|Founded||April 18, 1882|
|Media related to Upsilon Chapter|
Northwestern University established in 1851, Evanston, Illinois
Anna M. Boyle, Grace Little, Minnie Louise Scott, Katharine Lucinda Sharp, Lucy Katharine Wood.
Katherine Lucinda Sharp, Charter member of Upsilon, initiated in 1882; as the first charter member of Upsilon to graduate, Kate received a diamond badge from the chapter. This badge would become the official badge of the President after Kate’s death. It was used until 2000 then retired to Fraternity Headquarters. Elected sixth Grand President 1894 – 1896; the force behind the charter granted in 1899 to Beta Lambda, Illinois. Known as a pioneer in library science; Founded and Directed the Library of the University of Illinois
Carla Sergeant Fisk, Grand Secretary 1896 – 1900, resigned 4/1900; Sought and gained approval for her Sigma-within-the-Delta design at the 1894 convention. The design would become the pledge pin, now known as the new member pin.
Sarah Harris Rowe, Grand President 1920 – 1922; Grand Vice President 1914 – 1920; Province President 1924 – 1925; Registrar and Dean of Women at the School of Speech Communication at Northwestern
Mary Agnes Graham Roberts (Gray), 1976, Convention Chairman 1972 – 1982, Field Secretary 1945-1947
Margaret Dickson Falley, 1970, American genealogist expert and author of Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research: A Guide to the Genealogical Records, Methods and Sources in Ireland; Elizabeth Baumann Cook, 1984, Expert in building hospital volunteer programs; Julia “Judy” Ade Levering, 2002, First female president of the U.S. Tennis Association; seniors’ tennis championship finalist, Virginia "Ginni" Nicosia Rometty, 2016, business; Punch Hutton, 2016, Deputy Editor of Vanity Fair
Betty Robinson Schwartz, Olympic gold & silver medalist; Betty Robinson was the first woman to win a track event in an Olympic Games capturing the 100 meters at the 1928 Olympics; silver medalist as a member of the 4x100m relay in 1928 Olympics; gold medalist on the 4x100m relay at the 1936 Olympics; member of the Track & Field Hall of Fame; the first woman to receive a varsity "N" from Northwestern.
Candy Kubiak, Epsilon Province Representative to the Fraternity’s Undergraduate Council
Nancy Tyra-Lukens, Mayor of Eden Prairie, Minnesota 2014 – 2002; City Council Member 1994 – 2001; Municipal Legislative Commission Board of Directors; 2010 Hennepin County, Minnesota Capital Budgeting Task Force; the Suburban Transit Association, the Southwest Transit Commission and the Family Housing Fund; and President of the Eden Prairie Foundation.
Mary Lisbeth Bartlett Backes, Acting Coach, Professional Actress on Broadway, film, television and at regional theaters across the USA; Lisbeth has been nominated for and won several film and theater acting awards. She has taught acting and audition workshops at undergraduate theater programs, graduate conservatory acting programs and professional theater schools, including Temple University, Northwestern, Brandeis, University of the Arts, Drexel, the Wilma, and many others. Lisbeth made her professional New York and Broadway debuts simultaneously as Irene in Sir Ronald Harwood’s award-winning backstage drama, The Dresser. Her other Broadway credits include Denise Apcar in Emily Mann’s docudrama, Execution of Justice; and “The Girl” in William Saroyan’s The Cave Dwellers. Her feature films include Rocket Science, Amadeus, Saint Christopher, Suspect and many others. Her television credits include appearances on daytime dramas and a variety of television series.
Judith Coggeshall Toth, elected a Maryland State Representative
Sharon Spence Lieb, Television writer, producer and professor of master’s level courses in travel writing. For more than 20 years, Spence Lieb has been a travel writer, mentoring her students and enabling them to become professional journalists and authors. In 2011 Spence Lieb took first-place prize for Best Online Consumer-Oriented Travel Article for her Jetset Extra article “Looking for Captain Cook: Penguins, Icebergs, and a World Famous Explorer.” Awarded by the Atlantic-Caribbean Chapter of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Spence Lieb also won two other first place awards in two categories – Best Newspaper Article Foreign Travel and Best Magazine Article Foreign Travel – for stories which appeared in The Moultrie News Newspaper of Mount Pleasant, SC and Journeys West Magazine of Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition, she won a third place award for Best Self-Illustrated article titled “The Pursuit of Happiness in Cancun,” which also appeared in The Moultrie News.
Donna Cousins Vos, Novelist and founding editor of Career World Magazine; Cousins’ byline has appeared in the Geneva Courier, The Singapore American newspaper, Orientations, and The Asia Magazine, among others. Her short stories have appeared in the literary journal Peregrine and an anthology, Take Two, They’re Small. Her debut novel, Landscape, won first place in the 2005 Midwest Independent Publishers Association Book Awards, honorable mention in Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards, and honorable mention in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards. Waiting for Bones, her second novel was published in 2011. Virginia Nicosia Rometty, Senior Vice President IBM Global Business Services. Nicosia Rometty was named among Fortune Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Laura Forbes Carlin, and Alison Forbes, Tulane — Sisters, writers, and co-founders of Inspired Everyday Living. Together they are co-authors of The Peaceful Nursery: Preparing a Home for Your Baby, published in 2006 by Random House, and two eGuides Love at Home: The Single Girl’s Guide to Feng Shui and Life Design and Laura and Alison’s What You Will Need for a Healthy, Green Baby Nursery. The duo has contributed to magazines and websites including Natural Home, YogiTimes, Intent.com, and ClubMom.com and has been featured in publications that include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Traditional Home, C Magazine, Angeleno, ePregnancy, LA Parent, Daily Candy, and The Hollywood Reporter as well as appeared on radio and television. Over the years, the pair has also consulted with clients from New York to LA.
Sarah Partridge, Actress and jazz vocalist; head of Jazz Explorers, a children’s program bringing jazz and improvisation into elementary schools. Partridge appeared in the 1983 American teen comedy-drama film Risky Business. Throughout the late eighties and early nineties, Partridge could be seen guest starring in many TV series, sitcoms and soap operas. Debut CD, I’ll Be Easy To Find, received excellent reviews in Billboard magazine. Her second CD Blame It On My Youth was released in 2004.
Dina Roth Port, Award-winning freelance writer, journalist, and author. Her book, Previvors: Facing the Breast Cancer Gene and Making Life-Changing Decisions, was published by Penguin in October 2010. A former health editor at Glamour magazine and editor at Parenting magazine, Roth Port’s writing has appeared in national publications such as Glamour, Self, Parenting, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Natural Health, Fitness, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Prevention. The Barta sisters, Lexi , Romi and Marni all of Upsilon founded their nonprofit organization, Kid Flicks in 2002. The Barta sisters have received numerous awards for their work. In 2011, the sisters received the Harlequin More Than Words Award, honoring ordinary women for their extraordinary commitment to women and the causes dearest to them.
The Early Years
“In 1882 there was at Northwestern only one women’s fraternity, Alpha Phi. During the winter, several freshmen conceived the idea of starting a chapter of a rival fraternity, and the result was Upsilon Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.” So wrote an early Upsilon historian. One of those freshmen, Anna Boyle Brown, learned of fraternities through her brother, a Butler graduate, and together they wrote Kappa’s Grand President Tade Hartsuff (Kuhns), M—Butler, a good friend of Clarence Boyle, about forming a chapter at Northwestern.
The President wrote back: the Fraternity would be glad to enter Northwestern and she was satisfied with Anna’s selection of members. The oath of secrecy was forwarded and on its return, the constitution was sent. On the evening of April 18, 1882, Anna read the constitution and initiation ceremony to her chosen four and administered the oath of secrecy. The bylaws of Mu Chapter were read and taken as a model for Upsilon. Within a month, four more girls were initiated.
By the end of the first decade, membership was reported as 11 actives and 11 pledges. Meetings, which first took the form of literary and social gatherings, were held in private home and later on in “Upsilon Hall,” a rented space over a local drugstore. “At homes and receptions were held, there was an annual spring party, and the first alumnae reunion took place during the 13th Biennial Convention in 1896, over which Katharine Sharp, Upsilon charter member, presided as Grand President. Miss Sharp held two doctorates and a law degree.
