Gamma Pi Chapter was founded at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on June 2, 1927.
3,669 initiates (as of June 2018)
On June 2, 1927, Gamma Pi chapter was installed at the University of Alabama with a charter membership of 14 and 11 returned alumnae initiated on June 3. Installing officers were Georgia Hayden Lloyd-Jones, Wisconsin, Grand President; Virginia Rodefer Harris, Indiana, Vice President; and Minnie Royce Walker, DePauw, president’s deputy. Beta Omicrons was the installing chapter, and alumnae and actives from other chapters assisted.
A firmly organized local, Pi Alpha had, from its inception in June 1922, the goal of Kappa affiliation. A lone faculty wife, Aline Pelphrey Christian, Oklahoma, was a wise guide. With her help the Pi Alphas gained the interest of other Alabama Kappas. By 1926, this outstanding local, which had held the Panhellenic Scholarship Cap for three years, was allowed to petition formally. Among the first initiates of the chapter were eight members of Phi Beta Kappa, and for 15 uninterrupted years, the Panhellenic Cup was a chapter achievement.
Sponsoring the petition was Esther C. Freeman (Masters), Indiana. Her future mother-in-law, Estella Keith Masters, a law faculty wife, had become an active member of the petitioning group and had interested Esther in Pi Alpha. Estella Masters became a charter member of Gamma Pi, and later served as Finance Adviser and as house building chairman for more than two decades. Other faculty wives gradually arrived on the campus and formed the nucleus of the Advisory Board. Jessie McCulloch Kaufman, Pennsylvania, gave particular interest and inspiration. There were no Kappas among the townspeople at this period.
The capable and helpful Hazel Scott Mauck, Indiana, was the first House Director, in a quaint, temporary rented house on Caplewood Terrace. It had a precipitous stairway and a sloping attic ceiling, which collapsed during the midnight solemnities of one Initiation. Its basement rooms, knows as “The Cavity” were accessible to both animal and human prowlers. These hazards must have influences the visiting young Executive Secretary, Clara O. Pierce, The Ohio State University, who decided that the chapter must have a house of its own. Later she admitted that she had been over-bold to launch a penniless chapter on a staggering building project.
A handsome white Colonial house was built with $18,000 of borrowed money, and was semi-ready for fall of 1929. Some features had been economized on, and the President remarked that the columns needed fattening up on a cream diet.
“Rushees” that fall were entertained in tea rooms, but by Founders Day, a formal dedication and a reception were held, followed by a tea dance during which the new floors were so marred that they required refinishing. At first, 20 members were accommodated; two more rooms were completed in 1937; and a new chapter room installed in 1941. Gamma Pi was first on campus to provide meals for all new members and others unable to live in, and this continuing practice helped build chapter unity.
Mildred Gaston Beale, president of Pi Alpha as a sophomore, was the remarkable first chapter President of Gamma Pi, and continued to hold office for four years, through her graduate year. To her strong leadership, perception and charm, Gamma Pi owes much of its early and continuing strength.
More than 60 members of Phi Beta Kappa and an even larger number of Mortar Board members attest to the chapter’s reputation for leadership and scholarship. During 1933-34, five of nine presidents of campus leadership organizations, and the Honorary Cadet Colonel, were members of Gamma Pi.
Very early, the chapter began to receive recognition at General Conventions: Fraternity Scholarship Award, 1934; first recipient of the Minnie Royce Walker Scholarship Award, 1936 and again in 1944; two-time recipient of the Clara O. Pierce Gracious Living Award; Georgia Hayden Lloyd-Jones Scholarship Improvement Award, 1958; Charlotte Barrell Ware Standards Award, 1968; and the Fraternity Appreciation Award, 1970. In 1937, one of the six newly established undergraduate scholarship came to Phebe Bibb (Thomas), and since then a number of members have held scholarship and fellowship awards.
Gamma Pi was installing chapter for Delta Upsilon, Epsilon Eta and Epsilon Nu. It has assisted at Installation and Recruitment at Delta Rho and Epsilon Zeta. Annie Laurie Ragsdale (Parker) went to Georgia as a Graduate Counselor and helped establish the chapter there, serving as first President. Mary Constance Schmid (Cobb), Graduate Counselor and Field Secretary, established the nucleus for Epsilon Epsilon at Emory, and Angelyn Sanders (Chandler), also a Graduate Counselor and Field Secretary, joined her the following year. Other Gamma Pi Field Secretaries have been Carolyn Carlisle Phelan and Margaret Hays, former chapter President and daughter of a chapter President. (Her two sisters were also Gamma Pis.)
Gamma Pi entertained at the Province Meeting of 1931, 1941, 1945 and 1947 … The House Corporation was set up during a visit from Rheva Ott Shryock, Pennsylvania, Grand President, in 1937. The Tuscaloosa Alumnae Club (now association) was formally chartered during the 1941 Province Meeting. Gamma Pi members have been active officers in alumnae associations from Philadelphia to Dallas and from Pasadena to Miami.
Gamma Pi has maintained a strong Panhellenic spirit, lending its house to other groups for such occasions as installations and recruitment parties. For many years, all campus new members were entertained at an annual Halloween party. Starting in 1929, Christmas parties for underprivileged children were held. Later, patients from a local institution for disabled or troubled youth were entertained in a cooperative fraternity venture.
