Kappa Kappa Gamma Leadership Programs

In this video, Kappa Kappa Gamma alumnae Alex Doerfler discusses her experience and knowledge of Kappa leadership programs including Leadership Academy, which she attended, and the responsibilities of Leadership Consultants.
(Sorry about the background noise!)
Filmed and edited on my iPad.
Photos used with permission of owner.
Music by Imagine Dragons.

Kappa Kappa Gamma House Tour

A tour of my sorority house, Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of New Mexico. We are the Gamma Beta chapter. This video was filmed and edited on my iPad. The photos are used by permission of the owners or are owned by me. The music is by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen.

A History of Fraternities: The University of New Mexico

Pi Kappa Alpha’s “Estufa” in 1910 on the University of New Mexico campus. The building was built originally for the Yum-Yum Boys, later known as the Alpha Alpha Alpha Fraternity which then became Pike.

Pi Kappa Alpha’s “Estufa” in 1910 on the University of New Mexico campus. The building was built originally for the Yum-Yum Boys, later known as the Alpha Alpha Alpha Fraternity which then became Pike.

In my last post, we closed with the founding of the National Panhellenic Conference, the North American Inter-Fraternity Conference and the first Multi-Cultural Greek organizations. Now, we will localize the topic and focus on Greek organizations at the University of New Mexico.

The University of New Mexico was founded in 1889 with the passage of House Bill No. 186. The bill stipulated that the university be located “at or near Albuquerque … within two miles north of railroad avenue in said town, upon a tract of good high and dry land,” which explains why UNM sits where it does.

William G. Tight was the University’s third president (1901-1909) and introduced many programs for students including fraternities and sororities. In 1903, the first fraternity and sorority both were established with Tight’s help. The first Greek organizations at UNM were the Alpha Alpha Alpha Fraternity (formerly the Yum-Yum Boys, or Yum Yum Society) and the Sigma Sigma Sorority (formerly the Minnehaha Social Club). UNM did not see any semblance of student government until 1908 and a representative council was not formed until about 1913.

In 1904, the first Greek social event was hosted by Sigma Sigma. They offered trolley rides to a soda fountain and to Old Town. Faculty also participated in their event. In the same year, Alpha Alpha Alpha hosted their first event which was an on-campus party that included a cake walk, games and dancing.

President Tight dreamt of UNM having adobe-style architecture across campus and around 1906-1908 taught the Yum-Yum Boys how to lay adobe bricks. They then built the Estufa which still sits on the corner of Redondo Drive and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The building is used today as Pi Kappa Alpha’s chapter meeting room. There is no door handle on the outside and it is believed that there is an underground tunnel that the group uses to get inside.

In 1911, Phi Mu was installed and became the first national Greek-letter organization to have a chapter in either New Mexico or Arizona territory. In 1915, the Alpha Alpha Alpha fraternity became the national fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha. In the same year, the local fraternity Sigma Tau became Sigma Chi. The first fraternity house was also built this year for the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

In 1920, UNM’s newest leader, President David S. Hill began to see a problem with social activities taking precedence over the intellectual. Hill gathered a Committee on Conduct of Women Students that prohibited dances Sunday-Thursday, required chaperones and put in place discipline for improper dancing. Hill also began seeing hazing as a problem with fraternities using methods of physical punishment.

In 1927, more than 50 percent of students belonged to fraternities and sororities. Today, about 10 percent of students are members of Greek-letter organizations at UNM.

Next week, I will begin delving into the history of my organization, Kappa Kappa Gamma.

A History of Fraternities, Pt. II

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Founders of Kappa Kappa Gamma, one of the first Greek letter women’s organizations.

In my last post, I discussed the history of the earliest beginnings of fraternities, through about the early 1800s with the founding of three fraternities at Union College. Now, we will move forward and go into more discussion about how today’s fraternities and sororities were founded and hit on some milestones.

In 1851, the women of Georgia Wesleyan created the first women’s secret society, “secret sisterhood.” Later in 1862, the Morrill Act made it possible for new western states to establish colleges for their citizens. The new land-grant institutions, which emphasized agriculture and mechanic arts, opened opportunities to many farmers and working people who were previously excluded from higher education. Faculty welcomed the founding of student governments and the U.S. population began diversifying and this was reflected in college populations as well.

“Sorosis” was founded in 1867 at Monmouth College in Illinois and began colonizing other chapters from the get-go. The organization was considered to be the first women’s fraternity. The Sorosis charter was relinquished in 1884 due to the prohibition of secret societies, but in 1888, they became Pi Beta Phi, a women’s fraternity still in existence today. 

In 1870, the first women’s fraternities with Greek letter names were formed. Kappa Alpha Theta was founded at DePauw University in Indiana and three months later, Kappa Kappa Gamma was founded at Monmouth College. Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi are now referred to as the “Monmouth Duo.”

Today, there is a national group that acts as a governing board of sorts for all 26 sororities called the National Panhellenic Conference. It was founded in 1902 and began with 10 initial organizations. The first attempt at establishing such an organization is 1891 and earlier historical documents reference attempts at “rushing and pledging agreements” among organizations at different institutions.

Similarly, the North American Inter-Fraternity Conference (NIC) consists of 74 organizations. At its founding in 1910 they had 26 groups on board.

