|Founded||October 19, 1883|
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Beta Tau Chapter, Syracuse University
2,972 initiates (as of June 2018)
Charter members: Ella S. Blakeslee, Harriett Amelia Blakeslee, Carrie Rouse Fisher, Ellen A. Ford, Ida E. Goldman, Ruth E. Guibault, Ida M. Steingrebe.
(If you have chapter alumna who have received recognition in any of these three categories, please list them with the date(s) of recognition.)
Anne Harter, Director of Philanthropies 1964-1966, Centennial Chairman 1968-1972 ; Dorothy Obrecht (Keller), Field Secretary 1948-1950; Samantha Britney, Traveling Consultant 1993-1994
Fraternity Loyalty Award Recipients:
Julia (Judy) Morton Cole, 1966, Fabric and fashion designer Maxine Baker Davidson, 1998, singer, former president/CEO of Ogden Telephone Co., philanthropist Robin Burns, 1992, Cosmetics CEO for Calvin Klein, Estee Lauder, Victoria Secret Beauty; Pauline Knipp Hill, 1962
The Early Years
The charter members of the second Tau chapter were initiated October 19, 1883, by Florence J. Lee, St. Lawrence, former Grand Treasurer, and members of Beta (Beta Beta) Chapter. The Alpha chapters of Alpha Phi and Gamma Phi Beta fraternities preceded Beta Tau on the Syracuse campus. Syracuse University, a nonsectarian institution that had 622 students and 43 faculty members in 1883, was founded by the New York State Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in cooperation with the city of Syracuse.
In 1883, Ella Blakeslee and six close friends decided to organize themselves into a group. Professor Underwood suggested Kappa Kappa Gamma and wrote a letter to an “influential” Kappa: a charter was secured, and the second Tau was born.
Scholarly and literary activities, campus programs and finally, around 1900, sports, occupied the members. A university medal, awarded to the senior woman who had exerted the most helpful influence on the campus, was first presented in 1922, to active Ruth Eleanor Sweet.
In 1896, Beta Tau’s short existence was threatened by a warning from the Grand Council to be “very careful in selecting members.” A Convention discussion had declared that fine arts students were a “weakening” influence, because many took courses for certificates rather than for degrees. However, the nationally recognized John Crouse College of Fine Arts at Syracuse granted regular four-year degrees and about half of Beta Tau’s members were fine arts students.
Turn of the Century
The matter was not settled until 1900 when the Convention voted that each chapter should limit its fine arts membership to 20 percent of its total. Beta Tau was commended for its cooperation. Beta Tau alumnae and their families, as well as members who wished to remember alumnae, gave the chapter gifts to be used as honors for outstanding members. Sometime shortly before 1907, the husband of a deceased, young alumna, Elizann Hunter Melvin, gave the chapter a memorial bronze table for annual recognition of Beta Tau’s outstanding senior. He also gave money, the interest from which was used to decorate, quip, and maintain the chapter rooms. The Class of 1907 presented a cup to honor the senior with the highest average in memory of Ella Wallace Wells, author of “The Kappa Symphony.” She was the daughter of Harriet Blakeslee Wallace. Mrs. Wallace had donated a set of Kappa china that she designed and had made in Syracuse. Mrs. Wallace continued in her devotion to the chapter and after her death in January 1928, was made a Keystone Kappa by Beta Tau. In 1916, Ella Blakeslee, Beta Tau’s founder, gave the chapter a scroll on which to inscribe annually the name of the chapter’s most helpful sophomore, and the Syracuse alumnae bought a cup to be awarded to the sophomore with the highest average.
Early chapter meetings were in members’ homes, in rented rooms, and, from 1898–1915, in a rented house “built according to our specifications.” In 1915, a new home was found, and the chapter moved, in 1930, to 743 Comstock Avenue.
Beta Tau’s activities were centered on the prevailing social and political happenings of the times. During World War I, the Kappa house was the university headquarters for Red Cross activities. The influenza epidemic of 1918 handicapped relief work, but Beta Tau’s dessert less dinners helped support the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Fund and the Chinese Famine Fund. In 1934, A Beta Tau party was graced by the presence of a movie star, Buddy Rogers. In 1935, the chapter sang on a national radio show. When most of the Syracuse men left to fight in World War II, Beta Tau, like most chapters, began working for the war effort. The year 1946 brought “normalcy at Syracuse—meaning change”: Classes in pre-fabricated buildings, a liberalized curfew (10:15 for underclassmen, 11:15 for upperclassmen) and the abolition of the drinking ban. “Kappas are in every phase of campus life,” quoted the record from 1946 to 1952. Good scholarship, good leadership, good cooperation with other Greek houses, and good works filled the pages of the minutes.
In 1954, Beta Tau received the Gracious Living Award and won honorable mention for the same award in 1958. Beta Tau won honorable mention for overall chapter improvement at the 1962 Convention; this was the year Peggy Beeson (Heinisch), Ohio Wesleyan, was the chapter’s Graduate Counselor. The Advisory Board provided by the Syracuse Alumnae Association also won a first place that year.
Outstanding alumnae include Ida Gibson Gibbons, an associate editor of Mademoiselle, who also worked for Nettie Rosenstein; Mabel Potter Daggett, author; Anna Harbottle Whittic, political economist; and Caroline Romer, botanist.
Anne Harter served the Fraternity as Director of Philanthropies, 1964–1966. She was then appointed chairman of the Centennial Committee, which formulated and directed the events of a memorable celebration of Kappa’s first 100 years. Attainment of the half-million-dollar goal for the Centennial Fund, which provided grants for undergraduate and graduate work in rehabilitation, was the crowning achievement of the year.
