Beta Lambda Chapter was founded at University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois on April 28, 1899.
3,336 initiates (as of June 2018)
Katharine Lucinda Sharp, former Grand President, first director of the library school at the University of Illinois, and Frances Simpson, a student at the new school, whished there could be a Kappa chapter at Illinois. They had both been members of Upsilon Chapter at Northwestern University.
Secrecy about plans was maintained until 1899, when six students were approached. A second petition to university officials was heartily approved, covering material was sent to Grand Council, and the waiting period brought the group close in spirit.
In April 1899, the charter was granted, with Installation on the 28th. Carla Fern Sargent (Fisk), Northwestern, Grand Secretary, and Epsilon Chapter officiated. An article in The Key, 1899, gives the full account, commenting on the ‘fine new library building, the most ornamental structure on the campus.” Gifts included a Bible, a guest book, archives chest (from Miss Sharp), pillows, pictures (Knocking and Hope), candy, calendar, crumb tray, teapot, gong, fern dish, vases—and money.
At first, meetings were held in Miss Sharp’s home. The first house, purchased in 1900, was at 903 West California, Urbana. A 1902 move was made to 404 East John Street, Champaign. Meals could be served there, and in 1905, an addition was built to accommodate 18 girls. The next few years saw a series of Kappa houses as the number of actives grew. Records of 1913 show how each girl earned $10 for the newest house by making curtains, canning fruit, ‘hiring out to family,” and “calling on Methodist girls.”
Two other moves were made before the chapter made its home at 1102 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana, February 1928. After remodeling and additions, the house accommodated 63. When parking problems became acute, a drive was cut, and in 1973 bicycle racks were built.
KAPPAS BLOWN OUT OF HOUSE DURING BLIZZARD; Defective gasket on furnace causes explosion … SCARLET FEVER EPIDEMIC BEGINS WITH A KAPPA; Valentine’s Day celebrated in quarantine; all Kappas receive candy … KAPPAS BUY VICTROLA … SCHOLARSHIP JUMPS TO THIRD … CHAPTER HISTORY PLANNED
KAPPA BOILER BURSTS … MOTHERS CLUB FORMED … HOLLY WREATH SALE BUYS LINEN NAPKINS … ALUMNAE GIVE SILVER PITCHER FOR NAMES OF GIRLS WITH MOST IMPROVED SCHOLARSHIP … Margaret Carnahan Maxwell wrote that she had been married in a small London chapel build for Anne Boleyn by Henry VIII (1937) … Lorama Wiese (Boggs) left for Hollywood after a scout had seen her in a University of Illinois production … The chapter library was started with donations, showers, alumna help … Radio tea dances were popular .. The spring dinner dance was BIG.
SON BORN TO LORAMA WIESE BOGGS, Mishawaka, Indiana, … PAINTING BY MIRIAM KNOWLTON CORRIE ACCEPTED FOR ALL ILLINOIS SOCIETY OF FINE ARTS … SADIE HAWKINS DAY BECOMES “ANNUAL TRADITION FOR A TIME” … WARTIME SHORTAGES … BASKETS FILLED FOR NEEDY FAMILIES … RAG DOLLS MADE FOR YWCA DOLL SHOW; Kappas win Doll Show with Mrs. O’Leary, stable boy, and cow just before the Chicago fire … BETTIE TEETOR (Audron) FIRST BETA LAMBDA TO PRESENT THESIS BEFORE ILLINOIS ACADEMY OF SCIENCE … CHAPTER HOUSE SCENE OF WEDDING; Susan Boggs to lt. Robert Miller (1942)
Homecoming, November 1, 1941, featured dedication of new student union (Homecoming activities had origin at the University of Illinois) … Note from frustrated male who couldn’t reach his date by phone: “Please make your conversations shorter (to be read in a meeting)” … Live music a war casualty; radio-victrola used instead … Red Cross and USO popular with volunteers … First aid widely taught and practiced … The chapter newsletter was printed on newsprint due to paper shortage
From the Illio (1945) “Ever since the establishment in 1899, Beta Lambda chapter … has remained active … KKG has retained an outstanding position on the campus for 45 years!” April 1945 saw a story in The Key about Eleanor Taylor Moore, her photography, her poetry, and a children’s book in preparation … Report on scholarship was not encouraging: pledges not enthusiastic about studying … Beta Lambda was placed on social probation; rushing allowed but no male-attended functions … House Board reorganized; became Beta Lambda House and Advisory Board (1946)
Announcements: No dates in house before 4 p.m. … Girls are not to carry on conversations from the upstairs with boys who are downstairs … Quiet hours start when the sandwich man comes … No smoking in either formal or informal chapter meetings … Dress for dinner Wednesdays … JUIN WHIPPLE (Foresman) GIVEN WARNER BROTHERS CONTRACT; She was Miss Ohio State” for the track meet … MANY VETERANS BACK ON CAMPUS (1948) … “BETA LAMBDA’S GOLDEN YEARS”; Fiftieth anniversary marked by two-day reunion … CHAPTER RECEIVES SCHOLARSHIP IMPROVEMENT AWARD AT SUN VALLEY CONVENTION (1948)
SCHOLARSHIP HONORS EARNED: First place over 27 other chapters on campus; 3.916 on a 5. system … DADS CONTRIBUTE TO UNFURNISHED DINING ROOM … MANY OUTSTANDING GIRLS HONORED IN THE 1950s … HIGHEST SCHOLARSHIP; Chapter honored at University of Illinois Panhellenic Council dessert (1958) … ONLY LIVING CHARTER MEMBER, LUCY WILLCOX WALLACE, PRESENTS PLAQUE IN M EMORY OF KATHARINE SHARP (1959); The pledge pin of Maude Straight (Carman), first Beta Lambda pledge, had been designed by Miss Sharp and the design adopted by the Fraternity; plaque to be hung in room furnished by chapter in Miss Sharp’s memory)
BETH DOHME (Wallin) NAMED OUTSTANDING GRADUATE IN HOME ECONOMICS, 1961 (Later she wrote weekly articles, had TV shows, served on Massachusetts State Advisory Board on Home Economics, was instructor at the University of Michigan. She and her husband were among 38 lost in a crash in the Pacific, 1969. Her picture hangs in the chapter house [She had been a pledge adviser]. A Memorial in her name for outstanding pledge was established.) … DIFFICULTIES WITHIN FRATERNITY SYSTEM REFLECT NATIONAL TREND; Many houses decrease in membership … BETA LAMBDA (nearly always) HAS FULL HOUSE … GRADUATE COUNSELOR, MARY DAILEY (Metzger), SYRACUSE, ARRIVES FALL, 1961
Kappas began unique honorary, “The Squatty Bodies”—membership based on peculiarities of bone structure (1962) … Beta Lambda established a new memorial scholarship award—Mary Ann Clark Dazey Award for greatest scholastic improvement in sophomore year … Broad scholarship program at Beta Lambda; top scholarship rewarded by $100 prize.
