Beta Zeta Chapter was founded at University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa on May 2, 1882. Initially, the fraternity custom was to name a new chapter after a closed one, so that all 24 letters of the Greek alphabet were always in use. Because of this custom, the Chapter is referred to simply as Zeta in early records. This practice ended in 1890 when Convention delegates voted to affix Beta to the name of a chapter to indicate it was the second and to affix Gamma on the second round, then Delta, and so on. The chapter at the University of Iowa was the second chapter to be known as Zeta and, after 1890, it became known as Beta Zeta.
2,991 initiates (as of June 2018)
The State University of Iowa, as it was then known, was in its 35th year when, in the spring of 1882, 11 young women petitioned for and received a charter from Kappa Kappa Gamma. The new chapter was given the name Zeta for the closed chapter at Rockford Seminary, and the prefix Beta was added in 1890 to indicate that the Iowa City group was the second chapter to be called Zeta. It was the second sorority to appear on campus. The first was a chapter of I. C. Sorosis, which later became Pi Beta Phi.
Chancellor Ross, head of the law school and father of two Kappas, formally introduced the chapter at a large party in his home on March 2, 1883. It was called “the event of the season” and reflected great credit on the Kappa girls.”
Gertrude Wheaton (Reamer), the only Kappa graduating in 1883, ended a successful year for the new chapter by being chosen a Commencement speaker. Those so honored “delighted their friends and relatives at the graduation exercises by their elegant endeavors, showing off the knowledge and general culture acquired at college.”
In 1884, the chapter followed the initiative of a number of men’s fraternities and rented a furnished room in one of the downtown office buildings. Soon “Kappa Parlor,” as the meeting place was called, became too expensive to maintain. The Beta Zetas solved the problem by sharing a room with Phi Delta Theta. The Phi Delts lighted the fire and put the rooms in order for Kappa meetings, and received in exchange the use of the furniture and $15 annually toward the rent. This arrangement continued for about 10 years.
During the next decade, 1887–1897, university enrollment increased from 571 to 1,334 and membership in fraternities and sororities also grew. The Kappas attempted to form a Panhellenic organization with Delta Gamma and Pi Beta Phi in 1888.
Beta Zeta morale was boosted when at the 1894 General Convention, Annabel Collins (Coe) was elected Grand Treasurer, an office she held until 1900.
A Phi Beta Kappa chapter was established at Iowa in 1896 and four Beta Zetas were elected to membership.
Housing and the Turn of the Century
During the 1898–1899 school year chapter houses appeared on campus. The Kappa “house” consisted of the second floor of a boarding house, a separate table in the dining room, and another room downstairs used as a chapter room. It was not until 1909 that the chapter rented an old house. It held all but five members, who lived a block away at the Kappa Annex.
In 1904, a fourth sorority, Delta Delta Delta, arrived at Iowa, and the four groups enjoyed many social exchanges. In 1910, other groups appeared and, after World War I, with a large increase in enrollment, sororities increased to 17 chapters that continued in 1975.
A custom was initiated during the 1913–1914 school year when town alumnae were urged to attend at least one meeting a month. The first Monday each month, the President, Treasurer and one other member met with an Advisory Board of the alumnae. That same year, by incorporating itself, the chapter took the first step toward launching a campaign to finance a new chapter house. The university adopted the policy in 1914 that freshman women, with the exception of sisters of sorority members, could not be pledged before they had sophomore standing. So in the fall of 1914, sororities at Iowa prepared for an entire year of rushing without pledging. In 1915, the rule was changed to allow pledging at the end of the first semester.
Marjorie Coast (McLain), in a Beta Zeta history, describes the chapter’s World War I activities: “Convention has been postponed … and the money … is to be given to the Kappa Relief Committee. Following the good example, we gave up the Founders Day banquet and bought a Liberty Bond instead … Wednesday nights were spent in the Red Cross Shop making surgical dressings. Most of the girls have won crosses. We have adopted a French orphan of our own who addresses her letters to ‘Monsieur Kappa Kappa Gamma’ and we also have a share in the support of one adopted by Eta Province.”
In the summer of 1925, after moving a number of times, the chapter built a house on the corner of Washington and Lucas Streets, not far from campus. Eight of the original 16 double rooms were later converted to triples, raising the house capacity to 40 members.
By the 1930s, many of the university’s present-day activities and honor organizations had appeared. Kappas were active in all: Mortar Board, Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Lambda Delta, honorary professional fraternities, Orientation Council, Union Board, Highlanders, Seals and more.
Old traditions were continued. Anita Hopkins Mercer wrote in 1930, “The University Homecoming in the fall and Founders Day Banquet in May are the chief occasions for gathering back the ‘old’ girls, and in connection with the latter comes one of Beta Zeta’s cherished customs … a Powder and Patch Banquet. The first mention … comes in 1902 when more than 40 active and alumna Kappas sat at the banquet table, making a very pretty sight, for the girls wore their hair powdered and had their cheeks rouged."
Despite the many social and academic activities, scholarship wasn’t neglected. Beta Zeta, as hostess chapter to the 1937 Province Convention (Meeting), could brag that it had won the scholarship cup for that year and expected to win it (and did) again in 1938. Jannes Savery (Westerfield), who had the only women’s role on the NBC program recognizing the 91st anniversary of the State of Iowa, was typical of the outstanding girls then in Beta Zeta Chapter.
