Omega

Omega Chapter was founded at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas on December 17, 1883.

Founding Date: Dec 17th, 1883

Status: Active

University:

Location:

District: Zeta

The Early Years

The first day of classes at the University of Kansas was September 12, 1866. Pi Beta Phi was on campus in 1973, Kappa Kappa Gamma in 1883, and Kappa Alpha Theta in 1888. When Omega Chapter was founded the University had 16 faculty members and almost 500 students, including eight pioneer Kappas.

Chapter installation on December 17, 1883, took place at the home of the future first chapter president and the first University of Kansas woman to graduate in pharmacy. In the yard stood a small group of members of Beta Theta Pi and Phi Kappa Psi who had helped the girls organize the chapter. After the ceremony, they were invited in and bountifully fed. They later escorted the girls home.

Meetings were held on Saturday mornings in a rented room of an office building in Lawrence. Members would climb a long flight of stairs to enter the room which had a lofty ceiling and long, narrow windows. Before Saturday mornings meetings girls would arrive early to build a fire in the stove when the thermometer stood at zero. Literary programs were given and professors lectured. In those days, the Chapter pledged girls before they came to the university – some as young as 12.

As early as 1893, Omega showed its cooperative spirit by setting an early closing hour for parties which the university rewarded with a letter of commendation. Eight Kappa pledges were introduced in February of 1894, at the largest social affair ever given at the university at that time. A description of the party mentions the “graceful Gay Nineties costumes and “golosh-less maidens in the snowdrifts” afterward.

Highlights of the 1900s – 20s

In 1900 the university reached an enrollment of 1,200 and Omega Chapter had 28 members. In 1902 the Kappas moved into a rented house. The House Association was formed in May 1912, and the Chapter moved into a new red-brick home the following November. The total cost of the new home was $1,650. The first party was a banquet after the Kansas–Missouri football game. About 75 Kappas were present. The Chapter gave dinners and a series of Wednesday “at homes” for fraternity men. The next year, more than 100 Kappas were entertained in Topeka by Ora Murray Hodges, Mu, Butler, the wife of the governor of Kansas.

During World War I (1914-1918) rush was simplified by having no refreshments and no invitations to meals. Fifty dollars of the money saved was given to the Red Cross. The scholastic standard was raised to all A’s and B’s for Initiation. Kappa won the new tournament of intramural basketball three years in a row. When the University closed for a month due to the 1918 influenza epidemic, many Kappas helped in the hospital.

Competing in the 1922 intramural basket ball tournament were Kappa Kappa Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Alpha Delta Pi, Acoth, Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi, Wankanta, Theta Phi Alpha, Chi Omega, and Alpha Xi Delta. The Kappa Kappa Gammas were the champions winning the large 15-inch silver loving cup for the second year in a row. The KU men’s basket ball team won the national championship that year and again in 1923.

In 1924 members sold Fab detergent and donated the proceeds to the Endowment Fund. One of the first Graduate Counselor Scholarships was awarded to an Omega Kappa. In 1927 the chapter of 22 actives and 30 pledges moved into a new home. The site had been purchased from the Bowersock estate and named Gower Place in honor of Mary Gower Bowersock in appreciation of her kindness and help to Omega.

Highlights of the 1930s – 40s

Before World War II, there were few cars on campus except a rare family car for a weekend. There was a celebration in 1937 when Greek-letter organizations combined to have the path to the campus paved.

University enrollment was approximately 4,000 students during the Depression (1929 to early 40’s) and World War II (1939-1945). Omega won the intramural cup five consecutive years. Dress became more informal, study hall rules were relaxed, and personal independence was stressed. In 1939 the University’s first foreign exchange student, from Stockholm, Sweden, joined Omega Chapter.

Highlights of the 1940s

Rushing was formal. Rushees wore bright red lipstick, shoulder-length hair, silk dresses, hats, gloves, and high-heeled slippers to the parties. Coeds wore white blouses, sweaters, skirts, bobby socks and saddle shoes to classes. The dating game was a ritual, with boys asking in advance for dates that were carefully entered in a book. A “pinning” was announced with a box of candy presented to the House Mother at dinner. She would open the box, read the names of the couple, and sorority sisters would kiss the boy and serenade the pair. Then the girl would be taken to the boy’s fraternity house for her round of kisses. That night, the fraternity would serenade the sorority girls after closing hours.

In one week a Kappa was appointed editor of the Student Directory, chosen Homecoming Queen, and the Chapter won the volleyball championship.

