Epsilon Nu Chapter was founded at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee on October 13, 1973.
1,879 initiates (as of June 2018)
Nashville, in the mid-Cumberland region, contains not only Vanderbilt University and Opryland, U.S.A., but also the Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, and the world's only replica of the original Parthenon.
As long ago as 1936, Rheva Ott Shryock, Beta Alpha- Pennsylvania, included in her extension report a recommendation that "...we should thoroughly familiarize ourselves with conditions at Vanderbilt University where the registration of women has been steadily increasing." However, in 1937 the Fraternity Proceedings contained a few discouraging words that no move would be taken at the present time for colonization at Vanderbilt.
By the time 1937 had become 1973, however, Kappa had installed a chapter in Nashville. The Fraternity had been petitioned by the Philean Society and University Chancellor Alexander Heard extended an invitation to Kappa to establish a chapter, the first National Panhellenic Conference group to be invited to the campus since 1954.
The Philean Society dated back only to February, 1972, when a group of about five decided, after rush, that another club was needed. The Independent Women's Association had folded and there was no social group available for unaffiliated women. The Philean Society began as a non-Greek social club, existed as an open group, and was encouraged by the dean. By common consent, Carolyn Kraft was in charge.
By March, the Phileans had been invited to become associate members of Panhellenic, which involved some organization on the part of the group. Carolyn Kraft was elected president, and everyone else became an officer. (Some became two officers.) The Panhellenic Council encouraged national affiliation and was very helpful.
In the fall of 1972, only nine were left to rush and four girls joined. All four became important officers later. This "baker's dozen" won the APO Blood Drive for the second time, enjoyed the Homecoming buffet, had parties, and weekly dinner meetings. They realized that a decision must be made about national affiliation. By the time the final vote was taken the Phileans knew exactly what they wanted in a national fraternity and on April 1, 9173, the final vote was Kappa Kappa Gamma unanimously.
The decision was given to the university. On July 1, the answer came from Kappa Headquarters that there would be a new chapter at Vanderbilt University. Epsilon Nu had the distinction of sharing its installation date, October 13, 1973, with the anniversary of Kappa's Founders' Day. Gamma Pi was the installing chapter.
Installation took place at St. Augustine's chapel on the campus with the significance of the occasion heightened by the presence of two 50-year members, former Nashville residents, Margaret Aldrich Kruger, Xi- Adrian, and Mildred (Maude) Miner Fisher, Kappa- Hillsdale.
Alice Hardison Huffman, Gamma Delta- Purdue, was marshal. After installation, six girls were pledge in the chapter room of Branscomb Quadrangle.
At the installation banquet at Hillwood Country Club that night, Betty Pritchard Dunn, Delta Rho- Mississippi, wife of the governor of Tennessee, was among the guests. Lucile "Lucy" Blue Van Voorhoees, Delta Beta- Duke, was toastmistress. Lucy Ann Hughston, Gamma Pi president, offered a toast, and Rebecca Joan Dilcher, Epsilon Nu president, responded. Sally Moore Nitschke, Beta Nu- Ohio State, summarized greetings sent the new chapter, and after an interesting talk by the vice chancellor of Vanderbilt, Marian Schroeder Graham, Beta Phi- Montana State, Fraternity president, supervised the closing ritual.
The next day the Nashville Alumnae Association entertained in honor of the new chapter in Branscomb formal lounge. The charter members of Epsilon Nu presented Jean Hess Wells, Delta Upsilon- Georgia, director of chapters, with a fruitwood tray which had needlepoint under glass with EN, KKG, 1973 over a fleur de lis, done in blue and blue. Epsilon Nu was the eighth chapter which Jean Wells had helped to install.
At the 1974 Convention in Columbus, Deborah Dukes, Epsilon Nu's second president, enthusiastically told of her Kappa affiliation. Sarah Harris Rowe, Upsilon- Northwestern, Kappa's ranking president, looked on with pride as her granddaughter, (Sarah) Ann Kanaga, an Epsilon Nu pledge, spoke before the convention. Also in the audience was Rheva Shryock, a delighted member, who had had reason to believe 38 years earlier that Vanderbilt would be worth looking into as a site for a Kappa chapter.
