Gamma Xi Chapter was founded at the University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California on May 8, 1925.
3,006 initiates as of (June 2018)
Webster would have us believe that a sorority is, "A club of girls or women, as in a college." To the Gamma Xi Kappas at the University of California at Los Angeles, this definition lacks much. It tells nothing about the human qualities that had made Kappa so special to so many women.
To the founding sister it was seeing the chapter's beginnings back in 1925. Originally, she had been a member of a local group, Phi Delta Pi, established in 1918, but on February 14, 1925, received the news that Kappa Kappa Gamma had accepted the petition of the local group. Phi Delta Pi had just concluded a most successful rushing season, and was entertaining the prospective pledges with a formal dinner at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The president, Betty Park (Drake) announced, after all the toasts were over, that she had been given a wonderful valentine that afternoon from Kappa. Gamma Xi was installed as Kappa's newest chapter on May 8 by Georgia Hayden Lloyd Jones, Eta-Wisconsin, then Fraternity director of provinces, and Pi Chapter, assisted by Beta Eta.
Gamma Xi became the first chapter in the history of the Fraternity to attend as hostess chapter its initial convention at Mills College in Oakland the summer of 1926.
The chapter's first major problem was finding adequate housing. In 1929, when UCLA moved to its present site, the fledgling sisters left the rented house on the original downtown campus. With the permanent location established for the university, the Kappas entered into a round of fund-raising projects, enlisted help from alumnae, and the Mothers Club to garner the necessary funds for a chapter house. With a loan from the Endowment Fund to supplement the money already raised, ground was broken in June of that year.
A Kappa alumna from those days remembers, "We were so fortunate to purchase perhaps the most ideal corner site on Sorority Row. It was decided that our beautiful new home would be Mediterranean in style to blend with the new UCLA buildings. What fun we had establishing and developing new traditions. Among the most enduring have been pledge presents, Dad's Dinner, and a breakfast to honor graduating sisters. We established a fine tradition of academic excellence. First on the Row."
"The mood of Gamma Xi changed as our men left for Europe and Asia in the 1940s," reflects another sister. "Our activities focused on the war effort. Along with the university, we revamped and accelerated our goals to adapt to war time conditions. Now, we emphasized our philanthropic aims. I remember that each member contributed in her own way- whether it was as chairman of a paper drive, or knitting, or packing Red Cross boxes. We blackened our windows, wrote 'V' letters and waited for the postman to bring us news of our men. The war seemed to foster even closer bonds of sisterhood."
The Key, February, 1942, stated that Roxanna Jackson, Delta Zeta- Colorado College, United Services Organization director at Long Beach, had sent word that the members of Gamma Xi had been "very generous and cooperative with the USO of Los Angeles and nearby military posts...Reports regarding the Sunday afternoon activities which have come back to me from individuals who have attended these parties have been very glowing..."
Gamma Xi's Jean Bartel (Hogue) became "Miss America, 1943." The Key recorded: "The 1943 winner had to be the kind of girl the American servicemen think of as the ideal young woman, with talent, intelligence, poise, personality, as well as beauty." PM magazine reported that: "...she really does look like the average American mother's idea of a perfect daughter. She doesn't smoke or drink, of course...during her first year at UCLA she joined Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and is very proud of golden key, fleur-de-lis, etc. In fact she is particularly eager not to do or say anything in her new role that would embarrass KKG." Miss Bartel sold two and one-half million dollars worth of war bonds on a tour of 33 key cities for the Third War Loan Drive that fall.
During what the historians called "the silent '50s," Gamma Xi was anything but quiet. A sister from those days ponders on their activities: "Our chapter was the most active ever/while I was at UCLA. We had good times! There was the annual Kappa-Fiji Formal, Kappa-Beta Formal, and each year we had two formal initiation dances. We continued a recent tradition of a University of Southern California and University of California at Los Angeles Kappa breakfast following the cross-town football game. We had fun helping our USC Kappa sisters with their newly founded chapter, Delta Theta. We were the busiest house on the Row. We were a house of boomers! Every school organization had at least one sister on its roster. We had the president of Red Cross Productions, editor or our school year book, Rally Committee chairman and so many more. We had the Homecoming Queen three years in a row, and we won first place in the Panhellenic Parade, staged before the USC-UCLA football game. Those years reflected the Greek supremacy on campus."
An excerpt from The Key, October, 1953, states: "Highlighting the year are the bi-annual scholarship banquets. A diamond Key rewards the highest average; a silver ashtray, the greatest improvement; and silver spoons are presented to all those making a minimum C+ average and improving averages of a .3 grade raise."