In 1943 the freshman class started the year with a bang. The bang was the dull thud resounding when a member crashed through the basement window and cracked her head on the floor, climaxing the never-to-be-forgotten walkout with the Phi Gamma Delta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon pledges. Then, unfortunately, a short time later all the Phi Gam pledges left for the Armed Services. Pledge classes in this era numbered less than 20. Approximately 12 seniors graduated. Queen contests were numerous and Omega usually had six queens a year including fraternity sweethearts. Kappas reigned as Homecoming, Jayhawker, and Relays Queens. Omega excelled at intramurals and won the University’s Intramural Championship Trophy 12 years in a row. One Kappa smashed an 11-year-old side-stroke record.

After a long absence, the chapter won the scholarship cup. A pledge class also was tops in grades. Phi Beta Kappa, Mortar Board, and almost all honorees had at least one Kappa as a member.

Kappas were on the go. Their Homecoming decorations won honorable mention. They entered a float in the Kansas Relays’ parade. Girls were involved in Rifle Club, Quack Club, AWS, WAA, YWCA, International Relations, Forensic League, debate squad, Glee Club, and many, many other activities. One was president of Panhellenic, and another president of Mortar Board. In the spring it was serenade time. Fraternity serenades were abundant and one night the Sigma Chis, Phi Gams, and Betas all came around. In 1948 the Omega girls serenaded 19 fraternities with “I’d Gotten More Than My Share,” “Omega Chapter,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Kappa Man.” The Kappas and Thetas joined to have a pledge class walkout and serenaded both sororities afterward.

There were many social events. Banquets included Christmas, Thanksgiving, scholarship, Initiation, Founders Day, pledge and senior. There also were blind date weekends, tea dances, and come-as-you-are, Halloween, and Christmas tree decorating parties. Informal events included chapter picnics - some at Lone Star Lake. There were also Christmas dinner dances and spring formals held in the chapter house.

One night the Phi Psis stormed into the house and made off with the front and back doors and the light fuses. Kappas went to bed in the dark barricading the house as best they could. A ukulele fad swept the campus. With the 1949 initiation of 12 pledges in the spring, the chapter now totaled 67 members.

Housing:

“The chapter house in its second decade is still an imposing structure. Located at the top of Gower Road, it commands one of the Hill’s best views of ‘the golden valley.” From the Omega News, June 1943. The Kansas City Mothers’ Club redecorated the freshmen and president’s rooms. The hallway was redone and a console added.

Philanthropy:

Omega held an annual Easter egg hunt for underprivileged children.

Chapter Convention Awards:

1948 The Efficiency Cup

Highlights of 1950s

Dancing was a popular pastime in the big-band era (1935 - early ‘50s). Formal parties were given twice a year in the chapter house or Student Union, and varsity dances were held at the Union every weekend. Boys would “cut in,” a fine way to meet new students.

Rushing changed. Deferred rush was implemented at KU. Freshmen lived in dormitories and only upperclassmen were pledged. All rushees were entertained at the chapter house the first day. Preferential bidding was added in the late ‘50s and another day to rush week. The first day, a Sunday, consisted of 12 parties for transfer students, each lasting 25 minutes. The next day there were 12 parties for both transfer students and students who were at KU the preceding year. Tuesday had eight invitational parties which lasted 35 minutes. Wednesday there were five 45-minute invitational parties. The last day, Thursday, there were three parties each lasting one hour. That night rushees turn in preferences at the Dean of Women’s Office. Early Friday morning sororities submitted their preferential list and a committee met on that day to match the two lists. The last day of rush week, Saturday, formal pledging ceremonies were held at chapter houses. Three courtesy coffee parties held previous years were eliminated.

Another change was that sorority rush booklets were combined into one large brochure representing all 12 organizations. Previously, each sorority published its own. With the demise of individual booklets, Omega started publishing an alumnae newsletter again after a six-year-lapse.

Omega introduced new pledges at an “hour dance” at the chapter house for each fraternity. Pledges numbered close to 30. There were pledge banquets and sometimes parties afterward at the Dine-A-Mite with dates. The pledges also had formal dances which were generally held at the Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence.

Scholarship was emphasized. In 1955 Omega were thrilled to go from seventh to second place among the sororities in GPA. Kappas were always represented in Mortar Board and Phi Beta Kappa and many other honorees. In 1958 a foreign guest from Berlin enriched the chapter.

