Sigma Chapter was founded at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska on May 19, 1884.
3,044 initiates (as of June 2018)
The name Sigma was assigned to several Kappa chapters, but then recalled, before it became permanently assigned, on May 19, 1884, to the chapter at the University of Nebraska. Those former chapters included the University of Michigan; Lasell Seminary in Auburndale, Mass.; and possibly Callanan College (now part of Drake University) in Des Moines, Iowa.
The University of Nebraska was but 15 years old when Sigma Chapter was established through correspondence with Mu Chapter and members of Grand Council. The State Legislature had, in 1869, set aside four square blocks in the town of Lincoln for a campus, and had appropriated $100,000 for a building, University Hall. This was the only college building when Sigma was founded. In 1915, land was condemned north and east of the city campus to make room for new buildings.
During the early years, no honors or prizes were given, the expression “extra-curricular activities” was unknown and athletics were slowly being organized. Even caps and gowns were not yet in the picture, and the Class of 1890 was much concerned over the selection of senior robes. The black mortar board and gown of the East was finally the choice.
Sigma’s early policy of initiating no preparatory students, its great desire to have its own hall, the organization within its own ranks of a Shakespeare Club, its strong sense of Fraternity, helped determine its character: “Our chapter is small now but of one heart, one soul,” wrote an early member. Spring was usually a quiet time in Lincoln, but the spring of 1890 contained drama never to be forgotten. It began with the decision on the part of the Kappas, Kappa Alpha Thetas and Delta Gammas to plant a Greek-letter flower bed.
On Arbor Day, armed with the permission of the chancellor, steward, and janitor, the young ladies set out 200 plants in the form of a key, a kite, and an anchor. The next morning, the girls found all their work undone. Some cried. Some “wished we were boys and could swear.” The destructive “barbarians” or anti-Greeks explained that they would not have an advertisement for fraternities attract the attention of the delegates to the Interstate Oratorical Convention. This contest found the university “reasonably distracted,” not only because of the episode of the flower bed (which neither a lawyer nor the authorities wanted to bother with) but because the Nebraska orator was being tried for plagiarism.
Such furious farce was not uncommon. The Sigma charter had been granted to a group emanating from one called TTT or “The Tempest Tossed,” and September 1884 saw the outbreak of the “Greek–Barbarian War,” with the barbarians claiming that the sacrosanct literary societies would be supplanted by the Greeks. New bylaws were passed, forbidding Greeks to join these old societies, so a new one, Philodicean, was formed.
This unpleasant feud left its mark on all aspects of university life. When Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1896 (May Whiting [Westermann] was one of the two women named first members), a conscientious “barb” was undecided about joining any organization with Greek letters in its name. That year, the Nebraska legislature was preparing a bill to abolish fraternities in the state university.
In April 1897, The Key contained suggestions from N.E.L. (who must have been Naahmah Elizabeth Lowe) that elimination of the gulf between the groups would be accomplished if Greeks would “avoid an excessive exhibition of fraternal love in the presence of non-fraternity members” and if pins were worn “in some modest place so as not to remind non-members of the existing barrier.” Even so, it was considered a great triumph when Sigma’s Anna Broady (Haggard) won the short story contest in the campus periodical while Willa Cather, prominent barb, was editor. Distinguished Louise Pound bridged the gap to some extent by becoming a Kappa after a brilliant student career as a barb. She later served the Fraternity as one if its first province presidents.
In 1891, Dr. James H. Canfield, who had been professor of history at the University of Kansas, became chancellor at Nebraska. The university had grown steadily, but he popularized it in a remarkable way, and before he left in June 1895, to become president of Ohio State University, he had the satisfaction of seeing students thronging to its gates. It had gates in those days, and a fence that has gone to the cemetery. Much might be written of Dr. Canfield as a brilliant scholar and an able executive, but to Kappas the world over, he is known as “the father of Dorothy.” (Dorothy Canfield Fisher). How Sigma had watched Dorothy during her prep years and with what joy they heard of her initiation by Beta Nu Chapter when she entered Ohio State!
Dr. Canfield’s interest in the small university library led to the erection of the new Library Building and to the appointment, in 1892, of one of Sigma’s charter members, Mary Jones, as librarian.
In 1896, eight members of Sigma attended the General Convention at Evanston, the first time there had been a real delegation. So enthusiastic did the girls become that they invited the next Convention to meet with Sigma. Now Lincoln at the end of August was hardly an ideal place for girls who had been summering in the mountains and at the seashore, but it was a Convention long to be remembered (and long before air-conditioning), nonetheless. There were blue-and-blue decorations in the windows of the most important stores, a tribute to Kappa unknown before or since. Meetings were held in the old chapel in Uni Hall, and with the stars and stripes floated a huge pennant of Kappa colors. The Phi Kappa Psis gave their chapter house for the use of the Council, and the other fraternities vied in entertaining.
It was at this Convention that May Whiting (Westermann) began her Fraternity career, as an assistant to the Marshal.
The Key of July 1896 reported a chapter dinner at which charter member Mary Jones told of the girls of 1884, the pioneers who bravely defied all kinds of opposition. “Had you heard it,” goes the account, “you would have known what Sigma used to be, and had you heard May Whiting’s toast, ‘The Ideal Kappa,’ you would know what Sigma hopes to be. ...”