Came the 1940s and Kappas were still campus leaders with girls like Barbara Kent (Greenleaf) who was Honorary Cadet Colonel, president of Mortar Board, chairman of Orientation Council, and secretary of the Union Board.
With Pearl Harbor, Iowa became a war school with an accelerated academic program. The chapter was active in the Double V Program of hospital and Red Cross, University Women’s Association and YWCA. There were few men on campus, but social life was not neglected. There were open-house events for pre-flight cadets, meteorologists and faculty members.
Scholarship was high. In the 1944–1945 school year, Beta Zeta received the scholarship cup for the highest grade point average, a 3.002, ever made by a sorority at Iowa. After three consecutive wins, this cup became a permanent possession.
The first Greek Week Banquet was given in 1950–1951, and on the basis of scholarship, fraternity and campus leadership and personality, Helen Hays (Lodwick) was selected the first “Most Outstanding Greek Woman of the Year.”
Four years of first-place scholarship brought another cup to the trophy case. In 1956, Iowa went to the Rose Bowl game, and the strains of “California Here I Come” floated through the Kappa house as many Kappas, spectators, rooters and Highlanders packed to head for the West Coast.
Many Kappa beauty queens graced the campus during those years. The 1958–1959 year began with two Kappas as runners-up for Miss Perfect Profile. Homecoming weekend, Kappas reigned as Dolphin Queen and Miss SUI (State University of Iowa). During Greek Week, an attendant and the Interfraternity Pledge Queen were Kappas. Then a former Interfraternity Queen became an attendant to the Honorary Cadet Colonel. These young women, plus many fraternity sweethearts, helped earn the Beta Zetas a reputation for both beauty and brains.
Homecoming, 1967, brought numerous awards to the chapter with a member crowned Dolphin Queen. Kappa and Sigma Pi earned the trophy for beautiful float-building.
There were additional honors in 1968 when Beta Zeta was named first scholastically, and Pat Henderson became “Most Outstanding Greek Woman of the Year.” That spring, the chapter began what it hoped would become a tradition—a chapter retreat—“Spring Thing,” at the city park, with a picnic, games and a serious discussion on chapter unity.
The previous information was excerpted from The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870-1976. The information that follows has been gleaned from available resources including Chapter History Reports, chapter meeting minutes, letters and comments from chapter members and alumnae, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity Archives, and The Key. Each chapter is expected to update its history record annually. Contact Fraternity Headquarters at [email protected] with questions.
The 1970s brought changes to college campuses across the country as the nation’s political awareness grew. And while Iowa students became more active politically, they also began showing a resurgence of interest in the Greek system.
Kappas had lacked campus involvement, so they set a goal to become more involved in the community and on campus and to raise more money for philanthropies. The chapter reached all three of its goals and set a standard that would exist for decades.
By the mid-1970s, Kappas had a highly visible presence on the Iowa campus, with a Beta Zeta chairing the all-campus blood drive in 1975, hosting the Province Meeting in 1977 and participating in other Greek campus philanthropies. In 1978, the Kappas were very involved in organizing the university’s first major rodeo, including visiting local elementary schools with rodeo promoters and giving assembly shows. During the rodeo, they sold programs, gifts, handled tickets, and served as ushers.
Beta Zeta’s focus on philanthropy and campus involvement continued into the 1980s, and chapter involvement was a priority, both in house and on campus. The Kappas consistently won the Anchor Splash, a Delta Gamma swim meet philanthropy event. In addition, Kappas were involved in Greek Week, Follies, the Special Olympics in Cedar Rapids, and they created their own signature philanthropy event, Kappa Day at the Races. The annual October event started with a pre-party on Friday before the Saturday races. Fraternities would compete against each other in an airband contest, and sororities started with a pizza-eating contest, which later changed to a less caloric event. On race day, along with their Kappa coaches, each Greek group would participate in various track and field events, including an 880-yard race, a 440-yard relay, a three-legged race and a tug-of-war as the grand finale. Tee shirts were sold throughout the year, with more than 650 sold in both 1986 and 1987, contributing to the event’s success. Beta Zeta’s Day at the Races increased its profits by 300% from 1985 to 1986, with receipts of $1,800, which were combined with other philanthropy monies and donated to Iowa City Geriatrics.
The chapter also increased its focus on scholarship during the decade. At the beginning of 1983, Kappa was ninth in grades among 15 Panhellenic groups. With a strong push toward improvement, in the first semester of 1984 Kappa moved up to fifth place among 15, and by the second semester, into second place. In 1985, eight chapter members had a 4.0 GPA.
Certainly one of Beta Zeta’s proudest moments of the decade was when Ann Carlson was awarded Greek Woman of the Year in 1983, a tremendous honor for the recipient and the chapter.
The 1990s began with a very special opportunity for Beta Zeta. The chapter was among four asked to help in the reinstallation of Omicron Deuteron Chapter in nearby Indianola, Iowa in early February, exactly 100 years to the day since Omicron’s charter was surrendered to the Fraternity in 1890. Beta Zetas joined Kappas from Chi Chapter at Minnesota, Gamma Theta Chapter at Drake and Delta Omicron Chapter at Iowa State in serving as Big Sisters to the Omicron Deuteron Kappas.