In 1897, chapter meetings were held weekly in Woman’s Hall on campus. Upsilon member Carla Sargent (Fisk) was Grand Secretary 1896-1900 (she resigned in 4/1900), and during this time she designed the Sigma in Delta, which later became the pledge pin.
Turn of the Century
Minutes from the turn of the century are full of participation in campus activities, selection for academic and social honors, annual dances and parties, and even trips to Urbana, Illinois, for the Northwestern–Illinois football game.
In those days of close ties and short distances, alumnae kept in touch. Time after time, alumnae took part in Initiation and other chapter functions, and by 1904 there is mention of affairs planned for the chapter by the alumnae association. Nearby Conventions were enthusiastically attended and in 1906, Upsilon was represented by 19 actives and alumnae at the Madison, Wisconsin, General Convention. Places prominent today in Evanston social life were mentioned in the early years of the 20th century: chapter luncheons at Marshall Fields’, senior farewells at Ravinia, parties at the Kenilworth Club, and a house party at Macatawa, Michigan. It took a whole page of the minute’s book to record all the honors and chapter activities of 1906, and each marriage is duly registered along with an occasional athletic score.
There were no sorority houses in 1908. There was just a Kappa room on the top floor of the old Willard Hall where actives met every Monday evening. Sarah Rowe (Kanaga) and her sisters were in the Upsilon chapter and lived in Evanston, so their home became the Kappa annex, with their father the credit manager and sponsor of the chapter.
In 1912 it was Upsilon’s turn to be hostess chapter. The Estes Park, Colorado convention in 1914 opened wider horizons for Sarah and led to the eight years she would serve as a member of the Grand Council. She became the first Executive Secretary, sans salary, sans central office, with all files and records in her apartment. The central office became a reality during her term as president. (Taken from The Key, Summer 1974, Vol. 91 No.2)
World War I Years
During 1914-1918, World War I had an effect on chapter activities. The minutes record: a “clothing for Belgian children” drive, a “less expensive party so that money could be donated to worthy causes,” … War Bond drives, and a donation to the Prisoners of War Fund … “Nancy Knight (Slight) is head of the Red Cross Chapter of the University. Here many of us spend our leisure hours and find it quite worthwhile.” However, a semi-normal campus life is indicated, with rushing parties, football games and summer house parties. After the Armistice in the fall of 1918, the influenza epidemic ground activities to a standstill. There were severe restrictions on campuses across the country for many weeks.
Another Upsilon member, Sarah Harris Rowe, began her career with the Fraternity Council when she was elected the first Grand Vice President, charged with the supervision of alumna interests in 1914. Sarah also served as Alumna Editor of The Key. She was directly responsible for the Bas-Meudon post-war Kappa project through her correspondence with Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Ohio State, who was living in France during World War I. Sarah was elected Grand President at the Golden Jubilee Convention serving during 1920-1922. She recommended the establishment of Kappa’s first Central Office with a paid Executive Secretary.
Records of 1921 say that “future generations living in the house will find it hard to realize the thrill we all had when the battle to be allowed to build houses was at last won, and the enthusiasm with which we undertook money-raising activities.” The next years were full of this effort, led by Isabel Drew Fowler, and in September 1927, the present chapter house, 1871 Orrington Avenue, was occupied by 27 girls. Mrs. Fowler, lifetime contributor to Northwestern, to Kappa, and to her community, died in 1973 at the age of 100.
The 1930s saw much campus participation, increasing success in academics and the beginnings of large chapters with pledge classes of 30. Alpha Chapter at Monmouth was reestablished under the direction of Upsilon member Joyce Snider (Heaton) who left Northwestern to head up the colonization.
World War II Years
World War II found most girls enrolled in defense courses. Campus events were canceled, nearby military men were entertained, and funds were raised for War Bond purchases. Shortage of materials wiped out floats, decorations and campus theatricals. Nurses’ aid duty was performed at Evanston Hospital, USO volunteer staffs were manned and blood banks were supplied. After the war, life returned to normal.
Students at Northwestern began the tradition of Mayfete, a time when students would celebrate the "renunciation of the May Queen of the temporal world for a spiritual one," according to a 1951 history of the event. Although little is known about the early days, May Day, was originally a celebration of the women of Northwestern. The crowning of the May Queen was the central event, and the pomp included a Maypole dance and cotillion.
The next years were full of success for Upsilon; the chapters on campus grew larger and their activities more diverse. By 1953, chapter elections were held by class caucus. By 1964, with a pledge class of 32 and 78 in the active chapter, a new addition allowed 60 girls to live in the house.
The late 1960s and early 1970s were characterized by comparatively abrupt and progressive change. The Greek system at Northwestern was under great pressure, its very existence in question. By 1970, only four sororities, Kappa included, were attaining pledge quota, and four other relinquished their charters. The over two-thirds of undergraduate women who had been sorority members diminished to less than one-third in the early 1970s. Local autonomy, the self-governing of each living unit, became the biggest issue at Northwestern, as the university withdrew all controls in university-owned housing. In addition, the university requested all Greek-letter organizations to become fully self-governing, independent of alumnae and/or national control. Furthermore, each organization was asked to state in writing that no discrimination practices concerning race, color or creed were employed in membership selection. With the aid of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity Council, Upsilon Chapter was able to satisfy each university request.
Lifestyles within the chapter house were naturally affected by the many changes witnessed throughout the campus. Complete internal harmony was not always possible as each active evaluated the relative meaningfulness of her fraternity affiliation. Fortunately, Upsilon remained strong, emerging with an honorable mention for chapter-Advisory Board relations in 1968, a best all-around chapter award at Province Meeting in 1969, and a scholarship award at the 1970 Centennial Convention.
Chapter meeting minutes from the 1970s show Upsilon active and popular. One Registrar’s note stated it well: “Upsilon is on the UP this year.” Once again, there was talk of campus participation for the fun of it. However, academic pressures of Northwestern continued to make scholarship a prime concern of the chapter. Upsilon’s chapter GPA was a 3.5 for several years.
The previous information was excerpted from The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870-1976. The information that follows has been gleaned from available resources including Chapter History Reports, chapter meeting minutes, letters and comments from chapter members and alumnae, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity Archives, and The Key. Each chapter is expected to update its history record annually. Contact Fraternity Headquarters at email@example.com with questions.
Highlights of the 1970s
In February 1970 William Kunstler, defense lawyer for the Chicago Seven on trial for disruption during the 1968 Democratic Convention, was invited to speak on campus by the Northwestern Faculty Action Committee. After the lecture, a crowd went on a rampage in downtown Evanston, smashing windows and causing several thousands of dollars in damage.
Violence broke out April 27, 1970, when an arson fire caused extensive damage to the linguistics building. The Traffic Institute building at Hinman and Clark was burned down by arsonists. A group of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) protestors tore up the NROTC offices in Lunt Hall.
Chancellor Miller closed Rebecca Crown Center May 6 as a symbol of Northwestern's participation in the national protest and then ordered all classes cancelled for the rest of the week. A second rally was held May 8 by students who organized a huge gathering that night at Dyche Stadium. The National Guard was called in as a precaution. A crowd of approximately 7,000 people attended the peaceful rally.
Classes resumed on May 13 and the campus enjoyed two years of relative quiet. The undergraduates at Northwestern have a number of traditions including Painting the Rock (originally a fountain donated by the Class of 1902) as a way to advertise, for example, campus organizations, events in Greek life, student groups, and university-wide events. Upsilon Chapter composite pictures during the 70s were taken outdoors. The individuality of the members of this chapter has deep roots. No two women posed the same way and each member showed her own unique style through her clothing and attitude in the picture.
Dillo Day, an annual festival at Northwestern University took place each year on the last Saturday of May. Begun in 1972 when Northwestern students from Texas held a small celebration in honor of the armadillo, and organized by the Mayfest student group, the day was characterized by an all-day music festival and special events on the Northwestern Lakefill, as well as a spirit of celebration.
70% of freshmen at Northwestern participate in Rush Week activities. Over 33% of the class pledges; a 7% increase from 1973. Active Anne Brunk was selected Miss Lake Geneva 1974, was a finalist in the 1974 Miss Wisconsin Pageant, participated in Pom Poms and on the University Gymnastics team.