During the spring vacation of 1901, 13 members of Sigma accompanied the Grand Secretary, May Whiting, to Boulder, to install Beta Mu Chapter at the University of Colorado. The fact that they all had railroad passes added to the pleasure of the occasion. The girls, in preparation for this event, tried song writing and fitting Fraternity words to popular tunes. They were delightfully entertained by the Boulder girls and the Denver alumnae. Many years later, in 1927, two of Sigma’s actives and half a dozen members living in Wyoming helped install Gamma Omicron Chapter at the University of Wyoming.
Early meetings were in members’ homes, but in the fall of 1902, Sigma rented its first house. It was a little red cottage of seven rooms and was called Kappa Lodge. The most interesting recorded memory of that first home is the chapter library, which the girls began to build as a memorial to Grace Leming, the only active member who had died. Each girl gave a book to the little library on her own birthday, and Mrs. Leming gave a framed picture of Grace to be hung over the bookcases. After three years, the house was given up as being too expensive.
By March 1925, after a time in another rented property, a chapter house became a necessity, and ground was purchased for it. Construction began May 1.. The alumnae association negotiated the mortgage, and a loan was secured from the Fraternity Endowment Fund. The Kappa house, of brick and in the English style with gables and long, sloping roofs, was impressive.
In subsequent years, two large additions were made to the house. Sigma received the first scholarship cup awarded by Panhellenic. In 1954, the chapter had the highest all-around average for sororities and again won the cup. It also won the Mortar Board cup for scholarship and activities.
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.
Change was in the air during the late 60's. Suddenly Kappas and other girls on campus could wear slacks to class..... and soon after that jeans! And the legislature lowered the drinking age to 20. Kappas became more involved in national affairs, even attending the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention and participating in sit ins.
The University campus expanded as The Lied Center for Performing Arts and the Campus Recreational Athletic Center were constructed during this decade. The chapter house also welcomed change as the first computer room was carved from a former storage area, the kitchen received necessary updates and the main level was completely redecorated.
The chapter averaged 96 members during this time and programming focused on the Fraternity and chapter heritage as well as utilizing communication skills to facilitate chapter functions. Always striving to be campus leaders, Sigma was the first of the Nebraska Greek community to establish a designated driver program, and one of the first to vote to hold a non-alcoholic date parties with fraternities.
In 1983, a legendary pledge class met again for their regular reunion with 19 of the original 22 members celebrating their 45th reunion and planning to be together to receive their 50-year pins four years later. Louise Benson Ball was a proud member of this reunion group.
“A Century of Sisterhood” was the theme of Sigma’s Centennial celebration of April 6–8, 1984. The weekend began with an open house on Saturday at the Kappa House with tours of the house and campus. Alumna Nancy Hoch, University of Nebraska Regent and U.S. Senate candidate, served as mistress of ceremonies at a luncheon at the Cornhusker Hotel. Honored guests were Lucy VanHorne Sawyer (1904 initiate), Sigma’s oldest living member; Adele Coryell Hall, Alumnae Achievement Award recipient; Wilma Winberg Johnson, Fraternity Director of Alumnae, and Virginia Bonville Thomas, Zeta Province Director of Alumnae. Also, Martin Massengale, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, was in attendance and received a $1,000 gift to the university from the Fraternity in honor of Sigma’s Centennial.
Sigma actives served as “decade hostesses” during the luncheon, dressed in costumes representative of each decade of Sigma’s history. Actives also sang a medley of Kappa songs, which provided the background for a slideshow depicting the lives of Sigma members from 1884–1984. Many alumnae joined in the singing, especially “Oh Pat.”
The luncheon also featured the pinning of five 50-year members and a presentation of a lovely stained-glass window with the Centennial chapter logo by the Lincoln, Omaha and Fremont alumnae associations. Awards and scholarships were also presented.
A Saturday evening gala, which doubled as Sigma’s spring formal, allowed actives and alumnae to enjoy each other’s company during this special occasion.
A Sunday brunch at the Kappa House included an archives display. Barb Miller Hoppe, Colorado, compiled a special book of Sigma history with the help of several other members. Sigma alumnae Betsy Stillwell Strain and Michelle Sample organized the Centennial, which saw approximately 600 participants from 22 states celebrating 100 years of sisterhood in Sigma Chapter.
Philanthropy efforts were most successful as funds were raised in support of the Lincoln Action Program and the Nebraska Human Resource Research Foundation as well the Rose McGill Fund. The chapter received awards for Outstanding Philanthropy at the 1987 and 1989 Zeta Province Meetings. Honors included Zeta Province Meeting awards for Scholarship Programming, Highest Grade Point Average and Outstanding Chapter.
Panhellenic challenges included Recruitment revisions. The focus on No Frills presented a paradigm change for the 15 NPC groups, and a great deal of effort went into planning effective recruiting. The dates for Recruitment changed during the decade including the week before the start of classes and during Labor Day Weekend after classes began.
The chapter house received improvements to the main entrance with paint and the installation of bike racks. The lower level T.V. room, fondly known as the Pink Room because of an earlier color scheme, was refurbished. Increasing membership resulted in a few beds added to accommodate more members wishing to live in the house.