Epsilon Nu in the 80’s worked very hard to be involved in campus and community philanthropic events. In 1985 they were selected as runner up for the Alexander Heard Award for the most Outstanding Sorority on campus. At the Nu Province Convention EN received Most Improved scholarship, Best advisory board relations, Honorable mention for chapter efficiency and the Miriam Locke Standards Award. Throughout the 80’s EN consistently pledged quota with outstanding women and worked to maintain high scholarship. In 1989 the chapter acted as hostess for the Province Meeting held in Nashville. They also received Best Chapter, Most Outstanding Scholarship and runner up for the Pledge Program. They were 3rd of 12 in scholarship from other sororities. The house was completely redecorated by the House Board this year.
In 1990 a new philanthropy, Kappanello replaced the Balloon Derby. With music on our lawn and Italian food for 800 people we raised $2,700 for Buddies of Nashville-the largest organizational donation ever received by this charity. We received Honorable Mention in Scholarship at the KKG Convention. New Panhellenic Council rush rules were implemented to increase the number of pledges. Kappanello continued to be the chapter philanthropy and each year raised more and more money for Buddies of Nashville. The Buddies for Nashville placed the EN philanthropy chairman on their board. In 1991 the kitchen and chapter room were redecorated. In 1992 the longtime housemother, Dot Reich, passed away. A previous housemother, Peggy Roberts, was able to take her place. EN was very active honor societies, Dean’s List, sports, student government and other campus groups. And in 1994 Kappa Meeghan O’Connor was Homecoming Queen. And EN received Honorable Mention for Outstanding House Board at KKG Convention in Atlanta. EN was involved with other groups on campus in an alcohol awareness group called GAMMA(Greeks advocating mature management of alcohol).
The 2000’s found EN with new philanthropies such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee having two events each year to support BBBS. Their Kappa Kappa Gala benefit raised $11,000 funding the Jessica Herron Memorial Scholarship. And EN supported the KKG philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental. We are a very diverse chapter with women from 35 states plus England, Brazil and Taiwan. We are very active on campus and our scholarship is high among other groups. Our pledge classes are all quota and have high grade points. They integrate well to the chapter and become leaders. We strive for each of our members to complete 15 hours of community service and to attend RIF at least once each semester.
Epsilon Nu began the year 2012 with a very successful recruitment by welcoming 49 new members to our chapter. The annual new member formal was held at a prestigious venue this year: Gaylord Springs Opryland. The new members all wore white and it was a fun and enjoyable evening for all! The new members wearing white distinguished their brand new status as Epsilon Nu Kappa Kappa Gammas.
Additionally, our philanthropy event, Sports-4-All, was held with the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Attendance was high and the event ran smoothly, despite the rainy weather! Sports-4-all is a field day event hosted specifically for disabled adults to keep them healthy and active and, of course, to have some fun outside with Kappas! Epsilon Nu also strives to foster and sustain a close-knit relationship with our professors here at Vanderbit University. Hilary Roberson planned a few successful professor dinners throughout the semester, in which any of the girls' could invite their favorite professor ovr to the Kappa house for dinner and good conversation. Upon our return to campus in late August, the whole chapter stood together with a big Kappa banner along the Founder's Day Walk route and welcomed the new class of 2016. In Septemeber, we affiliated one member, Madden Hodes, who transferred from Washingotn University. She was apart of the Gamma Iota chapter there and all the Epsilon Nu members here were ecstatic for Madden to join us. Madden will be joining chapter council for the 2013-2014 year, which is always very exciting!
Next, in October, we had our annual GLOW date party at Club Indulge located in Downtown Nashville. It was a great venue and everyone had a blast in their neon glowing apparel! Out chapter here at Vanderbilt asks each member to complete 15 hours of community service and attend RIF at least once a semester. Epsilon Nu members are a integral part of the Nashville community and are becoming increasingly involved every year.
During the Fall semester, members of Epsilon Nu participated in many other community service events including in the fall. Some of these included our Holiday Reading Party for TAP and Trick-or-treat with Greek and Athletes. For the Holiday Reading Party, Kappa had 20 children over from the TAP program to participate in a speed reading competition, skit competition, dancing, and cookie decorating. Kappa also held a great charity bake sale called Kappachinos in order to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Our main philanthropic event, Kappa Kappa Gala, took place on November 1, 2012 in the Student Life Center. This event raises money not only for Sports-4-All, but more importantly, for the Jessica Heron Memorial Scholarship. Gala was a huge success this year and we were able to raise $3,614.35. In December we held or annual Kite and Key formal with the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. This event took place at Oz in West Nashville. All in all, Epsilon Nu had a fantastic year of 2012 and we are definitely looking forward to making 2013 even better!