BETA LAMBDA CHAPTER HOST TO EPSILON PROVINCE CONVENTION (1963) … JUDY SCHLIEPER (Bower) MISS ILLINOIS AT ATLANTIC CITY … LORANA WIESE BOGGS IS HONORED WITH FIRST PLACE EDITORIAL AWARD FOR WEEKLY NEWSPAPER, The Country Cousin
1963 first year of deferred rush … A cultural program (1964) placed emphasis on current events … There were talks on religious beliefs, Fraternity goals, etiquette … Emma Rhoads Nickoley presented rare copper vase to chapter. Initiated in 1899, she had been the only woman on the American University, Beirut, faculty, and general secretary to the Beirut YWCA. (Died 1972) … Kappa and Phi Kappa Psi volunteered at Champaign County Nursing Home; waxed floors, refinished dresser drawers in spring clean-up
TWO FIRE ENGINES RUSH TO KAPPA HOUSE, FIREMEN BREAK DOWN KITCHEN DOOR, OPEN OVEN: “Somebody burned the supper!” (1966) … ADVISOROY BOARD IS AWARDED FOR EXCELLENCE AT CONVENTION (1968) … CRIES OF ANGUISH HEARD FOR MILES: Mix-up in processing affects 280 rushees later notified they had been invited by mistake. (1969)
HOMECOMING NOT QUITE … HOOPLA (1970): “Five months ago the campus was surrounded by the National Guard and state police. Students were marching against the Cambodian involvement, Illiac, Kent State, and the death of Edgar Foults. Many of those same students are now busy constructing house decorations and preparing for the return of alumni … President of KKG sorority, a varsity cheerleader, said, “I think if something is fun it is not always nice to analyze its relevance.” … By 1970 each girl had her own phone number (Champaign-Urbana is one of the four communities in the U.S. having more telephones than people) … By 1972 each girl had her own door key … There is 24-hour university visitation and relaxation of alcohol regulations … Dress for dinner may mean slacks but not blue jeans with holes or patches … No more closet space needed for petticoats and formals and trunks for off-season clothing, but still there are space problems … The dorm remains cold, but there is now a sun deck and TV in the rec room … Men are allowed in the public portions of the house from 11 a.m. to 6 a.m.
BETA LAMBDA KKG CENTENNIAL HELD AT CHAMPAIGN COUNTRY CLUB … KAPPA PICKERS ENTERTAIN AT MANY SPECIAL EVENTS … ANONYMOUS MALE CALLER PHONES WITH BOMB THREAT: Police find nothing (1971) … In the early years, the library science school played a big part. By 1970, there wasn’t one student in the library school … The date of Beta Lambda founding coincides with the date of required physical education for all female students … Women, admitted to Illinois in 1870, were offered calisthenics by 1874, and played basketball nine years before the men did … PLEDGES, ACTIVES, ALUMNAE TAKE PART IN ROSE MCGILL SHARING PROGRAM (1973) … PARTICIPATION BY 1,100 GIRLS IN 1972 RUSH WITH 480 PLEDGING … ILLINOIS HAS ONE OF THE LARGEST AND STRONGEST GREEK SYSTEMS IN THE COUNTRY
There have been Beta Lambdas from many backgrounds. The university is large; traditions begin and die out and are sometimes revived, but precious to every chapter generation are the memories shared. Some voices will echo, some of the same thoughts return, as songs are sung and ritual words spoken. Often events recorded are not events remembered. There is hope for the future, based on the past, and the present can be seen more clearly now for having had to look back.
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.
Bicycles had a place on college campuses from coast to coast, but a place for on-campus bicycles proved to be problematic at the U of I in the 70s when it came to parking them, protecting them, and vacation storage. Sorority house lounges and formerly gracious entrance halls became cycle parking areas. The University offered an indoor tennis court for bike storage with guaranteed protection from theft and damage during the Christmas holidays.
The pledge class of 1976 was made up of 23 girls. One of the girls broke her pledge shortly after bid night. The remaining 22 would go on to participate in four fantastic years as Kappa sisters. Rush was a four round rush at Illinois. One round was a Wizard of Oz theme. Kappa Pickers performed at two of the other rounds.
On bid night the girls met at the house to meet their new sisters, both pledge and active then went off to visit a half dozen fraternities to have them meet the new pledges. During this time the legal drinking age in thirty states including Illinois had been lowered from 21 to 18 allowing the girls to head off to campus bars for further celebration. On a national level it was argued at the time that if young people were required to fight and die in the Vietnam War then they should be allowed the privilege of drinking alcohol. This generation exercised previously unheard of clout and political muscle, and through years of protest and many valid arguments this generation of youth gained back some lost liberty.
The mid-seventies were also the Age of Disco which found its way from the urban environment of Chicago down I-55, the state highway, to the cornfields in the middle of the state. By December, 1977, the film Saturday Night Fever had been released. The film was marketed specifically to broaden disco's popularity beyond its primarily homosexual, black, and Latin audience. It was a huge success and its soundtrack became one of the best-selling albums of all time. Back in Urbana that fever took over Dooley’s - one of the main Greek bars transforming it into a glittery nightclub complete with mirrored glass ball.
Beta Lambda’s house underwent a major decorative refresh in the late seventies. The older pale greens and muted shades of a previous time were replaced by a pretty peach and black Asian inspired design. The family or “gathering” room was comfy couches and shades of Kappa blue. The girls were very excited by the makeover.