Beta Zeta kept its focus on philanthropy and participation in campus and Kappa activities. To keep their goal top of mind, the chapter adopted a motto: KAPPAS – Karing About Pride, Participation And Sisterhood.
By the mid-1990s, the chapter’s focus on scholarship was rewarded with consistently high rankings. In 1994, Kappa was second among all sororities and reported in its chapter newsletter, “…missing first place ranking to a small sorority of ten women. We are proud that we finally beat Delta Delta Delta!” By 1996, Kappa was ranked first in the fall semester and tied for first in the spring.
Campus policy began to change toward Greek functions, and Kappa responded by adding a risk management position to the chapter in 1996. Beta Zeta implemented the Kappa Saferide program, which allowed members to be anywhere on campus and have a designated driver available to take them home. This dedication came out of a violation of university alcohol policies, which resulted in probation for the chapter. The Beta Zeta newsletter in 1996 said, “But out of this adversity came strength in that Kappas, alums, actives and pledges came together to comfort their sisters and to offer assistance in our time of need. Our unity was striking at this time of crisis, and we’re happy to say that we believe we learned a big lesson and also learned to trust and turn to our sisters in our times of need.” The chapter had no further violations, and the sanctions placed upon Beta Zeta as a result of the probation were lifted.
In 1998, Beta Zeta’s commitment to the Iowa campus Greek system was rewarded with the Panhellenic Award at Convention.
An outside event rocked the University of Iowa in 1993. During the Great Midwest Floods of that year, the University of Iowa was hit by a 100-year flood. The campus straddles the Iowa River, and the event left deep emotional and financial scars on the Iowa City campus. Restoration cost the university more than $6 million, and the school developed a more significant flood emergency response plan that would prevent a repeat of the 1993 flood. What university officials didn’t know was that a much more devastating 500-year flood would hit the school fifteen years later.
The 500-year flood that hit the Iowa River in 2008 was the worst financial disaster to ever strike the University of Iowa. It was preceded by a wet and prolonged winter, followed by a moist spring that left the ground saturated and flood control reservoirs brimming. The first six months of 2008 were the wettest ever on record for Iowa. In early June, university staff and more than 2500 students and community volunteers worked for days in an attempt to hold back the rapidly rising water, using more than 1.8 million sandbags. On June 13, flood waters breached temporary levees and began flooding thousands of feet of underground utility tunnels and the basements and first floors of campus buildings. The university estimated its total damage and recovery costs from the 2,008 flood at more than $743 million.
The chapter continued its commitment to campus and community events, encouraging members to complete two hours of community service each semester and participate in two Kappa philanthropy events. Kappas were particularly helpful to their Panhellenic neighbor, Alpha Chi Omega, in recovering from the destruction of their chapter facility by a tornado in 2006.
Beta Zeta turned attention to its archives in the 2000s, setting up displays that chronicled the chapter’s history. Members were able to read old chapter minutes and awards and see past bid day photos, composites, newspaper articles and scrapbooks from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The chronological index of initiated members was available, and active members were able to find the dates of initiation for family members and friends. It helped develop a deeper appreciation of the chapter’s history.
Beta Zeta’s efforts received Convention award recognition throughout the decade, with honorable mentions in Technology, Panhellenic and Greatest Scholarship Improvement and awards for Chapter/Advisory Board Relations in 2000 and Most Improved Academic Excellence in 2008.
The year of 2011 was quite eventful for Beta Zeta. We had a lot of successes through our philanthropy work and our involvement in Greek Week and Homecoming. To start off the year, we participated in Informal Recruitment. We continued the spring with our semi-formal, Kappa Krush, in February, Ladies weekend, Providence Convention, and Formal in April. Around campus, we participated in Greek Week in which our members provided needed leadership with our pairing with a fraternity.
After summer break, we started up with Fall Formal Recruitment for the 2011-2012 school year. We added a new edition to our work week, by adding themes to each day to keep everyone from getting burnt out during the week. We had a very successful recruitment which was aided by our new use of clickers in the voting process. Through a fun bid day and getting to know our new members, the moral of the chapter was very high. We hosted our fall philanthropy, Kappa Kickoff, which was a week long including fun events for fraternities that were involved. These activities included a badminton tournament, trivia, dance-off, a fashion show, and a pizza party for the winners of Kappa Kick-off. This event raised $2,000 for our Room To Read, our philanthropy. Through an eventful season for Hawkeye Football, we finished it with Homecoming week which we were heavily involved in as well. Our members participated in Fiji Dodgeball, and succeeded in winning the tournament. We ended the semester with Barndance and studying diligently for finals. All in all, a very eventful year for kappa on our social calendar and mostly with our philanthropy.
Around Iowa City, things have settled down since the change in age for bars downtown. The police have been cracking down on underage teens in the bar after 10 which has hurt not only the schools reputation, but the Greeks reputation as well. Thankfully, our members have found alternative ways to spend their nights and have been above the influence when it comes to the downtown night scene.