The Gamma Pi pre-Christmas faculty reception was for many years one of the most heralded social events of the city. In later years, the chapter entertained alumnae and their children at a holiday party. Advisers enjoy many chapter courtesies. This has preserved and developed active-alumna relationships. For many years, parents have come from afar for the famous Parents Weekend, scheduled often to coincide with a special sport event or following Sigma Chi Derby.
World War II Years
During World War II, there was the USO entertaining and the visiting of wounded servicemen—there were nurse’s aide courses, blood drives, and house dances for service personnel enrolled on the campus. In 1945, Gamma Pi won a war bond drive by selling $23,000 of the $60,000 in bonds sold by the entire student body. During this same period, scholarship was above a B average, brining commendation from officials of the university and Fraternity.
As the university expanded and the enrollment of women increased, the houses became inadequate and an impressive building program emerged in the 1950s. After long planning, saving and effort, Gamma Pi moved into a new, red brick Colonial style house during the icy January of 1963. Delays, disappointments and unexpected expenses had tried the wits and patience of the Housing Committee. Only Fraternity encouragement and the visits of the Kappa official architects, Herbert and Frances Sutton Schmitz, Michigan, enabled the local committee to realize its plans. The chapter had moved out of the old house the morning after fall pledging in 1961, and for a year and a half, 20 members occupied a rented university-owned house with inadequate facilities, peeling wallpaper and leaky pipes. The entire chapter trudged a long distance to take meals together under conditions defying all rules for “gracious living.” Meals were served buffet style and trays were carried to empty spots. Recruitment in Alabama’s September heat in the Presbyterian Center next door did not daunt the good spirits or the ingenuity of the chapter, and the Recruitment season was unexpectedly successful—two pledges above the quota because of a Panhellenic computer error.
Never were there such enthusiasm and such cooperation as in the Recruitment of 1962. Hiring a bus to carry the “rushees” was later imitated by other groups. Never were there happier girls than those who returned after Christmas to a beautiful new house—and never was there a wearier Housing Committee.
Formal dedication was October 15, 1963, with Clara O. Pierce, Ohio State, Catherine Kelder Walz, Michigan, and Frances Schmitz, Michigan, present. In the fall of 1973, the last payment was made on the loan, and Gamma Pi burned the mortgage while receiving commendation from university officials for being the first group to remove indebtedness on a new house.
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.
A major event of fall 1973 was the Cancer Run-a-thon with Kappa Alpha Fraternity in competition with Epsilon Eta Kappas and Delta Chi Fraternity at Auburn. Together, the group raised more than $25,000.
Gamma Pi’s Miriam Austin Locke (affectionately known by many as “Doc Locke”) became well known as a Kappa leader and role model. Besides being Mu Province president from 1940-43, she served as National Panhellenic Alternate Delegate, 1947-51; National Panhellenic Delegate, 1951-54; Fraternity Fellowships Chairman, 1954-1985; Loyalty Award recipient, 1974 and in 1965, a faculty reception was given in her honor and a large silver tray was presented to her. It was announced at Convention in 1968 that a $500 graduate fellowship in her name would be given by Gamma Pi members from all over Alabama. Then at the Centennial Founders Day celebration at Gamma Pi, the chapter unveiled a life-size head-and-shoulder portrait of her to hang in the chapter living room. She had been chairman of the building committee for the chapter house that was occupied in 1963. Golden anniversary in 1977 …
The Gamma Pi chapter remained one of the largest on campus. In 1985 the pledging of 47 women brought the chapter total to 142 Gamma Pi members. A huge success was the rising from 15th position scholastically in 1984 to number two in 1985. This resulted in a letter of congratulations from a faculty member which was published in the Crimson White newspaper.
Changes were afoot in concerns for the environment and awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse and underage drinking. This led to challenges for the chapter in adjusting to these concerns. Gamma Pi took pride in leading other Greeks with such changes as the new drinking policies and in looking out for one another. They also set a successful goal of unifying the chapter through fraternity education and Kappa fun facts including extensive reviews of Kappa history. The pledges also participated by having weekly pledge tests.
On campus Kappas were involved in student government organizations, honor societies and various other leadership positions.
Housing: Gamma Pi’s were proud of the changes to their house: lovely new furniture for the den and living room, renovating the basement to make the study atmosphere more pleasant. Thirteen houseboys helped serve at dinner and ate with the members.
Gamma Pi noted an increase in participation in philanthropy projects. A traditional event was the annual Balloon Derby during Homecoming in October. In 1985 $5,000 was raised for the American Cancer Society. However, wildlife concerns were coming to the forefront at this time and the balloons were a problem so Gamma Pi looked for another fund raiser. Other philanthropies included trick-or-treating and bowling with the single-parent underprivileged children of Tuscaloosa, a Christmas party with the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity for underprivileged children, working at the “Hands On” Museum, participating in the campus-wide blood drive and helping with a tennis marathon for Tuscaloosa’s Soup Kitchen. The members were especially proud of the pledges as they helped a needy family at Christmas time by collecting clothes, food and other necessities.
During the nineties, Gamma Pi continued their tradition of outstanding Recruitment by consistently welcoming pledge classes of approximately 40 women. New members came from California, Texas, Virginia and obviously, many from the hometown of Tuscaloosa. In the mid-1990’s, Panhellenic incorporated new Bid Day policies that required the new members to do activities with their chapter until midnight of Bid Day. This turned out to be a wonderful experience for everyone as it allowed the new members to bond with their pledge class and get to know other members of their Gamma Pi chapter.