A Kappa sister of the 1960s has a far different view of what Gamma Xi means. "I remember my four years at UCLA as ones of retrenchment and revaluation of traditional values." The house reflected the world in miniature. Generally, there was little interest in the Greek on campus. "We never wore our keys to class. The Greek news section in the Daily Bruin withered and vanished."
Among the Kappas themselves, there was dissension. Rush meetings became mandatory. Those not attending the spring dance were fined five dollars. Dress standards were reviewed and changed, but not until many meetings were devoted to discussion.
A "no lock-out policy" was refused by the Mothers Club. Gradually, as the number of actives dwindled it became clear that the Gamma Xi's must insist that all members live in. The Greeks were losing out to UCLA's new coed dorms and apartment living. Many Kappa sisters were distressed to see other sororities close their doors. One charter after another was revoked.
UCLA was pared some of the more violent forms of anti-Establishment activities. A more recent alumna reflects, "Kappa has always shown an interest and concern for the welfare of others. It was through Kappa and Gamma Xi that I truly found a mode for service. I shall always be grateful to my Kappa training and proud to associate myself with Gamma Xi."
Fortunately, for this generation of Kappas, Gamma Xi traditions are alive and well. With a renewed interest in sororities, all the houses that weathered the lean years filled their quotas last rush. "We even had to have eight pledges room elsewhere. Unheard of!" the chapter president exclaimed.
The house still has the best location on Sorority Row. There are problems accommodating the members' cars and the beautiful house has been redecorated and modernized many times. In the almost fifty years that Gamma Xi has been at UCLA, the University has grown and prospered from a small enclave in the bean fields of Westwood Hills to a fine university. And with the university, Gamma Xi has prospered and grown, continuing its fine social, educational, and philanthropic traditions.
The 1980s were a time for individual and chapter growth for Gamma Xi. Philanthropy was held closely to the chapters heart over the decade. Their services to their surrounding community included participating in the annual Special Olympics held before UCLA Greek Week, yearly donations to the UCLA’s Child Life Unit and they continued their tradition of sending one child to UNICamp, a week long summer camp for underprivileged and inner city children.
Gamma Xi continued to hold a variety of events such as Senior Bruch, Mom and Dad’s day, and began to hold a house retreat in the San Bernardino mountains for those who lived in.
The scholarly hard work of Gamma Xi did not go unnoticed by UCLA as they were awarded the highest GPA out of the all women’s average at UCLA.
All the hard work put in by the women of the chapter over the 80s paid off when Gamma Xi was awarded Best Chapter in the Kappa Province by Kappa Kappa Gamma Nationals in 1988.
The ladies of Gamma Xi continued the hard work started in the 1980s and strived to further establish themselves as successful chapter. Kappa Kappa Gamma Nationals took note of this and awarded Gamma Xi with the Most Improved Chapter Award at the 1994 Province Meeting.
Earning good grades and maintaining a high GPA was still a major goal for the chapter. To help motivate members various events were put on by those who held the position of VP of Academic Excellence. The remodeling of the study room in the house gave members a place to spend time with one another as well as an environment for school work. All the study paid off as throughout the 90s Gamma Xi was never below the top 5 in grades for Greek life.
Promoting philanthropy work was a large goal over the 90s for the chapter. Throughout the decade a variety of philanthropy events were attended such as Revlon’s Run-Walk, Heal the Bay, and various food drives. The 90s were known as the “busy” decade by many and this rang very true for the Gamma Xi chapter. With many goals in mind the chapter was always striving to be the very best.
Following the traditions of the sisters before them was a major goal for Gamma Xi during the early 00s. Gamma Xi continued to lead the way for campus involvement with sisters on the Panhellenic Council, The Daily Bruin (UCLA’s school newspaper), UCLA’s Womens Volleyball, and The Student Alumni Association just to name a small few.
A time of change did occur for the women of Gamma Xi when it came to philanthropy events. Over the decade an array of events were tried and tested to discover what event would greatly benefit the UCLA community and the sisters. In 2007, an annual philanthropy event was set and called “A Day In The Life”. This event was directed toward local school children to come to UCLA’s campus where the women of Gamma Xi would show them what it meant to be a Bruin for a day. The event was widely popular and in 2008 won the UCLA Panhellenic Philanthropy Programming Award.