Vanderbilt University has roughly under 7,000 undergraduates and about 6,000 graduate students. It was founded in 1873 and our 330-acre campus is located just a few miles from the center of downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The four undergraduate schools include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the Peabody College, and the Blair School of Music. Vanderbilt has an 8 to 1 student to faculty ratio, enabling students to make the most of their time in the classroom. There are more than 300 student organizations, 34 fraternities and sororities, in which about 42% of the undergraduate population is involved. Zeta Tau Alpha, a brand new sorority on campus, is now one year old.
Our chapter here at Vanderbilt is named Epsilon Nu. It was founded on October 19, 1973 and Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority was founded in 1870 at Monmouth College. Initially, the first Epsilon Nu women were part of a local group, the Phileans Society, on Vanderbilt's campus. In 1972, they voted to affiliate with a national organization. They petitioned Kappa Kappa Gamma on July 9th of 1972, and after inspection the invitation was officially accepted. Fifteen charter members were initiated to Epsilon Nu on October 13, 1973, officially beginning the Kappa Kappa Gamma legacy at Vanderbilt University. Kappa's flower is the Iris and its colors are light blue and dark blue. Our philanthropy is Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee and our benefit is Kappa Kappa Gala. Besides being involved in Epsilon Nu's activites and events, our members are also apart of numerous organizations on campus. Some include: Alternative Spring Break, Best Buddies, Club Field Hockey and The Hustler. We also have many varsity athletes from the tennis, lacrosse, and soccer teams! The current number of members in Epsilon Nu is 186, including 137 active members and 49 new members.
The past calendar year has proved as both an academic and involved year for the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Vanderbilt University. Of the 126 women that were active members (not on special status or abroad), 86 women achieved the Dean's List. Sisters achieved honors such as the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honors Society, Omicron Delta Kappa, Pi Mu Epsilon, and Order of Omega Initiate. Beyond that recognition, awards that members received included the Israel Birthright Excel, OH Ingram Engineering Management scholarship, Panhellenic Scholarship Award, Who's Who in Vanderbilt Greek Life, 1st Place in 2014 Tennessee Engineering Conference Student Competition, and Nicols Humanitarian Fund Award.
The 2014 year kicked off with formal recruitment and then welcoming a new pledge class of new members. In the spring, we held our formal date party, while in the fall, we hosted our annual GLOW date party and cohosted Kite & Key with Kappa Alpha Theta. Throughout the year, we work to strengthen our faculty student relationship by continuing to host interactive professor luncheons and dinners. The sorority also held several special events to give back and raise money for our philanthropies: The Sports 4 All Foundation, Reading is Fundamental, and The Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. The sisters of Kappa held a field day for those with disabilities through The Sports 4 All Foundation. We also participated in the RIF sponsored, Read to Me Week to encourage literacy. Capture the flag at Derby Days gave us a chance to involve ourselves in Sigma Chi's philanthropic effort. In the fall, the sophomore pledge class also performed three dances at their annual Gala to raise money for our charities. At War of the Wings, Kappa again teamed up with the brothers of Sigma Chi and hosted a wing buffet from different restaurants across Nashville.
Over the past year, our chapter has laid out and accomplished several goals. First, we aimed to have our committees meet more frequently than they have in past years, as well as to delegate specific roles within each committee to allow for more members to take on responsibility. We achieved this goal over the course of the year. Another goal was to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our chapter meetings, which we accomplished by using a power point to keep the meetings focused and timely. We also increased the transparency and understanding of the budget using a power point presentation to the chapter. Finally, we focused on improving relations with both the Office of Greek Life and other sororities at Vanderbilt. Points may be awarded to girls for attending events and supporting other outside organizations, as a means to encourage community. We feel that we have accomplished this goal as well through joint programming, though we hope to continue improving it throughout the coming years.