Gamma Pi members were active on campus and always participated in Homecoming and many other campus activities. In 1996 they took third in the Homecoming house decoration event and a group of actives took second place in the Road and River Race.
Gamma Pi members were strong academically and continually had one of the highest All-Sorority G.P.A. on campus.
A consistent challenge during the 1990’s was participation. This was generally part of the chapter’s goal for the year. The officers came up with creative ideas each year to encourage members to participate and find the perfect balance of social, campus involvement and scholarship.
1996 – Honorable Mention for Gracious Living
In the early 1990’s Gamma Pi created a Kappa Cookbook to sell. Proceeds from the cookbook were donated to the American Cancer Society. Gamma Pi’s also volunteered their time at organizations such as the Soup Bowl and Big Oak Boys and Girls Club. In 1996 they participated in a Walk-a-thon and the proceeds raised supported Child Abuse Prevention Service.
During 2003-2004 the chapter enjoyed participating in sisterhood events as well as activities on campus. Homecoming was a main event on campus and Gamma Pi was proud as a peacock when their chapter president was elected Homecoming Queen. New members were involved with the parade, dance competition, and quad games. The chapter was also involved with Greek Week and the annual Beat Auburn Beat Hunger food drive.
Maintaining high academic achievement became a challenge for Gamma Pi during this decade. Historically, the chapter prided itself on maintaining one of the highest All-Sorority GPAs. In the 2003-2004 school year the new members met the academic challenge, ranking third highest out of fifteen sororities in grades.
Many Gamma Pi members were affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2004 since their homes were in New Orleans, Mobile, and Mississippi. Many members came together with other sororities, fraternities, and the Student Government Association to volunteer their time and supplies to hurricane evacuees located at the University of Alabama Recreation Center.
In 2007 president, Frankie Mohylsky, was voted as the best sorority president.
Gamma Pi celebrated its 80th birthday in February 2008. Active and alumna members enjoyed the festivities. The chapter initiated in memoriam two new members, Virginia and Becca, who were tragically killed in a car accident in the beginning of the 2008 school year. It was an emotionally hard time for the chapter, but by honoring their memories, it helped unify the entire chapter.
Gamma Pi was one of the largest sororities on campus with more than 200 members during this decade.
The chapter won a jean's sale in 2006 and were awarded $500 towards its philanthropy. During parent's weekend in 2007, the chapter held a charity walk/run. "Kappas for a Kure" raised more than $5,000 for cancer and in honor of a Gamma Pi member who passed away from cancer.
In a year of discussion about global warming, blizzards and storms, April of 2011 found a tornado sitting down just five blocks from the Gamma Pi house. Members were shaken by the storm, had no electricity and classes were cancelled. Fortunately none of the members was injured and the house was secure.
With technology changing the world, Gamma Pi decided to change the way it supported Kappa’s national philanthropy, Reading Is Fundamental. In 2011 for the first time they decided to use frendo, the first-ever fee-free donation platform because it is the only online platform for donors, fundraisers and charities that eliminates all fees to charities.
Gamma Pi furthers the ideals of RIF by frequently visiting Mathews Elementary, an elementary school in Tuscaloosa. Gamma Pi Kappas participate in service activities at Matthews through tutoring, live reading, and in an after school mentoring program. They participated in school supplies and book drives for Mathews, and encourage other sororities and fraternities to do the same.
In 2011 Delta Kappa Epsilon and Kappa Kappa Gamma began the first annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Kick off for a Cure. Delta Kappa Epsilon and Kappa Kappa Gamma organize this event to raise money and awareness for JDRF in the Tuscaloosa community.
Kappa for a Kure is an annual fundraiser that raises money for the American Cancer Society. This philanthropy was created in honor of a member, Carleton Parnell. The event is held every spring during parent’s weekend.
Gamma Pi hosts a cookout each fall in honor of two members, Virginia Gray Bailey and Rebecca Bettis. This cookout raises money for a scholarship that goes to a member who exemplifies the outstanding qualities of Virginia Gray and Becca.
Kappa Kappa Gamma Leadership Day- January 2012: Each year the outgoing and incoming Chapter Council Officers and the advisory board host Leadership Day at the Kappa house. This is a whole Saturday dedicated to the betterment of our chapter and development our council members. Leadership exercises, goal setting, recap meetings, are a few of the many important agenda items each year. Each year our chapter invites a guest speaker to lead a discussion on ways to improve our chapter from an external point of view. This program has received recognition from the Fraternity nationally. Because of this events great success, our agenda and materials from our 2012 Leadership Day were sent out to Kappa chapters around the country for them to emulate the structure.
April 2012: Our chapter celebrated the retirement of Gamma Pi alumnae Dr. Kathleen Cramer from the University of Alabama Office of Student Affairs. Dr. Cramer served as president of Gamma Pi as a sophomore and has never ceased to support our chapter in all of its endeavors. The students were always her first priority, especially members of Gamma Pi. It is because of her mentorship and guidance that our chapter is where it is today. She has helped remind our current chapter members of our rich legacy and guided us in a way that will help us continue that legacy. During her time at Alabama, Dr. Cramer served our campus in multiple facets and won countless prestigious awards. Because of her selfless nature, she has made a lasting impact on our chapter that will last for many years to come. We continue to look back at our chapter’s past outstanding achievements as we continue to build our chapter’s legacy on campus.