Some of the traditions the girls of Beta Lambda passed down, were Inspiration Week, which took place the week before initiation. Pledge moms spent the week bonding with their pledge daughters by doing nice things, continuing traditions and rituals, including candlelight serenades and generally welcoming the new members into the house.
The chapter invited alumnae over during homecoming weekend to improve relationships. Parents were welcomed to the house with special celebrations. Dad’s weekend was held each fall and the girls took great care planning activities for both that weekend and Mom’s weekend in the spring.
The chapter had a number of actives who were selected as fraternity sweethearts. Members of the chapter were part of the cheerleading squad and the Illiniettes dance team. A number of girls were also gymnasts. During football season, the Kappas sat together with a fraternity in the football block and enjoy tailgating parties.
The chapter held an annual square dance at a local barn. An open truck decorated with hay was hired for the evening to transport the Kappas and pick up all the dates for the event. Meals at the house were a major daily event with the girls sitting down to a formal dinner each evening after singing grace. The women and on occasion, their guests, were served by student waiters. The boys who bused the tables and washed the dishes were compensated by receiving free meals. A few love matches developed between these fine waiters and the actives.
During this time there were approximately 80 girls living in the house. As a result, a cold air dorm which slept about 40 girls existed. The girls instituted a system of “wakes” in which one would quietly wake up another sister based on the information she provided about her next day classes. This eliminated the need for 40 alarm clocks ringing in the dorm. Love was always in the air at Beta Lambda and the chapter held special ceremonies when someone received a lavaliere, was pinned, or engaged. This provided the chapter with much excitement. Fraternities serenaded the sororities. It was always a welcomed sight to see a group of handsome young men dressed up singing their hearts out to the women of the chapter. Overall, the Kappas were a strong chapter, not necessarily the beauty queens, jocks or mean girls, but definitely your nice girl next door types.
Scholastic Honoraries: Phi Upsilon Omicron (home economics) 1974; Alpha Lambda Delta (1974 & 76); Phi Kappa Phi (1974, 75 & 76); Mortar Board (1974-1975); Phi Beta Kappa 1976; Sigma Phi Epsilon (speech-communications), Psi Chi (psychology).
1975 Cincinnati Award; Atius (sophomore women’s honorary), Torch (junior women’s honorary), Graduate fellowship; James Scholar; Dean’s List; Rush Committee; Bulletin Boards Chairman; Hinsdale Illinois Award; Mortar Board and Shorter Board (senior women’s honoraries); another was one of 10 finalists for the 1975 College All-Star Queen and served on the Panhellenic Council. The women won a myriad of Academic Awards. In 1975 Nancy Snowden was inducted into the Mortar Board-- a national college honor society for seniors recognizing scholarship, leadership and service. Her excellence inspired 13 women to be recognized for outstanding academic achievement the following year.
Christmas 1975 paired Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity with the Beta Lambdas for a party benefitting underprivileged children in Champaign-Urbana. Highlights included the appearance of Santa Claus and the presentation of the 12 days of Christmas.
Beta Lambda served as hostesses for 55 Kappas at the Epsilon Province meeting held April 11-13, 1975. Highlights included a tour of the Krannett Center for the Performing Arts and the Krannert Art Center. A candlelight banquet honored Mrs. Lester Corrie, a 65-year member of Beta Lambda and honorary chairman for province meeting. The Mabel McCoy Award for close relationship between alumnae and actives was presented to Beta Lambda chapter.
Julie Spitz was a busy Kappa during her undergrad days at Illinois. She was the Illinois Dads’ Association Certificate of Merit winner, served on the Illini Union Student Activity Program Board, was a staff member of the University’s summer advance enrollment program, a student intern at Assembly Hall, on the University Host and Hostess program, selected for the Shorter Board (senior women’s honorary), on the 1973 Homecoming Court, was a junior manager of the Star Course and selected to Atius (sophomore honorary).
The Illini Kappas were a group devoted to improving the community. In 1976 the philanthropy-conscious Kappas held a Christmas Party for underprivileged children in the Champaign-Urbana area. They gave these children a wonderful Christmas that otherwise would have been impossible. In 1977, a variety of awards were received by the chapter including Achievement Awards and Panhellenic Borelli Awards. The following year Susan Snowden was recognized for co-managing the Star Course, a student run concert promoting unity and organization on the Illinois campus. There were also eight women applauded for academic excellence and given the Scholastic Honorary Award. The Kappas were intelligent and talented and an asset to the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity.
This charitable spirit continued through 1979 when the Kappas did an “Egg Begg” to collect food and other donations for needy families in the region. The community was very thankful for their contributions. They also raised $1,600 for the Rose McGill Fund and the Developmental Services Center to combat Muscular Dystrophy. These women also raised and donated $518.34 to a Student Aid Fund. The members were not only a fun group of women, but also a group of women disposed to helping those around them that were in need.
During the late 70’s, the chapter women were very involved in the Greek life on campus. In 1979 the girls teamed with Delta Chi to win the Pajama Race hosted by Kappa Sigma. Their intramural teams were spectacular, winning a myriad of titles. The most successful teams were the volleyball, track and cross country teams, though the girls also participated in football and baseball leagues. Betty Oberle was the top runner on a top state team in cross country and she led the pack of athletic Kappas.
Outside of the Greek arena, the girls were also involved with Illini athletics. Including a number of participants in the Illinites - the Illini competitive dance team. Sarah Shepard and Julie Webster were star competitors on the Illinois gymnastics team that took second place in the Big Ten. The women also won the Best Overall Homecoming trophy in 1979, celebrating their school spirit. Overall the Kappas were an active and fun bunch that enjoyed being involved on campus.
Beta Lambda hostessed the 1985 Epsilon Province Meeting on April 12-14, 1985. The U.S. National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was passed by Congress. This bill required “all States to raise their minimum drinking age to 21 within two years or lose a portion of their Federal-aid highway funds; and encourage States, through incentive grants programs, to pass mandatory sentencing laws to combat drunk driving.” (Thomas Senate Record Vote Analysis) The portion of the Federal-aid highway funds that would be lost if the state didn’t comply amounted to five- percent in the third year and 10-percent in the fourth year.
The summer of 1986 was full of pride for the chapter when Leslie Barnes, chapter President and Liz Warner, First Vice-President attended the Fraternity Convention and received the Scholarship Award on behalf of the chapter. Sherri Fontanta, Marshal and a Beta Lambda Picker, had the privilege to sing with the Convention Choir.