Scholastic Honoraries included: Phi Beta Kappa; campus photographer; Mortar Board (1974-75). At the 1975 Epsilon Province meeting Upsilon chapter was honored with the Jane Rikkers Award for unity and loyalty. Actives were leaders of the Northwestern Panhellenic Council. Nine actives performed with the Upsilon Pickers performing at campus activities as well as local clubs and conventions.
Blistered feet became a badge of honor on the Evanston campus since February 1975, the year Dance Marathon, one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the country was launched at Bloomquist Memorial Gymnasium at Northwestern. The first Dance Marathon which lasted a grueling 52 hours, raised $9,105 for the American Epilepsy Foundation and the National Organization for Retarded Citizens. In 1976, the second Dance Marathon was held at Patten Gymnasium and dance time was decreased to 26 hours. The event raised $9,573 that was divided among the same two charities.
The changing culture and economic hard times in Evanston, where Northwestern is located, led the City Council in 1972 to approve the sale of liquor by an 11 to 8 margin, with one abstention. Supporters said liquor licenses would help businesses in the central business district especially hotels and restaurants.
Northwestern followed the trend in 1975, filing a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court. It asked the court to determine that the local option law impliedly repealed the charter ban on alcohol sales within four miles of the campus. The impetus for the legal action came from students after the State of Illinois allowed the sale of beer and wine to persons 19 years old. Students wanted to have a "rathskeller" in Norris University Center.
The University won its case, applied for a liquor license from Evanston and began serving liquor on campus, ending the ban on alcohol sales that had survived more than 120 years. In 1976 a member of Upsilon participated in the study aboard program at the University of Barcelona, Spain; an active was chosen Navy Ball Empress Candidate; another was one of 10 finalists for the 1975 College All-Star Queen and served as an intern in Washington DC; two actives were on the Pom Pom Squad; and three led the Northwestern University spirit on the cheerleading squad.
An Upsilon active was selected secretary-treasurer for the Panhellenic Council. Another active was elected to Phi Beta (national professional fraternity for women in music and speech) and then elected vice president based on her scholarship, leadership and character.
Active, Wendy Gajewski was a singer, actress and pianist who performed all over the country working with well-known celebrities Caesar Romero, John Davidson and David Fry. Ms. Gajewski was the principle soloist and in the choral ensemble in the 1975 and 1976 Waa-Mu shows. She spent her summer working at the newly opened Marriot Great America Theme Park in the Great America Stage Show in Illinois.
Highlights of the 1980s
Picture scrapbooking became the trend at the Upsilon chapter in 1984-1984. From 1985 through 1995 scrapbooks of both photographs and impressive artwork, writings and newspaper clippings reflected the individuality of the talented women in the chapter.
Seven Upsilon Kappas headed to Bloomington, Illinois for the 29th Biennial Epsilon Province meeting in April, 1987. The meeting’s theme was “Excellence…The Essence of Kappa.” Members attended workshops on standards, rush, and active-alumni relations. The chapter received the Mabel McCoy Advisory Board Award at the Epsilon Province Biannual Convention for their philanthropic involvement with Evanston’s soup kitchen.
The 1987-1988 school year was a great one for the Kappas at Northwestern University. The chapter also won the campus May Sing competition with the help of their Delta Tau Delta partners. The women took first place in the Delta Gamma Anchor Splash and received first place during the Sigma Chi Derby Days for raising the most money for Cystic Fibrosis. During the Greek leadership conference, Upsilon was awarded Distinction for Membership. The chapter had also been nominated for the President’s Award.At this time, Northwestern was composed of nearly 7,000 undergraduates with 13 sororities and 26 fraternities.
On September 29, pledge night festivities began as the Upsilon chapter welcomed 38 new pledges. The class would be initiated on January 26, 1987. The house held room for 58 women and the chapter size grew to 120 members.
The 1987 Homecoming theme was “Play It Again Cats.” The Upsilon Kappas partnered with Sigma Nu to build a Victrola with a spinning record as their float for the October 16 parade day. An active dressed as Willie the Wild Cat danced with a costumed Michigan Spartan on the float flanked by chapter members escorting the float through the parade route.
On October 26, the Upsilon actives and pledges joined the North Shore Alumnae for a Founders Day celebration. Alum, Catherine Cutter of Evanston provided her home for the program. The women had the opportunity to mingle, share stories of Kappa days and taste many wonderful treats donated by local alumnae. The program began at 8 p.m. with a dramatic presentation of short skits by an Upsilon alum and her husband as actors. The skits were based upon everyday life situations. The chapter members participated in the evening presentation with performances by “Pickers,” a Kappa rush tradition, and Pledges, who sand “The Pat Song.” After the entertainment, two Fifty-Year pins as well as one Sixty-Year pin were presented to alumnae. Based on chapter evaluations and officer training, the chapter goal for the year was: We will work to enhance loyalty and caring for Kappa and each other. Six steps were created to help the chapter members achieve their goal: Respect for ritual during chapter and functions; implementing parliamentary procedure during meetings; employ a Kappa-of-the-Week program recognizing individuals within the chapter; emphasize hospitality to all; improve faculty and alumni relations and improved education on Kappa finances.
The chapter members participated in three philanthropies during the year, the Evanston soup kitchen, a Sigma Chi sponsored Halloween party for the Uhlich Children’s Home in Chicago on October 28, 1987 and the all-campus Dance Marathon raising money to fight AIDS. In May, the chapter held a special ceremony during Senior Week. The house initiated a Wise Owl award given each week to a Kappa who had shown the most dedication to the house.
Chapter and Individual honors included Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Eta Sigma, 6th place at the Synchronized Swimming Nationals, Varsity Synchronized Swimming Team, Varsity Track, Mayfest Committee, Associated Student Government Senator, Phone-Anthon Chair for Senior Class Gift Committee and a member of the chapter won an essay contest for her story and received an expense paid trip to France to advise the French government on tourism.
Historically, June, 1987 was a monumental month for the world as President Ronald Reagan gave the people of West Berlin one of the most memorable lines spoken during his presidency. A twelve-foot concrete Berlin Wall stood as a stark symbol of the cold-war between the United States and Soviet Russia. President Reagan challenged General Secretary Gorbachev to tear down the wall. Two years later the East Germans issued a decree signally for the wall to be opened. November 9th, 1989 is considered the date the Berlin Wall fell, but the Wall in its entirety was not torn down immediately. People came to the wall with sledgehammers, hammers and chisels to chip off souvenirs, demolishing lengthy parts of it in the process. The women of the Upsilon chapter raised awareness and money towards those efforts in Berlin.
Upsilon hosted the 30th Province Convention in 1989. Teach For America was founded in 1989 to organize the energy of a generation against educational inequity in the United States. Two members of Upsilon were among its first group of 500 talented young leaders in addressing the problem by committing two years to teach in the United States' highest-need schools. In the coming years, Upsilon would have a steady stream of participants.
Highlights of the 1990s
In 1990-1991, Upsilon chapter dealt with women and alcohol abuse which had become a growing concern on college campuses from coast-to-coast. The chapter actively participated in experiments concerning alcohol by teaming up with the Northwestern University Psych Department. The United States became involved in Desert Storm on January 16, 1991. The women of the Upsilon chapter began efforts to raise money in support of the Gulf War. Many members however were opposed to the war and this raised concerns over the amount of involvement and participation the chapter should provide. By February 27, President Bush declares suspension of offensive combat and lays out conditions for permanent cease-fire.
IFC and Panhellenic Councils at Northwestern University drafted a joint Risk Management Policy in 1993-1994. Prior to this, each council had their own policy, which were often not compatible with each other.
In January 1994, Upsilon pledged 37 women. Officer training was held during the first week of the spring quarter. The chapter held a Rush workshop during New Student Week and the Rush chairs planned a scavenger hunt around campus. The week ended with a chapter retreat to Indiana. During this year’s pledge period the chapter held a Pledge Mom Hunt, Roast and Toast and other fun activities.
Upsilon established an annual philanthropic event called Colorfest, a flag football tournament to raise money to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Teams paid to participate and local business owners and restaurants sponsored the event. Upsilon women were very involved in sports on the Northwestern campus with one a varsity diver, three women soccer players and two players on the field hockey team. A member was elected chair of the Panhellenic Judiciary Board. During the 80s attendance was a challenge for the chapter with members missing Rush duties and chapter meetings. Chapter Council worked with the Standards Committee to institute effective police changes to find solutions to these concerns.
