Zeta Mu Chapter was founded at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia on November 16, 1985.
1,526 initiates (as of June 2018)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech (VT), is a public land grant university with the main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia with other research and educational centers throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Founded in 1872 as an agricultural and mechanical land-grant college, Virginia Tech is a research university with the largest full-time student population in Virginia and one of the few public universities in the country that maintains a corps of cadets.
In 1872, the Virginia General Assembly purchased the facilities of Preston and Olin Institute, a small Methodist school in rural Montgomery County with federal funds provided by the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act. The Commonwealth incorporated a new institution on that site, a state-supported land grant military institute called the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College.
Under the 1891–1907 presidency of John M. McBryde, the school organized its academic programs into a traditional four-year college. The evolution of the school's programs led to an 1896 name change to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute. The "Agricultural and Mechanical College" portion of the name was popularly omitted almost immediately, and the name was officially changed to Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1944. During those years, there was a short-lived merger with Radford College which at the time was a women's college.
VPI President T. Marshall Hahn, whose tenure ran from 1962 to 1974, was responsible for many of the successes that have shaped the modern institution of Virginia Tech. His presidential agenda involved transitioning the school into a major research university. To achieve this, the student body was increased by roughly 1,000 additional students per year, new dormitories and academic buildings were constructed, faculty were added (In 1966, for instance, the faculty added more than 100 new professors) and research budgets were increased. During the Hahn Presidency Virginia Tech dropped the two-year Corps training requirement for its male students and allowed women to join the Corps. It was the first school in the nation to open its corps of cadets to women.
One of Hahn's more controversial missions was only partially achieved. He had visions of renaming the school from VPI to Virginia State University, reflecting the status it had achieved as a full-fledged research university. As part of this move, VPI would have taken over control of the state's other land-grant institution, a historically black college in Ettrick, Virginia, south of Richmond, then called Virginia State College. This plan failed to take root, and as a compromise, VPI added "and State University" to its name in 1970, yielding the current formal name of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
In the late 1970s, the shorthand name "Virginia Tech" was adopted as the proper identification of the university's athletic teams over the acronym "V.P.I." and the media were requested to use "Virginia Tech" in their reporting of sport scores. In the early 1990s, the school authorized the official use of Virginia Tech as equivalent to the full VPI&SU name. Many school documents today use the shorter name, though diplomas and transcripts still spell out the formal name. Similarly, the abbreviation VT is far more common today than VPI or VPI&SU, and appears everywhere, from athletic uniforms, to the university's Internet domain name vt.edu.
Dateline: Blacksburg, Va. ... campus of Virginia Tech University: Zeta Mu Chapter was formally installed November 16, 1985 and 72 charter members were initiated. Big sisters from six Lambda Province chapters of West Virginia, William & Mary; George Washington; Maryland; Duke; Virginia ..impressive Fireside Service, followed by gift-opening at reception held at Sheraton Red Lion Inn, hosted by Roanoke Alumnae Association. The beautiful initiation and chapter installation service was held at the magnificent German Club facility. The installing officers included Marian Klingbeil Williams, Missouri, Fraternity president; Juliana (J. J.) Fraser Wales, Ohio State, director of chapters; current Lambda Province officers, Sally Hamilton Staub, Mississippi, PDA; and Beverly Shumaker Blew, Arizona, PDC; Many special Fraternity guests participated: Marjorie Matson Converse, Purdue, Extension Chairman; Polly Tomlin Beall, George Washington, 1978 Loyalty Award recipient; former province officers, Mary O. Shumate Cumberpatch, Maryland, and Jane Boswick, Duke; Maureen Kelly, Lafayette, and Kimberly Schlundt, Miami, Traveling Consultants; Jane Coombs Chadwell, Miami, Superviser of Chapter Finance; Gilly Chamberlain, Tulane, Chapter Consultant.
The weekend was highlighted by a campus reception for 400 guests; Candlelight Banquet featuring Dr. Sandra Sullivan, Virginia Tech Vice-President of Student Affairs; presentation ofthe New River Alumnae Clubcharter to its first president, Katherine Autrey Quinn, Georgia, and presentation ofthe chapter president's badge by New River to Deanna Claybourne, first ZM president; model chaptermeeting and installation of the first ZM officers. Installation weekend was chaired by GiniAnding La'Chartte, IWilliam & Mary, Fraternity History Chairman and Coordinator of Chapter Development for Zeta Mu.
In April of 1985, 73 new members were recruited to form Zeta Mu chapter at Virginia Tech. This was the 10th NPC group to colonize on the campus which only opened to women twenty years ago. Fraternity President Marian Klingbeil Williams, Missouri, was on hand during installation weekend, Alumnae from Blacksburg and Roanoke were present as were actives from the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia, who served as Big Sisters to the new members.