February 7, 1987, the chapter initiated 52 girls. The following weekend the chapter held its Valentine’s formal. A reception was held in the chapter house. The women enjoyed dressing up. In March the initiates held their pledge dance with the theme of Kamp Kappa. The member’s were invited to two additional dances with other sororities: Kite and Key, and Miami Triad. The girls had a wonderful time getting to know the members of the other chapters.
On Mom’s Day the chapter held their first Mom’s Day Auction. The event raised $2,000 that went towards redecorating the house. The chapter also participated in the final competition of the Atius-Saechem Mom’s Day Sing. The event was a variety show held during Mom’s weekend each year. Sororities and fraternities were paired, prepared a short musical, and tried out for the show. The event sponsors were Atius (a sophomore honorary) and Sachem (a junior honorary).
At the Annual Borelli Awards during the Spring of 1987, Leslie Barnes was honored with third place for Outstanding President. The Borelli Awards were sponored by Panhellenic Council and the Borelli Family. The awards are given to chapters in recognition of their accomplishments during the year.
Beta Lambda received three awards at the Epsilon Province Convention: Outstanding Panhellenic Relations Award, Pledge Program Improvement Award and Overall Achievement Award. Due to the achievements and number of awards presented to the chapter, Beta Lambda received the “Essence of Excellence” at the University of Illinois.
On October 14, the chapter welcomed the President of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Marian Klingbeil Williams, Missouri, to join them as they celebrated Founders Day 1987. The evening began with punch and coffee while actives provided musical entertainment including piano music and traditional Beta Lambda songs sung by the Pickers. During dinner, local alums and members of the chapter got acquainted with one another. After dinner, the Friendship Key, an award given to one of the active members of the chapter each semester was awarded to Erin Schlosser. The director of the local alumna group spoke at the banquet and introduced the guest of honor – Marian Williams.
The following day, Marian Williams visited the chapter house to have coffee and casually visit with the girls. Williams shared her ‘Kappa Wisdom’ along with many funny stories. A wonderful morning was had by all.
Some of the girls volunteered their time to be coaches for the area Special Olympics proving to be a very satisfying and rewarding experience for all. The entire chapter participated in the Order of Omega’s campus clean-up.
Through both semesters, many girls were involved in the Student Alumni Association. An active was in charge of the campus Homecoming Week. Several girls participated in the Student Government Association. Two actives were elected officers of the campus Panhellenic Council. Others participated on Panhellenic committees as well as Junior Panhellenic.
Two actives participated on the Varsity Track team, four were cheerleaders (including the captain of the squad), and three were Illiniettes. In intramural football, the Beta Lambda team made it to the playoffs. The entire chapter was very proud of these sisters.
At one time or another, every Kappa has been a sweetheart in her own way. With their smiles and helping hearts, the sweetheart atmosphere has always apparent at Beta Lambda. During the semester that sweetheart feeling was recognized by the men of Sigma Chi, Phi Kappa Psi and Acacia. In February Jacqui Marchese was crowned the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi during their formal held in St. Louis. In March, Phi Kappa Psi named Amy Lieberman their sweetheart during the annual Penthouse Party. In April, Amy Coan was given the title of Acacia Sweetheart during their formal held in Chicago. Many of the women bonded while rooming together in the Kappa annex during their junior and senior years.
The Beta Lambda Chapter was one year away from celebrating its Centennial anniversary. The women were proud to uphold the same traditions and standards instituted by previous sisters nearly 100 years before them.
Renovations were made to the Lincoln Avenue home and the campus of the campus had changed with the years but the character of the women of Beta Lambda had held fast. The chapter remained one of the three largest women’s fraternities on the campus and boasted the addition of an exceptional group of 45 new members in January, 1998. These women added energy and enthusiasm to the chapter bringing with them a pool of talent and motivation to both Kappa and the university community.
Along with maintaining a grade point average both the all-women’s and all-sorority averages (Kappa achieved sixth out of 18 Panhellenic sororities), Beta Lambda members found time to take advantage of opportunities on the Champaign-Urbana campus. At the annual scholarship dinner held on March 9, 1998, women were recognized for their scholastic achievements and a new weekly incentive program was introduced. At each weekly chapter meeting, a clipboard was passed. Kappas earning an “A” on a test or paper were allowed to place her name on the board. At the end of the meeting, a name was drawn and that person was awarded a gift certificate. Highly successful, the program would be continued.
A new member scholarship program had been introduced during the fall semester requiring each member to meet at the library or house for two to three hours a week on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. This gave new members a chance to get to know one another and help each other with their new schedules.
Beta Lambdas reached out to the Panhellenic community during the year. Beginning with the fall of 1998, the chapter was represented on the Panhellenic Judicial Board, Multicultural Committee, and the task force dealing with the new Greek risk management program working in conjunction with the Interfraternity Council and local city government and the Shi-Ai inter-sorority relations organization. Individual members continued to organize both Greek Week and Panhellenic Pride Week.
Philanthropically, the Beta Lambdas participated and supported more than a dozen different endeavors sponsored by a variety of organizations, fraternities and sororities on campus while sponsoring their own Kappatat for Humanity. Kappatat was a men’s volleyball tournament organized and executed by Beta Lambda, with profits benefitting Habitat for Humanity.
The chapter assisted many other causes including Multiple Sclerosis, a campus suicide hotline, Easter Seals, abused children, a rape crisis center and the local Boys and Girls Clubs. The year was a positive one for the chapter. Many of the ideas and work outlined in the 1997-1998 school year paid off in the fall of 1998 when the chapter accommodated the Panhellenic no frills rush policy. The register and budget systems implemented in the new computer program, designed by the Fraternity and the entire chapter, reaped the benefits of the innovative new member program. Working together with local alumnae and Fraternity liaisons, the women worked to make the current chapter exceptional.