Activities during this decade included the Student Union Carnival, post game coffees, Halloween banquets, adviser and faculty teas, Christmas banquets, senior banquets, and spring formals at the Lawrence Country Club. Kappas sang Christmas carols to Greek houses with the ATO’s. There were many queens and some cheerleaders. Fathers were invited for Dads Weekend and the third floor of the chapter house temporarily converted into a men’s dorm. In the spring there were serenades, and picnics by Lone Star Lake. Basketball was still a favorite sport of the coeds. KU won the NCAA Division 1 National Basketball Championship in 1952.

The badges of two Omega charter members were donated to the chapter, framed, and hung in the chapter house.

Housing:

Summertime was a busy time at Gower Place when required maintenance was performed. The front steps were fixed, floors downstairs sanded and re-varnished, and flood lights installed on the north side of the house. The Mothers Club “tinted” 17 rooms. A new sink was installed in the butler’s pantry, and a trash can enclosure constructed on the north side of the house. The Mothers Club and House Board provided a new refrigerator, and new beds, mattresses, and chests. Six desks were added along with study lamps. An Early American style desk was purchased for the hall on the second floor. Chairs were recovered. A coffee table plus a new dining room table with eight chairs completed the refurbishment.

And, to the Omega girls, a very important appliance was purchased - a new hair dryer. As the chapter increased in number, an addition to the house was needed. Actives were required to live in the house, and all University students were required to live in authorized dwellings. Gower Place could only accommodate 54 girls. So, in the late 50’s, plans were made for an addition to provide adequate facilities for 60. It would extend to the south and west and include 10 bedrooms, two bathrooms, a chapter room, lounge and three powder rooms at a cost of $160,000. Actives, alumnae, business associates, friends and Mothers Clubs contributed funds. The project took four years and was dedicated June 4, 1960.

Philanthropy:

Community involvement became important and the chapter took part in many service projects. Kappas and the Phi Delta Thetas gave annual parties for underprivileged children. Omega also sponsored an Easter party for underprivileged children each year with a fraternity. In l957 three scholarships were established by members of a Kappa family. Members contributed $36,000 through the University of Kansas Endowment Association to establish a scholarship fund in nursing, mathematics, and business administration.

Most of 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

Highlights of the 1960s

The 1960s were busy. Dads came for Dads Weekend, and mothers came for Mothers Weekend. The Kappas sang in Greek Week Sings and attended Greek Week banquets. There were tree trimming parties and Christmas buffets. Omegas listened to serenades and gave serenades; went to exchange dinners and had exchange dinners. They held senior banquets and listened to speakers talk about careers for women. They partied with their sister sororities – celebrating Monmouth Duo with the Pi Phis, playing softball with the Chi Os, and inviting the Thetas for lunch.

There were many Omega queens – 14 one year. Two appeared on the cover of Life magazine and were flown to Hollywood for screen tests. Kappas represented the university as American Royal Queens in Kansas City, and as Miss Kansas of 1966. Omega Chapter was kept busy nominating candidates for SUA, Relays, Law Day, International Relations, Military Ball, Engineering, Naval Rodeo, ROTC Color Guard, and Homecoming Queen. A special committee was formed just to nominate girls for the contests.

Fraternities were not neglected by Omega. Kappas participated in the Phi Psi 500 and Sigma Chi Derby Days, played kickball with the ATOs, and volleyball with the Betas. They went to dinner at the Phi Kappa Sigma house and stayed to listen to a brass quartet. And the Phi Gams came to the Kappa House for dessert.

Rush changed again. In the early ‘60s sororities were able to pledge the number of girls in the spring rush period that were necessary to keep the house filled second semester of the following year. House quotas were 60. Open houses were held in January. Kappa pledged around 30 young women each February. In 1964 Omega participated in fall rush for upperclassmen and transfers, and pledged seven.

Omega Kappas studied abroad in France, Spain and England. At home the chapter was enriched by having students from Italy, Finland, Brazil and France as guests each for a year. Kappas earned membership in Phi Beta Kappa. They were selected for Mortar Board and CWENS and some served as president. A former Omega president was selected as a “Hilltopper,” one of 16 most outstanding seniors. A Kappa president majoring in Business Administration was “about the only girl in the school.”

‘Grubby” dinners preceded room and roommates changes four times a year. There were house clean-up days. No men were allowed in the house 10 minutes before closing. And, there were too many cars in the parking lot!