Beta Tau faced a new challenge in the late 1960s and the early 1970s when students rebelled against the traditional “system.” Beta Tau and other groups struggled to prove to the campus that individuals could preserve independence while still functioning as chapter members. Ritual and tradition became secondary as Kappas involved themselves in draft counseling and other Vietnam war-related activities. Sororities had to measure their housing rules against new campus standards of dormitory autonomy, unlimited visitation and co-educational dormitories. Six sororities and ten fraternities on campus closed during this period.
With the end of the war, students lost their overt concern for ideologies and reverted to the rock and roll of the 1950s, in dress, music and actions. The Greek system gained strength as social activities, philanthropic projects and the values of association with an identifiable group came back into vogue.
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 1970s
The chapter during the 1970s into 1980s was shown in the many photographs and recorded memories were found in scrapbooks in the house library. The photos were filled with wonderful women who were all very proud and elated to be a part of a sisterhood. Greek life on the Syracuse campus at the time was small, but everyone involved was very passionate about it.
One challenge the chapter seemed to face during the late 70's was membership. Young women on the Syracuse University campus were not as excited about joining the Greek Life. In 1975, the pledge class consisted of only ten girls. But as years went on, joining a sorority became more popular and less taboo. Whether there were only ten members in a pledge class or thirty, all the women involved in Kappa at this time were proud and did all they could to increase membership.
Many of the significant events that Kappas participated in during these years still exist, and Kappas are equally as involved. These events include the Homecoming Parade, Parent's Weekend, Founders Day Tea, and Greek Weekend. The late 70's and early 80's were a much different time, so certain events during Greek Weekend were definitely different. However, the general theme of raising awareness about the great experience of being involved in the Greek community at Syracuse still rings true. As for events specific to Kappa, the Scholarship Dinner, Founders Day Celebration, and Parent's Weekend continue as important occasions celebrated in the same way they were then. In 1980, Founders Day and Parent's Weekend were celebrated together, so parents of actives were able to come to the celebration and meet alumni who returned for it. Fall and spring formals were popular during this time, as were Crush parties. The sisters bonded during Inspiration Week, a week that was a monumental bonding experience for the chapter members. Another tradition that lives on is the Pillow-Paddle exchange (although now wooden keys are exchanged as opposed to paddles between Mother and Daughter what later was called Big and Little.
In 1987, The Kappas and the Thetas continued their tradition of Kite and Key which not only brought the two chapters closer together, but also raised a great deal of money for FACT, a local cancer support group. The chapter also did an Easter Basket delivery for Upstate Medical Center where sisters distributed final bags to students whose families donated money to the Rose McGill fund.
In 1989, the chapter participated in Crop Walk and joined with Phi Kappa Psis to raise money to fight hunger. The chapter also had a pumpkin decorating party with some underprivileged children in Syracuse and hosted a Thanksgiving luncheon for geriatric patients at St. Joseph’s hospital.
Homecoming Week Champions (1980; with Alpha Tau Omega); Syracuse University Dance Marathon for Muscular Dystrophy 2nd Place (1980; with Psi Upsilon); Greek Weekend 2nd Place (1980); Tie for 2nd place for the honored Hilton Cup (1980); Most Improved in Scholastics (1980); In 1988, the chapter pledged 45 girls so it was important to build chapter unity. This was accomplished by increasing the sister/pledge functions, improved chapter meetings, passing the gavel, Kappa consideration key and roommate appreciation day.
The chapter goal for the year was Unity and the chapter motto was Kappa Family. The chapter pledged a record 60 new members this year. The chapter teamed up with ATO for Homecoming and won first place for the second year in a row. In addition, the Kappa’s came in first at the SAE annual Paddy Murphy event which landed the chapter a new TV.
Highlights of the 1990s
In 1990, the chapter joined forces with ATO to sell daffodils to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The chapter also participated in Dance Marathon with SAE to help raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
In 1994 the chapter again participated in Daffodil Days with ATO to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The chapter sold more than 3,670 bouquets of daffodils for the project which raised a lot of money. The chapter also took part in a cookie baking event for the Dorothy Day house, a local philanthropy that houses battered women and children.
Chapter Convention Awards: In 1994, Beta Tau received Honorable Mention awards in both Scholarship and Pledge Education categories. The chapter was also one of the few to completely fulfill the Challenge to Excellence.
A chapter goal during 1990 was to create more involvement in chapter activities, especially in philanthropy events. Awards were given for attendance at philanthropy events. Workshops on standards and ethics also raised the awareness of the importance of philanthropy.
The chapter partnered with Phi Gamma Delta to participate in Dance Marathon in 1992. Some Beta Tau sisters danced for 30 straight hours. The chapter attained #1 status on campus in scholarship with the highest average G.P.A. of all the sororities on campus. The motto for the year was “Kappa Kappa Commitment” and the chapter developed a special unity committee to help reach the goal of a stronger focus on unity and commitment. The Iris Garden was established outside the house and was dedicated to sister’s relatives who had passed away.
At the university’s 1995 Greek Awards Banquet, Beta Tau received an award for Outstanding Chapter newsletter and an award for Outstanding Pledge Education Program. The chapter motto for the year was Kreating Kappa Greatness. The responsibility for attaining this goal was the responsibility of each Beta Tau sister and all of the members working together to achieve that greatness.
