Delta Zeta Chapter was founded at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado on November 4, 1932.
1,832 initiates (as of June 2018)
For years people said there would be no sororities on the Colorado College campus. When Alice Taylor Bemis donated the money for the women’s dormitory, Bemis Hall, she stipulated “no sorority houses.” In 1932, consultants on the reorganization of the college recommended national sororities, and the faculty unanimously approved, if “there be no change in the dormitory system.” Sororities came on campus, with lodges instead of houses, and all girls live in the dormitories.
“It all started when” the literary societies appeared on this campus. A very special women’s literary group, the third oldest, Hypatia, was organized in 1903. Its activities, character, and offices were in such form in the early 1930s, that an easy transition to national society was permitted.
Lucile Pattison Esmiol, Colorado, living in Colorado Springs, was approached by the college administration. She contacted Clara O. Pierce, Ohio State. Soon Marie Bryden Macnaughtan, Missouri, came to check the situation. Mrs. Esmiol, with a three-weeks-old baby at home, left for the Swampscott Convention to present the petition. On November 4, 1932, installation of Delta Zeta chapter took place in the Broadmoor Art Academy. The next day, there was a pledge service in the Shove Memorial Chapel. Festivities marked the weekend.
Mrs. Esmiol organized plans for an addition to the Hypatia clubhouse. The alumnae association raised money; and, with the help of a spring fashion show, more money was raised for the furniture fund. In September, 1933, open house for rushees took place in the roofless, new lodge. One year after installation, at a dedication ceremony and open house for the completed lodge, it was hailed as one of the most impressive sorority houses in the state. It was designed by C. Truman St. Clair and was described as “picturesque English stucco architecture …along 18th century lines.”
The honors bestowed on Delta Zeta that first year were to set the standard of general excellence which future Kappas would strive to equal or surpass. The chapter accepted a loving cup from Denver’s Panhellenic, an honor to be repeated through the years. In 1935, permanent possession of the cup was won, and the chapter continued to lead the campus in grade point average. Kappas were in Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Lambda Delta, Mortar Board, and won Fulbright Fellowships.
Delta Zetas were honored as queens of homecoming, Miami Triad, and of the Sigma Chi “Watermelon Bust.” Delta Zetas have consistently been recognized as campus leaders with many class commissioners, council members, staff members of Tiger and Catalyst, and president of the student body. Several Kappas were voted “Most Outstanding Senior Woman.”
There have been moments of elation over a surprise win of the annual song fest, and victory celebrations over winning grand prize for a homecoming float. There have been many occasions when the rewards were good times together, strengthened friendships, and loyalties.
The first of many annual baseball games with the Phi Delta Thetas began in 1933. The girls wore overalls and the boys wore dresses; the mayor of Colorado Springs threw out the first ball; 750 fans cheered. The Phi Delta Thetas won 36-33; the loser supplied the food for a picnic the next day.
The fortunes of the Delta Zetas as athletes fluctuated greatly. First place honors in the annual horse show were generally a sure thing in the 1930s. Later there were swimming meets, ice skating, archery, bowling, basketball, volleyball, and baseball. The chapter won some and lost some.
Campus life was never the same after the 1940s and World War II. “Minute Maids” was organized in the fall of 1941 and sorority girls sold war stamps at civic meetings and sporting events. They made war-stamp corsages to display in downtown store windows. Delta Zeltas took first aid courses, knit for the Red Cross, served as nurses’ aides, were USO hostesses, and scheduled regular open house for Navy and Marine trainees.
During the transition time of 1946, the Navy V-12 unit left and veterans began to return. Fraternities were reactivated and social life picked up. Tiger Town, Quonset huts for married students, was built. Freshman “dinkies”, freshman-sophomore fights, and the Kappa-Phi Delt baseball games were resumed. There was much stealing back and forth of the milk can trophy. That year the honor system was tried at the college and has lasted to the present day.
In 1950, the year of the forest fire which started on Cheyenne Mountain and threatened Camp Carson, Kappas joined with the Red Cross and handed out coffee and doughnuts to the fire fighters. Many of the fire fighters were college men.
In 1957, the silver anniversary of Delta Zeta was celebrated. On October 14, 1957, it was announced at a scholarship dinner that the chapter had won the Panhellenic award for highest fraternity scholarship for the eighth straight year. The following evening at a dessert at the lodge, alumnae and charter members recalled the early days of the chapter. February 13 and 14, 1959, was the first Greek weekend on campus. Every waking hour was filled. The unlucky Kappa team came in last in the donkey race.