Sigma Chapter was selected as a pilot chapter for the Fraternity’s New Member Program. They found success as well as challenges with the program and provided constructive feedback to the Fraternity for possible revisions.
During the early part of the decade, scholarship efforts waned and the chapter’s G.P.A. dipped below the all-sorority average. Improving scholarship became a major focus. Programs such as Registration Night during which upperclassmen assisted the freshmen and sophomores with registration decisions, study skills workshops, incentives and positive reinforcement were successful, and by the end of the decade the chapter achieved its goal.
Philanthropy efforts made a shift to the giving of time and service to the community. Chapter members assisted with an elementary school’s fun night, Honey Sunday, baby-sitting at the YWCA and participation in clothing drives and blood drives.
Sigma celebrated its 110th anniversary with special t-shirts celebrating the chapter’s heritage, and held a special Founders Day ceremony with alumnae. A special emphasis was placed on conducting the initiation ceremony exactly as written in the Book of Ritual, and new initiation equipment and robes were purchased with donations from alumnae.
Province Meeting awards included recognition for scholastic efforts, philanthropy, Advisory Board and the Sally Kiehne Kelby Award. The chapter was recognized at the 1996 Fraternity Convention with the Gracious Living and Advisory Board honors.
The University Panhellenic adopted the National Panhellenic Conference’s long-standing system of quota total for recruitment, thus allowing more women the opportunity to become a member of a Greek organization. Sigma’s membership grew to 136 during the decade. The chapter met the challenge of growth by strengthening the New Member Program and expanding the KORE group activities. Movie nights, bowling and painting pumpkins for Halloween were a few of the activities scheduled to help members develop friendships.
Sigma Chapter actively participated in Hazing Prevention Week and initiated creative ways to spread the anti-hazing message. It won the campus hazing prevention competition two years in a row.
Two major philanthropy fundraisers were held throughout the decade. Kappa Karnival and Kappa Kabana proved to be very successful, and proceeds were donated to many groups, including Lighthouse, a teen youth center, the local Alzheimer’s chapter, Peoples’ City Mission and the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. A local radio station saluted Sigma Chapter on air for donating the greatest amount of money to Katrina relief of any Greek organization. Funds were also donated to support Kappa’s philanthropy, Reading is Fundemental, and Boys for Books, a local school district project dedicated to improving the reading levels of elementary school boys.Philanthropic efforts also included the gift of service when the chapter members collaborated with different fraternities to write more than one hundred Valentine cards to distribute to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital patients.
The chapter scholarship standing rose to fourth place among the fifteen NPC groups on campus.
In 2005, Sigma members assisted in recruiting members and served as a sister chapter for Eta Iota, Creighton University.
Sigma received recognition at Province Meetings for Gracious Living, Communications and Advisory Board, and received the Barbara Sarich Programming Award and the Meg Cherry Smith Standards Award. Convention awards for 2006 were for Reading is Fundamental and Technology.
Kappa Kappa Gamma, Sigma Chapter, has had an amazing 2011. In January, 18 officers were installed and eager to start their new positions, led by chapter president, Lauren Jewell. We began the year with Leadership Day in which the 2010 Chapter Council and 2011 Chapter Council worked with Amelia McCormick, the Fraternity Chairman of Academic Excellence and Fraternity Trainer, on improving leadership skills, setting goals for the year, and assisting with the transition of chapter officers.
The spring semester was full of volunteer opportunities that our members took part in. We participated in the Big Event, a campus-wide day of service throughout the city of Lincoln. Many of our members also participated in Dance Marathon benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Relay for Life benefiting the American Cancer Society. We continued to support Kappa’s national philanthropy Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) with our pen pal program with a local Lincoln public school.
We held our first Kappa Goes Country philanthropic event in which we raised funds for the American Cancer Society led by our philanthropy chairman, Molly Brown. Kappa Goes Country featured cowboy boots and hats, a lasso game, and even a mechanical bull. Sigma held our annual Spring Tea at the Jackie Gaughn Multicultural Center on April 3rd to recognize scholastic achievements of our active members, award scholarships to many members, and honor our graduating seniors. This year the Lincoln Alumnae Association and the National Kappa Kappa Gamma Organization granted over 28,000 dollars in scholarships to current members of Kappa Kappa Gamma. The scholarship winners were not only girls who excelled in academics, but also individuals who showed dedication to Kappa and involvement on campus.
Scholarship is just one aspect to Spring Tea. The afternoon event was also set aside to recognize Kappa’s loved seniors. The seniors were highlighted with a spotlight video and are also asked to share their future aspirations upon leaving Kappa. Our entire Chapter Council took a road trip to Columbia, Missouri for our regional Zeta Province meeting where we were able to meet officers from all of the other chapters in our province and share ideas. Sigma was awarded Excellence in Communication and the Barbara Sarich Programming Award, along with honorable mentions in the Advisory Board Award and the Meg Cherry Smith Standards Award. Sigma members also had a fun time at a Husker baseball game with our dads for Dad’s Day planned by Kim McManus, our event chairman, and Ashley Christianson, our risk management chairman. Recruitment 2011 was completely changed due to our transition into the Big Ten.