One of the major changes on campus is the stride towards creating Greek life unity as well as better faculty relations, and non-Greek relations. Many officers have attended workshops to develop a more inviting and considerate environment for everybody, including those not involved in Greek life. One recent effort we implemented this year was ensuring MLK day, which falls on bid Monday, was a dry holiday where we involved ourselves with the community. In years past, bid Monday had distracted Greek life from the meaning and importance of this day to the rest of our community. Greeks attended seminars all over campus to learn more about this day and show our respect for everybody around us.
As mentioned before, one of our chapter goals was to improve relations with the Office of Greek Life and other sororities. By attending joint workshops and other sorority events, we can show our support in a fun and involved way. Our Kappa Kappa Gamma, Epsilon Nu chapter has a very strong, unique sisterhood. We are wholeheartedly dedicated to each other and want to spread those bonds. We want to encourage inclusivity, strengthening relations with everybody and not just each other. Through continued involvement, we hope to continue to move in this direction and give a good reflection of Greek life to those involved and not.
Our chapter meets weekly in the living area of the chapter house. Each year 4 sisters among the officers live in the house. It is a great opportunity to get girls more involved with the organization and nurture friendships. These girls live in our University owned house, which has a common area that all sorority members are welcome in at any time of the day. Epsilon Nu did not have a house when it was first colonized and then formally installed in October 1973. At that time, the chapter was given a single room in the basement of Branscomb Quadrangle. The chapter was able to have some fall recruitment there but the freshman recruitment remained in St. Augustine’s Chapel for several years. The chapter’s second home was what is now the Cuninggim Women’s Center on historic West Side Row. We finally were able to build and open our lovely house in 1979.
Throughout the 2015 calendar year, the sisters of Kappa Kappa Gamma have continued to excel academically, support philathropic events, and strengthen the relationship between Greek members and the rest of campus. Among the many scholarships that sisters won were a Full Tuition Dean's Achievement Award, National Merit Scholarship, Vanderbilt Varsity Athletics Scholarship, Moeller Company Scholarship, Panhellenic Scholarship, CEA Academic Merit Scholarship, and the Poarch Scholarship. Sisters also earned many honors and awards including the Greek New Member of the Year, Order of Omega, Top 10 Outstanding Senior, MHS Honors Thesis Candidate, Academic Excellence in International Business, SEC Academic Honor Roll, Mortar Board Honors Society admission into the Society of Collegiate Leadership and Achievement. Finally, of the active members, 122 girls made the Dean's List after the Spring semester!
In addition to these honors and awards, the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma have gotten involved with various events and clubs on the Vanderbilt campus. A few of the outside groups and events that girls supported were Dance Marathon, the Camp Kesem Vanderbilt Fall Benefit Concert, The Afterschool Program, Life to Love, Moneythink, Vanderbilt Alternative Winter Break, Students Against Modern Slavery, Relay For Life, Nashville Dolphins, New York Cares, Animal Care and Control Center, Spoon University, VSVS, Project Bridges, Society of Women Engineers Community Service, Tour Guides events, AIPAC Student Leader Dinner, Park Center South, and Manna Project International. The sisters also volunteered with our Kappa sponsored philanthropies, Reading is Fundamental, Paso a Paso, Sports 4 All, and TAP.
The Spring semester began with formal recruitment, where the sisters welcomed a new pledge class of wonderful women to the Kappa Kappa Gamma house. Soon after, the old chapter council welcomed a new team of sisters into their positions during turnover and we hosted our formal date party. The Spring wrapped up by wishing the seniors our the best as they graduated and entered a new chapter of their lives. The fall kicked off with Founders Walk as our sisters represented the chapter and cheered on the incoming Freshman class. Our chapter hosted our annual GLOW date party and as well as cohosted the annual Kite & Key date party with our fellow greek house, Kappa Alpha Theta. The newest pledge class also choreographed and performed 3 talented dances at the revamped Kappa Kappa Gamma Gala to benefit our philanthropies, RIF, Paso a Paso, and TAP.
