147 total initiates (as of January 2020)
Starting a chapter from the ground up isn't always the easiest thing. Here at Illinois State University, that is exactly what we’ve had to do. With the help of our leadership consultants the Theta Beta Chapter has successfully received our charter as of December 1st, 2018. We have 80 initiated members, and they are all strong and amazing women. We have built such a strong sisterhood and I cannot wait to watch it only grow throughout the years.
September and October started us off strong, with our first official bid day celebration. We all had an amazing time getting to know each other over s’mores, at Kamp Kappa. Following that we all celebrated Dad’s Weekend here at ISU, despite the awful weather. Creating that sisterhood bond and involving our fathers in it was such a wonderful experience.
November came around fast and we received our first ever families. Everyone was so excited to be able to share their love for Kappa with a new group of girls. Later that month we had a sisterhood event at the local trampoline park, Altitude. We jumped our little hearts out, along with sharing some pretty sweet tricks and flips. We also made a total of 13 blankets that we then took and donated to a local pediatrics hospital. This hospital gives each child a blanket when they come. It was very heartwarming for our chapter to know we were able to help the children feel more at home when they are having a very difficult time in their life. The month of November was an eye opener for a lot of Kappa women. During our Inspiration Period we shared a lot of things with each other that made us realize we are more alike than we even knew. We were able to bond over our hardest, and best times.
December rolled around and Theta Beta became official. With the help of Kappa alumnae, and the Kappa women of Illinois Wesleyan University, our chapter was initiated and our first ever executive board was installed. What most don’t know is that there is something very special about our executive board. Our president, Katie Lee, is the first ever Kappa to have already been initiated at Illinois Wesleyan. She was a Kappa there before she had transferred to Illinois State University. Katie was able to help initiate our chapter, since she was already initiated herself. We are all so grateful to be able to look up to her.
This first semester was amazing for the women of Theta Beta. We are all looking forward to informal recruitment this spring, and the future of Kappa Kappa Gamma here at Illinois State.
This year, Theta Beta was fortunate enough to receive our chapter housing facility. We are now located on 904 West Hovey Avenue, Normal, Illinois. We are also the first house ran by the Fraternity Housing Corporation. We had our grand opening this fall on October 12th. Gail Owen, Beth Black, and many more headquarters representatives came to give Theta Beta their blessing and welcomed us to the FHC. Our house is full and we feel more than blessed for this opportunity to expand our own chapter as well as expand Kappa nationally.
We kicked off this year with a very successful first primary recruitment. Our VP Membership and her team worked very hard to make sure we recruited the most amazing women to help mold our chapter. We recruited more than 50 new members and celebrated with a Kappa Karnival themed Bid Day. We all rewarded ourselves for our hard work with cotton candy and snow cones.
Our member development department worked hard on promoting knowledge of mental health this semester. We participated in the EME training, Behind Happy Faces. Our chapter benefited greatly from this experience. It allowed us to all relate to each other on a different level. Our New Member Experience Director worked hard with the New Members and taught them about all the pillars in Kappa and prepared them to be initiated.
Initiation came around the corner faster than we expected. With such a large new member class we were worried about space. Our VP Internal worked very relentlessly on making sure everything went perfect. We initiated 49 new members and we are happy to call them our Beta Class.
We had some very exciting events this semester as well. We had our first ever semi-formal and formal. All of our women and their dates were so excited to dance the night away. In the spring we held a Women’s Day Brunch to honor all of the amazing women in our lives and thank them for their support. This fall, we shook things up a little and tailgated with our dudes for Dudes Day. It was so nice to see all of the support from the amazing men and women in our lives.
Throughout the semester there have been many ups and downs. Our sisterhood can fade and morale can go down. In order to boost it back up, we had plenty of sisterhood events. We went to our local Pumpkin Patch, Radar Farms, and took tons of cute pictures and sipped on some warm apple cider while enjoying the beautiful fall weather. We also went to a lake and had a nice little campfire with s’mores, games, and more. Other events we have done this semester are Kappa’s Plant, A White Elephant Gift Exchange, a movie night with Sigma Sigma Sigma, bowling with Delta Zeta, and paintballing with Sigma Pi.