The system of deferred rush began in 1963. There were no new pledges from the spring of 1962 to January, 1963. This was part of a recognized scholastic program and calendar at Colorado College in order that first semester could be completed before Christmas vacation. Deferred rushing took place between semesters during the long vacation.
Through the next years, although the Greek system was slowly being deemphasized on the campus, Delta Zeta held staunchly to their values and to the importance of Kappa in their lives. It was no easy task to enter the turbulent late 1960s, when revolutionary changes were occurring in campuses all over the country. Traditions were being overthrown and academic programs were made more relevant. Mathias Hall became coeducational.
Along with the overturning of tradition came inevitable attacks on the Greek system. Delta Zeta listened and decided that some attacks were true, but that Kappa ideals would stand the test of time. The girls decided not to throw out Kappa ideals but to give them new focus through individual and collective action.
The new community involvement was evident in 1971 and 1972 when Delta Zetas began to tutor students at the Brockhurst Boys Ranch in Green Mount Falls. The ranch is a home for boys who have been in trouble. There they may receive help in a homelike atmosphere. Fall 1972 marked the beginning of fall rushing for the first time in six years.
The Kappas of the 1970s, taking the best of tradition, and the best of change, are trying to become a more relevant chapter.
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.
Delta Zetas were a diverse group of women who liked to hike, travel, dance, and play musical instruments. Greek life was very active socially and all-campus formals were held at the Broadmoor. Fraternities and sororities regularly volunteered with the Special Olympics. The chapter worked on varying their social programming to address attendance challenges and focused on meeting efficiency.
Study abroad programs gained popularity at Colorado College and many Delta Zeta members participated. The campus administration was not as supportive of Greek life, so the chapter concentrated on developing support of local alumnae and regularly invited other sororities to dinners and philanthropic events to build unity.
The Kappa Kabaret event became a tradition to benefit the American Cancer Society and funds were also raised for “Chins Up,” a local organization that provided temporary housing and counseling for homeless youth. Social traditions included the Kite and Key formal with Kappa Alpha Theta, the Senior Banquet, and Mom/Daughter Week for pledges. Members took a special visit to NORAD in 1987 and continued to focus on academic achievement as individuals and as a chapter.
Delta Zeta members continued to participate in study abroad programs, bringing challenges to maintaining consistent chapter leadership and experience with recruitment, but the chapter maintained their success with academic excellence and received a number of awards from the campus, Order of Omega, and the Fraternity.
The campus Panhellenic hosted Peak Panhellenic for a few years during which members from all three NPC groups hiked the 14,110 foot Pikes Peak to raise awareness for breast cancer. Regular chapter philanthropy events included fundraisers for the March of Dimes; Reading is Fundamental, and the Kappa Foundation.
The chapter began the tradition of weekly house lunches in addition to social events like Halloween Mystery Date Party, Kappa Crush Valentine’s Day Formal, and Greek Weekend. Members were involved in Panhellenic and Order of Omega leadership, the Student Alumni Association, student government, and a number of sports including lacrosse, rugby, and swimming and diving. The Colorado College Master Plan called for moving fraternities and sororities to a central quadrangle and much of the decade included plans for the move and renovation of the house, which would be physically relocated in 1999.
The beginning of the new millennium brought Delta Zeta challenges with declining numbers in recruitment and the continuation of many members leaving for study abroad programs, but the chapter focused on maintaining its scholastic success and built unity with old and new traditions. House lunches continued to be a favorite weekly ritual throughout the decade. The Kappa’s Mr. CC beauty pageant became a popular fundraiser for all of campus and the chapter regularly filled two teams for Relay for Life, becoming the top campus fundraiser in 2007. The fully realized Greek housing project strengthened unity within the fraternity and sorority community and the campus welcomed back two men’s fraternities that had closed in recent years. The House Board redecorated the newly relocated Kappa house on the quad at the end of the decade.
2011 was a great year for the Delta Zeta chapter. Our chapter had the highest GPA of all sororities on campus, again. The chapter had two teams at Relay for Life in the spring, and held the annual fundraiser, Mr. CC, at Shove Chapel (for the first time) and it was a great success. We started a photo wall in the house and even made a scrapbook for the year. During Greek Week, our chapter hosted Zumba night and at the end of the week, two girls won the spirit award and represented the house.
Campus: On July 1, 2011, Jill Tiefenthaler became Colorado College's new president. Also, Sigma Chi and Phi Gamma Delta re-joined CC's Greek community, after working with the school and their nationals to work through some problems.
Chapter: In 2011, our chapter tried a new philanthropy event. During Halloween, we tried a Trick-or-Treat for canned goods which was a great success. Also, our chapter won the Eta Province Award for highest GPA in the province. And we were one of the top three fundraising teams for Relay for Life.