Our sisters have been continually working to achieve our goal of strengthening relations with outside leaders and organizations. The chapter frequently hosts interactive professor luncheons and dinners in order to connect with our academic leaders and integrate them further with our chapter and Greek life as a whole. Another goal our chapter set was to connect the chapter more and focus on realizing the potential and acomplishments of the women in our chapter. In order to connect our girls professionally, our chapter council created a history of internships and jobs for the girls to use for guidance and support in their own internship and job hunts. Additionally, our chapter created a shared google document detailing the classes that girls have taken with specific professors to help girls tailor their academic path at Vanderbilt to their specific interests and ensure valuable class experiences. Finally, our chapter created a separate document to share abroad experiences and advice to aid younger girls in making the huge decision of whether or where to study abroad.
Last year, Greek organizations set the goal of improving relations between Greek life and other organizations. Panhellenic implemented a new point system with this goal in mind. All sisters are required now to attend a certain number of events in various categories. Through this system, our sisters have had the chance to be exposed to so many interesting and enlightening events with organizations all across campus. The point system encourages attendance to events, but sisters still select the specific event and organization that interests them to fulfill their point. The best way to improve relations with faculty and other organizations is through these genuine interactions and hopefully future collaborations! Each week our president sends an email out letting the house know of all the great events that will occuring on campus that week. As active and passionat women, the KKG ladies can take advantage of our power as Greek Women and support various causes on campus. Through the point system, continued awareness, and set goals, our girls continuously seek to strengthen our relationships and presence on campus and show our support for the many great events, causes, and organizations at Vanderbilt.
In light of recent diversity conversations both on the Vanderbilt campus as well as on college campuses nationally, our chapter has also set goals to strengthen and improve both the diversity amongst the girls in our house and the inclusivity felt by all members once welcomed into the house. Although our house has girls of vastly different backgrounds and experiences, our chapter continually seeks to expand its horizons and absorb dynamic girls from all corners of campus. During recruitment, we pride ourselves on giving each girl who steps through the door a genuine chance and continually seek to find "hidden gems" or stand out girls who we had never met until recruitment. Change begins through an open mind, conversation, and setting goals relating to the values that we seek in girls when shaping the pledge class that will join next Spring.
The Epsilon Nu chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Vanderbilt Universtiy has a very vibrant and loyal sisterhood. Some of the words that sisters used to describe what the house embodied were driven, authentic, supportive, sisterly, dynamic, compassionate, spunky, inspiring, motivated, and energetic. The most frequently mentioned words, and accurately defining words, were passionate and caring. Our Kappa Kappa Gamma women are bright leaders, active supporters, dedicated scholars, and wholeheartedly dedicated sisters. From the light we derive from the sisterly support and bonds found in the house, our sisters spread their warmth, levity, and energy to all ends of campus. Aligning with our chapter goals, our house wishes to continue integrating and strengthening relations with non-Greek organizations and professors, and recruit to a pledge class of genuine, inspiring, and passionate girls who will lead the generations to come.
Where does your chapter hold chapter meetings? In the chapter owned or rented facility? In a university owned facility, house, dorm, lodge or classroom?
Our chapter meets weekly in the living area of the chapter house. The house is owned by Vanderbilt University.
What is the history of your chapter’s housing? Have your members had the opportunity to live together in any way? Does your chapter have a house, lodge, apartment or suite? If yes, is it chapter owned or rented, or university owned? How many sisters can live there? Has your chapter owned or lived in more than one house during its history?
Each year officers live in the house. This integrated approach is a great opportunity to get girls more involved with the organization and nurture friendships. These girls live in our University owned house, which has a common area that all sorority members are welcome in at any time of the day. During this past calendar year, the house underwent an amazing redecoration to update and polish the look. The house is styled in a more modern way while still remaining loyal to the traditional space that we were endowed with.
Epsilon Nu did not have a house when it was first colonized, but was formally installed in October 1973. At that time, the chapter was given a single room in the basement of Branscomb Quadrangle. The chapter was able to have some fall recruitment there but the freshman recruitment remained in St. Augustine’s Chapel for several years. The chapter’s second home was what is now the Cuninggim Women’s Center on historic West Side Row. We finally were able to build and open our lovely house in 1979, where it has served as home to hundred of women who have been lucky enough to pass through its doors.