Our new recruitment had us add in a open house round the first two days, in which every potential new member visited every house before invitations were handed out. We moved the hose tours to later in the week and ended with a preference day video about life as a Kappa and a meaningful ceremony. UNL also decided to implement a new quota total system when matching bids. This year bid matching was done all by computer instead of exclusively by hand. Also, instead of each house getting different numbers of potential new members, we implemented a new system where each house gets the same number of potential new members in order to try and even out the playing field. On Bid Day, we welcomed in a New Member class of 41 outstanding women. We all grew closer to them over the next two months during the New Member Program, and they were initiated on October 29, 2011.
All Sigma members returned for the new school year to a house that had undergone amazing renovations done by our House Board. The fall semester began with our annual Kappa Karnival, led by Megan Videditch, benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association where we made funnel cakes and had a blow-up bungee run in the spirit of the carnival theme. Sigma members also participated in the Memory Walk hosted by the Lincoln chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. At the Memory Walk, we donated our earnings of $4,300. We also raised money for two other foundations during the fall semester. We donated $800 to the Zitek family from Kappa Gear sales and $930 for 1 million for Anna foundation. We celebrated Kappa’s founding on October 13 at the Wick Alumni Center, led by Caitlin Guenther.
At Founders Day, we took the time to honor not only the founders but also groups and individuals who continue to contribute to our fraternity today. By recognizing individuals and groups, Kappas from many different years of initiation, we were able to see the powerful links we have created overtime. The evening was spent also honoring distinguished alumnae and handing out awards. The Alumnae of the Year was Kaye Jesske and the Spirit Key was given to Sarah Yost and Amy Gratzinger. A Special Ceremony for Presentation of 25-year Kappas was also preformed. Those honored were: Jacqueline Milton Burmeister, Victoria Domina Fischer, Judith Hodapp, Kaye Balfour Jesske, Amy Fuerst Johnson, Dada Crandall Johnson, and Kayla Peters. The Forty year Kappas who received an iris were: Rebecca Halpin Koller, Janice Shook Erwin, Julie Moreland Pittenger, Mary Easley Schmidt, Theresa Fitle Smith, Karen Anderson Walls, and Sara McIntosh Wooten. 50 year Kappas pins were given to: Susan Irvine Garwood and Sherry Hoppe Zehr. Finally, the 65 year Kappas recognized were: Elizabeth Shellenberger Liggett, Barbara Hockenberger Ferguson, Nancy Lawlor Jenkins, and Mary Dunnell Peters.
Anti-Hazing Prevention Week was led by our Education Chairman, Caitlyn Guenther. Sigma Chapter was the proud winner, now two years running. Throughout the week we passed out cards to learn to respect ourselves. On the card we each wrote a goal for ourselves, sealed it in an envelop, and was told to carry it with us as a reminder of our goal. This followed our motto for the week : "Do you respect the person looking back at you?" We also implemented a week long sharing of encouragement called "Kappa Kindness, Keep it Flowing". This is where we posted 5 annoyomus sticky notes on girls doors and if you received one on your door, you were to write another for a friend and leave it annoyoms. #kkgrespect.
Homecoming this year was exceptionally exciting for Sigma because we had three seniors chosen to be on Homecoming Court, the most of any house on campus. This fall, we hosted Meggie Centers, a Kappa Leadership Consultant during our Initiation Week. In the fall we also had Dad's weekend where we attended a hockey game, bowling and brunch. This was very helpful and a great time for the girls who have dad's that are from out of town. They were able to spend the entire weekend together, rather than just a day. Our parents auction was held at the Cornhusker Marriott hotel on November 4th, 2011. This event was put on by parents club.
Campus: The University of Nebraska–Lincoln, chartered in 1869, is an educational institution of international stature. A member of the Association of American Universities since 1909, Nebraska is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as a Doctoral/Research Extensive university. UNL is a land-grant university and a member of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Today, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is one of the nation's leading teaching institutions, and a research leader with a wide array of grant-funded projects aimed at broadening knowledge in the sciences and humanities.
Lincoln offers all the amenities of a midsize regional city of 250,000. Ranked in the Top 10 in many quality of life, safety, environmental and other studies, this is a remarkably comfortable and friendly place; when you're here, you're among friends. With more parkland per capita than any other city in the United States and an intricate trails network, Lincoln offers a wealth of outdoor diversions. Lincoln is also one of the fastest growing metro areas in the Midwest, with abundant employment opportunities. Downtown Lincoln lies at the southern edge of UNL's City Campus, and is seasoned by coffee houses, theaters, specialty shops and restaurants offering cuisines from around the world. Shopping opportunities are everywhere, with national retailers anchoring large malls in both east and south Lincoln. Boutiques, galleries and salons are located in neighborhoods throughout the city.
On June 11, 2010, the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors formally accepeted the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to join their conference. The Big Ten expanded the conference to 12 schools for the 2011-12 school year. The Big Ten Conference was formed more han 115 years ago. This conference is known for the world-class academics and has a strong sense of goals and values. The Greek community at Nebraska is one of the strongest in the country with 24 Interfraternity Council Fraternities (19 are residential) and 15 Panehllenic Council Sororities (13 are residential).