Our chapter had difficulty during recruitment. Formal recruitment in the fall was very weak only a total of three girls were recruited. Our house was the smallest house on campus with a total of 37 girls in the chapter. We plan on addressing this coming year by wearing the letters and keys to promote Kappa every Friday.
This year has been successful for the Delta Zeta chapter. As a chapter we receive honorable mention for Academic Excellence at convention. Furthermore at Province we received honorable mention for recruitment and the award for Excellency in Adviser Board Relations. This year we participated in our yearly philanthropic event called Mr.CC, which is male beauty pageant that is put on in order to raise money.
During the month of December we initiated 16 new members. This past year we increased membership enrollment from the previous term by 383% with a 96% retention rate. Our chapter has been able to tremendously improve our relationship with our advisers as well as other fraternities on campus and the surrounding community.
Many of the girls in the Delta Zeta chapter have been not only deeply involved in the chapter but also involved with the Colorado College community. As a Chapter we have been able to form strong bonds with each other due to the small size of our sorority. It makes for a very intimate environment. Recent changes on the Colorado College campus have included a more diverse freshmen class.
During the Spring semester of 2013 the Delta Zeta chapter brought back informal Friday lunches at Benji’s, one of the on-campus restaurants. During the spring semester the Education Chairman taught the chapter how to prepare for formal events that could occur during one’s college career, or in a business setting. The Education Chairman presented on attire and behavior appropriate for black tie, cocktail, and business casual occasions. The chapter also had a healthcare tutorial, which also incorporated natural facial and body scrubs, during an education night. The Delta Zeta Chapter also received the Scholarship Award, an all-Greek honor for the Greek house with the highest grade point average on campus. In terms of philanthropy, the spring semester involved the Delta Zeta chapter volunteered at the Colorado College Children’s Center and Colorado College Soup Kitchen.
The 2013 fall semester started with a sisterhood event that was held at the Colorado College Cabin, where the chapter partook in leadership and corporation tasks on the Cabin’s ropes course. Other sisterhood events included a Mary Kay spa night, chapter skate at a downtown Colorado Springs ice rink, and a Halloween movie night where the chapter watched Hocus Pocus. For Founder’s day the chapter had brunch with local Alumnae Association. The Delta Zeta chapter was also ranked second for highest GPA of Kappa Chapters. During the fall semester the chapter started volunteering at Pikes Peak Prep three days a week as tutors. The Delta Zeta also held the annual philanthropy event, Mr. CC, an all-male beauty pageant.
In the last year Colorado College renovated the campus gym, El Pomar, making the gym 50 percent bigger and significantly more energy efficient. The college also renovated one of the main resident halls on campus, Slocum Hall.
The Delta Zeta chapter is a close group of girls who are working hard to improve in all areas of work and to be as efficient as possible. The chapter is growing and becoming a well-known name on campus through our philanthropy and academic excellence.
2014 was a successful year for Delta Zeta in all fronts.
Academically, the women of Delta Zeta have excelled once more. At Convention over the summer, Delta Zeta took home the Academic Excellence Award, as well as honorable mention in the Finance, Recruitment, and Ritual categories. On campus, the chapter achieved the highest GPA of the three sororities at Colorado College.
Around campus and around Colorado Springs, the women of Delta Zeta have made an impact through active participation and leadership throughout the surrounding communities. Sisters have taken on roles as leaders in the Colorado College community through their extracurricular activities, their jobs, and as mentors and tutors for their peers and for the children of the Colorado Springs community. Some activities include: canvassing for candidates for the 2014 midterm elections, certification to instruct for the R.A.D Self Defense course, and all types of internships from hospitals around the country to the catwalks of Denver.
In the fall of 2014, the Delta Zeta chapter held a new philanthropy event: The Hungry, Hungry Kappapillar. This new event was a pie eating contest outside of the college’s campus center, accompanied by a $1 book sale and a bake sale with goods made by members. Contestants from all walks of CC life, from athletes to Campus Safety officers participated to raise money for Reading is Fundamental.
The chapter has been working towards forming stronger bonds with the Colorado Springs Alumnae Association, as well as with the chapter advisers. Additionally, Delta Zeta and the Greek community at Colorado College have been working at promoting a stronger Panhellenic community and presence between the three sororities and the greater community on campus.
Overall, both the individuals of Delta Zeta and the chapter at large have maintained an ever-growing and positive presence on the Colorado College campus and in the Colorado Springs community in 2014.
During the fall of 2014, Colorado College made a controversial move to close down the weekly on-campus community kitchen for a variety of reasons. Otherwise, the Colorado College campus did not see much major change in 2014.