Because Vanderbilt does spring recruitment, we always start our year by gaining a new pledge class. This year we had an incredible recruitment week, with exceptional feedback from all PNMs, and in the end we welcomed 42 fantastic new members. Our bid day theme was "girls on fire" and it was truly fitting for the firey, spunky, and warm new members. Shortly after, our executive council attended a panhellenic wide awards ceremony where we won the award for outstanding faculty engagement. Each semester we host two professor luncheons, and also invite a professor to chapter dinner once a month. These events are a wonderful way for our members to stay engaged with their professors and also get some very insightful advice for the multitude of wonderful professors at Vanderbilt.
Our chapter finished the spring semester on a high note academically, ranking 5th overall in the greek community with a house GPA of 3.65. We also had 122 members made the Dean's List and 21 members with a 4.0, and on top of all that our new member pledge class had the highest GPA of all pledge classes in the greek community. Because of these high achievements we also received honorable mention for academic excellence at the Kappa summer convention. Also on the topic of academic excellence, our graduating seniors left a wonderful legacy with bright futures ahead of them. Many of them went on to prestigious graduate programs at schools like Northwestern and Georgetown, while others went straight into the work force landing jobs at big names companies like Google and Morgan Stanley.
In March we had our spring formal at the Hard Rock Café, which was a huge success. Also in the spring semester two of our members accepted huge leadership positions on campus. Ariana Fowler was elected student body President, and Victoria Potter was selected as the president of panhellenic.
Our fall semester has been just as enjoyable and impressive. The sophomores organized their own philanthropy event, Kool off with Kappa, where they sold popsicles outside of the student center and donated all of the proceeds to our local philanthropies. We also had our annual fall fundraiser, Kappa Kappa Gala, where we raised $2,500. During homecoming week we partnered with Sigma Alpha Epsilon and had some wonderful events with our alumni that came back for the weekend.
We had two date parties this semester as well. First was Glow, hosted at Agenda nightclub, which was a super fun event where we all got to dress in neon costumes and go crazy on the dancefloor. We also had a combined fall formal with Kappa Alpha Theta that was a classy and elegant evening. We have also done some senior programming events this fall, including a free Pure Barre class graciously hosted by the owner of the studio, a Vanderbilt Kappa alum.
This fall we also hosted debate watching parties at the house for girls to watch the debates and election results in a comforting and open environment. Overall, 2016 has been a wonderful year for our chapter and we are excited to see what 2017 will bring.
Over the last year our chapter has become more involved in advocating for diversity and inclusion throughout the greek community. We have made efforts to attend multiple events hosted by the NAACP to participate in discussions about affirmative actions and the true meaning behind some of our nations symbols. Our members feel strongly that the greek community, and especially Kappa, should be a place for everyone to feel welcome, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, or background.
The Vanderbilt community overall is making strides toward change, and our chapter is trying to be as involved in those changes as possible. We invited Dean Hill, the Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, to speak with us during chapter dinner and I know that many of our sisters attended and found the discussion to be engaging and helpful.
Our chapter supports two local philanthropies, Paso a Paso and The Afterschool Program. Both are mentoring programs for at risk youth in the Nashville community. Paso a Paso was started by one of our own Epsilon Nu alumni. Also, many of our sisters volunteer weekly with The After School program in addition to chapter sponsored events for the program. Additionally, each member is required to complete 15 individual hours of community service each year. We have also organized multiple trips to the Children's Hospital to volunteer cleaning toys, as well as trips to help out the Nashville Food Project.
Paso a Paso was started by one of our very own Epsilon Nu members. She is a recent alumna but the chapter continues to support her organization. The After School program is a program that many of our members were already involved in before we took them on as our local philanthropy. Our members have built strong relationships with the students and enjoy making a difference in their lives each week.
We have our weekly chapter meetings in the living room of our house on campus. The house was just renovated during the summer of 2015 and looks wonderful.
In 2017, Epsilon Nu won the “Most Improved Chapter Award” for Vanderbilt Panhellenic sororities. Our members continue to be super involved on campus, and we have many members that are on the executive board of other organizations! Our sisters do a wide variety of activities together and you can feel just how strong the bonds are.