Housing:

Maintenance on a 40-year-old house was still an on-going project. Major renovations included installing new sinks and mirrors in the the old section bathrooms, which were then painted. The plumbing system was renovated, and the ceiling of the house mother’s apartment, which gave way during summer, was replaced. The big drainage problem in the backyard was fixed.

Redecorating projects included installing new carpeting on the stairs, new phone buttons, and the purchase of new waste baskets. Radiators were concealed with white enameled metal covers. The phone booth room wall paper was updated several times along with furniture. Furniture was recovered, and silver replated. The lounge and dining room were modernized, and a hutch added to the dining room.

Philanthropy:

Rock Chalk Revue became coed in 1959. The next year Omega entered the competition after not having participated for 10 years. The variety show, put on by living groups, benefited local charities. Kappas also took part in the SUA Carnival and decorating for homecoming with the Phi Kaps. They “won” the blood drive.

A Kappa who served two terms as Omega President, editor of the Daily Kansan and the Jayhawker, and elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board married the chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. In 1968, she and her family were killed in a plane crash. A $150,000 scholarship in public administration was established at the University of Kansas in her memory.

Chapter Convention Awards:

1960 Efficiency Cup 1960 Newsletter Honorable Mention 1962 Standards Award Honorable Mention 1962 Chapter Publications second place 1964 Fraternity Appreciation Award 1966 Standards Award (tied with Theta Chapter) 1968 Gracious Living Award for Housed Chapters

Highlights of the 1970s

The Wheel, Joe’s Bakery, corduroys, wearing the key; disco dancing, eating, monogrammed sweaters, hiking boots, KKG sweatshirts, needlepoint, aerobics and just BEING KAPPAS were listed as some of the Omega ladies favorite things in this decade.

Pledge classes numbered around 25 and came from some many states. In l971 Omega had the biggest pledge class on campus. Many were able to live in the house. One morning a fire alarm awakened 32 actives announcing the pledge class walk-out to Wichita. Going with the pledges were all the shower curtains, toilet seats; and buzz sheets in the house.

Pledge responsibilities included one hour phone duty once every two weeks, two nights/days living in the house, hostess privilege with the House Mother, and making cookies for actives on Valentine’s Day. Pledges went roller skating, had slumber parties in the lounge, and cozies with the rest of the chapter. They also collected money from grocery store shoppers for a Leukemia Drive, and carved pumpkins for Headstart.

Intramurals were not one of Omega’s strong points but they placed second in swimming and second in basketball during this period. The also participated in tennis, kickball, volleyball, softball, and football intramurals.

The Chapter had the “usual” social events including a Swiss Party held at Mont Bleu Ski Lodge outside Lawrence, Moms Weekend, Fathers Weekend, the Monmouth Duo, and a barn party with band and square dancing. The spring formal was on a “riverboat” in Kansas City. At Christmas time they went caroling, had a Christmas cozy, and a Christmas formal entitled “Mistletoe Madness.” A new group, the Kappa Pickers, came on the scene. Members depicting homespun musicians playing home-made instruments were in great demand as entertainers.

Grades were not forgotten. There was Scholarship Awareness Week and the Scholarship Banquet. In March of 1971 Omega hosted Province Meeting.

Housing:

Through the generosity of the House Board, parents, and alumnae groups, many repairs could be made during the summer months when the house was vacant. The most significant improvement during this period was the much needed piping of the natural spring underneath the house away from Gower Place. The spring constantly soaked the sidewalk making it “a treacherous ski slope” during the winter months. The driveway and parking lot were resurfaced and two bike racks installed.

Inside, a little kitchen off the lounge was installed. A burner stove and small refrigerator plus some small appliances were added. Bathrooms were repaired and shower stalls retiled. Actives painted second and third floor rooms pastel colors. Upstairs halls were painted white. Phone booths were stripped of layers of contact paper, painted white, and green chalkboards installed for doodlers. The telephone system was repaired.

New dressers, desks and bunk beds were purchased. The living rooms, front halls, main staircase and second floor hall were re-carpeted. The old downstairs carpet was put on the third floor. Furniture in the lounge was recovered. A hall rack for coats and books, and a clock for study hall, were purchased. In 1970 white table china with the crest was purchased.