Dedication to maintaining a strong grade point average continued to be a strong moral for Gamma Xi as they raised their average GPA semester after semester. The average Greek student GPA was steadily greater than the average UCLA student. The ladies of Gamma Xi continued to shine as Kappa women on campus and the surrounding community through the years. Old traditions were honored and new paths were discovered which would lead the chapter to a new level of success.
It was another amazing year at the Gamma Xi chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma! With lots of hard work and dedication from our membership chairs as well as the house, we swept the row this fall and have an amazing, full pledge class that add so much to our house. We won the award for best philanthropy of our whole Greek system again, as well as created a new philanthropy called "Krismahanakwanzaka", bringing in hundreds of new toys to donate to the Mattel children's hospital for Christmas. We also hosted an alumni day, combining alumni day at UCLA with a Kappa alumni day and were able to meet many Kappa alums and hear their stories of when they lived in the house. Additionally, we had part of our house redone this summer, leaving us with beautiful blue and blue decorations that is hard to take your eyes off of!
Campus: The only big changes around campus is the tuition spikes at UCLA, and John Wooden passing away last year.
Chapter: I would say the tuition spikes definitely have effected our sorority, as Kappa is very expensive to be involved in as well so with the two combined we are having trouble with people paying their dues on time or even at all. Although this hasn't caused a high drop rate, I can definitely say we will expect to see more people applying for associate and special status in the near future.
The main problems that our chapter has are getting people to pay their dues and getting people to attend meetings or events. Luckily the establishment of Bill Highway has helped immensely in the accuracy of paying dues, however we are still in debt but are working on it extremely hard and will hopefully be able to get back on track in no time. For the attendance issue, Chapter Council talked to nationals and was able to get a program approved where if a member does not attend a certain percentage of mandatory events, we will be able to take away their privileged of attending an event from them. This helps immensely because we have always give empty threats because we never could actually take anything from them, but now we can positively reinforce them to attend mandatory events so they can go to the events they are looking forward to!
This year has been very successful for the Gamma Xi Chapter. For the first time in several years we are no longer in debt. After implementing the BillingHighway system, the number of members that pay their dues has climbed drastically. This has allowed us to partake in many more sisterhood events, such as class retreats and a fancy dinner in Hollywood. At the UCLA Panhellenic Awards night, Kappa Kappa Gamma received more awards than any other chapter, including Best SOE Chapter Management, SOE Panhellenic Chapter Council Enrichment Award, SOE Panhellenic Council Gold Laurel Recognition, SOE Panhellenic Council 4th place, and Best Philanthropy Programming and Single Philanthropy event.
Three new sororities were approved to join the Panhellenic sororities at UCLA. One chapter will be implemented next year and the two other chapters will be implemented within the next few years. The Pauley Pavillion basketball stadium was completed this year. All sororities were required to have a minimum number of members attend the stadium opening.
Our PR Chairman hosted our second annual Alumni Day event. This particular event was very successful in connecting with alumni in the LA county area. This year our chapter established more chapter council positions so that more members can be involved in leadership roles. Some of these positions include Day Heads for rush, a Key Points chairman, and an assistant Treasurer.
It has been a great year for the Gamma Xi Chapter! Our Billhighway system is still very successful in collecting the chapters due. This allowed for new renovations in the house, including tiling in the kitchen and hardwood floors upstairs, making our house is more beautiful than ever! We have participated in many sisterhoods this year, such as biking together in Venice, bringing our chapter even closer. Our philanthropy was very successful, as always, with our Day in the Life. Our chapter also supported a member in house in creating philanthropic run that fought human trafficking. The run actually started and ending at our chapter, and we helped raise $3300 and implanting plans to make this a yearly event with Kappa’s support. We also had a great recruitment this year and are so happy for the new additions in our chapter! Describe the recent changes on your campus and describe the overall nature of your chapter.
A new sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, has joined the row this year. Kappa has been very supportive in helping this girls begin their chapter by attending many of their events and creating welcome baskets for the girls. Kappa continues to support UCLA’s athletic teams with chapter attendance at basketball, football, and other extracurricular events. Kappa has also put more importance on academics this year, asking girls to log the amount of time they spend studying each week. We also implemented a Monday night study time for all girls to come together and help each other with various academic issues. Each week we reward a girl who demonstrated great academic activity or success, in order to show how important school is to our girls. We also received a lot of help from Nationals in the last year, causing our chapter to grow and strengthens in ways we never imagined. We have created much better relationships with our advisers, allowing us put more meaningful time and effort in the keep up of our Chapter.