The biggest success in 1996 was Kappa’s victory in the annual Powder Puff tournament, an event that is hosted by Sigma Pi Epsilon and the money raised benefited AIDS causes. The annual goal was Kick Kappa into Gear. Achieving this motto was helped by the implementation of a successful phone chain and Kappas who volunteered their time to important philanthropy events.
The chapter took first placed in the 1997 Homecoming skit event, being paired with Psi Upsilon. A chapter consultant came to stay with the chapter during the year. She did a great job of raising spirits, promoting attendance and raising ritual awareness amount the members. Chapter goal was Create Kappa Knowledge.
In 1998, the chapter had a number of sister events during the year which helped strengthen the bonds holding the chapter together, and the chapter participated in a number of philanthropy events. During the year, several members were inducted into honors fraternities and eight women made the Dean’s List. The chapter paired up with Sigma Chi for Homecoming events winning the Yell-Like Hell contest and finished second in Powder-puff football.
The chapter attained #1 in G.P.A. on the campus for 1999 mostly attributed to outstanding academic achievements and hard work in school. The chapter along with the members of Sigma Delta Tau had children from the Vincent House come over for a Halloween Party. The Vincent House is an after-school program for disadvantaged kids. Everyone face painted, played games and trick-retreated in the Kappa house.
A New Millennium - Highlights of 2000-2010
The chapter worked closely with the House Board to accomplish an entire revamp of the washrooms and bathrooms as well as adding new lighting in the back hallway, new draperies and a fresh paint job in the Red Room.
In 2007. the chapter participated in Alpha Epsilon Pi’s Wiffles and Waffles Philanthropy event, a wiffleball tournament in which the chapter made it to the championship game.
By late spring 2008, Beta Tau was busy supporting fellow chapters on campus and participating in numerous philanthropy events such as Delta Gamma's Anchor Splash and Alpha Epsilon Pi’s Wiffles n' Waffles tournament. The girls also participated in various community events, including the Take Back the Night walk to raise awareness of sexual violence. The chapter co-sponsored NOLApalooza-- an event to raise awareness and money for the devastating effects on New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina.
In 2010, the Beta Tau held two successful philanthropy events called Kappa Kickball and Kappa Karwash.
At the 2010 convention, the Beta Tau received the most improved chapter award.
During Homecoming 2005, the chapter marched in the annual Homecoming parade and won most spirited! On Halloween, the chapter participated in a campus event called Greek or Treat that included face-painting local community children while the older children went through the Delta haunted house.
The chapter decided to encourage members to become better Kappas by giving awards at chapter meeting each week including Geek of the Week for great academic achievement and Amazing Actives for members who put in extra time and effort into the chapter for that particular week. In 2007, a Founders Day tea, which fell on Syracuse University’s homecoming week-end, drew many alumnae including a 94 year-old Beta Tau who was one of the first members to live in the house on Comstock Avenue.
A Chapter Improvement Plan was started in 2009 with Kappa Kindergarten. It was a day long sisterhood event to educate the chapter about the ins and outs of Kappa Kappa Gamma and Beta Tau. Chapter Council officers prepared "courses" that were relevant to their positions that they in turn taught to the chapter, focusing on Standards, Ritual, History, and the “big picture” of Kappa, teaching actives about alumnae opportunities and the Kappa Foundation.
In addition to a strong year of philanthropy and service, this was also a huge year for Beta Tau, as we celebrated our 125th Anniversary on October 19th. The chapter planned a large celebration for this occasion, sending out invitations to alumnae, family, and Syracuse University officials. The celebration brought many people together, bridging generational gaps and bringing old friends together. With the house decorated in blue and blue, sisters and alumnae bonded over old pictures and scrapbooks, sharing stories over fleur-de-lis cupcakes.
Tragedy struck Beta Tau in November when the beloved house mother passed away suddenly in a car accident during Thanksgiving break. Fortunately, the Syracuse community came together and the chapter received an outpouring of support from the Greek community and the campus during the difficult time. Susie was a fair and gracious housemother and will always be remembered fondly.
The chapter put a lot of effort into improving the chapter unity, values, pride and goals during 2010. The chapter created a new officer position called Sisterhood Chair. This sister acts under the Standards Committee and strives to improve sisterhood amongst members. The chapter also made ritual a larger part of the chapter with weekly ritual trivia, songs and workshops.
In addition to receiving the most improved chapter at the 2010 Convention, the Beta Tau Chapter also received the Golf Cut Accreditation Award from Syracuse University. During the year, the chapter celebrated their 80th birthday.
Highlights of 2011-2019
(From chapter’s History Report: Scholarship, group honors/awards, traditions, special events, changes on campus or within chapter, overall nature of the chapter, chapter goals, challenges and how they were overcome, etc.)
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is a beautiful school in Upstate New York with a strong tradition of excellence. Students focus on academics, while being spirited and enthusiastic about the campus, cheering on the Syracuse Orange athletics, and boasting a top ranked basketball team, and a championship-winning men’s lacrosse team. Beta Tau goes well with the campus, as the members are motivated and passionate young women, proud of academics, the University, our sisterhood, and one another. SU is dedicated to engagement and interaction with the community, and our chapter fits in with that view, as we work to be involved and committed both on our campus and in the community. With a committed Community Service Chairman, Beta Tau works hard to engage in and cultivate social responsibility, giving time and effort to improving the community, helping others, and doing good in the world—through both service activities and philanthropic donations. With a continued commitment to volunteering, academics, philanthropy, and sisterhood, Beta Tau is proud of its involvement with the University. Our Professors ‘Tea is always a favorite of the actives, as it gives the members a chance to interact with SU faculty outside of the classroom. Additionally, Kappas are involved with numerous clubs and teams on campus, as the members all enjoy being involved with all that Syracuse University has to offer.