Philanthropy:

One of the more unusual philanthropic events occurred in November 1974. The Kappas and Acacias participated in “Project Santa.” They played spades on the corner of 9th and Massachusetts Streets in downtown Lawrence for 120 consecutive hours and collected $1,400 for the Christmas Bureau, and the Gene and Barbara Burnett Burn Center at the KU Medical Center.

Kappas gave blood and contributed cans of food to the needy. In 1979 thirty-six Kappas swept, picked up trash, and worked at food stands at Kansas City’s Worlds of Fun to earn $500 for a Kappa polio artist and Omega mother. They won ticket sales and a sorority lay-up contest in the Phi Delta Theta’s Easter Seals Contest. Their spring Valentine Cozy raised money for the University’s public radio station, KANU.

In 1972 the Kappas and the Betas presented “The Sweet Smell of Success or How An American Beauty Rose” in Rock Chalk Revue,. Their show received awards for Best Script and the Best Production Number. Later in the decade Kappa and Delta Upsilon joined forces to also win Best Production Number.

Chapter Convention Awards:

1970 – Gracious Living Award

Highlights of the 1980s

Omega continued to be a vital part of the growth of The University of Kansas with its 20,000 students and 1,000 faculty members. Two of the biggest celebrations on the campus happened in this decade. Omega Chapter had its 100 birthday in 1983, and The University of Kansas won the NCAA Division 1 National Basketball Championship in 1988.

Kappa trends included “duck shoes… kit skirts…‘raisin’ (for a senior) . . . Royalmania …calligraphy . . . wearing your sweatshirt inside-out . . . Luke and Laura (General Hospital) . . . French braids and handpainted barrettes.” from keywords from ku, December 1980

During this period Kappas began to spend part of their college years studying overseas in Ireland, England, Spain, France and Italy. More went every year. One year Omega had the second highest grade point among sororities, a 3.08. However, another year it was seventh on the hill. A white sock on a door meant “studying - do not disturb.”

Social activities kept life interesting. There was Dads Weekend in the fall which included rooting for the Jayhawks at a KU football game with Kappa cheerleaders. Omega won the football league championship title. In the spring the moms spent the weekend. The Kappas attended Kansas City Royals’ baseball games, danced at the Cotillion at the Tee-Pee, and enjoyed celebrating the Monmouth Duo with the Pi Phis. In the spring, the new pledges were treated to a party and there was a Kruise party after Initiation.

The Kappa’s had a very special friend, Alvie, who resided in a nursing home. He had broken his neck at age five but it wasn’t detected until he was 48. An operation which was meant to correct his problems left him an invalid. A Kappa and her boyfriend began visiting Alvie at a nursing home, and soon other Kappas started going to see him. He and the Kappas had a decade of friendship. Alvie would introduce the girls as “my Kappa friends.” He attended Christmas Cozies bringing poems he had written to recite. He would belt out 1940’s songs, substituting Kappa for every name in the song.

Housing:

The 60-year-old plumbing system continued to remind the Kappas that it needed a major overhaul. During the winter of 1981 the 77 members had use of only three of the six showers. The 1982 pledge class awakened to frozen, flooding water pipes after spending their first night at Gower Place. Many were forced to shower at Allen Field House. The basement hallway flooded when it rained and the girls formed bucket brigades, bailing inches of water from the floor. There were signs of water leakage on the walls and ceilings.

The next year $100,000 of needed plumbing repairs were started. The bathrooms and showers in the original section of the house were ripped out, replaced, and five additional showers added. Repairs were designed to prevent water problems in the house as well as enjoyment. In the back of the house a handsome 12’ retaining wall, topped by an iron fence with fleur de is finials, was built. A terrace and new back steps were added along with an outdoor grill for barbecues. The landing at the top of the front steps was enlarged. New landscaping included grass, shrubbery, trees, and 200 tulip bulbs. The outside sprinklers were repaired and planter boxes filled. A newly painted house completed the picture.

Inside, 10 bedrooms were painted and plastered, a falling beam repaired, built-ins installed in the House Director’s quarters, and levolor blinds hung in the bedrooms. The study hall was redecorated and new tables purchased. A new phone system was installed. In addition some furniture was recovered, new carpeting laid, lights repaired, and several kitchen appliances replaced. Plans also called for the addition of a $30,000 safety fire sprinkler system. A professional size popcorn popper was donated to the chapter – much to the members’ delight.

Philanthropy:

Rock Chalk Revue continued to be one of the most popular events on campus and with the Kappas. Omega competed with different fraternities in the variety show which benefited the United Way. Throughout this decade they won most of the awards more than once. One year the Kappas and the Betas swept the majority of the awards with their skit, “As the Tide Turns.”

