to a self defense class. The goal of this program is to better prepare our sisters for both the time they spend at the University of Richmond and life following graduation. Our Corresponding Secretary and Education Chairman worked closely with the school to inform the chapter of these events. We also had some of our own members organize some of the Standard of Excellence events for the entire campus community.
Over the past year our chapter has continued to grow as a sisterhood. The individual pledge classes have been closer each year as we make that a goal of the chapter. The Kappa Cottage provides us with a "home" to meet up and bond as well as a central location to base our outreach philanthropies. It also provides us with a place to hold our sis-events and chapter seminars. We are always participating in other Philanthropic events, enjoying friendly competition between sororities and other groups on campus.
Chapter meetings are held either in our cottage or in a nearby multipurpose room based on the number of members who will be attending the meeting. Both are University owned but Kappa Kappa Gamma rents the cottage and has control of its maintenance.
Kappa Kappa Gamma has never had a house on the University of Richmond's campus. We maintain our cottage as a central location for the chapter. We designed the cottage upon its construction two years ago and have been updating it since then. Though we do not have any formal housing, most of our members choose to live together either in housing off campus or in the University housing provided on campus.
Currently our President is the only member in our chapter to wear a historic badge. The pin is passed down from the outgoing President to the incoming President at the time of each transition so the badge is always being worn. Attached are picture of the pin and the inscription on the back reads "Pres. Badge Richmond Alums" and "ZO 5-2-87".
We began 2015 with Recruitment and ended the week with 34 new Kappa members. This had been one of our best recruitments ever, excluding a helium shortage that limited our balloons for decoration, everything ran smoothly throughout the week. We followed Recruitment with Officer Transitions, holding our triplet meetings and officer retreat. Overall we have realized that transitions are something that our chapter needs to work on and set that as a chapter goal to work on for the 2016 transitions. In February we hosted Kappa Kisses on campus, our traditional Valentine’s Day Philanthropy Event. This provided the new members an opportunity to get involved right away and understand one of the many ways Kappa fits into the Greek community at Richmond. We also had a successful New Member Period where the new members learned all about Kappa’s history and traditions, their meetings helped them to bond as a pledge class – a foundation we have seen through out the year as they have remained close. Our next event was Inspiration Week. We were lucky to have a Leadership Consultant with us during this week so that she could help us to make sure we were executing the week to the best of our ability, inform us on areas we needed to improve, and give us some great ideas for next year. Inspiration week was complicated for us this year as it was bookended by St. Patrick’s Day and Sigma Chi’s Derby Days Philanthropy Event. As a whole, the chapter handled the restrictions of the week admirably and we were able to initiate all of our new members without any problems. This was one of our most successful Initiations, our CC had worked on solutions to any problems we have had in the past and everything ran smoothly. After the new members were initiated we were able to hold our spring social “Sapphire Ball.” The formal ran smoothly due to the attentive planning of our social chair and excellent risk team. We finished off the spring semester with our philanthropy event Richmond Carnival, which was a new event run jointly with Sigma Phi Epsilon. The event was a success and we are looking into continuing it in the following years. Our final event of the year was our senior banquet where we said goodbye to out outgoing seniors and celebrated their time at the University of Richmond and in Kappa.
Our first event of the fall was our philanthropy Kappa Kourtside. This event has become a tradition for our chapter and improves every year. This year we had more than 75 teams participate and raised over 1,000 for RIF. This continues to be our most successful event. We also attended Kappa Delta’s bid night in order welcome all the girls to the Richmond Greek Community, KD is new on campus and did not have any older members to celebrate the night so all the chapters on campus came together to celebrate their new members. In addition we took part in “Girls Fight Back,” an Standard of Excellence (SOE) event that taught us self defense. Our next event was also and SOE, partnering with Delta Gamma and Kappa Delta, we hosted “Finding Kind” which opened our eyes to the problems of Girl on Girl Bullying. Our president, Hannah Cassatly, heard Erin Fischer speak at SEPC and had the great idea for this event. We initiated our Owl, Key, and Fleur de lis Groups this fall, as a project to improve Kappa attendance at nonKappa events. This semester has been a learning period and we hope to utilize it more in the future. We participated in many small philanthropy projects as well. We partnered with YouthLife this October as well to host a field day for the kids. They came to campus and the chapter met them on our inturmural fields to play games and spent the afternoon running around. The children and our sisters alike loved this event. Kappa also worked alongside Richmond’s Women’s Soccer Team and hosted a “Think Pink” Auction where pink jerseys worn by the players were auctioned off during the game and the proceeds were donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. We also participated in Richmond’s Trick-or-Treat Street, which is a Halloween Carnival through which neighborhood kids can participate and celebrate a safe Halloween. This is one of our favorite events to participate in, the kids have so much fun playing the games and everyone loves to dress up in costumes. Our last activities of 2015 included a senior programming event where we participated in the Rope’s Course on Campus, and our final philanthropy event of the semester Kappaccino. We hosted Kappaccino for the first time last year to offer coffee to students studying for exams while our campus coffee shop was closed. After the success last year we hosted the event again with even better results. We improved the amount we raised and had even more of our chapter members involved in the event. This is an event we know will continue in the future. Describe the recent changes on your campus and describe the overall nature of your chapter.
There were two changes to campus over this past year. The first was the introduction of our Standard of Excellence (SOE) programming and also the introduction of Kappa Delta to campus.
SOEs are events that are planned and organized by the different Panhellenic organizations on campus that promote good character and introduce useful skills for our future. They have included events that open our eyes to the dangers of bullying and drinking, as well as risk management and can be as instructive as resume workshops. As a whole these events benefit the chapters and members of the Greek Community because the help us to improve ourselves and be better prepared for life during and after college.