The undergraduate student body at Northwestern University had approximately 8,000 in 1995. The campus was made up of seven separate schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Speech, the Engineering School, the Music School, Medill School of Journalism, and the School of Education and Social Policy. The Upsilon chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma was part of the Panhellenic system consisting of 12 sororities. There were 21 men’s fraternities. Approximately 45% of the student body was involved in the Greek system.
1995 was an amazing year for Upsilon. Upsilon chapter had 130 members. The year began with a very successful Rush culminating with the pledging of 36 incredible young women. Members were involved with leadership positions on campus ranging from the Dance Marathon and Special Olympics to Northwestern’s Activities and organizational Board and Theater productions. Three couples were sponsored by the chapter to participate in Northwestern’s Dance Marathon in March helping to contribute more than $300,000 to the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The women organized the annual flag football philanthropy with proceeds going to the Off-The-Street Club in Chicago, Illinois.
In celebration of 125 years of Kappa Kappa Gamma, the chapter had many special alumnae events. The chapter organized a breakfast at the house for alumnae at Homecoming and sponsored a Kappa tailgate at the Northwestern-Wisconsin football game.
Northwestern football was the feel-good sports story of 1995. The NU Wildcats went to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1949. Coach Gary Barnett, instilled in his team expectations of victory, watched with the whole country as the Wildcats kicked off the season with a 17-15 upset of Notre Dame in South Bend. In fact, the Chicago Sun-Times called it "the upset of the century." An estimated 50,000 Northwestern fans, including many members of the 1949 team, flocked to California for the New Year's Day game.
The women also held an alumnae-active formal at Galleria Marchetti’s in Chicago, Illinois on November 10. Paired with Sigma Chi fraternity for Homecoming, the team took first place in the float building contest. There were many challenges and goals in 1995 with the main goal dealing with Kappa Cohesion. The challenges and assets of the Upsilon members revolved its very dynamic and independent individuals, always off and running in different directions. By sponsoring many Kappa sisterhood events, such as “Friends” parties (inspired by the popular televison sitcom at the time) with frozen yogurt on Thursday nights, Kappas were given the opportunity to relax together and bond without any outside interference. Movie night for Kappas at the chapter house was another convenient way for the women to get together and become more united. An annual Holiday Party was held at the house in December.
Upsilon women held a retreat for their pledges at the Indiana Dunes. They also sponsored special pledge mom dinners at local restaurants. After Initiation on April 1, a breakfast was held for the new initiates and their families. Two traditional date parties were held during Winter quarter. Spring quarter had one date party and the chapter Formal.
Upsilon took first place in Sigma Chi’s Derby Days competition in May. The annual Kid’s Picnic, an afternoon of games and pizza with children from a local center for underprivileged children took place in May near Lake Michigan.
Individual chapter honors included: Rho Lambda (Greek Honor Society); Mayo Clinic Scholarship; four women made the Dean’s List; Alpha Lambda Delta; Order of Omega; Women’s Varsity Soccer team; Field Hockey team and alternate National Under 21 Team; Jr. Panhellenic Scholarship; Panhellenic Scholarship Citation; Golden Key Honor Society; Economics Honor Society; National Panhellenic Honor Society; Stinky’s Pub cast member and the Most Spirited Panhellenic Delegate Award.
Northwestern had 8,000 students and 11 sororities and 21 fraternities in 1997. The chapter was full with 60 girls living at the house and a total of 120 members.
1997 was a great year for the Upsilon Chapter at Northwestern University. It began with a successful Rush and the pledging of 41 unique and amazing women. The Homecoming theme this year was based on the movie, Men in Black. Upsilon was paired with Sigma Chi and the team took first place in the float competition. The chapter sponsored six couples in Northwestern’s Dance Marathon in March helping to contribute money towards the research on the prevention of brain tumors in children.
In May, for the third straight year the chapter won first place in the Sigma Chi Derby Days competition. The chapter received the Most Improved GPA award. In celebration of Kappa Kappa Gamma’s 126th anniversary the chapter held two special alumnae planned events, one in the spring and one in the fall. Alums were invited to cake and tea at the chapter house. The fall event was organized and held at the home of a local alumna. During both events the women realized the strength of Kappa and the importance of traditions.
The chapter focused of two things during the 1997-1998 school year: officer leadership and a successful Kappa experience. The chapter was confident a more organized and efficient group of officers would lead the other women of Kappa to have a more meaningful experience. It was felt traditions had become too relaxed and not performed as well as they could have been. Steps were taken by the officers to ensure positive change requiring members to attend meetings and learn the official and proper ways to perform rituals. Attitudes improved, participation was up and the year ended on a positive turnaround.
There were many Kappa sponsored events, all intended to create and increase involvement for everyone from Pledges to Seniors. The women accomplished this with activities like the senior formal, Kappa Crunch at Carmen’s Pizzeria, and Pledge Week. After initiation a nice brunch was held for the new initiates and their families. The Upsilon chapter also held the two traditional date parties during the Winter quarter. In the Spring quarter a formal and date party were also organized. During the month of May, the girls hosted a basketball tournament with Phi Sigma to raise money for the Foster Reading Center in Evanston. In the Fall, the chapter became very involved with the Off-The-Street Club in Chicago. The chapter organized a pumpkin carving event for the children at Halloween and a Christmas Tree decorating party in December.
Greek leaders on the Northwestern campus in 19998-1999 drafted and approved the "Mission of the Northwestern University Greek Community" during their annual Greek Leadership Retreat at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The mission statement read: We commit to cultivating a unified Greek community of diverse individuals that fosters personal excellence, scholastic achievement, social enrichment, and civic responsibility. We strive to be an exemplar of sisterhood and brotherhood for the Northwestern University community and beyond.
An incredibly successful Homecoming weekend was held October 16 -18, 1998. Upsilon paired with Sigma Chi to take second place for their sock hop-on-wheels float celebrating, These Are the Days. The float (finished in under a week) was an eight-foot towering replica of a Wurlitzer jukebox, equipped with Northwestern’s “Ns” on each side of the panels along with purple pride. Active Emily Rebholz created 12 poodle-skirts with “Ns” replacing the poodle for the skirt-clad Kappas to wear for the choreographed dance on the float to the delight of the hundreds of people lining the mile-long parade.
A date party was held at a Mexican restaurant, El Jardin in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago. The fall formal was held on the Spirit of Chicago, a chartered yacht. The previous fall the chapter decided to change its focus on philanthropy by shifting to community service, and a new philanthropic fever took hold of the chapter as Upsilon actives tutored children, volunteered at hospitals and served in soup kitchens. This change did not discourage the women from participating in campus held philanthropies Upsilon participated in a campus 5K run benefiting the Jane Addams Resource Center, another benefiting the Off-the-Street-Club of Chicago, the women participated in pajama races benefiting Camp Heartland, and Project Pumpkin, a Halloween extravaganza for Evanston youth. The chapter raised $1,000 for the annual all-campus Dance Marathon with the proceeds going to La Rabida Child’s Advocacy Center and the Evanston Community Foundation. The Kappas sponsored three couples who danced for thirty hours. A traveling consultant visited the house in the fall and provided useful advice which assisted the women in running the house more smoothly.
Fraternity Education played a large role during the pledge period – with Monday night meetings, quizzes were given and Kappa history was taught to the new members. During the Winter quarter of 1998, the chapter held, Rock-n-Bowl, a date party which became a tradition. A semi-formal date party was held at the Green Dolphin Street.
Upsilon members were busy throughout campus in the following activities: campus radio station, dance marathon, Empower Women Group, student theater, varsity field hockey, soccer club, Panhellenic committees, student blood services, suitcase party, Student Athlete Board, as health aides, a swimming teacher, members of Sheila Center and Le Corde François, serve as French tutors, sailing, research assistant, baseball, softball, and Greek student delegate. Spring quarter brought May Sing to campus and the Upsilon women were paired with Phi Kappa Sigma. A collaboration was formed to assist with songwriting. A majority of the pledge class attended resulting in a wonderful event everyone was proud of.
The chapter hosted Senior Snacks. Notes were sent out to parents requesting funny anecdotal stories about their daughters which were then read at spring chapter meetings. The Knickerbocker Hotel on Chicago’s lakefront was the location of the spring formal. The women contracted limousines for the drive from Evanston to the hotel. A new tradition began by presenting a senior slide show during the party.