Through our Chapter Improvement Plan, the members are working to improve many areas including officer training and transition by having each officer write a welcome letter to her successor. This has already proven helpful with those officers who will be going abroad, as their successors now have a personal letter with advice and ideas to help them succeed.
Beta Tau is working to make its Standards program the best it can be in order to foster spirit and morale while maintaining and educating the chapter on Fraternity standards and policies.
Additionally, a continuing challenge for our chapter is instilling understanding and passion for the ritual. The first step forward was electing a strong Marshal who set goals that were a reflection of the chapter improvement plan. Starting at Kappa Kindergarten, she educated the chapter on the basics of ritual including general procedure, song, and various acts the members do as a chapter during ritual. She then held three other ritual review workshops, and after holding fall Initiation, our improvements showed. She also made necessary adjustments to some of the transitions during ritual to minimize the talking and keep the chapter focused. Every week at chapter meeting she reads a passage from the ritual book to familiarize our chapter with the beauty and importance of the ritual which has definitely brought the ritual to life for many of our members.
Another challenge to the chapter was attendance. It was determined that girls did not feel involved enough in the chapter to engage themselves. Thus, everyone has worked hard to instill leadership and communication in the chapter. Instead of relying on Chapter Council to conduct and manage everything, the members have made goals to rely more on the committees, involving each sister, with 10 minute committee meetings at the end of each chapter meeting. At the first of the year, each sister signed up to be on a committee headed by a sister on Chapter Council. In turn, each leader made a commitment to delegate her responsibilities. This has created a more unified and involved chapter. A weekly agenda was set and sent out before every chapter meeting highlighting the important information and dates going to be covered in the next meeting. Attendance still remains to be a challenge as a chapter, but the members are working hard to make sure everyone feels involved, and wants to be an important part of Beta Tau.
Highlights of 2012
In February 2012 Beta Tau invited 52 girls to join our New Member Program at the completion of recruitment. In March 2012 we celebrated the initiation of all 52 girls who were given bids. At the end of the year Beta Tau was awarded Silver Cup recognition at the 2012 Syracuse University Greek Awards. We also won Sigma Alpha Epsilon's Paddy Murphy philanthropy competition, among other philanthropic titles. Over the summer nine Beta Tau chapter council members were lucky enough to attend the 69th Convention in Jacksonville, FL. In the fall semester of 2012 Beta Tau members were very involved in various philanthropies on campus as well as hosting our own, Kappa Karwash at the chapter house. Early in the fall chapter council hosted an educational program entitled Kappa Kindergarten at a chapter meeting. At the end of the semester Beta Tau members participated in many holiday sharing programs, like the Rose McGill program and local community programs. In November we set up a morning bake sale to raise funds for the relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the North East.
The campus underwent many changes in the fall semester of 2012. The Syracuse University social policy changed dramatically, affecting the rules, safety, budgeting, and judicial consequences of the greek life culture. Chapters are under strict policy codes and judiciary standings are posted onto the Syracuse FASA website. Beta Tau members engaged in some push back but council members were able to reestablish a budget and provide educational programming to help members understand and adhere to the new policies.
Highlights of 2013
130 years later and Beta Tau is stronger than ever! The women who call themselves Kappas at Beta Tau are strong, independent, and driven women. No adjective could describe our house in it’s entirety simply because individuality is what we pride ourselves on. Beta Tau is a home to women from not only all around the country but all around the world. With varying interests, styles, and aspirations for life, no two women are alike but they all have one thing in common; their love for Beta Tau. When you walk into 743 Comstock Avenue, you are not only walking into a gorgeous house but walking into our home; a home that is kept warm and stocked with love with the help of Beta Tau alum Sue Weber and our house chef Patty. From Kick it with Kappa to Kappa Car Wash, Recruitment, scholarship dinner, founders day, and weekly sisterhood events, this was the year for Beta Tau and we enjoyed every second of it! As we like to say here at Beta Tau, “What is precious is permanent, and what is permanent is Kappa”
The 2013 spring semester may have been coming to a close, but Beta Tau was not ready to close it’s philanthropic efforts! Kappa Kick Ball, a Beta Tau tradition at Syracuse, took to South Campus once again for a day of fun and kickball! Syracuse weather was on our side and preparations had been made all semester to ensure the day be a success! Kappa Kick Ball was the first Beta Tau philanthropy the newest members got to experience from an internal perspective and they loved every second of it.
The Summer of 2013 seemed to many like an eternity as Beta Tau members were ready to get home to 743 Comstock Avenue and be reunited once again! The 2013/2014 semester went off with a hitch as Chapter meetings were full of excitement and summer story telling while preparations were in motion for our annual Kappa Car Wash! This year, Beta Tau agreed that we wanted to do things bigger and better; the only way that Kappa’s know how to do it!
With President Molly Birman and Philanthropy Chair at the head, Beta Tau was able to partner up with local ice cream shop Gannon’s for the 2013 Car Wash! Kappa Car Wash, as always,was a fun filled day! Although the weather did not cooperate to the fullest of it’s abilities, rain or shine Kappa’s were holding signs and washing away on Comstock Avenue hoping to raise as much as possible! All members participated, sophomores, junior’s and seniors alike! From dancing on the porch to screaming from the lawn to scrubbing cars in the back parking lot, it was not only a day dedicated to our philanthropy but a day dedicated to sisterhood! Charging only $5 a car, Beta Tau washed over 100 cars and was able to raise over $500 in total for Reading is Fundamental.