Additionally the University of Richmond welcomed Kappa Delta to campus this fall. The began their process of colonization in the spring, tabling and hosting events so that interested girls on campus would have opportunities to learn more. This September they hosted their first recruitment and on bid day the entire Greek Community came out to welcome KD’s new members. Their introduction to campus has brought the chapters even closer together and prepares us for the return of FIJI in the spring as they have their first recruitment on campus in five years.
Overall our chapter has become very close. We have worked hard to create foundations in the pledge classes during their new member periods and have seen the results. We have continued to use our cottage more and more so it really feels like a central place for our chapter. Many of our members use it as a study space as well as a location for pledge class movie nights or a place to bake cookies. We actively participate in the philanthropy events on campus, and have been making it a goal to improve our attendance at non-Kappa events. We are looking forward to Recruitment in January as we are already excited to meet our newest pledge class and add more sisters to our Kappa family.
What organization(s) has your chapter historically/traditionally raised money for, or donated hours to, in your community?
Traditionally our chapter has worked with organizations in our community that have Kappa members involved with them. This in the past, and today, has included the Boys and Girls Club, Youth Life, the Dominion School for Autism (The Founders Center of Commonwealth Autism), and programs at individual elementary schools where we have gone to read books or create a haunted house.
Why did your chapter choose this organization(s) to support?
We take pride in supporting the organizations that our sisters are passionate about. This is we are involved with a number of different organizations and are constantly participating in new events. The University of Richmond has a great organization – The Bonner Center for Civil Engagement – which a number of our members are involved in and through their ties we have been able to reach out to a number of organizations.
This January, we welcomed 31 new sisters into our chapter. We celebrated a very successful recruitment on Bid Day at Jumpology. Following Recruitment, we had Officer Transitions. Since the previous CC had noted that transitions were something they felt could be improved, there was a larger emphasis on making sure they were as smooth as possible. The new CC greatly benefited from this and felt more prepared to fulfill their roles. In February, we hosted Kappa Kisses, our annual Valentine’s Day Philanthropy Event where we deliver candy grams throughout campus for students that donate. The event was a great opportunity for new members to bond with each other, as well as with the older members. Overall, we had a very successful New Member Period. During this time, the new members attended meetings to not only learn about Kappa’s history and traditions but also to get to know each other. With the introduction of a new sorority on campus, Kappa Delta, the pledge class was smaller than what our chapter has had in the past. However, the smaller size seemed to help to facilitate strong relationships among the members. The New Member Period ended with Inspiration Week. The excitement of the previous weeks carried over with the new members enthusiastic about each night’s event. Due to a few new members having conflicts, we actually held two separate Initiations this spring that each ran smoothly. Once all of the new members were initiated, we hosted our annual spring formal. This year, we decided to do a Great Gatsby theme. The entire chapter and their dates had a wonderful time dressed in 1920s-themed dresses and suits. Towards the end of the spring, we held a new philanthropy event, Kappa Casino, hosted in the Alice Haynes Room. We had a great turnout to the event, complete with plenty of table games and raffle prizes. Aside from our own philanthropy event, we also participated in Sigma Chi’s Derby Days, where our sisters helped Sigma Chi raise more money than they ever had for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. The fraternity decked out their lodge in blue and blue in honor of Kappa winning the most points throughout the week’s events. Finally, we closed the semester with our senior banquet. For the first time, the banquet was held in the Jepson Alumni Center. The beautiful new venue was an excellent way to create a memorable event for the graduating seniors.
In the fall, we welcomed two new sisters that had transferred from different schools. The chapter was very excited about both of the new sophomore pledge class members and each has been an excellent addition to our sisterhood. In September, we hosted our annual philanthropy event, Kappa Kourtisde. This has been a favorite in the past and continued to be a great success this year. We doubled our total last year and raised over $2,000 for RIF and the Claire Marie Foundation, a children’s cancer philanthropy that is close to one of our sister’s hearts. Additionally, our chapter attended two “Reading Is Key” events. During these events, members visited learning centers, Youthlife Delmont and Overby Sheppard, to spend time with and read with the children. This fall, we also had great attendance and participation at all of the other chapters’ philanthropy events. Our SOEs were a huge success this fall as well. We had the most attendance we have ever had at all of our educational events, including a fashion consultant’s presentation on how to dress your best and a self-defense class. The seniors also really enjoyed their bonding event at Escape Room RVA. The two socials that we hosted this semester were our annual Red, White, Blue & Blue and 365 Days of Kappa. 365 Days of Kappa was a new theme where sisters dressed in costumes based on a specific holiday during the year. Both socials ran the smoothest they ever have, with excellent risk teams. Around Halloween, we had the LC visit. Our sisters had a great time getting to know her during meetings throughout the week, as well as during a group trip to a local pumpkin patch. We had fun picking out pumpkins, as well as carving and decorating them together afterwards. Our CC members valued the LC’s insights and received a strong report back. The Friday before final exams began, we hosted Kappaccino, which has quickly become a favorite tradition. We closed the semester by adopting a family in need and raising money to purchase Christmas gifts for them. We surpassed our fundraising goal and had a fun time shopping and wrapping presents together in the cottage for the family.
Overall, our chapter has improved in many areas and has grown closer as whole. The implementation of the Owl, Key, and Fleur de Lis groups have been a huge success, and have encouraged amazing turn-out for our own events, as well as other chapters’ events. Our members have been excited about attending all events and it is our goal to continue the enthusiasm to provide a strong foundation for our new pledge class. We look forward to keeping the traditions that we have already put in place, as well as implementing new ideas for the chapter in the future.