The 1998 scholarship program expanded to include a 15-hour study week. Traditions were upheld including the scholarship dinners which saw an increased participation by professors. Many women received awards for their academic performance. Chapter meetings included “word of the week” and a cultural suggestion.
During the spring, a House Board Appreciation Tea was hosted for alumnae relations. A new updated Alumnae Directory was compiled and distributed. An Active/Alum mentoring Program was implemented. Among the benefits to the actives was the opportunity to shadow their alum in their careers.
As an added sisterhood event many of the women attended the Jenny Jones Show which was a syndicated daytime tabloid talk show that was hosted by comedian/actress/singer Jenny Jones and taped at the NBC studios in Chicago.
During the Spring quarter, a second traveling consultant visited the chapter. Committee nights were held the third week of each month and usual took place during or after chapter. For the spring philanthropy, Upsilon hosted a 3-on-3 basketball tournament with 200 participants over two days. The chapter raised $4,000 for their efforts for One-Step-at-a-Time, an overnight camp for children with cancer.
Upsilon was dedicated to improving communications after the chapter president, along with two other chapter officers attended the 1998 national convention, Vision 20/20 held at the princess Resort in Scottsdale, AZ. Inspired by the magic created by convention, the knowledge the girls brought back to their chapter proved invaluable. The leadership techniques would work to make the chapter council more effective. The chapter made the decision to accept the Challenge to Excellence outlining high standards of conduct and maintaining strong Kappa traditions with a commitment to progress.
Founders Day was held on October 11, 1999 with a bang. The actives were refreshed with their knowledge of Kappa’s founding and learned fun Kappa trivia in preparation for the big night. Many alumnae from the Loop group and North Shore alumnae groups joined the chapter at Northwestern University for the event. The women participated in a candle-lighting ceremony and several women received their Twenty-Five and Fifty-Year anniversary pins. Refreshments were served.
Homecoming Brunch was held on October 16 and Parent’s Weekend Brunch was held on October 30. The chapter co-rush chairs spent much of their time working on rookie workshops during New Student Week and Reading Week. They brainstormed ideas for everything from decorations to food to motivational strategies for tired Kappas. The duo made sure everything was in order working on tasks at the house or at Panhellenic rush meetings. Rush resulted in 45 new pledges, three of who were chosen as quota additions making this year a huge success.
The chapter coordinated with Phi Delta and Tri Delta to attend a Chicago Cubs baseball game as a social event. The chapter spring formal was held at Galleria Marchetti in downtown Chicago. During the fall, a costume contest date party with prizes was held at the Hidden Shamrock in Lincoln Park, and the fall formal was held at the Congress Hotel. A formal dinner was held at the Lodge. The year ended with a Holiday Party hosted by the Kappas and open to the campus. During the winter, the chapter held a date party at Rock-N-Bowl and a semi-formal at Narcissi. For initiation in both the spring and fall, in order to prepare the Kappas for these big events, song practices were held weekly. The chapter marshal printed copies of all the songs and created packs distributing them for each member to practice.
A New Millennium -- Highlights of 2000 - 2010
In 2000, the Upsilon women hired Empire Photography to photograph their social parties and activities. Fraternal Composite Service was hired to photograph each girl for the house composite.
During the winter, a Heritage Workshop was held for the chapter titled Kappa Jeopardy after the long-popular television quiz show to get the Kappas involved and to learn about Kappa history. The chapter participated in the Northwestern student-based philanthropy which raised more than $500,000. This campus Dance Marathon benefitted Gilda’s Club, Chicago. Gilda’s Club provided cancer victims and their families with extra funds, housing and support. As a house, Upsilon raised nearly $7,000 for the Club through fundraising and canning efforts. After a moving chapter presentation organized by the house philanthropy chair, 15 Kappas canned (a form of fundraising), and then met to tour Gilda’s Club to meet some of the cancer victims benefiting from the fundraiser. The chair wrote home to the parents of Kappas requesting donations and followed up with personal thank you notes. The chair also created quilt squares commemorating Kappa Beth Pancoe, who passed away during the year from cancer. The quilt was put together by many sororities and fraternities and donated to Gilda’s Club. During the Dance Marathon, 10 Kappas were dancers and some served on the dance marathon committee.
Blood drives were organized in February and March with great participation by chapter members. A total of 1,893 freshmen from an applicant pool of 14,723 students enrolled in the Fall of 2000. Eighty-three percent graduated in the top 10 percent of their class. The Panhellenic Association at Northwestern University is one of the first Panhellenic in the country to pass a resolution stating that its member chapters will not co-sponsor or participate in on-campus events involving alcohol in fraternity houses. The resolution went into effect in the Fall. The Greek community receives nationwide media coverage for the resolution.
In 2000, Northwestern University hosted the Big Ten Greek Leadership Conference at the Hyatt Regency Woodfield. It is the first time in many years that the event has been held. NU, along with many other Big Ten schools opt to not attend the annual Mid-American Greek Council Association Conference, also held in Chicago, because it is too large and doesn't meet the needs of Greek organization officers.
In 2005-2006, Northwestern University was comprised of 8,000 undergraduate students. Northwestern has 12 sororities and 17 fraternities. Approximately 33% of the student body is active in Greek life.
The chapter went over an action plan, during which goals were discussed for the next year and how to accomplish them. Some goals were to have better committee and philanthropy involvement. In addition, the budget was given special attention because the chapter was unfamiliar with it. Due to the lack of committee involvement committees were reselected, and committee chairs had been reelected. This encouraged very active participation on all committees. The chairs delegated responsibility to members in the committee, and they structured goals and plans for their respective committee. In addition Philanthropy Chair was elected who led events, such as raising money for Pediatric AIDS by selling Krispy Kreme Donuts.
Epsilon experienced a very successful Recruitment. The chapter held a Founder's Day celebration and ceremony during which three alumni received their Fifty-Year pins. Members from the nearby alumni group were invited to attend. During the fall, a group of alumni dedicated a globe to the chapter in memory of a Kappa sister who passed away the previous year. The women hosted a ceremony to commemorate this event.
Upsilon chapter had one visit from a Leadership Consultants and looked forward to another visit in the spring. The chapter planned three very successful sisterhood events. These included a Kappa Kolor War, where the members were divided into teams and played games. The chapter arranged for a yoga instructor to come to the chapter and lead the women in yoga exercises. They also organized S'mores Night for the members to watch movies, make s'mores, and decorate "stars" (profiles about each member in the house) for Recruitment.
The chapter increased participation in campus Panhellenic philanthropy. The new members were not as familiar with Kappa ritual as they hoped to be, resulting in kappa Klassrooms to cover very specific ritual, formal chapter procedures and history. Northwestern University in 2006-2007 was comprised of approximately 7,750 undergraduate students. Northwestern is consistently one of the nation's top 15 Universities in the United States with 11 sororities and 17 fraternities. 35% of the student body is active in Greek life. Upsilon had 120 members with 54 living in the Kappa house. The chapter members hail from all over the world, including Turkey, Jordan, England, and Israel. The chapter’s primary goals included improved chapter committee and philanthropy involvement. To achieve these goals, the women expanded committee roles, and committee heads were expected to delegate leadership and responsibility. The chapter elected new chapter officers and conducted a team consultation with Kellogg students to improve chapter officer interaction, make meetings more efficient and improve the way the chapter set its goals. The expansion of the old and new officers’ transition period allowed the new officers to be better trained and equipped to fulfill their new roles.
Upsilon had a very successful Recruitment with amazing Kappa spirit kept strong by prizes, fun costumes for rush groups during Member Selection and a hilarious rendition of their annual "Kappa Grease" skit. A Founder's Day celebration and ceremony were held during which several alumni received their anniversary pins. Members from the nearby alumni group were invited to attend. Upsilon chapter had one visit from a Leadership Consultants in the fall.
The women held a number of very successful sisterhood events including a Kappa Kolor War in the spring, dividing into teams to play games. Another spring event was Oscar night, where all the sisters came to the chapter to watch the Academy Awards together and enjoy tasty treats. During Halloween the chapter members visited a haunted prison. For recruitment, a “star” making event as held where each member created a personal profile star filled with photos to decorate the house. The chapter increased participation in Panhellenic campus philanthropy.