The Greek Community at UNL prides itself on the selfless service it provides to the community. Each chapter on campus has a special fundraiser or event they host every year. The Greek Community at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is known for developing leaders. You will find Greek Members as student government leaders, student organization members, and NU athletes. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a large campus with a diverse student body. The Greek Community at UNL helps its members to become comfortable living on a large campus and to become an important part of campus life. Chapter: Sigma Chapter was one of the first houses established at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, therefore naming it a national landmark. The house holds space for 65 women to live in, either three or two-person bedrooms. While the house provides a place to live, it means so much more to its members. Sigma has 136 active members.
Every woman in Sigma offers something special and unique to our house, making it stand apart from other sororities and organizations at UNL. The women in Kappa are very involved in a variety of activities both on campus and in the community. By participating in student government, professional groups, honoraries, intramurals and clubs we communicate our Kappa pride all over Lincoln. Our two major philanthropies continue to be a success, and we are always looking for ways to improve our chapter by setting annual goals. We have grown as a chapter in the last couple years making it a point to recruit girls that are Kappas at heart and right for our chapter. We take pride in being ourselves at recruitment to ensure the satisfaction of the new members and continue the outstanding reputation Sigma holds on campus and in the community.
This year, Sigma Chapter tried to minimize the membership selection session time by using clickers instead of using paper to vote on the girls going through recruitment. This was very beneficial for the chapter and was very efficient. We continued to use these clickers for voting issues during meetings along with elections. Our only other challenge was switching from Quickbooks to BillHighway. It was a lot of work for our treasurer, Kayla Stauffer, to learn and implement the new system. In doing that, we no longer handle any paper money, checks or cash. This was a great move for us here at Sigma.
Sigma chapter kicked off 2012 eager to be back in the Chapter House for the spring semester. As always, the Kappas were busy taking part in many campus events, as well as their own Kappa happenings. January brought new officers into Chapter Council.
As February rolled around, with a chill in the air, the Kappa girls treated themselves to a much-needed night out dancing. Kappa Krush was held at the Wick Alumni Center on campus for a night of fancy dresses and fun. Later in the month, some Kappas chose to dance the night away at the campus event Dance Marathon. Girls in attendance were delighted to meet the author of the popular book, “Heaven Is For Real,” Todd Burpo.
March was much welcomed as girls looked forward to traveling, and going home for Spring Break! Mid term tests were a bit easier to get through because of the unusually warm weather; wearing shorts in March can make any girl happy! Kappas took advantage of the balmy weather by holding the “Kappa Hunger Games” in the Selleck green space. This variation of the game Dodgeball served as the perfect chapter bonding for the All House Retreat before the week of Spring Break.
The week back from Spring Break was full of Kappa events AND a re-vamped Kappa Kitchen thanks to Kate Kollars and her work with House Board. A new fridge, variety of snacks, and a salad bar cart were included! This sweet surprise had the whole house excited, even Donna and Nicole couldn’t hide their smiles.
Kappa Goes Country, Mom’s Day, Relay for Life, and Celebrate Sigma (formerly Spring Tea) were all packed into the first weekend back from Spring Break! Kappa Goes Country, the spring philanthropy, was co-hosted with Phi Kappa Theta in the KKG parking lot. The event was complete with a mechanical bull, nachos, pulled pork sandwiches, and country music. However, due to a noise complaint from the fall philanthropy, the music was kept fairly quiet and was turned off at 1 a.m. The proceeds of $3,060 were donated to the American Cancer Society.
The following day, the fun continued with Mom’s Day. Wearing their shorts and adorable Mom’s Day shirts, Kappas and their mothers went to Paint Yourself Silly in the Haymarket. Afterwards they treated themselves to supper at Lazlo’s. Some members even invited their mothers to walk alongside them at Relay for Life later that night. All the mothers were also invited to attend Celebrate Sigma the following day. This special event was held at the Wick Center, to honor scholarship winners and wish the senior class well as they shifted into alumni status.
As April came about, campus turned green and spirits rose in the 616. The month was filled with The Big Event, Pen Pals Party, Rookie Recruitment, Senior Week, and Dead Week. As the school year drew to an end, the Kappas left the 616 ready for a break from their studies, but sad to leave their sisters for the summer.
Though summer break was in full swing, some lucky chapter memebers had the opportunity to travel to Jacksonville, Florida for the National Kappa Kappa Gamma Convention. Sidney Peterson, Megan Videtich, Alyssa Fishbaugh, Natalie Pavlish, Kristin Richter, along with Chapter Council Advisor Mary Ford and House Board President Karen Meginnis all made the once in a life time trip.
August brought the Greeks back to campus, with the excitement of Recruitment and catching up with friends. The Kappa house had a definite glow to it, with its fresh coat of paint and new roof that was part of the summer maintenance. The chapter women moved in and geared up for Work Week, and Recruitment Week. As always, this time was emotional and trying for all, but when all was said and done, Kappa bid 36 new members. Bid Day’s theme, “The Best Just Got Better,” was highly appropriate. The new member class was welcomed with an afternoon full of taking pictures, painting coffee mugs, eating at Chipotle, and getting to know their new friends. Two days later, these 36 young women formally pledged to become a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Just as classes started for the fall semester, philanthropy season and football season kicked-off as well. Kappa Kandyland philanthropy was held on Thursday, August 30th in the KKG parking lot. Complete with a cotton candy machine and photo booth, the chapter raised $4,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation. Two days later, Husker Football had their season opening game against Southern Mississippi. This exhilarating day had the Kappa girls sporting their stylish new KKG husker tanks and crop top shirts, along with a great pair of sunglasses.