2014’s lucky number must be 54 because RUSH brought 54 fabulous new members home to Beta Tau! Preparation for formal recruitment started immediately upon return to school in September. Beta Tau was not only prepared to recruit Syracuse’s best but as a house, became closer than ever during the preparation process. Meetings and practices were time consuming but efficient and in the end worth every second because PC’14 could not be more amazing! 737 girls registered for formal spring recruitment this year and although registration was lower than 2013, Beta Tau was beyond prepared and it paid off.
First round of recruitment brought back a 100% return rate and second round, Kappa Kandyland, brought back a 99% return rate. The house was ecstatic at the results and motivated to continue the success. The second weekend began with house tours and Pref round and the success continued all the way to Syracuse’s first ever, BID NIGHT! Monday, January 27th, was the most anxious filled day of the year as actives and prospective new members alike anxiously awaited their bids! In the end, the wait was well worth it for the 54 women that have joined our family could not be more perfect.
One of the traditions that defines student life here at Syracuse University is the basketball games that make our winters a bit more enjoyable. Syracuse took on Duke for the very first time since their change to the ACC and it was a game to be remembered! The Syracuse Orange won in overtime and the Carrier Dome broke an attendance record of 35,446 people! This event creates a great opportunity for the entire house to bond as new members and actives are all in attendance! It was so special for Kappa.
Kappas are pretty and Kappas are classy but most importantly Kappas are smart and we at Beta Tau are no exception. Our GPA was not where we would have liked it at the start of the year, so Chapter Council and the entire house worked in unison during the Fall 2013 semester to not only increase our individual GPAs but increase it as an entire house. Through extra study hours, tutoring sessions we were able to help members who struggled with classes.
Our internship portal grew enormously, with Kappas working for Vince Camuto, Victoria Secret, Pepsi, the Miss USA Pageant and Vantine just to name a few. These internship connections gave everyone the opportunity for fabulous internships this summer and applications have been sent out! We as Beta Taus saw our problem and changed it. We are proud to say that each and every member of our chapter helped to raise our house GPA and women who never thought they would be invited to a scholarship dinner are receiving their invites within the next month! Go Beta Tau!
Highlights of 2015
Our Chapter, Our Home
While 2015 presented its fair share of challenges for the Beta Tau chapter, our Kappas proved yet again that we are a community of driven, united women with unmatched perseverance and pride. For the 132nd year, our active members at 743 Comstock Ave have reinforced Kappa’s legacy of being motivated, bold, fun women that inspire and encourage others around them. Our women have made 743 Comstock their homes away from home, working together to create an unmatched environment with the help of our house mom, Sue, and our amazing chef, Patty. As a chapter we have grown and flourished by not only opening our doors, but our lives to one another in the past year. The fact that it is so difficult to sum up our chapter’s women in a just few words says more about our defining qualities than anything. At Beta Tau, we are everything from athletes to beauty queens, future politicians to fashion bloggers, and world travelers to artists. We are the model in front of the camera, as well as the photographer behind. Our chapter contains a flurry of unique women, all with different passions, goals and opinions. While we differ in many ways, the one thing we all share is a confidence within our uniqueness and a smile alongside our ambition. To Beta Tau, this the precious Kappa legacy, and as we often say, “What is precious is permanent, and what is permanent is Kappa.”
Wanna’ Play Ball?
Getting busy Kappas together right before finals week is no easy feat, but Kick it with Kappa is the perfect gathering to ensure that nobody will miss out! This annual kickball tournament is a fan favorite philanthropy for Beta Tau ladies, and year after year more and more fun is had. Sororities, fraternities and countless other clubs and organizations across the Syracuse University campus register kickball teams and battle for the title of Kick it With Kappa winner. The event tshirts are highly anticipated every year by all, and this year was no exception. PR chair Liz Lille branched out and created tops for Kappas that read, “Getting picked first since 1870,” on the back. Clever, Liz!
Friendly competition is the name of the game at Kappa Kickball! Teams had more fun than ever this past year on a perfect April day at South Campus’s Skytop Field. We always seem to luck out with the weather during our events, making them even more enjoyable for players, coaches and spectators.
Our outmost goal for this event was to raise money for Reading is Fundamental, and we did just that! Along with Sunday’s kickball game, we added events throughout the week prior to extend participation and diversify our events for Kick it With Kappa. This was a great success and we were able to add a spelling bee, Kappa Karaoke and a Facebook cover photo contest. Coaches and players from all different houses were given the opportunity to bond and become closer through Kappa kickball, all while raising funds and awareness for Reading is Fundamental. We couldn’t have asked for more.
Let’s Make a Splash!
Kappa Kar Wash could not come fast enough for our women this 2015. It being our first, big philanthropy event of the semester, the sisters were eager to get involved and make a splash. Sophomores, juniors and seniors alike grabbed a sponge and got to work raising as much money as we could for Reading is Fundamental this year. The morning began on a high note with the distribution of amazing, bubble-clad Kappa Kar Wash tank tops created by our lovely PR chair, Liz Lillie. Needless to say, they were a hit and our sisters continued to show their Kappa pride by sporting them around campus in the weeks to follow.
From cars, to RVs, to even dogs and the occasional person, our sisters worked until the very last minute attempting to raise as much as they could for the cause. Our Greek community outpoured with support, along with other organizations and peers on campus.
Our President, Jessica Brosofsky, worked with our philanthropy chair, Lexi Aruk, in order to motivate and organize the chapter during the event. Such strong leadership led us to raising over $700 for RIF, an accomplishment far surpassing previous years. After such a fun afternoon in the sun, this achievement truly was the icing on the cake for our chapter.