The chapter got organized in 1998. Two special visits to the chapter were made by traveling consultants during the year enabling the chapter to facilitate the no frills rush and recruiting a spectacular new member class. Rush work week was held from August 17-21, 1998. Once the university-wide rush began on August 28, the chapter exhibited a fine performance, which was evident by the outstanding new member class. Rounds included Sweet Home Kappa Gamma when the girls decorated the chapter house in a down home country style. Complete with blue and green gingham bows, daises and white picket fences, the success of these parties was recorded as phenomenal as Kappa received 97 percent return rate, one of the highest on the campus. The last round of parties was Kappa Traditions which impressed upon the rushes that they were not joining a four-year sorority, but a near 100 year tradition. For these parties the women brought out the archives for the chapter.
Bid night was held on October 3. A circus theme with hired clowns, jugglers and sword throwers was a great kickoff party for the new members.The Fraternity changed the pledge period for all Kappa chapters. It reduced it to a new six-week new member program before the new members were initiated. The program placed greater emphasis on academic excellence during membership selection, a redefinition of the term pledge to new member, an all-inclusive educational program in which the entire chapter participated to teach the new members and the fall initiation. Perhaps one of the most rewarding weekends of new membership was walkout. This year the walkout was held at a senior’s home in Decatur. Throughout the weekend, new members bonded not only as a class but with graduating seniors who shared many memories of their active days. Initiation week would be another time of excitement for the chapter women of as the entire class of new members was successfully initiated.
On September 25 the Kappas held a Barndance at Farm Lake with the women hosting a hoedown complete with a bonfire, hayrides, a DJ and everyone dressed in overalls. The members participated in a murder mystery exchange with Alpha Epsilon Pi on October 29 held at the mystery theater. The girls held a Second City exchange with Sigma Chi on November 5. November 20 was the night of the semiformal event held at the University Inn.
Each member of the chapter was part of a committee headed by a chapter officer. These committees were vital to the smooth and successful operation of this active group of young women. The Vice President of Organization for the chapter created a master calendar for the 1998-1999 school year listing all activities in which the members participated. These ranged from chapter meetings to inspirational activities to the Spring formal.
An email list was compiled of each active and newly pledged member of the chapter which provided a means of notifying every one of upcoming events in a quick and up-to-the-minute way. A December Leadership Training Workshop was held to provide the next set of chapter officers with the tools they would need to manage the chapter in the coming year. During the day-long retreat, outgoing leaders passed on knowledge and inspiration to the newly elected officers. This retreat took place after the installation of the new officers at the home of a Champaign alumna.
The 1999 calendar year represented one of great growth and change for the women of Beta Lambda. After the induction of the new member class, the girls were prepared to take on previously encountered obstacles, become more involved in the business of the chapter and participate in the campus Panhellenic community.
Academics and campus involvement took the top of the list for the girls ranking Beta Lambda 3rd highest grade point average for all sororities, including many 4.0’s. Members made special efforts to stick together and work through tough classes such as Statistics and Accounting. As proclaimed during Recruitment events Kappa’s are “Women of Diversity.” The girls proved this as they participated in activities throughout campus.
They hosted a Centennial celebration and were excited to interact with many alumnae during dinner, campus and house tours, and flip through old chapter scrapbooks. Along with change came struggles. Beta Lambda received a letter of concern from the Fraternity. A graduate consultant from the Fraternity moved in the following semester to help sort out financial issues and other problems. The girls were eager to pull together and improve. The traveling consultant visited the chapter twice during the school year and offered plenty of suggestions for improvement. Holding lengthy meetings with the officers and chapter, the consultant was able to teach the women the true meaning of rituals and importance of the standing rules. After performing ritual ceremonies and formal chapter time after time, the chapter made strong headway. A new group of officers were elected and the consultant was back for her second visit, working with them at a leadership conference which detailed the positions and the work to be done. Beta Lambda was back stronger than ever.
The chapter philanthropy Kappatat was a huge success for the girls. Hosting the 4- on- 4 volleyball tournament for all of the fraternities on campus. All proceeds went to benefit Habitat for Humanity.
During Recruitment, the girls decorated bookmarks that were then placed in donated books and sent to local schools for underprivileged children. Other Beta Lambda volunteer activities included Volunteer Illinois Projects, Crisis Nursery and Head Start. Sigma Chi held their annual blood drive and many Kappas were on hand to lend assistance to the cause.
The chapter was voted Most Creative for the Atius competition. Candle passing was a long tradition at the house and on a very happy note one of the actives announced her engagement with the ceremony.
At both Initiation brunch and on Mother's Weekend the chapter proudly displayed some of their archives such as the yearly scrapbook and awards earned throughout the years. During this past year there were stand out events that brought the chapter great pride. The Beta Lambda house was listed on the National Historical Landmark. A new house mom was hired and was adored by all. The former chapter President Stephanie Halvorsen won 2nd place as the Greek Woman of the Year. Beta Lambda won 2nd place for Excellence in External Operations. Fall Recruitment was totally revamped from previous years. It went smoothly, and the percentages were superb.
At a huge campus with great diversity, it is sometimes hard to find a niche, but the girls of the chapter have gone above and beyond to be a part of this campus. The girls are involved in a broad range of activities from intramurals, to volunteering and tutoring, to clubs in their majors, to leadership positions. Sports are a huge aspect of this campus, and the girls are in the Orange Crush for basketball and the Illini Pride for football.
Besides being involved in extracurricular, the members were very involved in the chapter. At Illinois, the chapter continues to hold its annual 4-on-4 volleyball tournament, Kappatat, to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. During this year they began building a house with other area sororities and fraternities. To obtain more money for this, many members volunteered at football games and their pay went to help purchase the building supplies. They also participated in a wide variety of philanthropic events held by other sororities and fraternities such as Sigma Chi Derby Days and Alpha Gamma Delta Water Wars. Sisterhood was also very important to the chapter and during the year they organized game night, had a beauty night, and went to an apple orchard.
The challenges were typical of a chapter that was extremely crowded due to a huge new member class. Girls were 3-4 per room, but the atmosphere always remained positive. Problems and issues were kept to a minimum, and the girls handled the situation in a commendable manner. The previous year the chapter experienced problems with attendance at chapter meetings, sisterhoods, and other such events. A new point system was implemented resulting in growing attendance at all events.