From chapter’s History Report: A huge challenge in 1986 was going through our first Winter rush but we were prepared through various workshops and help from the Fraternity. Our biggest challenge in 1988 was being on our own for the first time without a Chapter Consultant. Our goal was “RSVP,” Reliability, Scholarship, Value and Policy. We had several girls in Honor Societies and active around campus. We had a lot of fun at the second annual Greek Sing competition, with a skit that was a take-off on “Hee Haw,' complete with country versions of Kappa songs led by our own “Minnie Pearl.” By participating in Tri Delta's Greek Decathlonwe were able to donate our $200 winnings to Women's Resource Center in Radford. At Province Meeting in Arlington in March we were introduced to the new Keep Safe program on safety tips and awareness for women and won the Chapter Finance Award for the second year in a row, as well as Honorable Mention in Philanthropy.
The Special Purpose Housing located behind the duckpond especially for fraternities and sororities will soon include a Kappa house, sponsored by the University. Our house is planned for completion in 1990, and will join Phi Kappa Sigma, Zeta Tau Alpha and Pi Kappa Alpha. Seven additional houses will be built including Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi, Delta Zeta, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Sigma Chi and Kappa. An issue of The Key ran an article about the groundbreaking. Our new home will accommodate 36 Kappas and include large rooms for meetings and rush functions.
A new philanthropy was started in 1988, “Chairs for Charity,” with 3000 people showing up for this huge version of musical chairs. Proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. In 1989 Zeta Mu was awarded the SPIRIT award at Zeta Tau Alpha's philanthropy event, and placed third in Phi Mu's Annual Greek Sing.
Chapter Convention Awards:
At the 1988 Convention in Boca Raton, Florida, Zeta Mu received the Efficiency Award and Chapter Finance Award.
From chapter’s History Report: Moving into our new house in 1990 was a unifying event, with 36 sisters living together and a central place where all sisters could gather. October 13 was the formal dedication of the house, on top of Initiation and Founders Day...three events in one day! The pledge class of 1990 combined their efforts and created the chapter flag carried by our delegate at the Biennial Convention during the Parade of Flags.
We achieved our goal of “Unity through Committed Kappas” by enforcing a new attendance policy, stressing sister only events, having a positive attitude toward our sisterhood and by having fun together. The “Kappa's Kappa Award” was established as a Standards Award going each year to a member who exemplifies high standards in all aspects of her life.
In March of 1995 Zeta Mu hosted Province meeting in Roanoke. In the Fall we celebrated our tenth anniversary with a semi-formal dance on November 11, inviting alumnae to help us celebrate. We gained 30 new pledges in January formal rush and another 14 members in the Fall informal rush. In 1997 we hosted our first annual Oktoberfest philanthropy and welcomed a new sorority to campus in the fall of 1998, Alpha Chi Omega. Many of our members are in honor societies on campus.
In closing out the '90s, Zeta Mu is active on campus, participating in the philanthropies of other Greek groups as well as our own. We recruit two pledge classes a year. In1999, we participated in a Christmas store sponsored by Salvation Army where families can apply to buy Christmas gifts. We worked hard to get the store ready, stocking shelves, checking parents while others watched the children. We began a new tradition and started the first Annual Kappa Klassic Golf Tournament, raising money for the Kappa Foundation and our local YMCA.
Morale was exceedingly high in 1990 due to our new house where we finally have a place to call home. In 1995 our house received some new carpet and wallpaper and reupholstered sofas, among the changes made by the House Board.
New philanthropies in the early '90s were a Tug-of-War with various fraternities and sororities, Adopt a Grandparent program at a local Blacksburg nursing home. Other philanthropies include the Golf Classic, volunteering in the William Byrd House where children can participate in activities such as arts and crafts, a Fall carnival for inner city kids, selling Hershey's Kisses on Valentine's Day and many other events sponsored by Greek houses.
Chapter Convention Awards:
From chapter’s History Report: Zeta Mu continues to be involved on campus in athletics, honor societies and other Greek philanthropies as well as our own. We support Pi Beta Phi's Links for Literacy, Alpha Chi Omega's Mock Rock supporting our former philanthropy, the Women's Resource Center in Radford, Va. We participate in Panhellenic's Oak Lane Trick or Treat where many of our members chaperoned local children around Oak Lane. Our intramural soccer team, in partnership with Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, won first place in Virginia Tech's competition. We held sisterhood retreats, including one at Mountain Lake where we went paddle boating, hiking, went on a hayride, ending with a movie at the chapter house.
2005 was a stellar year for Zeta Mu. We were ranked first in grades for Spring semester out of all Panhellenic groups. Participating in many Greek and campus events, we placed first in Delta Gamma's Anchorsplash for talent and swimming and second overall. We placed second in Take Back the Night, a campus-wide service project. At Province Meeting, we received eight awards; for outstanding risk management, house board, outstanding adviser, outstanding advisory board, philanthropy, new member programming, recruitment, finance, scholarship and chapter excellence. During campus Greek Awards we received an award for Community Involvement and were inducted into the Academy of Excellence. In 2006, our Kappa Klassic Golf tournament raised more than $2,100 for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.