August was gone in the blink of an eye, and September brought an exciting, new Kappa event: the Parent’s Banquet. Alongside the Parent’s Club, Natalie Marcuzzo the event chair planned this elegant dinner to honor and recognize the beloved family members of chapter members. The event was held at the Holiday Inn downtown, and raised money with a silent auction. Members and their family dressed up in their best for this special night, cherishing their time in the company of loved ones.
September also meant Kappa’s National Anti-Hazing Week would take place. The 3rd annual weeklong campaign to recognize chapters for promoting anti-hazing on their campus was again embraced by Sigma Chapter. The chapter women took to social media to show their anti-hazing spirit. Particularly memorable were the hilarious anti-hazing captions and slogans created for pictures of movie scenes. Despite the attempts to win the Anti-Hazing Week competition for the 3rd year in a row, the countless “retweets” and Facebook tags to Headquarters were not enough to lock in the title.
October is always a busy month to be a Kappa. Between Founder’s Day, Boo & Boo, Big/Little Reveal, Key Reveal, and Initiation Week, things can get pretty hectic! Founder’s Day was held at the City Campus Union on October 7th. Education Chairman, Sydney McCoun and her committee planned and hosted the lovely occasion. Chapter members and alumni whom attended were treated to a tasty scoop-able cheesecake bar catered by High Society Cheesecakes. The tables were decorated with burlap runners and daisies in Mason jars. Registrar Samantha Samuelson also created a memorable display of archives for the occasion.
Initiation Week packed Big/Little Reveal, Key Reveal, Boo & Boo, and Initiation all into 7 days! The chapter was also fortunate to have a Leadership Consultant, Kristi, stay with them for the week. But at the end of this Kappa-filled week, 36 new members were initiated into Sigma Chapter as the Pledge Class of 2012.
With the crazy month of October under their belts, November seemed much calmer. The girls welcomed Thanksgiving Break with open arms as a week to go back home and enjoy time with family before beginning the “grind to Christmas Break.” But more excitement awaited the Kappas as they returned from Thanksgiving Break. Elections of new chapter officers and the highly anticipated Winter Formal took place the last week of November. Allowing for a bit of a distraction from the fast approaching Finals Week.
Dead Week and Finals Week are never too terrible if you are a Kappa. Especially this year, when the chapter women were spoiled with snacks every night from Parent’s Club and House Board. Also the new Christmas decorations hanging around the house kept everyone’s spirits bright. By the Saturday morning after the last final tests, the 616 was quiet and empty. But it wouldn’t be long until the halls of Kappa would again be filled with the joy of friendship and sisterhood once more.
An overall description of Sigma Chapter and UNL campus is "growth." With our school’s first year playing in the Big 10, the college is growing and improving in every aspect. From new dorm halls, to the Memorial Stadium expansion, an addition to the Devany Center, and attempts to increase student enrollment, the physical growth is obvious. However, the college, and entire state of Nebraska, was sad to see one of their biggest proponents for growth leave them at the end of 2012. Dr. Tom Osborne began his retirement from the UNL Athletic Director position, and was honored in a most memorable way at the last home football game on Novemeber 17th against Minnesota.
But “growth” is something that Sigma Chapter is always striving for as well. With any bumps in the road, or everyday challenges that arise, the women of this chapter adapt, learn, and grow with each step. Everyday they are growing in their academics, friendships, and sisterhood. They learn that with every step forward, or backward, their Kappa sisters are there to help them and uplift them. Growing in Kappa is something these women will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Sigma chapter kicked off 2013 eager to move back into the Chapter House for the spring semester. Per usual, the Sigma Kappa’s were very busy taking part in many events around campus, as well as their own Kappa events. January brought a new Chapter Council.
-February also brought a fun weekend at Province for our Chapter Council. The Zeta province meetings were held in Lawrence, Kansas at Kansas University. Sigma Kappa won four awards including, the Advisory Board Award, the Jayme Morris-Hardeman Risk Management Award, Honorable Mention Martha Gallagher Cox Chapter Award, and an Honorable Mention Excellence in Communication Award.
-April brought our every growing spring philanthropy titled Kappa Goes Country. This year it was co-hosted with Kappa Sigma in Sigma’s back parking lot. The UNL Rodeo Team made an appearance and taught girls how to rope a fake calf. There were also two mini ponies that gave people rides around the lot. Arby’s sandwiches, chips, cookies and lemonade was the cuisine on the menu. Sigma raised $3,350 for Touch of Hope Haiti.
-The Sunday after Kappa Goes Country was Celebrate Sigma (formerly Spring Tea). This year it was held at the Champions Club here on campus. Celebrate Sigma is to honor scholarship winners and is the last hoorah for the senior class to be recognized and honored and for them to officially shift into alumni status.
-The summer brought a brand new first floor to Sigma. Much to the girls surprise the first floor was completely redone for recruitment in the fall. The house mom Diane Stark, and Kandy Denker were the woman in charge of design and buying all of the new things. Samantha Samuelson, Kelsey Moreland, and Raylynn Mosel also gave their creative inputs. In the end the walls got a fresh coat of paint, new couches and chairs, new study tables and all new lighting completed the fresh new look to the house.