Two long-standing NU traditions were still a major part of campus life in 2007 during football games at Northwestern: everyone in the student section shakes their keys immediately before kickoffs. Some say that Northwestern students started doing this as a way to inform opposing fans that they were going to be pumping their gas or parking their cars someday. The other is The Claw. When the visiting team is on offense, it is traditional for NU students to make a claw with one of their hands and yell.
In 2008, the University opened a campus in Education City, Doha, Qatar with programs in journalism and communication. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life hires an additional staff member to give specific attention to the culturally-based organizations. Northwestern begins GreekBuild, an effort among all four Greek councils to fund raise for and build a Habitat for Humanity house. Members of the Northwestern Greek community work together to break down negative stereotypes about Greek life and service their community by going to the build site on Saturdays, interacting with the family for whom the house is being built and participating in fun fundraising events on and off campus.
Fraternity and Sorority Life at Northwestern University in 2009 celebrated its 150 years on campus. The tradition of Dillo Day continues as the culmination of Mayfest with an all-day Saturday event on the lakefront featuring national and locally known bands, games and vendors. Each year, the IFC and Panhellenic community sponsor a free pancake breakfast on the morning of Dillo Day in the courtyard in front of Kellogg and free pizza during the afternoon on the Lakefill.
The women of Upsilon enjoyed playing waitresses and hostesses as they served Kappasta dinner to others. Kappasta raised more than $2,000 in proceeds to benefit Project Kindle and the Evanston Community Foundation, the two beneficiaries of the all-campus Dance Marathon 2009.
Undergraduate tuition at Northwestern for the 2010-2011 school year was $39,840. The University processed in excess of $472 million in financial aid for the 2009-2010 academic year. This included $265 million in institutional funds, with the remainder coming from federal and state governments and private organizations and individuals. Northwestern scholarship programs for undergraduate students support needy students from a variety of income and backgrounds. Approximately 44 percent of the June 2010 graduates had received federal and/or private loans for their undergraduate education, graduating with an average debt of $17,200.
During 2010, Upsilon had many highlights. Together with the brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha the chapter raised the second largest amount of money at Dance Marathon 2010, Northwestern’s biggest philanthropy. The money was donated to the Evanston Community Foundation and Stand Up for Kids, an organization that helps homeless and at risk youth. This success was partially due to a very successful Kappasta, a relatively new philanthropy event where the chapter invite members of the Northwestern community into Kappa Kitchen for some spaghetti, meatballs and socializing. Last spring the women started a new philanthropic tradition with the addition of Jail and Bail benefitting RIF. The Kappas teamed up with a fraternity on campus and members volunteered to be “arrested.” They were then held for an hour in a high traffic location on campus where passersby could donate and “bail” them out.
The chapter is a great mix of motivated and talented women who are very involved around campus. Many hold leadership positions in everything from philanthropic organizations like Dance Marathon and Special Olympics to groups that plan major social and entertainment events like Dillo Day and Ski Trip. On any given day there are numerous women lounging around the house doing homework, watching The Bachelor, a popular reality television series, or detailing their weekend adventures.
During the year the chapter moved elections to the end of fall quarter from the beginning of winter quarter to alleviate some of the stress after Formal Recruitment in the winter. However, transitions were still held in the winter so that women who were abroad during the fall semester would still be eligible for positions. This worked well for the girls and they plan to keep this system for the future.
The tradition of the composite picture style of individuality reflected in pose and clothing has not changed in the past few decades and will hopefully always be special to the chapter. It has been important for Upsilon chapter to be a chapter of individual women who come together to grow and learn from all of the unique characteristics each member brings by forming lifelong friendships.
In 2010, a number of construction projects were completed on the Northwestern University campus including the completion of Harris, the history building, which was a relief for history majors who had been displaced due to the construction. The Evanston Brothel Law has been of major concern for upperclassmen moving off campus. Northwestern students expressed their concerns to Evanston officials who ultimately decided not to enforce the law, saving many rising juniors and seniors from another off campus headache.
Kappas of the Upsilon Chapter are more than just involved in campus life and activities at Northwestern University - they continue to be immersed in it. From athletics, academics, leadership, campus and city cultural events, to the arts and music, Kappas are prevalent in every facet of Northwestern life. Kappas can be found in Tech, in the library, out in the communities of Evanston and Chicago, dancing on stage, giving flute recitals, and on the masthead of many campus publications. And when one Kappa is up on stage, or speaking from a podium, chances are there are more Kappas than not in the audience cheering her on. But Kappas don't just stay within the Chicago boundaries. You can find Upsilon Kappas around the world, spanning from Argentina to Australia, India to Italy, and Fargo, North Dakota to New York. And the networks they have built on-campus translate across the globe.
Academically, in the past year, Upsilon chapter moved up three spots across all sorority GPA rankings. 15 women had 4.0 quarters in the past three academic quarters. Academic Honors include: Order of Omega; Gamma Sigma Alpha; Dean's List Awards. Sports include: Sailing, Volleyball and Fencing. Campus Publications include: Stitch, Northwestern Art Review (NAR), The Weekly, North by Northwestern (NbN), Massive.tv. Arts: A&O Productions, Midsummer's Night Dream, Northwestern Community Jazz Program
Highlights of 2011-2019
Highlights of 2011
In academic year 2010-11, Northwestern enrolled 8,397 undergraduate and 7,870 graduate and professional students. Northwestern is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference and remains the only private university in the conference. Northwestern's approximately 225,093 alumni include leaders in government, law, science, education, medicine, media and the performing arts. The Northwestern Greek Community was recognized nationally for having a higher All-Greek GPA than the All-Campus GPA.
Kappas were represented on the Panhellenic Council, with one in charge of public relations for the committee. The Panhellenic Association hosted a successful formal winter recruitment, with 420 women matching with 12 chapters.
Many students were involved in community service in one form or another. Annual events include Dance Marathon, a thirty-hour event that raised more than a million dollars for charity in 2011. The women of Upsilon celebrated achieving the highest GPA out of all the sororities on the Northwestern campus.
New member rituals were changed in order to strengthen the bonds of sisterhood. 2011 saw Upsilon provide the highest attendance at a GreekBuild event. By working together on service projects, GreekBuild participants broke down the barriers among individual chapters. One of the goals of GreekBuild events, build days and fundraising efforts was to bring together members of different chapters and councils.
As of December, 2011, the Barta sisters, Lexi (‘07), Romi (’10) and Marni (’13), all of Upsilon, along with a fourth sister, a student at the University of Pennsylvania donated more than 60,000 movies to more than 600 different hospitals throughout the United States and South Africa through their nonprofit organization, Kid Flicks. Their goal was to provide every children’s hospital in the country with a Kid Flicks movie library.
Highlights of 2014
In 2014 our chapter accomplished a great amount. Our officers worked incredibly hard to better organize the entire management of the chapter and took on the responsibility of redefining the culture within our chapter. All bylaws were updated and chapter council gained an entire advisory board to work with following our April meeting with the Fraternity. The chapter also focused a lot of energy on Northwestern's largest philanthropic even, Dance Marathon (DM). Individuals worked hard to raise enough money to participate, and the chapter also worked together to create a successful event, Kappasta. The event was incredibly fun and was a great way to promote new member bonding. The money raised at Kappasta was put towards our general Kappa DM fund and we ended up raising $90,000 and winning second place for large Greek teams for the fourth year in a row. Upsilon also connected to the Evanston community by volunteering at the YMCA and reading to children. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the YMCA and volunteering there again. Sisterhood events were another great highlight of the year. The chapter had a sisterhood event every month and we enjoyed various activities such as pumpkin carving, tie dying, kappa notebook decorating, and pledge family photos. Our chapter also received the awards Highest Quarterly GPA and most improved quarterly GPA in fall 2013 from the Order of Omega.
Upsilon chapter is a caring and involved group of young women. Members are very active on campus and this keeps us informed and active with any recent changes occurring on campus. Members also keep up with changes in Kappa Kappa Gamma and its members as well as other members in the Greek community. For example, our chapter ended a traditional philanthropy event called Jail N Bail this year because other members of the community as well as our own members believed that the event could be perceived negatively by people with sensitive beliefs about the issue of incarceration in America. Our women worked hard to come up with other ideas for philanthropy events that would be less controversial or offensive at a time when our campus is becoming more diverse and when people are striving to be as sensitive as possible towards all cultures. We have embraced this incident as an opportunity to educate ourselves and the larger Northwestern Greek and non-Greek community on the different between intent and impact.