Nationally, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s philanthropy is Reading Is Fundamental. RIF works to build a literate nation by helping young people discover the joy of reading. Locally, Gamma Pi furthers the ideals of RIF by frequently visiting Mathews Elementary, an elementary school in Tuscaloosa. Gamma Pi Kappas participate in service activities at Matthews through tutoring, live reading, and in an after school-mentoring program. We participate in school supplies and book drives for Mathews, and encourage other sororities and fraternities to do the same. The past year and a half has been an exceptionally exciting one at the Kappa house and it started in the middle of the summer. After the April 27th 2011 tornado, we realized the abundance of helping opportunities at hand.
Since our national philanthropy is Reading Is Fundamental, it seemed only appropriate to look first at the elementary schools in the Tuscaloosa area. One of these schools, Alberta City Elementary, was completely destroyed in the tornado. We felt that this was the perfect place to begin. Alumni helped us coordinate with Jack Summersell, president of Educator’s Resource in Mobile, and so our adventure began. Mr. Summersell helped us to gather and spread the word that we were raising money to help Alberta Elementary. In no time, $4,000 had been donated and we were able to purchase a large amount of school supplies from Educator’s Resource. Some of our other events include our annual cookout in honor of Becca Bettis and Virginia Gray Bailey; during this event money is raised and donated toward a Kappa scholarship fund in honor of the two former members. Kappa for a Kure occurs every year during parents weekend in which money is raised in support of the American Cancer Society, this event is also in memory of a former Kappa, Carlton Parnell.
Other Awards/Achievements: • 2012 Active Hallie Majure Phillips, Order of Omega Most Outstanding Junior • 2012 Active Laura Ying, Vice President of Order of Omega • 2012 Actives Natalie Coleman, Hallie Majure Phillips, Laura Ying, and Kara Galloway, Order of Omega Honor Society • 2012 Active Hallie Majure Phillips, Blue Key Honor Society President • 2012 Actives Hallie Majure Phillips and Ellie Friedman, Mortar Board Society • 2012 Actives Ellie Friedman and Hallie Majure Phillips, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society • 2012 Gamma Pi had 11 members of Homecoming Executive Board and Committees • 2012 Actives Natalie Coleman and Hallie Majure Phillips, recipients of the Miriam Locke Scholarship • 2010- 2012 National Kappa Kappa Gamma Recruitment Award • 2012 Academic Improvement Award for Xi Province from the National Fraternity • 2012 Alumni Support Award for Xi Province from the National Fraternity
We also had members on the Executive Council of Order of Omega and Blue Key Honor Society, as well as members of Mortar Board, the Alabama Panhellenic Association Executive Council, Omicron Delta Kappa, and many more prestigious organizations.
Chapter Goals, Challenges, and how they were overcome:
Our chapter faced some complications accommodating for our largest pledge in history but we were so thrilled to have so many new members who would contribute only the best to Gamma Pi; therefore, the officers on Chapter Council came together to help each other do whatever needed to be done to be sure that the needs of every member in the chapter was accounted for.
Changes on Campus:
Our University and Greek community are expanding greatly and so is our chapter. With strong participation and attendance at chapter meetings and programs, our chapter is in need of more space to accommodate its growing number of women. Ritual and sacred ceremonies that take place in our chapter house are of the upmost importance to us. Keeping the sisterhood of Kappa Kappa Gamma alive through ceremonies that were conducted by our founding sisters 142 years ago is one of the most cherished traditions of our fraternity. New member classes are only going to get larger from here. It is very important that we have enough space to conduct our initiation ceremonies in the future when pledge classes are over one hundred women. We are so appreciative of the overwhelming amount of alumnae support that our chapter receives, especially for events such as recruitment and initiation. In recent years we have actually had to limit the amount of alumnae that can attend because our facility cannot currently hold everyone who would like to be in attendance. We are hoping to have renovation and expand our house by the year of 2014.
Overall Nature of the Gamma Pi Chapter:
“Aspire to be.” That is the motto of Kappa Kappa Gamma. The Gamma Pi Chapter strives more and more every year to give back to our sisters and to our community. We aspire to grow in our friendships and leadership through our chapter programs and sisterhood activities. We aspire to make the community around us a better place through our philanthropic efforts. Below we highlight some of our annual programs and service projects.
The year of 2013 proved to be another successful year for the Gamma Pi chapter. We have several members that hold leadership positions and are in honor societies on campus. Increased involvement of our members on campus is a goal for our future.
In January, we hosted our annual Kappa Kappa Gamma Leadership Day, a day where incoming and outgoing officers and advisers set goals for the new year and sought to make improvements where needed. Our slogan for this year was “Let’s Get R.E.A.L!” Each letter in the word “REAL” stands for something: “R” for recruitment, “E” for effort, “A” for academics, and “L” for leadership. At this meeting we planned to devote the most attention to these four areas for the upcoming year.
In February, we had eleven members of chapter council attend the Xi Province Meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Our members were very excited to have the opportunity to meet other Kappas from around the country. Our chapter won two awards, one for academic improvement and the other for outstanding support from the Tuscaloosa alumni.
In August we worked very hard to pledge our largest pledge class yet with 117 incredible new members! We had the best return rates we have ever had and were very pleased to add such an outstanding pledge class.