Tragedy struck on April 16, 2007, in two separated attacks, approximately two hours apart. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded 25 others before committing suicide. The massacre is the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history. Sadly, Zeta Mu lost a sister, Caitlin Hammaren, 19, of Westtown, New York, a sophomore in International Studies/French. The outpouring from the Fraternity was amazing.
In Spring of 2009, we hosted former Fraternity President Marian Klingbeil Williams who attended Fireside and Initiation, playing a key role in our ritual. Philanthropy activities included a Kappa Kaddyshack putt-putt to raise funds for Reading is Fundamental. Chapter challenges include attendance and academics, which the Standards and Academic committees are addressing with incentives in both areas.
In 2005 renovations to our house included carpeting the first floor after the flood in December. The chapter room, kitchen and study have been re-tiled and the chapter room has all new furniture and accessories.
Greek Week, Reading is Fundamental, Relay for Life, Delta Sigma Phi's Egyptian Expedition, Pi Beta Phi's Hoopfest, Alpha Chi Omega's Mock Rock, Lambda Chi Alpha's Watermelon Bash, Boy's and Girl's Club, Oak Lane Trick or Treat.
Chapter Convention Awards:
From chapter’s History Report: Scholarship, group honors/awards, traditions, special events, changes on campus or within chapter, overall nature of the chapter, chapter goals, challenges and how they were overcome, etc.:
In 2012, Virginia Tech has eight colleges and graduate school; 65 bachelor's degree programs;• 150 master's and doctoral degree programs; 30,000+ full-time students; 16:1 student-faculty ratio; main campus includes more than 125 buildings, 2,600 acres, and an airport; computing and communications complex for worldwide information access; ranked 44th in university research in the United States and has an adjacent corporate research center.
Virginia Tech has approximately 25,000 students, 17% of which belong to the Greek system. There are 16 active sororities on campus, 12 of which participate in formal recruitment. Of the female population, approximately 13.4% are involved in Greek sororities. There are more than 30 fraternities.
We started off our calendar year with a very successful recruitment by welcoming in 79 new members. We ended up initiating around 65. We received an award from our Panhellenic Council of the People’s Choice Sisterhood Award that recognized us for showing particular excellence in exhibiting the true bonds of sisterhood. Our chapter goals included building up a bigger public image on campus through social media and creating more alumni events. We accomplished our social media goal by creating a website and pinterest, promoting our twitter, and encouraging girls to take photos in letters on letter days. We accomplished our alumni goal by making plans for events that alumni could come to during football season.
One challenge we overcame was the large new member class we welcomed in on bid day. We were expecting around 60 girls to walk through the door, but when 79 came in we were a bit surprised. The high volume of new members forced us to watch our every penny to make sure that the new member all got their gifts and that they were properly educated in all things Kappa.
We participated in a variety of philanthropies that included Delta Gamma’s Anchorsplash, Alpha Chi Omega’s Mock Rock, Tau Kappa Epsilon’s TKE Week, GERMAN Club’s Goldrush, Phi Sigma Kappa’s Special Olympics. We placed first in both Alpha Delta Pi’s Safari Hunt and Pi Beta Phi’s Angels In the Outfield. We placed second in Beta Theta Pi’s Deck the Halls. Both Anchorsplash and Mock Rock had dances as a way to earn points toward winning their respective philanthropies and we had at least 50 girls participate in each dance.
There have been a multitude of changes to our campus, most of them regarding the construction of new buildings and/or remodeling of old ones. One notable change to the football season was that of the school opening up season ticket sales to all members of the student body instead of just limiting it to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
The overall nature of our chapter is that of a real sisterhood. One of the aspects that our new members have told us coming in is that they decided to go Kappa because they could really see that we actually got along with each other. The Zeta Mu chapter prides itself on being diverse and taking in members from all different majors and walks of life.
In the spring of 2014 the Zeta Mu Chapter welcomed 47 new members into our chapter. They were initiated on March 23, 2014. That semester we participated in XXX PHILAN and placed in XXX of them. We also held our PHILAN, Kaddy Shack in which XXX organizations participated.
During informal recruitment in the fall of 2014 we welcomed 8 new members who were initiated on November 8, 2014. During the fall we participated in XXXX PHILIAN and placed in XXX of them.
This year, with the change in the GPA requirement at Convention, we are hoping to get off of our academic focus plan. The change really helped us by being able to recruit really academically strong women.