We hold meetings in a university owned Kappa house on campus. Our chapter has been at NU in the same facility for 122 years. We are incredibly lucky that our house is large enough to hold an entire sophomore pledge class as well as many juniors each year. Our house is university owned and 60 woman are able to live in the house at once.
The president wears a historical badge that has been handed down to each Upsilon president.
Highlights of 2015
In 2015, our chapter accomplished a great amount. Our chapter council officers worked hard to continue what we started in 2014 to better organize the entire management of the chapter and to redefine the culture within our chapter. All officers worked with their advisors as well as LCs to brainstorm and devise more successful strategies to accomplish the duties of their positions and to encourage involvement and cooperation in all chapter members. We even participated in our first retreat where chapter council members met with advisors and members of the Fraternity to re-strategize for the upcoming school year. We also worked hard to better our sisterhood. We started “senior of the week” presentations at each chapter meeting so that the underclassmen could really get to know the senior pledge class. We also implemented coffee dates where underclassmen get coffee with upperclassmen who share similar interests. This was helpful both socially and academically because underclassmen could seek upperclassmen with the same majors or job interests and get their advice.
In 2015, the chapter focused a lot of energy on Northwestern’s largest philanthropic event, Dance Marathon (DM). Individuals worked hard to raise enough money to participate (at least $400), and the chapter also worked together to create a successful event, Kappasta. The event was successful, fun, and a great way to promote new member bonding. The money raised at Kappasta was put towards our general Kappa DM fund and we ended up raising $68,000 and winning second place for large Greek teams for the fifth year in a row. Upsilon was also able to connect to the Evanston community towards the end of 2015 and continue our relationship with the YMCA. Sisters volunteered by reading to children and donating children’s books to the YMCA. This was a fun and rewarding experience for the chapter. Sisterhood events were another highlight of the year. The chapter held a sisterhood event every month and we enjoyed various activities such as pumpkin carving with Pi Beta Phi, tie dying, movie night, and KKTea party.
The campus at Northwestern University has undergone changes over the past year. One history building on campus, called “The Black House,” was established years ago to provide a safe, comfortable space for black students to visit during their time at Northwestern. Northwestern administration wanted to bring the Campus Inclusion and Community offices into the Black House. This was met with great uproar, as students and alumni expressed deep concerns about encroaching on the Black House. Most recently, the University announced that they would not make these changes because of the aforementioned issues. There have also been several historic campus protests in relation to the events that occurred at the University of Missouri earlier this year. The nature of our chapter is very much focused on diversity and inclusion, and we have several members who have participated and supported activism on campus. Each member of Upsilon is very different than the other members of our house, and we greatly appreciate having friends and sisters of various backgrounds, cultures and personal histories.
What organization(s) has your chapter historically/traditionally raised money for, or donated hours to, in your community? Reading is Fundamental and the YMCA
Why did your chapter choose this organization(s) to support?
Reading is Fundamental is the Fraternity’s official beneficiary, and we all greatly appreciate the importance of literacy and furthering education in our community. The Evanston “Y” has provided an excellent venue for our continued support of literacy and working with children in our community.
Highlights of 2016
This past year was a great year for Upsilon chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Northwestern. Our year was filled with scholarship, sisterhood, charity, and more. We sent three of our members to Convention in San Diego this summer, which was great and allowed them to bring their new information to the chapter. We also started out our year with a newly renovated home, which made living in the house even more enjoyable for everyone. We used the new living room to host movie nights or to bring together the chapter to watch the election or political debates.
We also had many sisterhood events such as Kappa Thanksgiving or when we went pumpkin picking. These were great opportunities for our chapter to bond and make everlasting memories. This year Upsilon also made a lot of internal changes and made progress in pushing our chapter in the right direction. We updated our risk policies and created a Change Management Team . In terms of philanthropy, we hosted many events and raised a lot of money through events such as our Spelling Bee and reading events. Not many noticable changes have occurred on the Northwestern campus, however, in terms of the nature of our chapter, Upsilon has made a lot of internal changes and has made a lot of progess in order to make our chapter a better, more sustainable, and value-based chapter. We have implemented a Change Management Team, updated our risk management policies, and more.
Besides supporting our national philanthropy Reading is Fundamental, we also support Northwestern's Dance Marathon. Each year Dance Marathon chooses a new charity to support and the whole school raises money in individual teams. Kappa Kappa Gamma teams up with a fraternity each year to raise money for the cause. This year, Dance Marathon will be supporting Gigi's Playhouse, which is a nonprofit that provides support and programming to individuals with Down Syndrome. Through multiple fundraising efforts, Upsilon Chapter will raise money to support Gigi's playhouse, as well as dance for 30 hours in Dance Marathon. Each year we support and raise money for Dance Marathon because we believe it is an important part of being an active member of the Northwestern community as well as supporting local causes. As students at Northwestern, we want to give back in any way we can, and supporting Dance Marathon allows us to help charities that are close the campus, whether that be in Evanston or Chicago.
We hold informal chapter meetings in our living room. We are fortunate enough to have a beautiful home where many of the women in our chapter can live. In this house, we have a beautiful and newly renovated living room where we can host informal chapter, and we host formal chapter in the lower level of the home.
Highlights of 2017
2017 was a transformative year for Upsilon. From January to today, the chapter held a number of events and achieved many milestones. The winter quarter period, from January to March, began with a succcesful recruitment. Upsilon welcomed a pledge class of 36 new women. In between Big/Little week, Rock 'n Bowl and other activities, the quarter was also dedicated to transitioning the new chapter council. Our Marshal organized a phenomenal Initiation in the presence of alumnae and advisers. One of our favorite events was "Galentine's Tea" to celebrate each other and the annual favorite philanthropy event, Kappasta, was also organized to raise money for Dance Marathon. After a refreshing spring break, the chapter came back in the spring to wrap things up and prepare for summer. A few of our sisters represented Upsilon at the Leadership Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. While there, they met with our advisers and We held our spring formal at Zed451 with a fun twist: superlatives. Sisters voted on who best fit categories such as "Kappa Kat Lady," "Kween of the Kitchen,"Kappa Kardashian," "#1 Kappal," "Kappa Kouple," "Kappa Tough Kookie," "Kappa Kackle," "Kappa Kouch Potato," and others. Winners were given sashes during the formal. As the academic year wrapped up, NPC recognized the chapter for excellence in Congruencce and Accountability and Kappa HQ changed our status from Warning of Probation to Focus Letter. We accomplished many things from January to June and we left Evanston happy with the progress and focused on keeping up the work.. When we came back in September, the chapter council decided to focus on wellness. Upsilon organized a body image workshop with author and professor Dr. Renee Engeln about her book, Beauty Sick, that discusses the problematic cultural discussion of women's bodies. Upsilon and NPC partnered for the event and made it a campus-wide event, in which there were copies of the Engeln book raffled to audience members. Upsilon continued to have wellness conversations throughout the quarter. Fall quarter was also dedicated to recruitment preparation, and several workshops were held for the chapter to begin getting ready for recruitment in January. Women also volunteered at the YMCA to read to kids. Lastly, Upsilon held its fall formal at Key Club in downtown Chicago in late November. The theme was "Sapphire Ball" with women wearing blue dresses and the famed campus photographer, Justin Barbin, taking photos of the event. The House Committee also planned a staff appreciation event by making a poster with all chapter members writing their appreciation for Leo, Aida and Ms. Murray. Lastly, the quarter wrapped up with a visit from ABC News' 20/20 show crew to film the house for a special about Upsilon Kappa, Meghan Markle. Meghan will marry Prince Harry of Great Britain in May 2018 and will become a Duchess.