In 2015, Kappas proved that involvement is essential within our support of various philanthropies on campus. Involvement hasn’t always been a main focus in our Beta Tau history, so we saw this 2015 as an opportunity to truly step up and show not only the Syracuse campus, but to show ourselves what it means to be a conscious, caring Kappa.
We were proud to start the year off with a bang by winning Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Paddy Murphy Week. Kappa showed unmatched fervor for the cause as we applied our driven, confident nature to a greater cause. We continued our involvement by placing a close second at Sigma Chi’s Derby Days, with the hopes of finally taking the crown in the year to follow. Win or lose, our sisters kept the overall purpose of charity in mind by providing massive audiences and donations to these causes. We are proud to say that we are moving in the right direction in terms of philanthropy involvement.
We were also excited to participate with Kappa Alpha Theta for our Kite and Key philanthropy event. The Greek community joined our chapter in viewing a football game together on a large outdoor screen while enjoying tasty hamburgers and hotdogs. We were so proud to continue raising money for RIF and loved getting the opportunity to partner with another sorority on campus for a greater cause. Beta Tau saw this as a proud moment of camaraderie across the Greek community and can’t wait to do it again.
This year, Beta Tau was lucky enough to welcome a larger-than-normal pledge class of 70 new members. Preparation for formal recruitment began immediately upon re-arrival to SU, and it’s safe to say every second of practice paid off.
Not only did we come out on top as far as our new members, but countless recruitment practices and ritual reviews brought our house closer than previous years. Embracing tradition and working together to ensure success during recruitment was a success in itself. With over 1,000 girls registered for formal Spring recruitment, we were nervous for the size of the parties and length of the days, but we were able to sift out the best of the best, and we even learned so much about the intelligent women who ended up elsewhere, strengthening our relationships with those outside of our house and teaching them exactly what we’re all about. Go Greek, Kappa Kandyland, house tours and preference rounds were all executed flawlessly and displayed our love and compassion for Beta Tau. From creating the recruitment video to spending countless hours setting up our colorful Kandyland decorations, new friendships were formed amongst members and we were all about to bond over something we had in common: wanting the best for our house to keep up an impressive legacy. As we are now around the corner from Recruitment 2016, we aim to keep these values strong and mimic last years success once again.
Feeling a Little Blue (& Blue)
2015 presented unexpected challenges for our chapter upon the arrival of our new member class. To the chapter’s dismay, Beta Tau was accused of hazing allegations that lead to a daunting investigation. Unfortunately, we were placed on probation in February of 2015 with additional steps being taken to remove a handful of officers from their positions. With a black smudge on our reputation and the removal of trusted leaders, our women were tested more than ever before. While the original sadness regarding the unfortunate incident was unavoidable, our chapter was quick to get back on our feet and make the best of the situation. We accepted our previous imperfections and vowed to move forward and learn from past mistakes. We completely revised our new member process and urged the chapter to exemplify true Kappa values by participating in philanthropies and getting involved on campus. While the experience was harrowing, Beta Tau came out more unified than ever with fresh goals and revitalized outlook on what it means to be Kappa. The unity, love and strength that this challenge brought out of our chapter prove why each and every member belong at 743. While we know no such mistakes will be made in the future, Beta Tau is grateful for the revitalization of Kappa values and stronger sense of unity that this turmoil invoked.
This 2015, our women presented a variety of accomplishments and activities outside of the Greek community. Alumni Allie Curtis won the title of Miss Rhode Island and graced us with a visit for our Fall Formal event. While her beauty and eloquence were striking, it was her friendly smile and warm introductions that truly proved her a Beta Tau Kappa at heart. Our President, Jessica Brosofsky followed in Allie’s footsteps by winning the title of Miss Onondaga County 2015 and Miss Erie Canal for the upcoming 2016 year. Our women also participated in the famed Syracuse Dance Team, Syracuse’s rowing team, and various other activities on campus like Ottothon and the candlelight vigil for France. Our very own Zoe Malliaros also impressively landed an internship with Diane von Furtsenberg!
Beta Tau was also proud to have had an official partnership with Be Wise in the Fall! Led by junior Eva Narun, sisters gave out promotional, Be Wise materials that promoted alcohol awareness and smart drinking habits. Beta Tau was excited and proud to be involved with such a important program on campus. Our chapter council and other sisters also participated in the Enough is Enough training program. Our leaders learned about important tools, resources, and prevention methods regarding sexual assault on campus. The experience was extremely valuable and I was touched to see our women overwhelmingly participatory in the training. Our council feels prepared to share the valuable information we learned with the rest of the chapter, and feel confident in our ability to act as a resource to the rest of the chapter.
This 2015, Beta Tau has been more actively involved and passionate than ever before. We are proud to prove that Kappas truly are hardworking, passionate individuals in every aspect of our lives.
Highlights of 2017
For 134 years, the women of the Beta Tau Chapter have proven to be d riven, electrifying, headstrong young women ready to take on any challenge or overcome any obstacle. Our active members at 743 Comstock Ave have reinforced Kappa’s legacy of being motivated, sophisticated women who come together to create a dynamic that can’t be seen anywhere else on the Syracuse University Campus. Beta Tau is home to women not only across the country, but the world. As a chapter we have grown to have strong Panhellenic relations, ritual appreciation, and an unbreakable sisterhood. Here at Beta Tau, we are everything from athletes to beauty queens, future politicians to fashion bloggers, and world travelers to artists. With different interests, talents and aspirations, no two members are alike, but share an unconditional love for Beta Tau and Kappa Kappa Gamma. All are welcome and encouraged to enjoy the beauty and history of the house, kept warm and stocked with love. With the help of our house mom, Sue Weber, we have grown as a chapter, by opening our doors to new members, our hearts with each other, and our arms to the campus community for “What is precious is permanent and what is permanent is Kappa.”