For five consecutive years the Kappas won the Phi Delta Theta ticket sales contest for a basketball tourney benefiting Lou Gerhig’s disease (ALS). They also participated in the Phi Psi 500, and Sigma Chi Derby Day. A new project was Respite Care, sponsored by Trinity Community Services, for the aging and handicapped. Omega also assisted the Boys & Girls Club. One fall Kappa and Phi Gam pledges sold balloons on football game days for $1. Sales averaged 120 balloons per game and the money was donated to Special Olympics. The Kappas were constantly seeking ways to help the underprivileged.

Chapter Convention Awards:

1980 – Philanthropy 1988 – Scholarship Improvement Honorable Mention 1988 - Membership Honorable Mention

Highlights of the 1990s

“Centennial + 10 Celebration” in October of 1993 was the high spot of this decade. More than 260 alumnae gathered to celebrate the 110th birthday of Omega Chapter. Pledge classes from 1938 to 1993 came. There were house tours, a silent auction, lunch at the Union, and a Saturday night banquet at the Holidome. More than $4,000 was raised for the Endowment Fund.

Omega was growing. At the beginning of this decade there were 183 Kappas on campus with about 850 young ladies going through recruitment. Kappa new members numbered around 50. Kappa new members enjoyed many fun events. They partied at Potter Lake, Stanford and Son’s Comedy Club in Kansas City, Lone Star Lake, and Worlds of Fun. The had retreats at Tall Oaks. And they enjoyed Initiation formals.

Kappa Delta joined the list of Kansas University sororities. Omega hosted Zeta Province Meeting and was especially proud to receive an award for the highest new member class grades over the last two years.

On Greek Recognition Night in 1990, Omega won eight awards including Most Improved Scholarship for raising its grades to 3.1 GPA. A Kappa was selected as one of the outstanding new members, and a Kappa was selected as one of five outstanding seniors.

Kappas continued to enjoy Study Abroad programs and went to France, Spain, and Great Britain. Dads Weekend was always an enjoyable event. Kappas and their dads went two stepping and square dancing at the Shiloh, a country bar in town, and country dancing at Cadillac Ranch. They went to a football game, and sang karaoke. They “finished off” the weekend with a Sunday brunch at the Kappa house.

The annual Kappa Cotillion was always an anticipated event. One year Kappas dressed as if they were going to a 1950’s prom complete with cats’ eye glasses and pink taffeta, and rocked to ‘50’s music.

For Homecoming Omega teamed with the TKEs and won second prize in the moving parts float contest. Another time they worked with the ZBTs. The Homecoming theme was “I’d Sooner Be a Jayhawk.” (I wonder who KU was playing?)

Sororities weren’t left out. There was the annual Kite-n-Key function with the Thetas. Dress as your favorite holiday was one theme. The Kappas and Pi Phis celebrated the Monmouth Duo by going to Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. In 1990, one of the mainstays of the Gower Place staff, Alice Frye, retired after 30 years

Housing:

In the 1990s improvements were continuous at Gower Place. Outside patio furniture was purchased by the Mothers Club for the “Kappa Beach.” Parking lot pot holes were fixed, yellow lines were painted, and the drivers at Gower Place were pleased. The back wall of the house was repaired at a cost of $7,860, and a dumpster shed was miraculously turned into a bike barn. A beautiful new lighted key was installed on the front northeast corner of the house.

To keep the inside of the house beautiful, carpeting was purchased for the upstairs halls, dining room chairs were recovered and a new dining room floor added. New tables and chairs were added to the study. The living room got new curtains and furniture was recovered. Walls were painted, and new window treatments installed. New paintings decorated the walls. The phone room also was updated.

In a more utilitarian vein, the “Mole Hole,” used for personal computers and typewriters, got a new look courtesy of the Dads Club. It also purchased a new computer for the house. New beds and bureaus were purchased, and ceiling fans put in every room on the second and third floors. In the kitchen, new and improved kitchen tops were added, drawers and shelves installed, and a new floor laid. And, two dozen forks were added to the kitchen pantry.

The ladies of Gower Place were most appreciative of the private phone lines installed in every room.

Philanthropy:

Rock Chalk Revue dominated the philanthropy scene. During this decade Kappas joined with various fraternities singing and dancing to raise money for the United Way. Omega Chapter was recognized for 150 hours of community service performed in the months prior to the show. Kappas also participated in a Watermelon Festival with the Lambda Chis, helping to raise more than $1,000 for Douglas County Special Olympics.