During initiation dinner and Mom's Weekend, the chapter continued the tradition of displaying some of its archives. These included the scrapbooks and awards that received through the years. The past year had been an eventful one. Some of their proudest moments included achieving the Epsilon Province’s Outstanding Achievement in Unity, Loyalty, and Gracious Living for 2003-2005; Honorable Mention in Chapter History and Ritual for 2003-2005; Honorable Mention in New Member Programming for 2003-2005. A major renovation to the house patio including changing the ground area from concrete to decorative stone and putting up a new awning. It was a definite improvement.
Recruitment in the fall went very well, and the chapter greatly improved the Initiation rate of new members from the previous year as only one girl dropped out. During the year many of girls made the Dean's List. A senior member received the Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Award.
Chapter members began getting involved in the Big Brother Big Sister program, to which many girls showed great interest. The Beta Lambda intramural soccer team won the final championship game. The Illinois campus at offered a wide range of activities and clubs to get involved in, and the chapter members took full advantage of those opportunities. The women were very active in the diverse areas of interest ranging from academic clubs to intramural sports. A lot of girls made a point to get out and attend basketball and football games to support university’s teams. Many girls also were involved in tutoring and volunteering, as well as clubs in their majors and leadership positions.
The girls of the chapter were always willing to support each other as well as the chapter. The participation at the annual philanthropy Kappatat was very good this year. The girls also had two days of successful fundraising for Habitat for Humanity by hosting a 4-on-4 men's volleyball tournament. The members also participated in other Greek houses philanthropies. There was great involvement in Sigma Chi's Derby Days, and the chapter placed third in their overall competition. The girls participated in Delta Gamma's Anchor Splash, Alpha Omicron Pi's Mud Olympics, and Alpha Gamma Delta's Water Wars. The Beta Lambda sisterhood events went extremely well. Attendance was outstanding at the annual Curtis Apple Orchard Day, and at the chapter Mary Kay Beauty Night.
Chapter housekeeping challenges remained an issue. The house manager implemented a system of assigning four or five women a week to concentrate on taking out the trash and making sure the house stayed presentable. The system began to work, making living in the crowded house less frustrating. Attendance at chapter and sisterhood events proved to be another problem for the chapter, but by using a point system and reminding the girls the importance of attendance, the problem improved.
Beta Lambda - Campus Activities/ Involvement in 2005 included: Student Dietetic Association, Referee for U of I Intramural Soccer, Kappa Intramural soccer team, Illinois Competitive Cheerleading, Big Brother/Big Sisters, Order of Omega, Greek Honorary Society, Panhellenic Recruitment Treasurer, Project Discovery Accounting Society, Vis-à-vis, Women in Aerospace Engineering Council Representative, James Scholar, Head Guard: Campus Recreation, Campus Crusade for Christ, Big Brother Big Sister, Education Fraternity, American Advertising Federation, Phi Eta Sigma, Dean’s List, Greek Intervarsity, Psi Chi, Faith-In-Action, Student Nurses’ Association, Sigma Theta Tau, Illini Dance Team, Illinettes, Illini Varsity Cheerleading, Model United Nations, NSCS, Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award, Tutor, Club Tennis, FHCE, MAMA Program, and Alpha Lambda Delta.
Nineteen members of the chapter earned 4.0 grade point averages during the Spring of 2006. Archives were displayed during Homecoming weekend included the previous semester's scrapbook as well as older scrapbooks and other items, such as old newsletters, from the chapter archives. Also included were awards that the chapter had received throughout the past year. This display was displayed on a large table in the foyer of the chapter house. Homecoming weekend was chosen as the best time to present an archives display so that the many visiting alumnae would be able to view both new and old Kappa memorabilia.
One of the chapter's biggest achievements this past year was in the area of academic excellence. At the end of 2005, the chapter ranked 19th out of 23 chapters in G.P.A., but by the end of 2006 had moved up to 8th out of 23.
The chapter had a very successful Recruitment in 2006, with 58 bids offered to new members and 57 women initiated. The fact that almost all of the new members were initiated was credited to the strength of the chapter’s new member program.
Another area of pride during the year was Philanthropy. Beta Lambda’s annual volleyball philanthropy event for Habitat for Humanity, Kappatat, raised $1,800 and more than 30 different teams participated. The members participated in many other philanthropic events through other chapter houses on campus as well as through the Panhellenic Council. At the 2006 Greek Oscars, Beta Lambda received a second place award for scholarship as well as an award for outstanding fire safety. One of the members was also nominated for Greek Woman of the Year. 2006 also included many fun social events such as Barn Dance, Krush Party, Semi-Formal and Formal, and many exchanges with fraternities on campus. The girls enjoyed many sisterhood events including a movie night during the holiday season, a jewelry party and purse party at the chapter house, and Kappa Kristmas. The Kappa soccer team also won the intramural championship for the second year in a row.
The University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana was home to 30,909 undergraduate students. The campus had the largest Greek system in the nation. There were 63 fraternities and 36 sororities in total. 22% of the student population is involved in a fraternity or sorority. Of the 36 sororities on campus, 23 are members of Panhellenic Council and are composed of more than 2,900 women. The University offered hundreds of clubs and organizations, many in which Kappa women participated.
The chapter had 185 active members; during the fall semester and 57 new members were initiated. The chapter grade point average was 3.38, ranking 8th out of the 23 chapters on campus. Lisa Ellis was the new house director this school year. The spring of 2006 had 52 women living in the house, and during the fall of 2006 there were 59 women living inside the chapter house.
Chapter members were active throughout campus in a wide variety of activities including Illini Cheerleading, LAS Student Senate, peer tutoring, Illini Dance Team and Illinettes Dance Team, several different Christian groups, several different pre-professional organizations and many different honorary and service fraternities. Many members were on the Dean's List, and several participated in the James Scholar Honors Program. Two members of the chapter served on the Panhellenic Council Executive Board.
During the past year, and specifically during the fall 2006 semester, the chapter experienced several challenges involving infractions of both Panhellenic and Fraternity Bylaws. Most of these challenges dealt with risk management issues. In order to overcome the problems of the past semesters, the 2006 and 2007 Chapter Councils created an action plan, to replace its previous focus letter, which outlined intended strategies for improving accountability, standards, risk management, sisterhood, and Panhellenic involvement. The Leadership Consultant was a very helpful resource in creating this action plan. The use of this plan throughout the next year would prove to be a vital tool to overcome challenges in these five areas. The incoming 2007 Chapter Council was fortunate to participate in a "Leadership Day" in December which provided the incoming officers with very helpful information on leadership, communication, teamwork, delegation, and motivation. The skills gained from this workshop helped the house leaders gain the confidence needed to continue to implement the action plan and help the chapter reach its goals. The women were most concerned with accountability. They felt enforcing attendance policies as well as other chapter bylaws and standing rules, would allow them to build a stronger, more cohesive chapter.