Throughout the year, Kappa participated in and held several philanthropy events.
In January we supported the Big Brothers/ Big Sisters organization of West Alabama with their Tuscaloosa Krispy Kreme Challenge. This event consisted of a 2.5-mile race where participants received a dozen donuts halfway through the race. On our leadership day, the CEO of Big Brothers/ Big Sisters West Alabama came to speak us about leadership.
During our annual Parents Weekend in March, we hosted a cookout at the Kappa house with barbecue and a piano band. There was a five-dollar donation given by everyone in attendance. The proceeds went to the Cystic Fibrosis foundation.
In September the Kappas helped with the Thomas Plott Foundation’s annual golf tournament to raise awareness and funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. We focus several of our philanthropy efforts towards cystic fibrosis because one of our current members suffers from it.
In October, we held our first annual Kappa Karnival to serve the underprivileged children of our Tuscaloosa community and to collect books benefitting our national philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental. We first asked other sororities and fraternities to donate books for our cause. We then hosted a carnival for underprivileged children in the Tuscaloosa area. We had a great time with the children and felt good about the impact we had on our local community.
In November we held our annual Virginia Gray Bailey/ Becca Bettis Memorial Scholarship fundraiser in conjunction with Alumni Weekend. Alumni and actives gathered on the Kappa lawn to enjoy live music, eat hamburgers and hotdogs, hear about the plans for the new Kappa house, and support the cause. The scholarship goes to a deserving active of Gamma Pi who exemplifies the ideals of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
There have been several changes on campus this year.
The fall of 2013 proved to be a time of great controversy for the Greek community. National attention was focused on the campus and its lack of diversity within sororities. Panhellenic worked with the administration of the University of Alabama to implement Continuous Open Bidding (COB) whereby all Panhellenic sororities were encouraged to recruit new members throughout the year. Bids were offered, and we were fortunate to pledge several new members at different times during the year.
One of the areas we continue to focus on improving is academics. Every year we strive to increase our sorority’s academic average, and this year we were successful in doing so. We are proud of the improvements that we continue to make, and we hope to continue our efforts to become an even stronger chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
In the past year the Gamma Pi Chapter has achieved many things. Throughout the year, many members of the Gamma Pi chapter have been involved in not only sisterhood events but academic events and achievements as well. Many of the members have help leadership positions and are in honor societies on campus at the University of Alabama. We continue to strive for goals such as increasing involvement on campus, academics, and sisterhood.
In January, we hosted our annual Kappa Kappa Gamma Leadership Day. This day is where incoming and outgoing officers and advisers meet and set goals for the new year and discuss areas which need improvement. The slogan for this year was “ REAL. Bold the A”. Each letter in slogan represented a different word from our previous years’ Leadership Day. The main point was to place emphasis on the “A”, which stood for academics, accountability, and appreciation, all areas our chapter needed improvement on.
In August we had another outstanding rush, with yet another, outstanding large pledge class of 115 incredible new members. Gamma Pi, once again, has the best return rates throughout recruitment. With our increasing numbers, we were pleased to add a unique and outstanding pledge class.
During the year we had had many members attend different conferences and events hosted by Kappa Kappa Gamma. Two of our members attended convention and one member attended leadership academy.
Throughout the year, Gamma Pi help and participated in several philanthropy events around campus.
In January, we were involved in the Tuscaloosa Krispy Kreme Challenge, helping Big Brothers/ Big Sisters organization of West Alabama. This event is a 2.5- mile race where participants run a little over one mile to pick up a dozen donuts, then run back to the start of the race. The catch here is, the participants must eat the entire dozen donuts before returning to start to win the race. Throughout the year, the CEO of Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of West Alabama came to speak to our chapter.
At our annual Parents Weekend in March, we held a cookout at the Kappa House with a barbecue and a band. There was an offer to give a five-dollar donation for everyone in attendance, where the proceeds went to the Cystic Fibrosis foundation.
In March during spring break, a group of Gamma Pi members travelled to Haiti for our first ever Spring Break mission trip to Haiti. Kappa collected over 500 t-shirts to send with the members who went to Haiti for the children. We also collected other supplies and funds that the members needed for the trip and to give to the Sozo Children of Haiti. This is new a tradition that is continuing on for many more Spring Breaks to come.
In October, we held our second annual Kappa Karnival to serve the underprivileged children of our Tuscaloosa community. This events helped us collect books benefiting our national philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental. We asked other sororities and fraternities to donate books for a cause. Afterwards, we hosted the carnival for the children in the Tuscaloosa area. This was Halloween themed since it was around Halloween and in October. The kids had many games and activities to participate in, including a bounce house, pumpkin painting, and different carnival games. We had a wonderful time with the children and felt great about the imp at we had on our local community.
