Zeta Epsilon Chapter was founded at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin on October 24, 1981.
445 initiates (as of June 2018)
During the weekend of April 23–25, 1981, Zeta Epsilon was colonized at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. The university is a merger of Downer Women’s College in Milwaukee and Lawrence College in Appleton and is a small, private, liberal arts institution. At the time of Zeta Epsilon’s founding, the campus had 1,100 students.
Lawrence has a picturesque setting with graceful, limestone academic buildings and residential halls overlooking the Fox River. A magnificent memorial chapel inspires the compact campus and the quaint residential community in downtown Appleton. Paper mills line the Fox River, which cuts through the center of town.
Among other strengths, Lawrence University’s Conservatory of Music attracts many students. The Greek system is small but strong, and demand was high among the women’s groups for a new chapter to join the campus. Panhellenic voted in the fall of 1980 to form an extension committee to research national groups and asked four to give a presentation in February of 1981.
Fraternity President Sally Moore Nitschke, Beta Nu—Ohio State, traveled to Appleton in February to make the presentation to the Panhellenic and the extension committee along with representatives from Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta and Delta Gamma. The following month, Kappa was notified that it had been selected as the fourth sorority to join Lawrence University. Colonization Recruitment began the week of April 21–25 under the direction of Marjorie Converse, Gamma Delta—Purdue, Chairman of Extension. The colonization team also included Barbara Laitner, Beta Mu—Colorado, 1978–80 Field Secretary; Cathi Gelhaar, Epsilon PDA; Nancy Laitner, Diane Delayo and Talby Hardy, 1980–81 Field Secretaries; Cathy Harrison, Laurie Schmidt and Lynn Atkinson, Eta—Wisconsin, members. Other Eta actives and Fox River Alumnae Association members also participated.
On Thursday evening, a reception was held in the Gold Room in Downer Hall on campus. Punch, cookies and a slideshow were enjoyed in addition to the beautiful singing by Eta members. Potential new members signed up for interviews to be held the next day. On Saturday, a colonization luncheon was held in Colman Hall and all of the young women were presented with invitations to membership. To the thrill of everyone in the room, they accepted their bids unanimously! A short pledging service followed and the remainder of the day was spent taking pictures, singing Kappa songs and giving many hugs.
The charter members were a diverse and multi-talented group with women from many states including Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Rugby, photography, tennis, politics, advertising, math, psychology, vocal performance and theatre are few of the interests. Diane Delayo and Talby Hardy stayed with the colony until June. Sheila Cloyes, Beta Mu—Colorado, was appointed their Graduate Counselor to help prepare them for Installation in the fall and assist in making their first official year as a chapter successful.
Zeta Epsilon Chapter was installed at the local Masonic Temple on October 24, 1981. Fraternity President Sally Moore Nitschke, and Marjorie Moree Keith, Gamma Alpha—Kansas State, Director of Philanthropies, were the installing officers. Graduate Counselor Sheila Cloyes, Beta Mu—Colorado, and Field Secretary Wendy Paxton, Epsilon Omega—Dickinson, joined by Province Directors Cathy Bernotas Gelhaar, Epsilon—Illinois Wesleyan, and Jane Weinhagen Ullom, Epsilon Zeta—Florida State, assisted in making the weekend memorable. Local alumnae on various committees helped make the weekend a success.
Alumnae and active chapters from Epsilon Province greeted the new chapter with many lovely gifts, and members of Eta—Wisconsin, served as big sisters while visitors from Upsilon—Northwestern, and Alpha Deuteron—Monmouth, also participated. Barbara Laitner, Beta Mu—Colorado, former Field Secretary, served as toastmistress for the banquet held at Dower Hall where Lawrence President Warch’s comments reflected interest and optimistic commitment to sororities on campus.
The new Kappas were a diverse group, which included the cheerleading captain, student body president, an opera major, a rugby player and a language major who spoke Russian. Zeta Epsilon was off to a great start!
In 1981, Kappa Kappa Gamma joined three other thriving sororities on the Lawrence University campus - Delta Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Pi Beta Phi. All of the sororities were strong on Lawrence’s little campus, and pledge classes were always 20 or more girls each year. Kappa Klans of five or six sisters each were created to help members get to know one another. Zeta Epsilon held ice cream socials, bowling parties, a pumpkin walk, and cookouts to get to know each other. Use of correct Kappa ritual and sisterhoods were great strengths of this new chapter. They established Kappa Krush (selling Orange Crush sodas with a note to be delivered to your crush) and Kappa Grab-a-Date events. In 1987 Kappa had the highest GPA on campus and were at quota for membership totals.
Membership in all sororities at Lawrence University dropped in the 1990s, and sadly Pi Phi disappeared from campus. 1994 - 1995 were tough years. There were attitude challenges, and Zeta Epsilon held a fall retreat to try to get things back on track. A lot of time and effort was expended by the VP Standards at this time. They established a chapter goal of SALSA - Sisterhood, Academics, Leadership, Social Activities.