Throughout 2014, the women of Delta Zeta are fortunate to have had a wealth of opportunities to grow closer both within and without the chapter lodge. Monthly sisterhood events, “study parties,” and Monday meetings have all allowed members to form connections in the house; meanwhile, shared classes, extra-curriculars, and much more have strengthened those initial connections and promoted stronger bonds between the chapter as a whole. Monthly education nights have allowed the members of our chapter to grow individually and as a group, with events such as an etiquette dinner, a talk on staying healthy in the sick season, a talk on financial planning, and a presentation from Campus Safety on self-defense and assault prevention.
In 2014, the women of Delta have been characterized by strong scholarship, strong leadership from both Chapter Council and members, and an ever-growing sisterhood and network of support throughout the chapter.
We hold meetings in our on-campus lodge, which is on land owned by the school. However, as part of the dues each active pays, each active member since the 1970s holds a share of the house.
Our chapter's lodge is not residential and, aside from visiting Kappas, does not house anybody. However, many sisters throughout the years have lived together in both on-campus and off-campus housing. Additionally, many sisters have lived or currently live in the same buildings as other sisters, thus fostering a strong bond between members despite not living together.
Our lodge is chapter owned, on university owned land. The lodge was built in 1932, initially located on the west side of the Colorado Campus, and underwent major renovations in 1934. In 1996, under the first female college president, the house was moved to east campus along with the rest of the Greek housing, where it stands today. The lodge itself is the same, though it has undergone renovations, remodeling, and relocation throughout its years as a place for the women of Delta Zeta to convene.
In 2015, the members of the Delta Zeta chapter have remained highly involved in the Colorado College community and have worked towards establishing a stronger presence on campus as a chapter. The Delta Zeta chapter has maintained its strong academic performance and had a successful fall Recruitment, culminating in 11 new initiates to the chapter in November. The women of Delta Zeta have continued to serve as active leaders and participants in the Colorado College and Colorado Springs community throughout the past year. Our sisters lead in all facets of campus life, from before new students arrive on campus until after the residences close. Several of our actives work as Resident Advisors in the residence halls. Many sisters have also served as New Student Orientation leaders, who co-lead a small group of incoming students on a student led trip. Several of our sisters are involved in Dance Workshop, which showcases a variety of dance pieces each semester with student dancers and choreographers.
This year’s Hungry, Hungry Kappapiller event, as well as the accompanying book drive and bake sale, were well attended and successful, and the Delta Zeta chapter raised $675 for Reading is Fundamental, the Kappa Foundation, and for a local organization, TESSA. The chapter has also begun a relationship with a local elementary school, Alice Bemis Taylor Elementary, where sisters tutor young students in math and reading.
Overall, the Delta Zeta chapter has continued to work towards forming stronger bonds with one another, with our community, and with the other Greek organizations on campus. Describe the recent changes on your campus and describe the overall nature of your chapter. In 2015, Colorado College has made great progress on the upcoming renovation of the Tutt Library. The college has also launched programs to encourage dialogue between students and faculty alike on difficult topics such as race, the hook-up culture, and diversity at the school. The Delta Zeta chapter has seen much growth throughout recent years. However, the women of Delta Zeta have remained dedicated to strong academic performance. The members of our chapter also have diverse interests. Each woman’s unique talents and extracurricular involvements come together to make the chapter a place for sisters to discover new organizations and interests through a familiar face.
The women of Delta Zeta in 2015 have been characterized by a strong commitment to academics, to leadership in Kappa as well as outside of the chapters, and to strengthening the organization and bonds within the chapter.
Traditionally, the Delta Zeta chapter has supported TESSA, a local organization devoted to providing resources for survivors of domestic violence. We have donated money raised from our philanthropic events to TESSA each year, and collaborated with other Greek organizations at Colorado College to raise money for this organization. The Delta Zeta chapter has also traditionally been involved in tutoring local, elementary aged children in the Colorado Springs community. This fall, we began a partnership with Alice Bemis Taylor Elementary School, where twice a week sisters devote hours to helping young students with their math and reading skills.
We support TESSA because this organization does great work for Colorado Springs by providing excellent aid and educational opportunities. TESSA has a strong and valuable relationship with the Greek organizations on the campus and with the greater Colorado College community.
We have chosen to form a relationships with the Alice Bemis Taylor Elementary School because the faculty and students at the school are enthusiastic about our partnership and share a commitment to providing an enriched and diverse learning experience for their students. Our tutoring program this semester has been very successful, and the chapter hopes to develop a stronger relationship with the school going forward.