In November, we head our annual Virginia Gray Bailey/ Becca Bettis Memorial Scholarship fundraiser in conjunction with Homecoming and our Alumni Weekend. Alumni and actives gather on the Kappa lawn and driveway to enjoy live music, have a cookout, and head about the plans for our new Kappa house while supporting the cause. A donation of five dollars a person was taken for the Scholarship fund in honor of two of our kappa sisters who died a few years ago. This is not only a great way to support our sisters in need of a scholarship but to show support to our actives who were sisters to and friends of Virginia Gray and Becca. This scholarship goes to a deserving active of Gamma Pi who exemplifies the ideals of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Throughout the year, Gamma Pi members have improved in the area of academics, sisterhood, and involvement around campus and within Kappa. We hosted many events for actives to bond more with their sisters, including Zumba for all grades on Monday nights twice a semester, ice cream get-togethers, movie nights, and pizza parties. We also had bible studies for members who wanted to come together and worship God. Many of our actives are on the Dean’s List, President’s List, and many different academic honor societies. We have many members of Gamma Pi in leadership positions of SGA at the University of Alabama. We are proud of the improvements that we continue to make, and we hope to continue our efforts to become an event stronger chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
The year of 2015 proved to be another successful year for the Gamma Pi chapter at the University of Alabama. We have had several members that have held leadership positions and are in numerous honor societies on campus. We continue to strive for increased involvement of our members on campus now and in the future.
In January, we hosed our annual Kappa Kappa Gamma Leadership Day. This day is where incoming and outgoing officers and advisers come together and set goals for the new year. This is also a time where previous plans are reviewed and areas are looked at for where improvements could be made. We continue to have an action plans of focusing on Recruitment, Effort, Academics, and Leadership.
In February, we had numerous members of chapter council attend Kappa Kappa Gamma Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Our members were very excited to have the opportunity to meet with other Kappas from around the country.
In April, we held a memorial weekend and ground breaking ceremony for our new Kappa house. The event was filled with hundreds of alumni and actives at the Kappa house to walk through the old house and share memories from years of Gamma Pi members. The ceremony also was a ground breaking event for our new house, where we shared plans of the future of Gamma Pi.
In August, our current members worked very hard to pledge our largest pledge to date. The pledge class had 140 incredible new members! We, yet again, had the best return rates we have ever had and were very excited to add such an amazing pledge class.
Throughout the year, Kappa participated in and held several philanthropy events.
In January, we supported Big Brothers/ Big Sisters organization of West Alabama with their annual Krispy Kreme Challenge. This event consisted of a 2.5 mile race where participants received a dozen donuts halfway through the race. In order to win the race, participants must eat all of the donuts before finishing the race. On our leadership day, the CEO of Big Brothers/ Big Sisters West Alabama came to speak to us about leadership.
In April, we held our annual our annual Parents Weekend, we hosted a pancake breakfast at the Kappa House. There was a five-dollar donation given by everyone in attendance. The proceeds went to the Cystic Fibrosis foundation.
In September, the Kappas held a philanthropy dinner for Molly Remmert Rossell. A native of Tuscaloosa who was battling cancer. The event was to raise awareness for cancer and support Molly in her fight.
In October, members helped with the Thomas Plott Foundation’s annual golf tournament to raise awareness and funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. We focus several of our philanthropy efforts towards cystic fibrosis because one of our current members suffers from it. We also held our third annual Kappa Karnival. This is to serve the underprivileged children of our Tuscaloosa community and to collect books benefitting our national philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental. We asked other sororities and fraternities to donate books for our case. We hosted a carnival for the children at our house. Also in October, we held our annual Virginia Gray Bailey/ Becca Bettis Memorial Scholarship fundraiser cookout to remember two members who passed away. Alumni and actives gathered on the Kappa Lawn to enjoy live music, eat hamburgers and bbq, hear more plans for the New Kappa House, and support the case. The scholarship goes to a deserving active of Gamma Pi who exemplifies the ideals of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
In November we held a fundraiser at a local restaurant for “Amazing Grace”. Grace is a young girl from Birmingham, Al who had cancer. The event held was to raise money to donate to the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Al in Grace’s name. We sold cups with “Amazing Grace logo” for 5$ a piece so that anyone who bought the cup could get free sodas, all afternoon at the restaurant. We had an outstanding attendance rate from not only our members of Gamma Pi but also from locals in Tuscaloosa.
One of the areas we continue to focus on is improving academics among all members. Every year we strive to increase our sorority’s academic average, and this year, like previous year, we were successful in doing so. We are proud of the improvements that we continue to make, and we hope to continue our efforts to become an even stronger chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
The overall nature of our chapter is a happy and friendly chapter. We have no had many changes on campus except for our new University of Alabama President being named. This has not changed many things for the Kappas of Alabama. We are one of the most liked sororities on campus with other students and with the University.
What organization(s) has your chapter historically/traditionally raised money for, or donated hours to, in your community?
We participate in many different organizations in our community. The above organizations are what we normally give time and money to within the community.
Why did your chapter choose this organization(s) to support?
We choose to support different organization due our chapter’s voice in what organization we should promote. If a member has a philanthropy we should support, our philanthropy chairman will review the cause and decide if we have time and money to get involved with the given event.
This year, the Gamma Pi chapter focused on increasing our involvement in philanthropic activities and the community while also improving communication within the chapter and chapter council. The Gamma Pi chapter collaborated with Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama for the Krispy Kreme Challenge, and the whole chapter participated in the 5K walk/run in February.
Furthermore, our chapter was honored at the University of Alabama's Greek Excellence Banquet in February for our service and dedication to the campus. In March, we planned and implemented a successful parent's weekend with over 750 attendees (both parents and members). We also held a successful tie dye sisterhood event at the chapter house in March and participated in the university's homecoming week, including a bowling and dodgeball competition.