Zeta Epsilon held Round Robins, Kappa Krush parties, Pledge Formals, mixers, cookouts, tailgates, Shish-Ka-Quad parties, Panel/IFC picnics, Pumpkin Walks, Halloween seances, Murder Mystery parties, camping retreats, and Blue and Blue Dinners. They also participated in intermurals and activities with other sororities and fraternities. Many hours were volunteered for the Fox Valley Domestic Abuse Center and the Children’s Booth at Celebrate. January 1999 brought a formal recruitment that yielded no new members, and a time of revamping and reorganization began.
By the next school year, Kappa was first on campus in GPA, and they had a very successful Karamel Apple Sale to benefit the Fox Valley Domestic Abuse Center. Greeks now comprised 20% of the campus population.
By the turn of the century, Lawrence University had 1,400 intellectually curious, diverse, multi-interested students from nearly every state and 50 countries, with 4 fraternities and 3 sororities: Beta Theta Pi, Delta Gamma, Delta Tau Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Kappa Tau, and Sigma Phi Epsilon. The campus is divided into two parts, the Conservatory of Music and the regular college. A great number of students study at the Conservatory, but many also pursue degrees from both the Conservatory and the college.
Members of the Zeta Epsilon chapter represented all areas of academia from vocal performance and art history to classics and physics. Zeta Epsilon continually celebrates diversity and independence in conjunction with bonding as sisters in the Fraternity. Kappas participate on a broad scale in nearly every aspect of the Lawrence community. Proof of deep involvement is evident in the variety of extracurricular activities, including SOUP (Student Organization for University Programming), Mock Trial, Baroque Ensemble, Gaming Club (a community for gamers, dedicated to creating an inclusive, fun, friendly group for any Lawrentians who share a passion for card, board, video games and beyond!), Lawrence International (aims to help international students adjust to life at Lawrence and provide a forum for international and domestic students to meet and engage in conversation on world issues), Mortar Board, Sustainable Lawrence University Gardens (SLUG), Women in Physics, to name several. Members of KKG take leadership roles in their many organizations and sports, representing Viking athletics in crew, cross country, swim, tennis, track and field, basketball, and soccer.
During this decade Zeta Epsilon hosted and participated in many events to raise money for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, Reading Is Fundamental, and our local philanthropy, Harbor House, a safe shelter for women and children hurt by domestic violence. Kappa Karamel Apples, Kappa Krush, Kappa Karnival and Kappa Field Day were favorites philanthropic events. Kappa Karamel Apples is held in the fall during the annual Homecoming football game; the chapter sells caramel apples at the game with a variety of sprinkles and nuts as toppings. Kappa Krush starts the week leading up to St. Valentine’s Day. Kappa members staff a table near the dining room during meals and promote the philanthropy. Students, faculty and staff purchase Crush soda cans and personalize messages on cute little cards tied to the can then delivered by the Kappas to the intended recipients.
Academically, the chapter concentrated on improving their GPA and were recognized in 2006 with the Panhellenic GPA Cup for having the highest GPA of the sororities on campus. The women set up study tables two times a week, as well as encouraged each sister to set individual academic goals for each term. Sisterhood events included movie nights and Kappa lunch once a week.
n January 2012, we had formal recruitment and got our largest New Member Class ever out of it - 15 girls. They were initiated in March. We had a lock-in at a Baskin Robbins as a sisterhood event, and it won us best sisterhood in our Panhellenic council. We had the hot wing-eating contest, Too Hot To Handle, again for Spring Greek Week and it was very fun and successful. Our President at the time, Hallie Witmer, attended Convention. We had COBs in the Fall and got 5 more new members from it. We did a cakewalk for Fall Greek Week. We also did Kappa Karamel Apples at our school's homecoming football game. Throughout the year, we stayed on the academic excellence plan and continued logging our study hours, but we have not yet been able to get off the plan.
Our campus is a small (1400 or so students) liberal arts college. We have three Panhellenic sororities on campus. None of the sororities have housing; instead we each have meeting rooms. Our chapter is small with about 40 members, but we are very tight-knit and all care for and help one another with both chapter and individual needs.
We had recruitment in January and we got a 5 new members from it. We then had Winter COBs and got 5 more new members. They were initiated in April. We had a Baskin Robbins lock-in as our first sisterhood event with our new members. We received the award for Most Panhellenic Sorority from our Panhellenic Council. Our president at the time, Hallie Witmer, received an award for Outstanding Demonstration of Leadership.