As a chapter we donate hours to Book ‘Em, which is an organization that gives books to underprivileged children and spreads the joys of reading and learning. Our chapter volunteers there frequently by helping to sort books, setting up for events, and reading at schools to children! Our chapter also volunteers at TAP, or The After School Program, where our members serve as school tutors to children in underprivileged areas. We help to motivate students and make sure that they are getting the educational help that they need. Many of our members have created strong bonds with the children in TAP, so it is very special organization to Epsilon Nu! During Halloween we trick-or-treated with many of the TAP students around Greek Row to show them our support! In the fall we have our annual philanthropy event called Kappa Kappa Gala, where we raise money for Reading is Fundamental. This year we had a record number of ticket sales and money raised for this wonderful organization. We believe in the power of education and empowering young kids to explore and learn more about their world. We chose Book ‘Em and TAP because it is important to try and make an impact and a change in your local community. We want to make sure we are giving back to the community that gives so much to us!
We also created "sunshine boxes" to give away at the beginning of the fall semester. Each box contained smiley-face stickers, candy, bubble toys, and personal notes from Kappas, and they were given to students who exemplify positivity. Our chapter President even donated her Jessica Herron chapter scholarship award to help fund the boxes. Epsilon Nu was featured in the Spring 2018 edition of The Key for this program.
As a chapter, we strive to be continually involved in the Vanderbilt community and continue our great fundraising events for our philanthropies. Our annual event, Kappa Kappa Gala, raised a significant amount of money for Reading is Fundamental and TAP. Academically we received one of the highest house GPAs in Panhellenic.
Our chapter is very involved in the campus community, and many of our members hold leadership positions in other organizations. The overall nature of Epsilon Nu is energetic and involved. Each member is committed to Kappa, but also is excited to share their other passions with their sisters.
Along with Reading is Fundamental and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, our chapter raises money and volunteers at The After School Program or TAP. TAP is a tutoring program for students in the local Nashville area. Vanderbilt students meet with these Nashville students a couple times a week to help them with their school work and encourage their academic curiosity.
We believe in the power of education and understand the importance of child literacy. Many students in the Nashville area struggle to receive good education, so we want to give back to the community that has given so much to us.
In 2019, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Epsilon Nu chapter at Vanderbilt University grew as both a sisterhood and a liaison to the Vanderbilt and Nashville greater community. Our annual philanthropy event, Kappa Kappa Gala raised $6000, the most money in our chapter’s history, for Reading is Fundamental, our national philanthropy, and TAP, our local philanthropy. Our sisters donated books and money as well as our time through the community. Three days a week, sisters spent time tutoring and mentoring children in public schools in Nashville. Our Kappa Kookout in the spring raised over $4000 for our philanthropies. This January, the Epsilon Nu chapter welcomed 39 new members to our chapter. We could not have gotten this amazing new member class without the hard work of recruitment chair Dana Rowe. To celebrate our incredible new pledge class, our Bid Day theme was Kappa Wonderland. We had so much fun on Bid Day celebrating and dancing with our new member class! Our hardworking and intelligent sisters had one of the highest average GPAs in the Vanderbilt Panhellenic community. We are so proud of our sisterhood, involvements, and academics and strive to continue our legacy as a chapter.
Our chapter was given the House Board award and we were noted as honorable mention for the Academic Excellence award. We had one member receive the Epsilon Nu merit-based scholarship this year. We also conducted a virtual initiation during the Spring 2020 semester as one of the first chapters in Kappa to ever do so. We were unable to have in-person chapters, but our house has been opened for people to hang out in small, socially-distanced groups upon request.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The chapter created a list of action items moving forward with recruitment this year to ensure we are more inclusive and open to as many new ideas as possible. These action items ranged from financial inclusivity, diversity and inclusion measures, as well as many other items to move our chapter toward a more socially inclusive environment. We added an official DEI officer and posted awareness of our actions and steps moving forward through social media campaigns.
Epsilon Nu supports Book’em, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, as well as The After School Program. Our chapter has supported these three organizations for several years now. The After School Program and Book’em encourage children in the Nashville area to independently read and work hard in school. Our chapter is highly encouraging of raising the literacy rates in Nashville Metro areas, and we work with these two organizations to do exactly that. Also, we support the KKG Foundation to support our sisters in times of need.
Our chapter celebrated Kappa’s 150th anniversary at Trish Smith’s house. Since the pandemic put a damper on things, many people were unable to attend, but the women who did went through a safe, socially-distanced badge presentation ceremony (also held at Trish’s house) and celebrated the anniversary through tradition and ritual with members old and new.