Our chapter awarded the Miriam Locke scholarship to four of our members in March. These members demonstrated dedication and excellence to both Kappa and academics. We also participated in a Secret Meals For Hungry Children project, an organization dedicated to feeding children who have been identified as going without nutrition over the weekend. Our chapter decorated a backpack for the project, and we were selected as the winners. Other philanthropic involvement included a sisterhood event for Relay for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama banquet, attending the LHON's foundation cookout in honor of a university student, Bright Minds Reading, and the Virginia Gray and Becca cookout our chapter hosts every year. We also completed construction of our new chapter house and opened its doors in August 2016.
The house is home to 60 members and provides a great location for every one to get together. We also hosted an alumni event in September to showcase the new house. Our chapter overcame the challenges of a large chapter size by bettering communication through providing our members with frequent updates and planning numerous sisterhood events, like movie night or cookie decorating at the house, where members could spend time together. In addition, academics is a challenge our chapter has faced, but by holding members more accountable for their GPAs through mandatory study hours and "major heads" we provided our members with the resources necessary to achieve academic success.
Recent changes on our campus include the construction of new sorority houses and renovation of other campus buildings. Increased focus on GPAs and the need for sororities to meet these standards has also increased. The Gamma Pi chapter has 442 active members. With a chapter this large, we are thankful to have a diverse mix of members and strive to create and facilitate a bond between all members. Our chapter encourages our members to pursue leadership roles within the chapter, campus organizations and the community. Our members are involved in numerous organizations in addition to Kappa. We place an emphasis on academics and philanthropic involvement. Our chapter's officers strive to create a welcoming environment in which every member has the necessary tools to achieve success.
The Gamma Pi chapter has supported Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama, Bright Minds reading program through United Way, Reading is Fundamental, and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.
Gamma Pi seeks to better the community and our members by making a difference in the lives of those around us. We partner with Reading is Fundamental due to the organization being Kappa's national philanthropy and also because of our chapter's vision of making a difference in children's lives. We host an annual event called "Kappa Karnival" in October to benefit RIF and Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama, our chapter's local philanthropy. We also encourage our members to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters through participation in their mentor program where each member is matched with a "little brother" or "little sister" (a child from an underprivileged background).
Through Big Brothers Big Sisters, our chapter is able to make an impact on children's lives around us and give back to the community. Big Brothers Big Sisters holds a special place in all of our member's hearts. In addition, our members also participate in Bright Minds reading program through United Way where we send members into local schools to read to elementary children for an hour.
This organization is important to our chapter due to the opportunities to make a difference and experience hands on philanthropy. United Way recognized us in their newsletter for our partnership with the reading program and the dedication our members have shown this past semester.
We also donate to the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation as our chapter wants to give back to the organization that is the reason of our existence. Without Kappa, our members would not have the opportunity to experience the bond and sisterhood we all share. Without the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, our chapter would not exist; for this reason, it is important to give back and recognize our origins.
We hold chapter meetings in our new chapter house on campus. The house opened in August 2016 and has been of great use to our chapter.
We began our year in January with our Kappa Leadership day, where we outlined important dates and set our individual and chapter goals. One of our major goals this year was to implement committees to encourage involvement from all members within Gamma Pi. In review, the committees allowed chapter council officers to accomplish more and allowed each member of Gamma Pi to show her leadership ability and increase her involvement with the chapter. In February, we partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama in their biggest fundraiser, the Krispy Kreme Challenge. The whole chapter was able to participate in the 5k fun run/walk and give back to a philanthropy that is important to our chapter. We also were honored at the Alabama Greek Excellence Award's Banquet for our impact on campus. In March, we hosted our annual Parents' Weekend and receive record-breaking feedback of its success. The event catered to 700+ people (parents and members), and was our time to show our immense gratitude to our parents for the opportunity to be involved with Gamma Pi. In April, we hosted a blood drive on Alabama's campus in partnership with Red Cross; this was the largest blood drive on campus this year. Over the summer months, we worked hard for the upcoming recruitment in August. In August, we had amazing success pledging 145 new members to Gamma Pi. Our Marshal worked hard to organize and emphasized the importance of Kappa's Ritual during special education session which we were then able to share with 143 new members during Initiation in October. Throughout the year, our chapter has strengthened our bond with monthly sisterhood events such as baseball games, educational speakers, and ice skating that gave the members time to spend with each other. With such a large chapter, sisterhood events are imperative and truly strengthen our relationship, in addition to being fun activities. As chapter council, we have worked hard to make Gamma Pi an exemplary Kappa chapter. We have made major changes such as implementing committees, strictly holding members accountable, increasing communication with each other and members, and working to increase our chapter GPA, just to name a few examples. But all of this could not have been done without the help and encouragement of each other and our loyalty to our Kappa sisters.
Major changes on our campus include construction of new sorority houses. Our house was just completed August 2016; we are lucky to have such a wonderful house! Our chapter consists of 438 active members. We are thankful for the diverse mix of members and the bond Gamma Pi has allowed us to make. Not only is Gamma Pi a source of friendship, but it is also a source of encouragement. We encourage our members to be involved and pursue leadership roles in our chapter, Alabama's campus organizations, and Tuscaloosa's community. We strive for academic excellence and philanthropic involvement within Gamma Pi and individually. Overall, Gamma Pi is a source of encouragement, friendship, and memories that will last a lifetime.