Throughout Beta Zeta, the unity of our chapter has grown substantially. This unity not only comes from the hardship of finding alternatives to going downtown, but also the chapter struggle to get our grades up. We have been successful in keeping the moral in the chapter high, which is much needed with the Greek life here at UIowa. Starting out the year with an amazing philanthropy got Beta Zeta’s name out positively which has improved our relationships with other Fraternities. The chapter as a whole is continuing to improve Greek life in a positive manner around the campus.
Unfortunately, the past year for Beta Zeta has been a struggle with the University and Kappa National Headquarter. We were placed on two focus letters; one for grades and another for tickets for members unfortunate to get caught underage downtown. In the spring, we had an all-time high ticket count, but thankfully that number went down substantially in the fall. Through this difficulties, we came together as a chapter and worked to get ourselves on the right track. Our chapter GPA went up a couple points to the all womens average, which was a goal for fall, 2011. We are still working to get our GPA higher and continue to help each other with study hours and having members come to the house for a more quiet place to study. Because of the increase in tickets in the spring, we have incorporated more sisterhoods, non-alcoholic events with fraternities, and educational programs that show our members that there are positive alternatives to going downtown. The fraternity is getting back up on it’s feet and are ready to make some big changes on campus for years to come!
This year in the Beta Zeta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma, many accomplishments have been achieved. The Beta Zeta Chapter raised money and awareness for the Children's Miracle Network through the "Kappa Kickoff" event held in the fall. This was an extremely successful event with a terrific turnout from the Greek community at the University of Iowa. The Beta Zeta Chapter also held many successful social events including Semi Formal and Formal. Formal was held at the Marriot and this turned out to be a favorite location among the chapter. Throughout last year, the Chapter placed special emphasis on improving our academic standards. This led to a stricter recruitment process in August, however, Recruitment was still once again a wonderful success, as we were able to welcome forty-five classy new women into our Beta Zeta Chapter at the University of Iowa.
Recent changes on the University of Iowa campus include a new dorm being built on the west side of campus. This new dorm is being built while trying to remain energy efficient. This is being done through various specific plans including the installment of "green" electrical outlets that shut off power when not in use. Hopefully some future Beta Zeta Kappa Kappa Gamma women can reside here, as the dorm plans to open in fall 2015 and will house approximately five hundred students.
Recent changes specifically in the house of Kappa Kappa Gamma on campus include the hiring of a new chef, William. There has been nothing but rave reviews regarding this new addition to the home, as William is truly a very talented chef. The overall nature of the Beta Zeta Chapter remains extremely positive. All the women of the Chapter clearly have Kappa Kappa Gamma's best interest at heart and everyone is committed to helping this Chapter become the best Chapter it can be. Right now the main focus of the Chapter is to improve the grades. There have been many new systems regarding stricter study hours, put into place so that this goal will be achieved. All of the women in the Chapter understand the importance of this and support the new systems.
The year was marked by a challenge for our chapter as it was the beginning of Kappa being on a FOCUS letter for our academic standing. Our VPAE implemented a new system with study hours that counted as points for members that wanted to live in the house. Depending on the person’s grade point average they were assigned a set number of study hours, the members on period of concern were to have extra study hours with the VPAE. There was also a system for earning gift cards for every A received on a big exam or paper to reward all people’s hard work. Not only that but people who were on Dean’s List as well as people who improved their GPA by .4 were awarded kappa jerseys.
Our other challenge was that fall semester our chapter was placed on tier one as a chapter which meant that we were only allowed one event and we would have to have a lot more educational and sisterhoods. The tier system is through the University of Iowa so it is not based on the chapter abiding by the national all women’s average which our chapter was well below. We set a goal for our chapter to not get sanctions by marking our calendars with more non-alcoholic events with both fraternities and other sororities. We had a fiesta sisterhood where one of our member’s family cooked the chapter authentic Mexican food, a sushi sisterhood and a new member retreat where they all slept at the house and bonded while watching movies, eating good food, and learning about what it really means to be a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. We had a non-alcoholic event with Sigma Phi Epsilon, our partners in Kappa Kones, to make posters that we could post throughout campus. As far as educational go, we held several for the entire Greek system, and had three in house educational which covered topics from tanning to aging. We also had sanctions from recruitment so we as a chapter had to present a PowerPoint at a formal meeting that hit all the key points and the rules that must be followed during recruitment.
While we had our challenges we also found a lot of success in our philanthropies, awards for both group and inter chapter relationships. We had a lot of exciting development with our philanthropies and with our biggest success yet, Kappa Karaoke for which we raised money for the Joy Recovery Project. It is a fund that goes to the family of Ellie Cizek, who was a Kappa at Kansas. She was in a ski accident which lead to traumatic brain injury. We rented out Sam’s Pizza at which there was a karaoke set up and we asked all the fraternities to take on singing in groups or as solo artists. We selected judges and awarded the winners with a trophy. Our other successful philanthropy was Kappa Kones in which we raised money for Reading is Fundamental, our national philanthropy. It was held when the weather was warm so we were outside in the pedestrian mall where we offered free ice cream and asked only for donations. We also had face painting for the kids and we had members going around downtown to promote our philanthropy while it was going on. It was during the bike races so the turnout was spectacular. In regards to honors and awards, It is with pleasure that I say we had so many members involved in other clubs that really showed their talents. Dance Marathon, Rho Lambda honors sorority, Sigma Alpha Lambda, and Medicus were just some of the clubs that members were a part of. Some even help positions in office. Finally, our chapter became a lot closer as a whole through our various sisterhoods and the new member retreat.