Members of the chapter happily gathered with students from Thomas Paine Elementary School to present 250 books in support of Reading is Fundamental.
Nineteen members of the chapter earned 4.0 grade point averages during the fall of 2006. The women displayed Kappa scrapbooks on Mom’s Weekend. The material was presented in the family room showing the most recent scrapbook, award from Province Meeting, archived photos of Kappas and their moms as well as a Kappa History book from the archives. The second display took place during Homecoming weekend allowing visiting alumnae to view the memorabilia. This foyer table display was accompanied with a large poster showcasing photos from the semester that included Recruitment, as well as social, sisterhood and philanthropy events. The Province award and Kappa History book were also placed on display.
During the past calendar year, philanthropy had been a major success for the girls. At Kappatat, the annual 4-on-4 volleyball tournament, the women doubled the total money raised from 2006 for Habitat for Humanity collecting more than $3,000 during this year. This event was changed from a double elimination to a pool play which was more efficient and made 2007 the first year the tournament was held in only one day. The women also donated hundreds of books to local schools for Reading Is Fundamental, had numerous teams in Relay for Life, and placed 3rd in the Sig Ep Presents pageant philanthropy. the chapter was recognized as the Panhellenic chapter with the most service hours in fall of 2007 with 1,239.5 hours.
The chapter had another successful recruitment initiating more than quota. The chapter members kept up their grades and moved to rank 7th out of 23 chapters in grade point average. The chapter balanced studies with many fun social and sisterhood events in 2007 including Barndance, Semi-Formal, Formal, Krush Party, Pledge Dance, and a trip to the Reindeer Ranch corn maze, Curtis Apple Orchard, a movie night, purse party, Kappa Kristmas and many exchanges with fraternities on campus.
The University of Illinois had 30,895 undergraduate students and 42,000 total with graduate students. More than 6,600 undergraduates, or approximately 22% of the student population, were involved in the Greek system. There were 37 sororities and 60 fraternities, making the campus the largest Greek system in the country. The school year brought the addition of a new sorority, Alpha Xi Delta to campus. The campus had more than 1,000 registered student organizations offering a wide range of activities and clubs with which to get involved in and Kappas took advantage of the offerings.
During the fall, 49 new members were initiated making the chapter a total of 180 members. The chapter grade point average equaled 3.3788, ranking 7th out of 23 sororities. Many girls were on the Dean’s List and many were in the James Scholar Honors Program as well as part of honorary fraternities Phi Eta Sigma, Sigma Theta Tau, Alpha Lambda Delta, Psi Chi. One member served on the Panhellenic Council Executive Board as Vice President of Risk Management.
Members were very involved on campus including: Intramural soccer and softball, Club water polo, Club synchronized skating, Club basketball team, Illinois Varsity Cheerleading, Illini Dance Team, Illinettes, Orange Krush, Illini Pride, Greek Intervarsity and other Christian groups, American Advertising Federation, Student Dietetic Association, to name a few. Many members held jobs, were tutors on campus as well as at elementary schools and volunteered for places like Crisis Care and Vis-à-vis.
One of the first challenges the chapter faced during this year was to work together to get off the old Focus Letter and adhere to the new action plan set by Chapter Council to help the chapter improve. Attendance remained a concern, especially for chapter meetings and other required events but the action plan helped solve this problem as well as the constant reminder of the points system. Another problematic issue was keeping the house, especially the bathrooms, clean on the weekends. The girls implemented a housework schedule to help and to solve the dirty dishes in the bathroom problem. The house leadership threatened to keep all food/dishes in the kitchen and not allow anything to be taken upstairs if changes were not made. The biggest challenge the chapter faced last year was getting enough girls to step up and take a leadership position for Chapter Council. It was assumed someone would step up and at first only 5 out of 23 active members ran for positions. The problem was compounded by the requirement that most positions required the leader to live in the house an extra semester and many girls had signed leases for apartments. The older girls who were currently on Chapter Council sat everyone down and gave a very persuasive speech reminding members they were the future of this chapter’s success. Many girls were motivated and gave up their apartments or decided to step up and fill the positions. Three actives studied abroad in Europe.
The chapter’s biggest improvements in 2008 were in the area of academics and Recruitment. The overall house grade point average increased, equaling a 3.3825 with was a high number of members with 4.0’s, and the chapter moved up in Greek grade point average rankings. The chapter achieved 10th ranking out of 25 sororities on campus.
The Recruitment process was extremely successful in 2008 with record high return rates at different invitations producing an initiation class more than quota. The social calendar was packed in 2008 and included events such as Kappa Krush, Semi-Formal, Formal and Pledge Dance. Beta Lambda also had numerous sisterhood events including movie nights and ice skating. Another major improvement during the year took place in philanthropy. On top of a successful 4-on-4 volleyball tournament and a spaghetti dinner to raise money for Habitat for Humanity, the girls extended their Reading is Fundamental Philanthropy Activities. In addition to collecting books for Thomas Paine school, several chapter members volunteered to read with students on a weekly basis.
The University of Illinois had 42,000 students, 30,895 of whom were in the undergraduate program. More than 6,000 undergraduates, or about 22% of the student population, were involved in the Greek system. The campus had the largest Greek system in the country, with 37 sororities, 25 of which are NPC affiliated and 60 fraternities. The campus had more than 1,000 registered student organizations, including various activities and clubs. Students typically come from 50 states and 100 nations.
The chapter initiated 45 members in the fall making Beta Lambda chapter a total of 172. During the spring semester 49 girls lived in the house and 62 lived in during the fall. Chapter members were very involved in a wide variety of campus organizations including intramural and club sports teams, dance troupes, Illinettes, spirit groups including Illini Pride and Orange Krush, Greek Intervarsity, and several religious organizations. On top of these activities, many members made the Dean’s List, participated in the James Scholar Program, and were members of honor fraternities.