Recently the PHC executive board at Virginia Tech decided to change the timeframe for our Formal Recruitment process. In the past Formal Recruitment has been over the weekend before classes start and then also the first weekend after classes start. PHC announced Fall 2014 that Formal Recruitment for Spring 2015 would happen the week before classes started, enabling both sisters and new members to focus and get a good start on the semester.
PHC also removed the GPA requirement for Formal Recruitment in spring of 2014 and onward. This allows all campus women the chance to participate in Formal Recruitment, but the drawback to this is the amount of girls participating with unacceptable GPAs.
Virginia Tech also offered a Legacy Report which at last check (2/13/2015) is stated to be from information collected in 2013. All subjects are listed as above average except for the conduct section marked 'violation'. This violation has since been removed for the past year and a half. This information has been made available to PNMs and there is also no specification on what the violation is or the severity which has been a bit problematic.
Over all the Zeta Mu chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma is characterized on campus as a diverse group of collegiate women who are welcoming and sisterly to all who enter our doors.
Chapter for the Spring 2014 Semester was held in Hahn Hall North, a university owned building. Fall 2014 Chapter was held in Hancock Hall, also a university owned building. We do have housing where members have the opportunity to live together. The house is university owned with 16 rooms there is space for up to 32 girls at one time.
Over the past year, Zeta Mu has done a lot. We’ve participated in a variety of philanthropies, had ourselves a new different internal philanthropy, and celebrated our chapter’s 30th anniversary. Our Academic committee did a lot of work as well, creating new programs to help the chapter, such as a group study event called Books Over Bars, and starting a team competition between varied groups of members of the chapter. Our house furthermore participated in a campus-wide competition for using the least amount of electricity during a three week period called Turn Down For Watt, and won, gaining $500 to the charity of our choice. We were also honored to have one of our members represent us on the Homecoming Court. We were also selected to participate in LEADToday by headquarters, which allowed us to not only get to know people outside of our immediate friend groups, but also really look forward and grow as a unit, something we all really enjoyed.
When our leadership consultant came to visit in November, we learned about the different ways that every chapter of Zeta Mu does and uses Oh Patt, and learned how ours is particularly quick. As I said, we also celebrated our chapter’s 30th anniversary. We had a big weekend for the alumni, culminating in a celebration at our football stadium September 26th. Something we’ve traditionally prided ourselves on our sisterhood, but that is something we’ve worked on a lot this year.
At our first chapter of the fall semester, we had a whole chapter activity where we all let people know how much we cared and respected them, and for our fall mandatory sisterhood retreat, we split up into random groups and bonded with people we maybe had never had a chance to get to really know before. Our main internal philanthropy event in April was a new one, called Hit the Fleur, in which we hosted a swing dance competition. The first day we hosted a percentage night, but then our second night we had the swing dance competition, in which we taught them the basics, and then let them at it. We also started a new bond with an organization on campus called Soma Sasa, led by a student from Tanzania which runs a library there, hosting a percentage night with him in December. Also in December, we hosted an online trunk show with Trend Tribe.
While there were not really any major changes on our campus, the overall nature of our chapter is a wide variety of types of young women who are involved all over campus in different things. Not one is a copy of another, and no one feels like they have to achieve that.
In the past we have always dedicated much of our time to the children at Prices Fork Elementary School. We host our Reading is Key event there every year, but beyond that we aim to be a point of contact any time the parents or teachers should need assistance. We have lent sisters to work at craft shows and various festivals at this school. We feel that by being so present, it’s a constant reminder that our organization cares for them and that our mission is not based solely in money.
Prices Fork is one of the most under served elementary schools in the county and is just outside of the reach of most other help from campus organizations, so we are happy to go out and do our part there.
This year we accomplished many things as a campus organization and as a sisterhood. We held a very successful new philanthropy event, held extra sisterhood events and continually worked towards contributing to the Virginia Tech community. With each day and the new challenges it brought each and every sister stepped up to improve themselves and our chapter as a whole.
From the beginning of the semester we had a strong focus on sisterhood and wanted to offer additional ways for stronger connections to form. We held a Super Bowl potluck, a “singles awareness day” brunch, a Halloween movie night and a Thanksgiving potluck, all optional in addition to our mandatory sisterhood event each semester. The house has facilitated much growth in sisterhood and as a place for all sisters to come and enjoy each other’s company.
Virginia Tech will be gaining a sorority this coming spring, Kappa Alpha Theta. Many of our sisters are working to be Theta ambassadors and our Panhellenic delegate is working with Panhellenic council to help Theta’s recruitment following formal recruitment go smoothly.
We participated in many external philanthropy events and enjoyed supporting so many great causes. In April we held a concert and cookout one night and a kickball tournament for our spring philanthropy event benefiting RIF. It was a great way to raise money and enjoy each other’s company; all the organizations that participated enjoyed the events. In the fall we held our reading is key event at the Blacksburg Children’s Museum, this change in venue from a school allowed us to reach a larger number of children and offer different activities.