Our campus has adopted a tier system in which sororities and fraternities have to uphold certain rules in order to uphold expectations of receiving under the all-women’s average of citations. We as a chapter are currently on tier two and have given strict guidelines for how our members must proceed so that we go back down to tier one and then after a year hopefully be off the tier. We have told our members that they cannot go to bars at which the age is 21, they are not to use an ID that say they are older than their actual age, and they are to be out of the bars that allow people over the age of 19 at ten p.m. We as a chapter have also added numerous sisterhoods such as making tie blankets for the hospital and making valentine’s day cards for the nursing homes. We feel that we are providing alternatives on weekends that keep members away from the downtown area. We also have a full chapter 24 hour retreat coming up that we hope inspires our members to uphold all the standards of this women’s fraternity. We hope that they learn the value of sisterhood and the true meaning of being a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sisterhood and the life-long benefits that are available if a member so chooses to grasp them.
At the beginning of the fall semester we were confronted with a challenge by being placed on probation from headquarters. Although it was difficult news to face, we have come together and are improving our chapter for the better. During this past year, we have had many achievements. First, as a chapter we have gone an entire year without getting any citations for underage drinking. We could not have done this without the VP of standards and their committee’s strict reinforcement of the laws and rules of Kappa. Our VPAE has also put in a huge effort in helping our chapter’s grades to improve. With informing the chapter of academic resources available on campus and also keeping the implication of weekly mandatory study hours. As an incentive and reward for good grades, members are encouraged to send pictures on recent A’s they have received during the week on tests and papers. At meeting each week a couple names are drawn of those members that sent in A’s, and they would receive a gift card. Rewards are also given out to people who get a 3.0 or higher, and for getting onto the Dean’s List.
As a chapter we are very proud of how successful our philanthropies have been. In the spring, we held Kappa Kones for the second year. This year we went to two different locations, one near the public library downtown Iowa City, and another in front of Hy-Vee, to raise money. We handed out ice cream to the public and face painted kids’ faces for donations to Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). In the fall, we held Kappa karaoke for the fraternities on campus for the second year as well. The guys formed groups to perform karaoke and competed against each other and raised money for the Iowa City Crisis Center. This has been a very fun philanthropy that everyone enjoys. Along with philanthropies, we have also done monthly sisterhoods to bring us closer together. These have included such actives as, a sushi social, big/little reveal, making Valentines cards for elders in nursing homes, making Christmas cards for a little girl on her last Christmas, doing a suicide awareness walk in honor of one of our recent graduates mother, and many more.
Along with being involved in Kappa, many members are a part of other organizations on campus. Some include; being in additional fraternities such as Rho Lambda, Alpha Kappa Psi, and Sigma Alpha Lambda. Others participate in programs like Best Buddies, PAWS, Make a Wish Iowa foundation, University of Iowa Special Olympics student organization, and many other academic clubs and organizations. We also had a huge Kappa representation from each grade at Dance Marathon this year. Apart from these organizations, we have some members on clubs and athletic teams. These include the dance team, cheer team, track team, and club water polo.
As a whole, the chapter of Beta Zeta is a passionate, enthusiastic, and supportive group of girls. We are not just an organization, we are all sisters and friends. We are always there for each other through tough times and celebrating the good times. Each year we are fortunate enough to get amazing new members that have the same passion and ideals that our chapter shares. This year our recruitment chair organized another very successful year of recruitment which we pledged fifty new members including an exchange student from Australia for fall semester.
We hold our chapter meetings in our kitchen of our house since we have too many members to fit in our original chapter room. All of our members have the opportunity to live in the house if they choose to. We currently have 54 girls living in the house.
This past year for Beta Zeta was full of challenges and accomplishments that have helped our chapter grow immensely. Last year we were placed on probation by headquarters and worked so hard to improve our chapter. In the beginning of the semester Beta Zeta got taken off probation and moved down to warning of probation. We are making many strides in becoming a more well rounded chapter and holding members a lot more accountable for their actions. Since our grades have improved a lot our VPAE held a scholarship banquet this fall semester to honor the girls who reached their gpa goals, made deans list, and who received 4.0’s. To keep continuing on this track every member set a new gpa goal that they hoped to reach for this semester. Beta Zeta has also been holding many sisterhoods that all the members have really enjoyed this past year. Our chapter rented out a movie theater where we all watched the movie Train Wreck. It was a lot of fun and such a good study break. For the holidays we had a Christmas cozy, members had on Christmas sweaters, set up the Christmas tree, ate some holiday deserts which helped us all get into the holiday spirit. We also had a Mexican sister hood where one of our member’s parents came a cooked us Mexican food. Beta Zeta was very excited to welcome fifty-eight new members to our chapter this year. Every member worked so hard during recruitment to get women that would really help improve our chapter.