Kappas volunteered and worked as tutors and at the local hospital. Chapter challenges included the common problem of all chapter council members being aware of and staying under budget. The Treasurer worked to remedy this by reminding officers of their budgets and cutting back on unnecessary costs. One of the main challenges faced this year by the chapter was continued participation of older members within the chapter. This absence was especially noticeable at chapter meetings. The President reminded junior and senior members that they set an example for new members and the importance of staying involved in the chapter to the end of their college career. Attendance improved but remained a work in progress.
To raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Illinois, the members coached and encouraged fraternity volleyball teams during Kappatat. The chapter had the biggest improvement in Recruitment. Beta Lambda initiated 50 girls in the fall, the largest group of new members since the fall of 2006. This group of girls includes a large number of sophomores as well as three exchange students from London, England.
Repeating past successes, philanthropy proved to be a major achievement for the girls. This was the 3rd year of hosting a Kappasta spaghetti dinner at the house to raise money to donate to the UII campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Kappatat, the annual 4-on-4 beach volleyball tournament was another great success in raising money for Habitat for Humanity. As the girls began in the previous year, several members of the chapter continued volunteering to read to students at the Thomas Paine School as part of the Reading is Fundamental Philanthropy. The social calendar was once again packed with fun events such as a Kappa Karnival themed Pledge Dance, Barn Dance, Formal, Semi-Formal, and Impromptu. Aside from outside events there were many successful sisterhood events such as ice skating and pumpkin carving.
In the fall the chapter raised its grade point average to 3.4041 achieving 9th out of 25 sororities and placing the chapter above the average all-sorority grade point average of 3.3977. This was a major success for the girls. Academically, the chapter has consistently improved. The University of Illinois had approximately 43,000 students, 31,540 were undergraduates. Of the undergraduates 21% of the students were involved in the Greek system on campus. The university continued to have the largest Greek system in the country with 37 sororities and 60 fraternities. There were also a large number of academic related fraternities for both males and females on campus. The campus remained highly diverse with students coming from all 50 states and over 100 countries.
Beta Lambda initiated 50 new members in the fall, providing the chapter with 200 members. Many of the girls continued to be a part of the James Scholar Honors Program, were placed on the Dean's List, and become members of honorary fraternities such as Alpha Kappa Psi, Phi Eta Sigma, and Delta Sigma Pi.
The Kappas were involved in many clubs and activities including the Lacrosse team, Soccer Club, Illini Dance Team, Illinettes, Illini Pride, Business Council, The Society of Women in Business, Identity Irish Dance Troupe, Greek Intervarsity, and many more. The women of the chapter were also dedicated to helping the community; many took part by volunteering as tutors and worked in local hospitals.
The sorority faced many challenges over the year, with financial stability a major concern. It became apparent in past years that the Chapter Council members were not fully aware of their budgets and overspent their budgeted amount. The chapter had a tremendous Treasurer whose primary goal was educating new Chapter Council members of their budget and spending. By limiting the funds given to each Chapter Council member the Treasurer was able to get Beta Lambda financially on track again. Another continuous challenge remained getting junior and senior members to attend and participate in chapter and Kappa events. It was very difficult to get such a large membership to commit to traditional events. The President constantly reminded the girls how important it was for them to attend chapter meetings and chapter events to set an example for the new members. Attendance slowly improved, but not to the level the girls had hoped to achieve. This also created another challenge when it came to Beta Lambda’s participation at other sorority and fraternity philanthropies. The Philanthropy chair reminded everyone how important it was to be involved in the Greek community on campus. She also mentioned the effect this would have on Kappa events and set about campaigning to reverse the trend.
This past year our chapter continued to grow in the area of recruitment. Last year, we initated 50 girls, this year we increased that number and initiated 54. This group of girls consists of a large number of sophomores, and among them one exchange student from London, England. We also had much success with our fall philanthropy. At our fourth annual Kappasta Spaghetti dinner, along with our 4 on 4 volleyball tournament, we managed to donate $5,200 to Habitat for Humanity.
In addition to donating money to the cause, our chapter participated in its first house build with Habitat for Humanity last spring. This was an incredible experience and a lot of fun, and we plan on making the house build an annual event. For the past two years we have several members volunteer to read to the students of Thomas Paine school as part of our Reading is Fundamental philanthropy. Our social calendar was packed this past year with events such as "Kappa Keys Overseas" themed pledge dance, Barn Dance, Semi-Formal, and Impromptu. Aside from social events we also coordinate many successful sisterhood events within the chapter. These include visiting the apple orchard, making cranes for a sister's hospitalized father, and going ice skating.
Campus: The University of Illinois has about 43,000 students, 31,540 are undergraduates. -Of the undergraduates, about 21% of the males and females are involved in the greek system. -We have the largest greek system in the country with 36 sororities and 60 fraternities. We also have a large number of academic related fraternities for both male and females. -We have a very diverse campus with students coming from all 50 states and over 100 countries. -There are over 1,000 registered student organizations on campus, including various clubs and activities. Kappas are always very involved in what our great campus has to offer.
Chapter: -We initiated new members in the fall, which makes the Beta Lambda Chapter a total of 181 active members. -Many of our members are part of the James Scholar Program, on the Dean's List, and members of honorary fraternities such as Alpha Kappa Psi, Phi Eta Sigma, and Delta Sigma Pi. -The Beta Lambda Kappas are also involved in a wide variety of student organizations such as club soccer, ROTC, Illini Cheerleading, the Illini Dance Team, Illinettes, Illini Pride, Business Council, Identity Irish Dance Troupe, Greek Intervarsity, and many more. -Many of our members are also involved in service and volunteer work such as tutoring, and being involved with special needs children and adults in the neighborhood.
We have faced two major challenges the past year. First, we have had trouble making sure we were financially stable. Coming into the year, Beta Lambda faced a financial debt that we struggled to climb out. Many officers were unaware of limits to their budgets. We have fixed this problem by learning to effectively budget and save our money. Also, we faced another challenge in the area of academics. Last year, Kappa was ranked 9th out of 25 sororities and we were above the average GPA of sororities. However, after last fall we have dropped to 13th. This upcoming semester we plan to increase our focus on academic work and, thus, strengthen our GPA.