Chapter Convention Awards:

1990 – Advisory Board Honorable Mention 1990 – Membership Honorable Mention 1992 – Heritage Award Honorable Mention

Highlights of 2000-2010

A very special event occurred during this decade. In 2008 Omega celebrated its 125th birthday. The chapter continued to be one of the top houses on campus – highly regarded in all aspects of life at Kansas University and receiving many accolades.

The Kappas of Gower Place numbered close to 200, with the entire Greek system encompassing 3,400 students. Close to 1,000 outstanding young women participated in recruitment each year. The Kappa recruitment GPA was raised from 3 point to 3.2.

Among the 53 exceptional women initiated by Omega in 2005 was a very special KU alumna. A member of the 1959 pledge class, she had to leave the University before she was initiated. Always feeling as if a piece of her were missing, she was able to get permission to be initiated. So, accompanied by 12 women from her original pledge class, her missing piece was put in place the weekend of the 2005 Initiation.

Academically, Omega ranked above the all sorority average with many of its members earning 4.0 grade points. Awards won at Greek Recognition Nights in this decade were the Highest New Member Grade Point Average, Chapter of Excellence in Scholarship, and Most Improved Chapter GPA. It also was recognized for Excellence in Risk Management, Membership Development, Interfraternal Relations, External Relations, Sisterhood, Chapter Growth, and Community Service and Philanthropy. It received a Special Commendation for the Overall Chapter Excellence Award and a member won the Outstanding Senior Woman award.

Kappa GPA hovered around 3 point this decade. One year the Kappas new member class had the highest Greek GPA. Another class placed second on the hill with a 3.18 GPA. Girls continued to take advantage of KU’s study abroad programs and went to Italy and Hong Kong.

Although the 2007 Province Meeting was cancelled because of a snow storm in Iowa, Omega Chapter was proud to be the recipient of three Awards – Standards Honorable Mention, Most Improved Grade Point Honorable Mention, and Most Improved Chapter.

Outstanding Kappas filled the campus positions of Panhellenic Co-Philanthropy Chair, and undergraduate speaker at the December 2008 Business School Graduation. A member was selected for the William R. Nelson PHA Leadership award, and the Chapter Advisor received the Outstanding Alumni and Alumnae Service Award. Two members were graduated from the LeaderShape Academy during winter break.

Housing:

Beautiful 80 year-old houses need constant maintenance and upgrading. Gower Place was no exception. The living room was renovated and the small kitchen off the chapter room remodeled. To keep up with technology, wireless Internet was added.

Philanthropy:

Omega excelled in philanthropy. Among its honors were first and second place among Greek organizations for community service hours. One member was recognized for her completion of the second most individual community service hours.

Kappa Kickoff was the chapter’s fall philanthropy. Fraternities competed for points in various events that led to the ultimate goal of winning a flag football game at the end of the week. The event raised between $1,300 and $4,500 for research for Takayasus Arteritis, a disease which afflicted one of Omega’s alumna.

Natural Ties also was a favorite charity of Omega. The Kappa Klassic Golf Tournament, started in 2007, and raised between $3,000 and $6,000 each year to help disabled individuals participate in community life and activities.

The Omega Kappas formed teams to participate in “Up ‘til Dawn,” a nation-wide college benefit for St. Jude’s Children Research. Members raised more than $500 for “The House that Greeks Built,” the largest amount raised in the entire Greek community for Habitat for Humanity. The Boys & Girls Club also received Kappa time and money at the “Kaw River Carnival.” The Kappas and Delta Chi’s spent time playing games and doing crafts with the kids.

A university-wide philanthropy, Rock Chalk Revue, raised approximately $45,000 each year for the United Way. Living units teamed up to write, produce, and perform short original musicals, complete with costumes and scenery. The five best shows were chosen to be presented. Omega Chapter and its fraternity partners won many Rock Chalk awards including Best Original Song, Best Vocal Performance by a Chorus, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Script, and Best Choreography. Others awards included Best Production Number, Best Costumes, Best Show, Best Pre-Show Video, Audience Choice, and Best Interpretation of the Theme. They also won the Most Community Service Dedicated Organization Runner-Up, and the Community Service Gold Award.

Chapter Convention Awards:

2006 – Panhellenic Award