This year, our chapter was very proud of how successful our philanthropies were. In the spring we held Kappa Kick off, where guys formed their own teams and members were assigned teams to coach. The money we earned was donated to Reading is Fundamental (RIF). In the fall we held Kappa karaoke for the fraternities who wanted to sing and help us raise money. The guys got to pick a song they wanted to perform and were judged by a few members who picked a winner. The money we raised in the fall was donated to the Ellie Burn’s foundation. One of our members is close to the Burn’s family so our chapter was more than thrilled to help them out.
Many of our members are involved in different organizations on campus other then Kappa. Some are apart of different fraternities such as Rho Lambda, Alpha Kappa Psi, and Sigma Alpha Lambda. Many of our members participate in Best Buddies, PAWS, Make a Wish Iowa foundation, University of Iowa Special Olympics, and many other clubs. A lot of our members in Kappa love to participate in Dance Marathon, which is an amazing experience many of our members continue to do every year. We also have members on athletic clubs and teams like, cheer team, track team, and water polo.
Beta Zeta Chapter changes people for the better. You form sisterhoods that will last a lifetime. Every member is hard working, kind, and a driven group of women that work to make our chapter better every day. Each year our bond grows more and more and we get the opportunity to create new bonds with new members that join. We support each other no matter what challenges life gives us and never take each other for granted.
What organization(s) has your chapter historically/traditionally raised money for, or donated hours to, in your community?
Reading is Fundamental, Ellie Burns Foundation
Why did your chapter choose this organization(s) to support?
One of our members has close ties to the Burns family, so we chose this foundation to support our chapter member and the family.
Over the course of this year, Beta Zeta underwent a few challenges as well as accomplished many things to help our chapter grow in the right direction. As far as tiers go, we were on tier 0 during the spring semester of 2016, and this fall semester we were placed on tier 1 with the Panhellenic council. Both semesters we had a warning of probation with headquarters. We are continuously working to make Beta Zeta a functioning chapter and to ensure that members are held to their responsibilities. Our VPAE held an academic banquet this fall semester to acknowledge those who have reached their GPA goals, made Dean’s list, or had a perfect 4.0. To stress the importance of grades, each member made a GPA goal for the following semester at the end of the banquet. Our standards chair worked hard on putting together many sisterhoods for us throughout this past year. A few examples are as follows: Kappa Kickboxing, Christmas Cozy, Finals Week Snacks, and a Bonfire with Alpha Phi. Kappa Kickboxing was a great way to release some stress and laugh with one another while exercising. During the Christmas Cozy, members decorated the tree, ate holiday sweets, and participated in a “white elephant.” The Finals week sisterhood was a perfect study break to come get some snacks and studying supplies such as notecards, markers, paper, and pens. Lastly, the bonfire held at Alpha Phi was a chance for us to interact with other Greek members here at the University of Iowa as well as enjoy some tasty treats. Beta Zeta was excited to welcome sixty-one new members into our chapter this year. Members worked endlessly to prepare for recruitment, and selected members that would be an added bonus to our chapter as a whole.
On our campus we try to promote how great Greek life is not only to mmebers that our part of it but also to those that our not. We like to partcipate in other organizations events to show how much we support everything that goes on at our campus. Overall, our chapter is filled with encouraging and enthusiastic girls who want the very best for every member. Everyone works together to ensure that this chapter is running smoothly, and that everyone is enjoying their experience as a Kappa Kappa Gamma. We are all friends, but we also get the opportunity to be sisters which is why Beta Zeta is so special to us all.
Our spring and fall philanthropies were both successful this year. In the spring, we held Kappa Kickoff, where men form football teams and from there members are assigned as coaches. The money that was earned was donated to Reading is Fundamental (RIF.) In the fall, we organized Kappa Karaoke where many fraternities sign up in teams to sing and raise money for the foundation of the current philanthropy chair’s choosing. The teams pick a song, and are judged by a few members who then declare the winner. The money we raised this fall was donated to Liam Koppa’s family. Our philanthropy chair is close with this family, and thought Beta Zeta could be helpful to this family. Another member in Beta Zeta brought it up to our chapters attention and everyone fell inlove with the idea of helping Liam out.
Beta Zeta meets in the dining room/kitchen area for our chapter meetings on Sunday nights because our original chapter room isn’t big enough to comfortably fit all of our chapter members. In the spring we had forty-one people living in the house, and this past fall we had fifty-seven people who lived in.
Over the past year, Beta Zeta had a few challenges here and there, but overall the chapter grew in many areas, making a successful year. As far as tiers go, we were on tier 0 during the spring semester of 2017, and the chapter remained on tier 0 until the end of the fall semester in 2017. However, both semesters the chapter remained on a warning of probation, but things were looking up for the chapter in fall. If the chapter works hard enough there will be improvements in the future, Betz Zeta was headed in the right direction. In addition, there was a ban of alcohol on all of greek life, no alcohol is to be promoted at any event, and we are unsure when this will be lifted.