The Gamma Pi chapter's major philanthropy, locally in Tuscaloosa, is Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama. We also spend time with Bright Mings reading program through United Way, in addition to Reading is Fundamental. Gamma Pi seeks to better the community and our members by making a difference in the lives of those around us. With such a large chapter, we feel we have a huge opportunity to make a difference in the community locally and nationally, with our donations to Reading is Fundamental. We partner with Reading is Fundamental because it is Kappa's national philanthropy and we notice the importance of child literacy. To promote RIF, we organized a Reading is Key event. During this event, our members volunteered with a local elementary school's kindergarten class, spending time reading and creating crafts. Each child received a book and a supply box filled with crayons, glue, scissors, and stickers. The teachers also received 10-15 books to have for the class. This impacted the children of Northington Elementary tremendously and spread the importance of child literacy. In addition, we are also involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentor program where qualified mentors are matched with a "little brother" or "little sister", of an underprivileged background. We highly encourage our members to become mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters as it is a gratifying experience and opportunity to make a difference in someones life. Each member of our chapter is able to volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters during one of our biggest philanthropy events, and Big Brothers Big Sisters main fundraiser, the Krispy Kreme Challenge. This event is a 5k fun-run to raise money for the philanthropy held annually in February. Big Brothers Big Sisters holds a special place in all of our members' hearts. In addition, our members also participate in Bright Minds reading program through United Way where we send members into local schools to read to elementary children for an hour. We also donate to the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation as our chapter wants to give back to the organization that is the reason of our existence. Without Kappa, our members would not have the opportunity to experience the bond and sisterhood we all share. Without the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, our chapter would not exist; for this reason, it is important to give back and recognize our origins.
We hold our chapter meetings in our chapter house on campus. It was opened August 2016, so it is still fairly new. We are so grateful for this amazing house and the time we spend together inside.
We began our year in January with a beneficial leadership seminar that allowed the newly elected Chapter Council to meet as a unit, and brainstorm ideas to improve the chapter in the upcoming year. We outlined important dates and set individual and group goals, as well as learned valuable leadership skills. One major goal was to increase chapter participation in Gamma Pi, which we did by giving chapter council committees more responsibilities, allowing them to get more involved. In February, we partnered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters in their biggest fundraiser, the Krispy Kreme Challenge. The entire chapter was able to participate in the 5k run and support the philanthropy that is so important to Gamma Pi. In March, we hosted our annual Parent’s Weekend, which was huge success. We hosted over all of the members of our chapter and their parents, with a total of over 700 people. We host this event every year to express our gratitude for all of the parent’s involvement and support of our chapter. In April, we partnered with Red Cross to host a blood drive on campus, the largest blood at the University of Alabama this year. Over the summer, we continued to work hard to prepare for our upcoming recruitment. In August, we had tremendous success, and recruited 112 new members. Throughout the next several weeks, our marshal worked with them in the new member education program to teach them the importance and significance in Kappa rituals. In October, the new members were initiated, which was a special occasion for the entire chapter as well as the dozens of alumni who were also in attendance. Having such a large chapter, it is important to keep connected through sisterhood events which were held every month, including movie nights, spa days, catered food trucks, and educational speakers to help strengthen our bond as a chapter. Overall, our chapter council has worked hard to preserve the Kappa standards and bring our chapter closer together. Our implementation of committees as well as increase in accountability for all members seems to have boosted morale and increased participation. All of this said, none of this could be possible without the love and dedication from our Kappa sisters and alumnae.
We are so blessed to have such a beautiful house that we all respect and share. Our chapter, being so large, is blessed to have such a diverse and interesting group of women who love and encourage each other every day. There is such a strong sense of community and friendship throughout the entire chapter. We encourage our members to be leaders in their community, the classroom, and role models to those around them. Overall, Gamma Pi is a source of love and sisterhood that we are confident will last far beyond our years at the University.
One of the most important goals of Gamma Pi is striving to better the community by impacting the lives of those around us. Being such a thriving chapter, we have an incredible opportunity to donate our time and resources to our philanthropies. We partner with Reading is Fundamental, which is our national philanthropy because we see the need in this country to greatly improve child literacy. One way we contributed, was by hosting our annual Reading is Key event, during which our members volunteered at a local elementary school’s kindergarten class. Each class received books and supplies for all of the children. Our members stayed with the children, reading to them and making arts a crafts. In doing this, we believe we made a positive impact on the teachers and students of Northington Elementary, as well as spread the importance of child literacy. In addition to Reading is Fundamental, we also support Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama as our local philanthropy. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentor program in which qualified mentors are paired with a “little brother” or “little sister” from an underprivileged family. We highly encourage all of our members to take part in this program, as it is very rewarding for both our members and the children they mentor. We also support Big Brother Big Sisters by partnering with them in their biggest fundraiser of the year, the Krispy Kreme Challenge, which is a 5k held in every year in February. We, as a chapter, have formed very strong bonds with the leaders of Big Brothers Big Sisters and are honored to be able to give back. Our chapter also participates in the Bright Minds reading program, through which our members volunteer to read to local elementary students for one hour. We also donate to the Kappa Kappa Gamma Organization to support or national chapter. Without Kappa, many of us would not have the opportunities we have today, and for that we are extremely grateful.
Madeline Turner, a Gamma Pi current member and legacy, in addition to newly elected Vice President of Education for the 2019 year, has deep Kappa history. She can be reached at [email protected].