HIghlights of 2018
2018 was a great year for Kappa Kappa Gamma. We began this school year welcoming new house mom, Lynn. She has been a great addition to our chapter! Our officers continued working hard to facilitate a healthy environment in the sorority and worked to formulate a new chapter council structure. We are excited to see this play out next year. This calendar year the chapter raised money for Northwestern Dance Marathon at our annual Kappasta event. It was a great way for the new pledge class to bond with each other and older members. The chapter is now looking forward to next years Dance Marathon where we will be supporting Chicago Public Schools and the Evanston Community Foundation. Each year we support and raise money for Dance Marathon. Dance marathon is an important part of Kappa Kappa Gamma and the Northwestern community because we feel it is important to support local causes and support each other at the same time. As students at Northwestern, we want to give back in any way we can, and supporting Dance Marathon allows us to help charities that are close the campus, whether that be in Evanston or Chicago.In the fall the chapter supported Reading is Fundamental by sponsoring a profit share at Blaze Pizza where part of the profits from each pizza sold were donated to RIF. It was such a fun time and a great way to raise money and awareness for RIF. The chapter also took trips to local elderly homes and read to the residents there to further help the Evanston community. The chapter holds their meetings on campus in the sorority house. Due to an influx of violence on campus, there have been increased secruity measures around the sorority quad and the chapter has responded by walking in groups at night and being aware of our surroundings. All sororities came together to implement group walking and safety measures. The chapter was very happy for our alumnae Meghan Markle on her marriage to Prince Harry. We are very fortunate as the house board has recently provided our kitchen with new appliances for the members to use. We now have access to a toaster oven as well as a panini maker, allowing the members more freedom in the kitchen.
Highlights of 2019
2019 was a great year for Upsilon! The winter quarter period, from January to March, began with our formal recruitment. Upsilon was honored to receive a pledge class of 25 new members. From Big/Little week to Rock 'n Bowl, our new members began to feel right at home on 1871 Orrington Avenue. Four of our chapter members additionally visited Dallas, Texas for Kappa Leadership Conference, where they learned the importance of leading by example. Thanks to our VP Member Development, we participated in a fabulous education programming about eating disorders. Our annual philanthropy event, Kappasta, was an extreme success, organized to raise money for Dance Marathon. Upsilon and Pi Kappa Alpha raised over $2500 for Communities in Schools of Chicago! Alongside Kappasta, Upsilon engaged in a Soul Cycle fundraiser for NUDM as well. To end out our winter quarter, the Kappa NUDM team raised $71,000, placing second in the large team category for best performing fundraising teams! After our spring break, the chapter came back in to wrap things up and prepare for summer. During our spring quarter, we engaged in many programmings, on topics such as sexual assault and bystander intervention. We additionally met with our district specialists and advisers to develop an Action Plan in lieu of the probation we were placed on in March. Our Philanthropy chair additionally planned an impressive event at our local philanthropy, Cornerstone Community Outreach Center, reading with underprivileged Evanston youth. To end April, we engaged in a homemade fondue sisterhood event in the Kappa Kitchen! May was filled with Kappa fun - including a great formal at Trophy Room as well as a laser tag sisterhood event! When we returned in September, we picked up right where we left off, progressing through the Action Plan and making strides towards becoming the best possible version of Upsilon. We were lucky enough to be visited by the 150 Year Sisterhood Van, where we learned a bit about the past 150 years of Kappa history as they made their way across the country from Monmouth to Convention! Additionally, our Risk Manager presented an incredible hazing prevention workshop in preparation for new members this winter. In November, we hosted an impressive philanthropy event, our first ever Family Weekend Brunch & Silent Auction to support our local philanthropy, Cornerstone Community Outreach and our national philanthropy Reading is Fundamental in the Kappa house. Finally, we closed off November with a fabulous Sapphire Ball formal at Clutch Bar in Chicago as well as a cookie decorating sisterhood event before reading and finals weeks. We can’t wait to see what is in store for Upsilon near year, and how great of a chapter we can continue to aspire to be! "
Northwestern has become a politically correct and inclusive campus. Northwestern has begun creating gender neutral bathrooms throughout campus buildings as well as engaging in discussions pertaining to how journalists should report on traumatic situations, as per the Daily Northwestern's coverage of the protest surrounding Jeff Sessions' speech on campus. Additionally, Northwestern celebrated its 150th anniversary of admitting women into its student body this past year, which was an incredible feat for the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma to celebrate. Northwestern is also experiencing a decline in terms of Greek life - less women are choosing to undergo recruitment overall, which results in smaller pledge classes for all chapters. This makes ensuring that Kappa's brand is a positive and welcoming one overall all the more important for Upsilon in order to ensure its success for many years to come.
We support Cornerstone Community Outreach. It is a local homeless shelter in Evanston. The women of Upsilon are lucky enough to have a home on 1871 Orrington Avenue and we want to enable other Evanston residents to have somewhere they can call home like we call the Kappa house.
We welcomed the Minnie Stewart 150 Year Sisterhood Van as it stopped on our campus! We also bought a banner to hang on the porch of our house to celebrate."
Highlights of 2020s
2020 was a difficult year for everyone as we balanced living in a new normal during a global pandemic. Upsilon chapter had a successful winter formal recruitment where we were pleased to welcome and initiate 25 new members. We had a welcoming Big/Little week, followed by Inspiration Week, and a costume-themed formal in March. We had Northwestern Dance Marathon scheduled for the first weekend of March however, Northwestern University cancelled NUDM due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country. As the pandemic worsened, Northwestern University mandated virtual or socially distanced final exams for Winter Quarter. Many students went home before finals week, including several of Upsilon’s members. Spring Quarter at Northwestern was completely virtual, so chapter operations for Upsilon were held virtually. In the spring, we held sisterhood events over Zoom and sent out weekly newsletters, where our members bonded while being all over the world. Our Upsilon members overseas were in different time zones so we structured our virtual meetings at different times. Additionally, we realized the inaccessibility of Zoom meetings for our members who may not have access to internet or Zoom-compatible devices which led us to make all chapter events optional for attendance. We were also saddened by the retirement of our House Director, Lynn, but were happy to welcome our new House Director. In October, we celebrated Kappa’s Founders Day and the 150th year anniversary over Zoom. Additionally, thanks to our VP Membership Education, Lindsay Tanney, we held a weekly speakers series, where we invited speakers from several different social justice organizations to come teach our members ways we can incorporate inclusivity in our daily lives.
Our new virtual world did not stop Upsilon from continuing our philanthropic efforts. Not only were we virtual during a global pandemic, but we witnessed the violent and unjustifiable murder of George Floyd, which forced the media to bring the issues of racial injustices to the forefront. Upsilon chapter held a virtual fundraiser, using Bingo cards, to raise money for the Chicago Community Bail Fund. We chose this organization because it advocates for low-income communities who cannot afford bail. Our members participated in protests for Black Lives Matter all over the world and continued to stand against injustice. The Upsilon chapter released a public statement condemning anti-Blackness and social injustices, as well as signing several petitions urging Northwestern University to prioritize the needs of Black and Indigenous students. Being in quarantine allowed our members to truly reflect ways which they uphold white supremacist structures and think of ways to combat exclusivity. Along with the Black Lives Matter movement, we experienced a rise in the Abolish Greek Life movement, a movement on campuses across the country trying to disband Greek institutions. The Abolish Greek Life movement reached Northwestern’s campus where some Interfraternity and Panhellenic chapters disbanded. Our Upsilon chapter experienced a large wave of resignations from members. The financial burden of membership dues on top of financial insecurity caused by the pandemic and a high volume of unemployment led several members to resign.
The Abolish Greek Life at NU rose to prominence in July and led the Upsilon chapter to have several virtual meetings to discuss our chapter’s role in maintaining exclusive membership. We met with Kappa Headquarters, the Northwestern Panhellenic community, and internally with alumnae and current members to discuss and hear the different views represented in our chapter. We found that our chapter perpetuated harm in the past and currently, especially towards marginalized communities on campus. Ultimately, the Upsilon chapter decided to draft a letter to Headquarters requesting the surrender of our charter at Northwestern. This letter was signed by ¾ of active Upsilon members and was sent to the Advisory Board for their consideration.
2020 brought along several hardships and catalyzed many necessary changes but through it all, our members were able to find community in the Upsilon chapter.
Note to Chapter Registrar: Please refer to your chapter archives including chapter meeting minutes and back issues of The Key to fill in any gaps in the above historical highlights. If your chapter archives are not complete, please research your university library, campus newspaper and yearbook archives for newsworthy information about your chapter. Please double check your work for accuracy. Contact chapter Advisory or House Board members, local Alumnae Association members, or your Province Director of Chapters for assistance. Your efforts will ensure a complete and accurate history of your chapter for future generations to enjoy!