We have also participated in many philanthropy events this semester. Our members supported other chapters on campus by participating in Bags for Mag and A Bootcamp for Alpha Omicron Pi, The Diamond Bowl for Alpha Delta Pi, March Madness for Chi Omega, and many more events. This year was the kick off to our annual Kappa Kupcakes event. We had cupcakes and cookies for people to come in and decorate them. It was a fun and social event for people in our community to support RIF and our local Bent Elementary School. We also participated in Walk Out of the Darkness for AFSP. Our Kappa team raised over $4,000 that was donated to AFSP. We felt very proud to be able to support so many amazing causes and help out our own community and Greek Community.
Our chapter is also going to begin to support Project Oz. Project Oz is an organization that is dedicated to helping youth and families. They reunite families, help kids stay in school. They provide counseling, education and career planning. Our chapter is very excited to begin raising funds to support this cause.
Theta Beta was fortunate enough to have the Minnie Stewart Van come and visit our chapter. All of our members were given the opportunity to tour the van and check out the virtual reality walk through of the history of Kappa Kappa Gamma. We were able to reflect on the amazing past that came before Theta Beta.
As our first year of being chartered comes to an end, it is interesting to think of the 150 years that Kappa is now approaching. We hope to celebrate and cherish the history that had made Kappa Kappa Gamma what it is today.
This past term was very exciting. We had a lot of fun and will cherish the events and bonds we have made in our first year. Theta Beta hopes to continue to grow and prosper here at Illinois State University.
This past year Theta Beta chapter, like everyone throughout the world, endured things we never expected. We had to think on the fly and make changes on how we ran chapter operations. We started holding chapter meetings, ritual reviews, initiation, sisterhood events, and more all through zoom. We attended the spring initiation ceremony initiating our four Gamma class members in April. Our panhellenic council then decided to have a virtual primary recruitment. We initiated the twenty – six members from our virtual recruitment on November 7th, 2020. Our goal as a chapter was to have a successful primary recruitment and initiation, and we definitely achieved that goal. Sisterhood is something that Theta Beta continuously tries to improve. Our member engagement director is always trying to think of and ask for ideas of virtual sisterhoods to have. With everything being online now, zoom sisterhoods were the main way of getting sisters together. We have had Kahoot nights, Scattergories nights, and some sisters have done zoom movie nights on their own as well. Before the pandemic, we made Valentine’s day cards for our philanthropy, had a galentines movie night, and a throwback movie day where we watched Hannah Montana. Weekly, we do Kappa Kisses. This is where sisters can shoutout another sister by answering a google form and giving them a Hershey kiss. Our events director had many ideas and fun plans for us. Unfortunately, only one plan became a reality before the pandemic. We were able to have a night at the house with fun backdrops, snacks, and dates for Valentine’s day. A women’s day event, formal, and semi-formal were all in the works until we all went virtual. Our local philanthropy we work with is Project Oz. This is an organization that helps provide the youth with necessities that they need. They also provide various resources for children who need help at home. We have raised money for them through a Kappa Kappaccino fundraiser where we sold coffee and hot chocolate. We also raised money for the boys and girls club with Sigma Lambda Gamma. We were able to donate 100 books and $200 dollars to the boys and girls club. We also partnered up with a boutique called EverRow where they donated 10% of their profits back to us to support Reading is Fundamental. To celebrate Kappa’s 150th anniversary, we learned about different history nuggets about Kappa. We used Kappapedia to teach us what other chapters were also doing. We have had ritual reviews and some of our members were able to attend headquarters’ 150th anniversary celebration. We have now finished elections and elected a sister as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion director. She has many ideas to help educate our chapter and we can’t wait to see all she does for us! This year has been full of ups and downs, but Theta Beta has persevered through it all. We can’t wait to see our new officers lead our chapter and continue to improve Theta Beta!