The ladies of Beta Tau started off the 2017 academic year by making a splash with our annual Kappa Kar Wash! With it being our first major philanthropy event of the year, the chapter was eager to make it the best yet. Breaking Beta Tau records, the chapter successfully raised over $1,400 for Reading is Fundamental. From cars, to Oishi Sushi Vans, and even dogs, our sisters worked until the very last minute raising more money than we have ever seen raised at Beta Tau. A bake sale also occurred simultaneously, icing on the cake and more dough for the cause! Additionally, the sisters took advantage of this philanthropic opportunity in light of their sisters who have been personally affected by the category five hurricane that hit Puerto Rico, causing the island to lose complete electrical power. Beta Tau set up a table where donations could be collected and sent directly to the United for Puerto Rico fund. President Danielle Runfola and Philanthropy Chairman Gabriela Penzetta worked incredibly hard to ensure the success of the event!
Over the past years, Beta Tau has been striving for higher participation in other Greek houses’ philanthropies. The chapter was happy to achieve that goal and they were satisfied to say that they are a leading chapter in contributing to other houses! The participation has been a breeze as the sisters have been eager to participate, contribute, and get involved.
Beta Tau was so excited to bring back our traditional philanthropy Kappa Kappachino! The sisters pushed through finals week and sold coffee in two different on campus buildings. Peet’s coffee donated all of their coffee for free so Beta Tau was able to profit for the Kappa Foundation. Sister Alanna Masciarelli on the public relations committee, created a shirt similar to a logo that were all familiar with, Friends! The sisters also sold some yummy snack and cookies on the side to help the campus wake up and energize for their finals! The sisters are so proud of their philanthropy chairman, Gabriela Penzetta, for bringing this wonderful and successful event back to our chapter! The chapter is looking forward to Kappa Kickball in the spring time!
The sisters of Beta Tau, with the help of their wonderful house mom Sue Weber, had a successful annual parents weekend! The sisters had an opportunity to meet sister’s families, show their families around campus, give a tour of our beautiful chapter house, and enjoy some of Chef Patty’s brunch food, their favorite! It was really refreshing for the sisters to be visited by their loved ones as a source of motivation prior to midterm exams!
Kappa Kareer Day was a huge success! Beta Tau Alumni Nicole Imbogno (MC ’05) and Vice President of Academic Excellence Krysta Gnidziejko started with a panel from four members where they talked about their experiences through internships. The sisters were asked questions that allowed them to think back and deeply about how they made their connections. Following, Beta Tau’s Public Relations Chairman, Taylore Ratsep, took LinkedIn headshots for the sisters! Nicole presented to the chapter that she will be hosting “Office Hours” once a month for chapter members to work on career development. Following the workshop, the sisters celebrated and enjoyed food at the chapter house!
Spring 2017 Recruitment brought 68 enthusiastic new sisters home to 743 Comstock! Preparation for formal recruitment began immediately upon re-arrival to SU in the fall, and it’s safe to say every second of practice paid off. Not only did we come out on top as far as our new members, but countless recruitment practices and ritual reviews brought our house closer than previous years. Embracing tradition and working together to ensure success during recruitment was a success in itself! With over 1,500 girls registered for formal Spring recruitment, Beta Tau was a bit nervous for the size of the parties and length of the days, but the sisters were able to sift out the best of the best. Go Greek, Kappa Kandyland, house tours, and preference rounds were all executed flawlessly and displayed the sisters love and compassion for Beta Tau. As we are now around the corner from recruitment 2018, Beta Tau is looking forward to ensuring safety for its members on Bid Day and executing a new theme for their philanthropy round, Alice in Wonderland! The sisters aim to keep their values strong throughout this upcoming recruitment season!
“One of my biggest goals as president is to make my sorority house ADA approved.” Danielle Runfola, President. Beta Tau has recognized the fact that you have to have the ability to walk to go through recruitment at Syracuse University. In order for a potential new member to enter our chapter house that is unable to walk, they would have to be carried up the stairs which is no way to welcome a potential new member to any chapter! Beta Tau is delighted to have started a fund for housing renovations this past year. Although this is going to be an ongoing project for Beta Tau, as it is not cheap, they are looking forward to these changes and hope to encourage students with and without disabilities to explore Greek Life, apply for 2018 Spring Recruitment, and welcome all to our beautiful home!
Highlights of 2018
Over the past year, Beta Tau has strived to become more active in our community and take a stand on events that are impacting our world. In the Spring, senior Zoë Swainson organized to have our chapter take part in the White Ribbon Campaign Walk for the Vera House, which is a domestic and sexual violence service agency providing shelter, advocacy, and counseling services in the Syracuse Community. This fall, many members participated in OTTOThon with the help of Katie Bisbee, who was on the executive board. At this event, members were able to dance for 12 hours and raise money for Update Golisano Children’s Hospital. In addition, three of our members, Kenza Bouanane, Dani Vasquez, and Mackenzie O’Dell, who volunteer at the RISE Center, which is a nonprofit that helps refugee and immigrant families in Syracuse, introduced the organization to our chapter, and many of our women have gotten involved in the past few months. This holiday season, Beta Tau participated in a Salvation Army Present Drive, and collected 70 toys and $500 worth of pots, pans, and other kitchen supplies for those in need.