In addition to traditional fraternities and sororities, there are also Multi-Cultural Groups. Although racial and religious restrictions have been abolished in all NIC and NPC organizations, the new generation of “culture interest” organizations has arisen to serve the interests of communities whose number in the traditional Greek system are historically small and dispersed. These groups are mainly for racially, culturally, or religiously different groups that wanted to develop their own fraternities.

Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. was the first black Greek organization and was founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In January of 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha became America’s first Greek-letter organization for African-American college women. The first Latino fraternity is Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity and was founded in 1931 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Now we have a basic knowledge of the history of fraternities and sororities in the United States. In my next post, I will zero in a little more and focus on the history of Greek organizations at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A History of Fraternities, Pt. I

Most of the collegiate-based fraternities and sororities in existence today in the United States were founded in the mid-1800s to late-1800s. My sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, will celebrate 143 years this October. But, the history that led up to their Civil War-era founding dates is much further back in history than you might expect.

 Fraternities and sororities are secret societies. We have secret rituals, handshakes, door knocks, passwords and more. Secret societies find their beginnings in ancient Egyptian mystery cults. These cults, which would be popular during the Hellenistic Age (323-330 B.C.) were formed to provide emotional religion that later would be an important part of Greek and Roman life.

One popular festival during the Greek and Roman ages was the Eleusinian. This Athenian religious festival was held in honor of the grain and fertility goddess Demeter, whose Greek name means “spelt mother” (spelt is a variety of wheat). The cult held this important festival in the town of Eleusis.

Fraternal societies found a new home in American colleges with the Social and Benevolent Order of Freemasonry (Masons). Freemasons had already founded several chapters by 1776. They began as an outlet from an otherwise restrictive atmosphere and created an avenue for discussion, thought and social activities. Other fraternal groups that popped up were literary societies and then secret college fraternities.

In 1750, the Flat Hat Society was founded as the first secret society at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. FHC was very similar to literary societies but social activities were also included as part of their intended purpose. Thomas Jefferson is recorded as a member but since 1772 there has been no record of their existence.

In 1776, Phi Beta Kappa was founded, also at the College of William and Mary. Many of their traditions were similar to those of the Masons including an oath of secrecy, a badge, mottos in Greek and Latin, a code of laws, an elaborate form of initiation, a seal, and a special handshake. They had their members live together in a lodge and also had new chapters in other locations. In 1831 their secrets were published at Harvard so they then became solely an honor society. Phi Beta Kappa remains the most widely distributed Greek-letter society.

In 1825, eight years after Phi Beta Kappa hit Union College, nine students got together and formed the Kappa Alpha Society, which is now the oldest social fraternity. Two Years later, other Union students started two more of their own fraternities, Sigma Phi Society and Delta Phi. The three are known today as the Union Triad.

In my next post, we will discuss “Era II” fraternities and also discuss the founding of women’s fraternities and sororities. 

Social Media Final Project Editorial Calendar

For my final project, I am going to cover my sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma and will localize it by focusing in on my chapter at UNM, the Gamma Beta chapter.

 

Week One:

  • A History of Fraternities
  • History of Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • History of Gamma Beta chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma

Week Two:

  • Philanthropy
  • Programs
  • Chapter organization and member involvement

Week Three:

  • I will come up with more as I write the other posts and figure out how this project is going to work! 🙂

Our Story: Kappa Kappa Gamma

The organization I have chosen is the sorority I joined in the Fall of 2010, Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Kappa was founded in 1870 in Monmouth, Illinois at Monmouth College when six young women marched into the chapel at Monmouth wearing golden keys in their hair and declared themselves as the members of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Kappa’s official founding date is October 13, 1870. The word “sorority” didn’t exist at the time of its founding so it is actually a women’s fraternity. In all of our documents and correspondence, Kappa is referred to as “the fraternity,” and is never referred to as a sorority.

Kappa’s flower is the mythical Fleur-de-Lis. The flower we use as its stand-in is the iris. The Fleur-de-Lis is also one of Kappa’s symbols along with owls and keys. The fraternity’s colors are dark and light blue and its jewel is the sapphire. Our national philanthropy is Reading Is Fundamental. Kappa’s national open motto used to be “A Tradition of Leadership,” but in June 2012 was changed to “Aspire To Be.”

I chose to use Kappa Kappa Gamma for my final project because it is a big part of my life and also such a large organization with a long history. Kappa is important to me because without the help of these women I call my sisters, I would not be as successful academically or have the leadership traits that they have taught me.

In Kappa, it is impossible not to be inspired almost immediately by the women who make up this organization. Some notable Kappas are designer Kate Spade, actresses Sophia Bush and Ashley Judd, and New Mexico Lieutenant Governor, Diane Denish.

I want readers to learn more about Greek Life in general, but to see what Kappa Kappa Gamma specifically is about. We really are an organization whose aim is to cultivate leaders and foster creativity through leadership. I held an officer position in Kappa in 2012 as Panhellenic Delegate and was given the freedom to essentially do what I wanted to with my position and my adviser supported and helped me with my endeavors. Additionally, I gained a friend in my adviser who of course is a Kappa as well but I wouldn’t have built that relationship if I wasn’t constantly encouraged to be in contact with her and communicate with her.

Kappa is not just 100 college women living in the same big house with Greek letters plastered across the front. It’s your adviser whose kids you’ll babysit on Friday nights; it’s your dance teacher who later gives you a job to help you through college; it’s a network of strong, empowered women who will be your sisters for as long as you allow them.