-August brought the Greeks back to UNL, the Sigmas moved back into the 616 and got ready for Work Week and Recruitment weeks to begin. As always, it was an emotional and exciting week for everyone, but when it came to an end, Kappa bid 45 new members. Bid Day’s theme this year was, “Forget the Good Life, Welcome to the Great Life.” Activities included taking pictures in a photo booth, a DJ and cotton candy at the house and then a dinner at the Single Barrel. Two days later, all 45 members formally pledged to become members of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
-This year the Sigma’s decided to try something different for the fall philanthropy, Kappa Kickball was created. It was a kickball tournament between groups of men from the fraternities on campus. It was a beautiful day for the Sigma’s to coach, referee and cheer on the boys at the Vine Street Fields on campus. Kappa raised $1,400 for the American Cancer Society.
-October brought Sigma Founder’s Day, Boo & Boo and gearing up for Initiation. Founders Day held on October 13th was a fun night at the City Campus Union. There were cupcakes and cake pops for the girls to eat while we celebrated Kappa’s founding.
-November started off to a great start with the first full week being Initiation Week. The Sigma’s packed in Big/Little Reveal, Key Reveal and Initiation all in one week. The chapter was also fortunate to have the Leadership Consultant, Morgan, stay with them for the week. At the end of the week 44 new members were initiated into Sigma Chapter as the New Member Class of 2013.
An overall description of Sigma Chapter and the UNL campus is “growth.” This year brought Sigma the biggest pledge class that it has seen in awhile, with over 1,000 girls going through recruitment this past fall it was bound to happen. UNL has also been building new dorm halls and a new housing building called the 50/50 building. Lincoln has also been growing. Building a new area in the Downtown area of Lincoln, called the Railyard, which is where the new Pinnacle Bank Arena is. The new Arena has brought many concerts and fun events to Lincoln and is also where the UNL men’s basketball team plays their home games. “Growth” is a word that is heard around Kappa all the time. With the bigger and bigger pledge classes every year, growth is a common word. Sigma is always looking towards the future and to how the chapter can improve and become the best that it can be.
The year of 2014 marked yet another successful and busy time for Sigma chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. To kick off the year, 18 new officers were installed at formal meeting and they had the pleasure of attending Leadership Day. Leadership day brought the new and old officers together under the assistance and activities of Sharon Gober, Director of Standards. This paved the way for a smooth transition into the new roles and helped promote support between officers as well as motivation for a great year! Under the leadership of President Hannah Kupka, the chapter took on a great year of events.
2014 brought new chapter goals for the actives to work towards including: to increase involvement outside of Kappa and improve social media image, improve chapter academic excellence, establish awareness of Fraternity/Chapter History, By-Laws/Standing Rules, Chapter Budget, and Ritual, and lastly to strengthen chapter accountability, courtesy, and trustworthiness. To achieve these goals, a monthly focus action plan was implemented. VPO, Lindsey Arneson established a theme each month and programs were put on to that concentrated on this theme. For example, October is Fraternity/Chapter History Month. To put this into practice, in October 2014 we celebrated Founder’s Day, which celebrates the establishment of our national fraternity. Throughout the month, the members were further educated on Sigma history through trivia questions and quizzes during meeting and a newsletter around the house with many fun facts.
For Spring 2014, our All-House GPA was a 3.35. Of this, 43 members received a 3.5 GPA or above and 10 members received a 4.0. We had tremendous support and financial donations from the local Alumnae Associations. We are so fortunate to have such generous alumni. They provided us with many scholarships just for Sigma Chapter amounting to over $25,000. They were presented at our event, Celebrate Sigma, during the Spring of 2014. Challenges include increasing our chapter’s GPA and academic rank on campus. I believe we succeeded in informing our chapter of our academic expectations. We provided exciting incentives for attending class through the “No Skippy Jar” and reward academic successes through the “Owl Jar.” For recruitment, we voted to increase the grade requirement for incoming freshman from a 3.33 to a 3.5 GPA. We are very excited about these changes!
Sigma chapter successfully completed two main philanthropies under guidance of Philanthropy chairman Ally Patterson. In the Spring, our chapter put on Kappa Goes Country in our parking lot with a local fraternity on campus. At Kappa Goes Country, the girls helped facilitate games and line dances, while also passing out Arby’s sandwiches. We also had a live concert from a local artist, Nicky James. We raised a little over 2,000 dollars for the Alzheimer's Association. In the fall, we had our second annual Kappa Kickball. This event is an all day kickball tournament for local fraternities around campus. We had over 22 teams participate and ended up raising 5,500 dollars for Educate Uganda. We also sold spots in our parking lot to raise money for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation for our home football games. Last but not least, we started collecting children's books from alumnae to start up a book drive. Additionally, Kappas took on the unwritten tradition of participating in Dance Marathon to benefit the Children's Miracle network and The Big Event, a volunteer day reaching out to the city of Lincoln. Many Kappas served on the executive board for this event.