Our own warning of Probation was focused on the academics of the members and the chapter worked hard this past year to try to improve academics. To encourage members to get good grades, members would get nominated if they did good on a test and would get a nice shirt at chapter meetings. Our Standards Chair worked hard this year putting together many sisterhoods throughout the year. A few examples are: Galentines day, fit gym, Beauty and the Beast movie, WERQ class, the Christmas Cozy, and finals week snacks. During the Galentine’s day sisterhood, members came to Kappa dressed in Valentine’s day apparel and there were fun desserts provided, then members just hungout and spent time together. Fit gym was a self defense class. Members got some education about self defense and how to do it. For the Beauty and the Beast sisterhood, members got together in April and headed to the movie theater to watch the new version of Beauty and the Beast. In the fall of 2017 there were only two sisterhoods. At the Werk sisterhood the members gathered at the recreation center and participated in a hour long dance/workout class. Finally the members attended a Christmas Cozy, where members decorated the tree, enjoyed treats, and decorated gingerbread houses. Then a couple days later snacks were provided for members at the house, along with study supplies for finals week. Last but not least, Beta Zeta was very excited to welcome sixty-one new members into our chapter this year. Members worked endlessly to prepare for recruitment, and carefully chose the future sisters that would be an awesome addition to the chapter as a whole.
On the University of Iowa campus we try to promote to not only the members involved in Greek life but also those that are not. Each organization particpates in each other’s events because we are all one community and we want to support each other in everything that goes on. All in all, our chapter is dedicated to loving, and supporting one another, along with others. Many members are involved in groups such as, Dance Marathon, Alpha Kappa Si, Sigma Alpha Lamda, Best buddies and many others. We also have members involved in sports teams. Everyone works together to make sure the chapter is running smoothly, and everyone enjoys their experience as a Kappa Kappa Gamma. We are not only friends, but we are also sisters and that is why Betz Zeta holds a special place in our hearts.
Our Spring and fall philanthropies were both very successful and ran very smoothly. In May we held the Kappa Kickoff, where guys formed football teams and were assigned coaches from kappa. The money that was earned was all donated Reading is Fundamental. In the fall, we organized cookies and Kappacinos, which was on T. Anne Cleary Walkway. Anybody walking by could buy a cookie along with a kappacino. The money we raised was also donated to Reading is fundamental. The next day our philanthropy chair decided to take the leftover cookies and coffee was donated to local businesses, and faternites or sororities.
Beta Zeta meets in the dining hall/ kitchen area of the Kappa house every sunday night at 7 for our chapter meetings. Beta Zeta is such an amazing experience that changes the lives of so many girls. You form sisterhoods that will last a lifetime. Every woman is a dedicated, loving, genuine person that make our chapter the best it can be. Every year the bonds grow more and more, even with new members coming in. We support each other no matter what and the love goes on long past the four years here at University of Iowa.
This past year was a successful one at the Beta Zeta Chapter. Starting in January we were on warning of probation from previous incidents, but we shortly got off in February, due to the good behavior and the hard work of the chapter as a whole. We then had an academic banquet, and an advisor from the Tippie school of business came to talk, which was very special and informational. Our chapter was also picked (out of many) for “Behind Happy Faces,” a presentation about mental health. We then had an awesome sisterhood for valentines day called “Galentines” and we rented out the movie theater and all went, which was super fun! To end the busy month we had a sisterhood with Kappa Alpha Theta and did a workout sisterhood.
In March Kappa was announced on Tier 0 which is good at the University of Iowa, since Iowa goes off a tier system unlike other schools. We also had a very unique sisterhood, which was our sushi sisterhood and a sushi chef came in and helped us make our very own sushi! To end the month we all volunteered, by passing out books at a 1 book 2 book event that went towards our philanthropy. As the spring semester was coming closer to an end, we celebrated mom’s weekend in April by hosting a ‘Mom and Paint’ and a brunch on that Sunday. Then we had our successful philanthropy event at a park in Iowa City and sold ice cream cones, our title was “Kappa Kones.” We ended up raising more than $800 for One Book Two Book. To end the semester we had one final sisterhood, having McDonalds and a scavenger hunt around Iowa City.
As we all came back in August, the University of Iowa had some new rules in place. They have what they call the “Pilot Program,” which all the chapter have to be in compliance with to have events, and if they aren’t in compliance they are put on probation. The University also got rid of the tier system. We ended up recruiting an awesome pledge class of 55 girls, then we decided to start off the year with a hot yoga sisterhood September 25th and 26th. The next week we had a very informational educational about sex trafficking, which was two hours and very helpful. As we entered October, dad’s weekend was hosted on the 6th and 7th, at the house with a bags tournament and lunch, then finished with a self defense class the following day. As founder’s day approached we had an annual Founder’s Day Feud at the house, which was over facts of Kappa. Next, we had a Halloween themed non-alc with Alpha Phi at the Kappa house, and the next week a Halloween themed Sisterhood. There was also another successful academic banquet, which was an incentive to reach our chapter’s gpa goal, which all of the girls really wanted to achieve. Then, since we were compliant with Iowa’s Pilot Program, we hosted a formal at the Graduate (masquerade themed), and got a very good report back, therefore we are in good standing with PHC. We started November with Initiation; we initiated 55 girls and it went very well. We also had ‘Breakfast Klub’ at the Old Brick Building for our philanthropy event. This raised almost $2000 for One Book Two Book. As December rolled around we had one final holiday Kozy sisterhood at the house. It was a very busy and great year for the chapter.