Beta Tau has also strengthened ritual appreciation and has continued to emphasize the importance of sisterhood events. On Founder’s Day, the whole chapter came together and celebrated with an archive presentation put on by our Marshal, Kayla Mattocks. Kayla also organized a few ritual review sessions in order to make sure everyone knew the words to each song, which was a fun gathering. Our sisterhood chair, Kenza Bouanane, has organized a few sisterhood events throughout this year to strengthen our friendship and participate in fun activities together, including apple picking and workout classes. Our VP of Academic Excellence organized Kappa Kareer Day in the fall, where we learned helpful tips on how to land our dream internships, and heard from a panel of seniors about their previous internship experiences.
Highlights of 2019
In 2019 many events happened within our chapter. We gave awards for those with the highest GPA within our sorority as well as holding a dinner for those who achieved a high GPA. Our house board additionally gave awards to women who lived within the sorority in addition to women who made a big difference within our house. Our chapter goals of 2019 included having a smooth recruitment process that went exceptionally well. We had a fantastic recruitment process that led to a wonderful pledging and initiation period of our new members. This year in December the chapter faced a challenge through the "Not again SU" movement that effected many women in the chapter. The way in which this was addressed was through a chapter meeting in which the fundamental issues were discussed, additionally in this meeting we emphasized that Kappa Kappa Gamma was a safe space for all the women in our sorority. This movement was meant to shine a light on the mistreatment of people of color on the Syracuse Campus. This prompted our chapter to host many diversity workshops. In addition to creating a new position for our chapter Diversity Chair.
In September 2019 we had our senior surveys handed out on the first so that their experience could be recorded, and information could be given to the chapter about our seniors. On the fourth of September we had a PC19 and seniors fireside and dinner to continue emphasizing the importance of sisterhood and community. We also had a senior programming night in September in addition to EME training. Furthermore, we had our scholarship dinner where those with a high GPA in our sorority were awarded. Additionally, we had Kappa Kar wash our philanthropy in which we raised money for Reading is Fundemental.
In October 2019 we had another EME training in addition to the celebration of Founders Day on the 13th.
The Chapter celebrated funders day 2019 in a unique way. Our chapter Marshal at the time Kayla, hosted the ritual for the day. Which was followed by a brunch where speeches about kappa and out founders were given and alumni from the past years came to visit and participate. Furthermore, our chapter archives were placed around our chapter room and library so that women could reflect on the years before and speak to each other about how things have evolved and changed through the years.
On the Saturday following Founders Day we had Kappa Parents weekend in which we showed off our amazing chapter and house to the parents visiting. In October we also had PC18 dinner in which they could all strengthen their bonds as new members of our sorority. To celebrate Halloween at the chapter house, the entire sorority was invited to pumpkin carve at the chapter and celebrate Halloween with their sisters.
In November 2019 we had informal chapter elections in addition to an all house recruitment practice. Through this month we begun to get prepared for recruitment and prepare PC18 to be on the other side of recruitment. On the 12th we had EXPO at Goldstein Auditorium which involved many women from our sorority going to represent our house to potential members. In November we additionally had an all house Thanksgiving dinner which was a wonderful way to all come together before leaving for our Thanksgiving break.
In December 2019 the house hosted an In-House Christmas Dinner and Cheerful Cherub event which excited all the members and reinforced the bonds of our sisterhood. During this month we also prepared for recruitment and participated in many philanthropies.
We also participated in many philanthropic events in this calendar year that helped raise thousands of dollars for philanthropies other than our own. We continually choose Reading is Fundamental due to the importance of education in our community and communities around the world. As a chapter we recognize that knowledge is power and in order to create a more connected world we need to come together and educate one another. Furthermore, we believe in this organization because it provides so much to communities that are not as fortunate as our own. We believe that through our philanthropies we are able to make a difference in the lives of so many and create a lasting impact.
Highlights of 2020s:
Highlights of 2020:
This year things changed significantly due to COVID. In the beginning of the year in January things were normal. Recruitment went very well and the year was looking good.
As the year went on and we all had to go home many things had to shift in order to minimize the risk of exposure. One of the events we were meant to facilitate was the inspiration period which happens prior to initiation.
To adhere to COVID guidelines, the chapter Marshal created a way in which to foster a friendship with the new members and help them remember their experience pledging and feel closer to the house. We created an entire week where we all wore the same colors and were encouraged to face time one another. Furthermore we also had green paper appreciation through google slides, where every girl wrote about when they felt they started to understand each other better.
COVID definitely made things harder for our chapter yet we took it in strides and were able to overcome the difficulties made apparent to us.
The chapter supports Reading is fundamental because we believe that everyone should have the opportunity for education and that through our efforts we can increase literacy in our communities.
We held diversity and inclusion talks where reputable speakers held zoom meetings and educated us. Furthermore, we installed two diversity chairs as chapter officers, exemplifying our goal in creating an inclusive environment for everyone.
The chapter celebrated Kappa’s 150 year anniversary in the best way. Since we weren’t able to hold the event at our home, we held a zoom call where Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumnae and present active members all came together to talk. Stories, songs and wonderful memories were shared about experiences within the sorority and the bonds of sisterhood became very clear that night.We also had Leah DeCesare, chapter alumna, Fraternity Council member and author of Forks, Knives, and Spoons: A Novel, speak about her experiences within the house, her memories and the inspiration she derived from being a Kappa. It was a highlight of our year and the event was praised by many women within the chapter as one holding great value to each of us.