Two members received scholarships for winter term dues, one being from our house board and the other being the Marion McMillen scholarship. In the spring, we had our annual Too Hot To Handle hot wing-eating contest, which was fun and raised money for our local philanthropy, Harbor House. Late in the Spring, our meeting room was broken into. We caught them and sent them to our campus’s Judicial Board. Their punishment was to each write us a letter of apology. We did COBs in the Fall and got 2 more new members from it. We also did Kappa Karamel Apples at a volleyball game, since the homecoming football game was rained out. In the Fall, at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, we were able to get off of the academic focus plan, since we had all worked hard and raised our cumulative GPA. Being off of the focus plan allowed us to organize more mixers and sisterhood events.
At the beginning of this school year, Lawrence’s new president, Mark Burstein, was inaugurated. He is a good president who is much more present than the last one, though he could use some education on the Greek life on campus, which we are offering to him. Our chapter is rather small, comparatively with chapters on bigger campuses, but that allows us to be very close-knit and have great interpersonal relationships. None of the sororities at Lawrence have housing, but we each have a nice room of our own on campus in which we hold our weekly meetings, as well as other smaller meetings and some sisterhood events; we are also free to hang out and do homework with one another in our room, as it is a very safe and comfortable space.
Following recruitment 2014, Zeta Epsilon pledged 15 New Members in January 2014, including 1 legacy. Following recruitment, we have an All-Greek event with all the Greek organizations on campus to celebrate New Members. We later have a Baskin-Robbins lock-in sisterhood event to welcome new members. Kappa Krush is our Winter Term philanthropy event, which took place February 10-12. We sell Crush soda cans with proceeds going to our local philanthropy, Harbor House. Blue and Blue and Fireside ceremonies took place on February 28, 2014. Initiation took place March 1, 2014, and new member formal took place that night. Nerd Day was held March 15 to encourage members to study for exams. We had a sisterhood weekend at Bjorklunden, our northern campus, from April 11-13. A leadership consultant visited our chapter April 13-18. During Greek Week (May 12-16), we host Too Hot to Handle, our spring term philanthropy event. It is a hot wings eating contest with the proceeds going to Harbor House. May 19-23 was reverse I-Week to celebrate seniors, culminating with Senior formal on the 23rd. On May 25 we hosted Mother’s Tea, where we invite our mothers to campus for tea, crafts, and getting-to-know-you activities. May 26 was Senior Send-off and Key Pass. The last meeting of the school year was held June 1. Nerd Day was held June 7, our final event for the school year. Our first meeting for the 2014-2015 school year was held September 21, 2014. We held continuous open bidding events from September 22-24 and pledged 2 new members on September 28. For Fall Greek week (September 30-October 1), we hosted Greek Gourmet Grilled Cheese in conjunction with Delta Tau Delta. We sold a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches with the proceeds going to Harbor House. On October 11, we hosted Kappa Karamel Apples at the homecoming football game. We sold caramel apples to support Reading is Fundamental. We had a ceremony to celebrate Founders Day on October 13, complete with chapter and fraternity history presentation as well as a speaker from Harbor House. Additionally, we had a leadership consultant visit from October 13-October 17. November 2 we celebrated Dad’s Day, where we invite our dads to campus for a tailgating-themed event. Blue and Blue and Fireside were held November 14 and initiation was held November 15. Our last meeting for the term and the year was held November 16. We had two Nerd Days November 21 and 22 as our final events for the term.
We started off 2016 with Formal Recruitment. After three days of recruitment, 7 girls accepted their bid. On Martin Luther King day, our VP-Organization planned a Leadership Day where a Kappa leader taught us how to work well with others. During the week of February 8-12, our Philanthropy Chair put on an event called "Kappa Krush" where students could purchase Crush soda cans for a $1 and leave a note that can be delivered to their "crush". This money was donated to Harbor House in Appleton, WI. The new members were initiated on February 27, and our New Member Formal took place at the Radisson Hotel on March 5.
During spring term, we did COBs and had 2 girls accept their bid. On March 29, our VP-Organization planned another Leadership Day where the members of the Chapter Council met and talked about any problems in the chapter and ways to integrate the new members more. Our VP-Organization also planned a sisterhood event called "Dress for Success" where our sisters went to New York and Company at the local mall and had the manager teach us how to dress for interviews. We were then allowed to shop. Greek Week took place from May 9-15, and our chapter put on a philanthropy event called "Too Hot to Handle" which was a wing eating contest. The money raised from this event went to Harbor House in Appleton, WI. The following weekend, our two new members were initiated on May 21, and we had our Senior Formal that same night. We had our Senior Send-Off on May 30, and the seniors did their Key Pass before initiation.