There have been many changes on the campus for Greek life at the University of Iowa. There is a new pilot program in place and all the events have to be in Iowa City. There have been many fraternities kicked off or on probation. However, the sororities have remained positive and Kappa has done their best to deal with the recent changes and adjust to all the new rules. We still remain to have one of the higher pledge classes compared to lower number of girls going through recruitment. We have remained positive and hopeful for the future.
Beta Zeta Members had a great 2019! Here are some highlights:
Excellence and Values Congruence and Accountability was awarded to our chapter. An alumni was inducted in Order of Omega Hall of Fame Improved overall chapter GPA Hosted an academic banquet and several educational workshops for our members Several members received scholarships from the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation Changes on campus include event policies being changed and overall push to decrease high risk drinking on campus. We have made a strong push to be a chapter full of leadership and respect on campus.
For Founders Day, we threw Kappa a birthday party at the house and played an educational trivia game as an entire chapter!
Beta Zeta chapter supports the local Humane Society and the KKG Foundation with their philathropy work and dollars. We chose to give back to Kappa because of how many opportunities this organization has given all of us. We also picked the Humane Society because we have seen how much support animals can give people who are struggling and wanted to donate there.
We began celebrating the sesquicentennial of Kappa Kappa Gamma this fall. The 150 year celebration Minnie Stewart Van visited our chapter! All of us were able to tour the van and do interactive activities to learn more about Kappa and it’s traditions. We plan to continue in educating our members and to celebrate with alumni in the upcoming year.
Throughout this previous calendar year, most if not all events/activities were held virtually. Initiation and Primary Recruitment were over zoom. Thankfully, we got very good at using technology and finding ways to continue interacting with each other virtually.
Our organization supports Reading is Fundamental and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. As our national philanthropy partner, we choose to support RIF because of the lack of resources and ability of children to read proficiently. Additionally, we choose to support the KKG Foundation because it gives back to our own members in times of need whether that is a financial crisis, emergency disaster relief, or lifelong education for members. We feel that it is extremely important to give back to others while also making sure that we are supporting our own sisterhood.
How did your chapter include diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives this year? We added a DEI officer for the next calendar year and we could not be more excited. We hope that starting next year, as a chapter in total, we can find more ways to include diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to our programming!
How did your chapter celebrate Kappa's 150th birthday? Facebook live national Kappa Kappa Gamma Celebration! We got to hear from President Gail Owens of Monmouth.
We started our year off strong with events like our Kappa Krush date party in February and our academic banquet for achievements from the fall 2021 semester in which we had over 55 sisters on the deans list! As the semester went on we honed in more on the sisterhood of our chapter. This was through sisterhood events like hot yoga at out local studio as well as preparing for a first in person recruitment since covid. We started having weekly practices in March as we had two full member classes who had to start from scratch. Our spring was marked with events like kappa kickball benefiting the Jed foundation as well as our ladies weekend! We came back on campus feeling strong academically as we raised our over all chapter GPA from 3.2 to 3.33 from fall to spring semester, which was above both all PHC average and female undergraduate. Having recruitment delayed to the middle of October reshaped our fall from what it has normally been in the past. We held our annual work week before classes began in august and continued weekly practices as well. September was relatively calm as we prepared for recruitment and hosted out annual dudes weekend. We also began planning for our Friendsgiving philanthropy event as well as our fall date party. Our chapter council also met to decide how we will adopt our new leadership structure and how we will guide the next group of sisters on leading the chapter.
We chose to support the Jed foundation. This was important to our chapter as so many of us have been touched by mental health whether personally or someone close to us and we felt raising awareness in general would help us make the most impact. We support them through our two yearly fundraisers, Kappa brunch or friend giving in the fall and Kappa kickball in the spring. These events are used to gather out community to do fun activities for a small donating which allows us to come together with those we love as well as educate them on mental health awareness. Further we promote mental health awareness through out the year by using our instagram as a way to further spread not only information on mental health but resources as well. We do many services actives within the Iowa City and Johnson County area. Some of our favorites include blanket making sisterhoods for the Johnson County homeless shelter as well as the University of Iowa children hospital. Furthermore we participated in trick or treat with the greeks which is a university event where member of the greek community put on a trick or treating event for children within the community allowing them a safe way to collect halloween candy.
Founder’s Day was extra special for us this year as it feel just three days after our bid day and one after our formal pledging. We chose to do cookie decorating and a kahoot game on both national and chapter history. This event was super fun as it tied us back to founding values and we enjoyed our sisterhood as well. programming this year
DEI has been very important for Beta Zeta. Our chairwomen made it a point to continuously educate our members both herself at weekly chapter meetings but through trainings within educational as well. Furthermore we have made also included intiatives on out social media as well- mainly providing resources when needed .
We have continued to celebrate our sisterhood not only within our chapter but beyond as well. We have done this by sending representatives to leadership academy and convention as well. There they were taught skills to help us better run out chapter and bond us. When they returned we allowed those representatives to share those skilled at chapter meetings or within other event. We also celebrated our 140th birthday this spring. We marked this by highlighting then and now photos on our instagram and having a small celebration at our chapter structure.