Along with all the other events Kappas participated in this calendar year, three different formals took place. Two of which were held at a venue and the girls and their dates dressed up in formal attire. In addition, we had "Kappa Date Night" in the Spring at the house were we enjoyed eating all together and having their dates interact. Last spring we also held dad’s day, the dads and their daughter went on a tour of Memorial Stadium and enjoyed company from each other. The moms and daughters are eager to attend the mom's day which will be in Spring 2015.
This past year the chapter was educated in a number of ways. Last year’s seniors were able to take part in three Senior Programs during the Spring of 2014. These programs were focused on etiquette, relaxation through yoga, and Celebrate Sigma. The seniors this year were also able to participate in three Senior Programs. These were focused on budgeting/finance, building a resume, and once again relaxation through yoga. In Spring 2014, we had a successful Celebrate Sigma, where the seniors were honored and multiple women received awards and scholarships. The week of September 22-26 of 2014 was National Anti-Hazing Prevention Week. Each day of the week there was a different contest/activity, all of which combined to promote anti-hazing with our fraternity and campus. During the fall of 2014, we also took part in Founder’s Day, where we celebrated the 144th year of Kappa! In addition, this past year we also participated in Greek Week and Homecoming. Both events were successful and we had great involvement from everyone in the house. We also held two dinner exchanges during the fall semester with other sororities on campus. In October, we hosted our annual "Boo and Boo" event where we decorated the whole house, provided snacks, organized Halloween themed games, and had trick-or-treating at each of the rooms. There was a great turn out with alumnae, their children, family, and friends.
Another big highlight for Sigma this year were the retreats the ladies of Kappa got to participate in together. Each pledge class had the opportunity of choosing their retreat in Spring 2014. A couple initiation classes decided to go to Husker baseball games together, while others took on self defense classes. In the Fall of 2014, members attended an all house retreat at the recreation center. During this time together we did many team building/trust building activities as well as a couple childhood games such as playing with a parachute and ships and sailors. We had a lot of fun getting to know one another a little bit better through the games we played and trust builders we worked through. Also in the Fall the standards committee held a night for all of the new members to come over to carve/paint pumpkins together and eat caramel apples! Throughout the entire year, the standards committee worked to strengthen the sisterhood of Sigma Chapter and get women more involved in the lives of their sisters.
This past summer eight Chapter Council members and two Chapter Council advisers traveled to Houston, Texas to attend Kappa’s Biennial Convention. It was an honor to represent Sigma and we were awarded the Standards Award among five other honorable mentions. We take pride in our chapter, thanks to our devoted members, influential Chapter Council, inspiring Chapter Adviser Mary Ford, and loyal alumnae. Also in the summer, Sigma had a very successful work week and recruitment week. One day of formal recruitment we focused on our national philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental where the members of the chapter created bookmarks with the women that were coming through. This was a new and exciting experience.
In other news, it was a great year for finance this past year, members were timely about paying their bills every month. Also, this past year, we a live out meal plan for members so that they could eat at the chapter house as often as they wanted. This plan seemed to be effective and because one of our chapter goals was the chapter budget, it was great that our finances went smoothly this calendar year.
Fall was a very exciting time for Sigma because our new members were getting initiated! We initiated 46 New Members on November 8, 2014. We then held ritual review for the new members following Initiation. For the entire chapter, we continued to improve on ritual and held practices for songs and meanings of ritual. We also continued to follow parliamentary procedure as well as continuing to hold Kappa Kappa Gamma values and ritual to a high standard. The new members had the opportunity to grow as a class and in sisterhood at their two new member retreats that fall. They went to the pumpkin patch for one and then passed the key for the other.
Kappas also focused on reaching out to the other Greek organizations on campus this year. Sigma sent out sympathy cards and flowers to actives and other greek organizations who experienced losses, as well as sent out Valentines and holiday cards in the winter to chapters on campus.
In November we hosted a Staff Appreciation Dinner to thank all of the staff at Kappa for what they do for us. To ensure the house was held to standard and to show our support for all the house board does for us, we started to have mandatory live-in meetings every first Thursday of the month as something new to keep everybody in the loop. These were extremely successful and helped remind and encourage the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma to respect the house. Overall, the year 2014 was nothing short of excellent for Sigma Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma and they look forward to an exciting and successful 2015!
The Greek community at Nebraska is a very strong system. Summer of 2014 brought in the most amount of women for formal recruitment our campus has ever seen! It houses 23 Interfraternity Council Fraternities and 15 Panhellenic Council Sororities. The Greek community is very diverse and prides itself community events; each organization hosts at least one philanthropic fundraiser each year. Kappa Kappa Gamma has immense support from the other organizations, which is apparent in the amount of money raised this year. Just like the Greek system in general, Sigma has a diverse population of young women involved in various things on campus, such as University athletics, officers of clubs, members of Honors Societies, a newly accepted treasurer of Panhellenic, and many more. The overall nature is inspiring, uplifting, and motivating.
Sigma chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma holds chapter meetings in a multipurpose room in the lower level of their chapter house. It is a chapter owned facility on the campus of University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Our chapter has their own house that they love and take pride in. Our chapter was one of the first houses established on campus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Due to this, it is now considered a national landmark. The house consists of three levels. We have two person and three person rooms on each level, and the occupancy of the house is 65 sisters. Active members from every pledge class love to come to the house and spend their free time there; it is unique, cozy, and makes our members feel "at home."