When we returned to school in the Fall, we did COBs and had 3 girls accept their bid. During the weekend of October 15-16, our school has "Family Weekend", so our Event Chair planned a Kappa Brunch where our sisters' families were invited for brunch on October 16. Our Philanthropy Chair also planned an event called "Kappa Karamel Apples" which took place during the football game on October 15. The money raised from this event went to Harbor House in Appleton, WI. The new members were initiated on November 5. We had a sisterhood weekend at Bjorklunden, our northern campus, from November 11-13. On November 13, our chapter conducted elections.
Zeta Epsilon received Honorable Mention for Ritual at Convention. We received this award even without a nomination from our advisers.
The three philanthropies that our chapter supports are Reading is Fundamental, the Kappa Foundation, and Harbor House in Appleton, WI, a battered women’s shelter. Every year we hold Kappa Karamel Apples, Kappa Krush, and Too Hot to Handle to support our philanthropies.
We addressed and combated challenges through our Leadership Action Plan goals. Our focus areas included philanthropy and alumna relations, effectively using programming meetings, participation in committees and budgeting, and involvement in and understanding of the Panhellenic Council and knowledge of Kappa and chapter history. We aimed to address these challenges by giving a philanthropy presentation during new member periods, having more hands-on RIF related volunteering, planning monthly programming meetings covering topics of interest to the chapter, making committee agendas organized and efficient, holding one committee meeting per month, keeping committee members involved by delegating tasks and meeting regularly, holding a programming meeting informing members about the history and function of Panhel, enforcing attendance at Panhel meetings more strictly, and having the Panhel delegate be more explicit about the proceedings of Panhel meetings.
Recently, a local sorority, Beta Psi Nu, joined our Panhellenic Council as an associate member. We are also starting to work more closely with non-Panhellenic and non-Inter Fraternity Council Greek organizations, such as Sigma Alpha Iota and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Renovations to dorms and small group housing are beginning to occur across campus. Along with this, there has been discussion regarding the relocation of our meeting room as renovations are completed across campus. Our chapter currently has 40 active members and 11 new members. Our numbers fluctuate greatly over the course of the year since we have deferred recruitment.
Zeta Epsilon holds meetings in our designated meeting room located in the Panhellenic Wing of one of the university-owned dorms on campus. Our chapter does not have (and has never had) a house or any type of group housing. In terms of changes on campus, diversity has been a popular topic for discussion. One significant change on campus was the addition of loft-style housing in Coleman Hall. This living space includes a living room, a kitchen, and rooms for 8-20 people, depending on the loft.
One issue our chapter has been experiencing is attendance and accountability. While we are all sisterly towards one another, attendance at our sister's events is lacking. This is something the chapter has discussed, and we hope to increase attendance for upcoming events.
We typically raise money for Harbor House in Appleton, WI. The chapter choose this organization because this is a place that benefits greatly from our fundraising.
This year was as one would expect, full of numerous activities that brought sisters together in the name of Kappa. Our chapter has deferred recruitment, so our recruitment takes place the second week of January, just after our term has started. The week leading up to this is full of crafting, practicing, and total focus on recruitment. It's nice because we use this big event as a way to boost Kappa spirit and reteach all members about Kappa's symbols, history, philanthropy, and everything in between. Increasing Kappa pride and Kappa spirit has been a main focus the last couple terms, and this was a perfect way to kick off the new term in the name of Kappa.
We flowed through this term with our normal weekly meetings, and volunteered on MLK jr. day as a sisterhood, but the biggest importance was making our new pledges feel welcome and at home as they began their Kappa education journey. During the week of February 6-10, our Philanthropy Chair put on an event called "Kappa Krush" where students could purchase Crush soda cans for a $1 and leave a note that can be delivered to their "crush". This money was donated to Harbor House in Appleton, WI. As the term continued, the chapter felt it important to address the possibility of seasonal affective disorder and personal well being through a programming event lead by one of our faculty wellness members, Erin. This was extremely important because the second term of the year tends to be the hardest, and we wanted every sister to be understood and feel a comfort in her sisters.
We were lucky enough to be able to schedule our LC visit to coincide with our Inspirational Period, including everything revolvimg around initiation. This was an amazing opportunity to have a graduated sister come in and remind the chatper of what this is all about and make sure everything ran smoothly and accurately. Our LC was amazing and we learned so much from her. Because of the other Greek chapters on campus, we added sisters through continuous open bidding in the spring as well. Having two initiations back to back helped bring our sisterhood together and continue educating everyone on all things Kappa.
In May, WE WON OUR GREEK WEEK. The amount of participation from Kappa members was unbelievable and extremely awesome. Not only did we show our fellow greek organizations a lot of support, we also hit our philanthropy event (Too Hot To Handle, a wing eating contest) out of the park. Everything was so successful and we were able to help out a lot of good causes in the process.
As our year came to a close, we showed our support for our sisters through "nerd days" that help with studying and coping with the stresses of finals, and an alcohol awareness programming event that educated everyone on informed drinking habits to help keep everyone safe and smart in the upcoming summer.