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The Kappa Blog

Fees-Fines-Fo-Fum: Kappa and the Financial Beanstalk

(Education) Permanent link

By Sarah Gipe, Ohio Wesleyan, Supervisor of Chapter Finance

Sarah Gipe  
If there’s one thing we all know about college, it’s that it costs a pretty penny. During a time when students are getting their first true experience with independence and self-discovery, it’s understandable why many college students gravitate to the Greek life experience. Sororities offer friendship, leadership, philanthropy and more. But Greek life isn’t free.
Kappa Kappa Gamma offers all those amazing benefits with full financial transparency. It’s not in our organization’s best interest or that of our potential new members to unintentionally provide misguided information about our financial policies. What you see is what you get!
Running a little late to an event? No worries. Don’t want to purchase a T-shirt? That’s fine. Our members show up to events because they want to participate, not because of an impending fine. We equip our chapter Treasurers with the resources and knowledge to budget properly so that all mandatory chapter expenses are considered for the entire term and incremental charges are not needed for the chapter to operate. Our members get one comprehensive bill per term (broken into several monthly installments if needed). We have found that providing the financial expectations upfront allows for our members to plan accordingly.   
And that’s just the dollars and cents of it. Financial obligation is an important part of adult life, a part that we find necessary to educate and promote within the undergraduate Kappa experience. But being fiscally responsible doesn’t start with the member, it starts with the organization. Kappa Kappa Gamma sets an example and provides both education and support to our members when sensitive financial issues arise.
We want to give our members the best possible experience in a fiscally responsible way. After all, we are here to foster friendship, mutual support, opportunities for self-growth, respect for intellectual development, and an understanding of and an allegiance to positive ethical principles. And who wouldn’t aspire to achieve qualities like those?    

Scholarship Myths Busted

(Scholarship) Permanent link

By Janey Cantwell, Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation Scholarship Chairman
As the cost of college continues to climb, students and parents are searching far and wide for ways to help ease the burden. Some students work their way through school, some parents help by paying, and some have a combination of loans, scholarships and part-time jobs to pay their tuition. While there are more than $46 billion in scholarships available each year according to College Planning Services, many students feel that they don’t fit into that framework of what a scholarship recipient looks like. They think, “Oh, I’m not smart enough,” or “I don’t volunteer enough.” Kappa kicks those misconceptions to the curb. Kappa recognizes college is expensive for all students, and places a high value on women’s education.

Because of this, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation has gone a step further by modifying its scholarship requirements. Applicants are no longer required to include their parents’ income on the scholarship application. A parents’ present income level does not necessarily reflect our member’s personal circumstance. We realize that many of our members are self-sufficient, and asking for this information may have overshadowed the true position of the applicant.

We want to make sure that any student who needs help has the opportunity to earn a scholarship. You do need to be a Kappa in good standing (as defined in Article III, Section 6., of the Fraternity Bylaws), in school full-time for the following school year, an initiated member, and have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The average scholarship awarded is $3,000, though the amount varies depending on the scholarship.

In June 2014, the Foundation awarded 159 Kappas a total of more than $620,000 in scholarships for the 2014–2015 academic year. With more than 450 applicants, Kappas applying had a 1 in 3 chance to receive a scholarship.

I know what you are thinking, though. “Janey, there are more than 100 scholarships available! How will I know which ones to apply for and which ones I qualify for?” Fear not! Kappa does that work for you. Fill out a single application and, based on your responses, we match you with the right scholarship. Recipients are notified in late May and checks are mailed in August.

What are you waiting for? Applications and supporting documents are due by February 1. Apply today! Still have questions? Check out the Scholarship FAQs available on the website.


Throwing Without Knowing

(Education, Leadership, Photos) Permanent link

By Kelly Matyas Magyarics, Pittsburgh, Fraternity Public Relations Chairman


Every day, we see photos on social media sites of smiling sisters at recruitment or sisterhood events, silhouetted in front of a setting sun, and posing in far-flung places during a semester abroad. Many of these images contain a common element:  members “throwing what they know,” i.e., using their hands to represent the letters KKG. Likewise, each day we receive via email photos of members proudly displaying this Kappa hand sign, and asking us to share them on the Fraternity’s official social media sites.
For sure, Kappa Kappa Gamma is not the only women’s group whose members have adopted an unofficial hand sign; a quick Google search will return photos and articles with many NPC groups “throwing what they know.” We are positive that all of these photos are meant to highlight unity, friendship and sisterhood, and the pride that members feel to belong to the membership of Kappa Kappa Gamma. But as we know, social media is not just about intention— it’s also about interpretation.
A member of my family (who needs to remain anonymous due to safety and security considerations) works for an organization that investigates gangs and hate groups. As an experiment, I sent him a photo I found online of two Kappas posing together while doing the hand sign. I explained to him that it’s a current trend among sororities to post photos with hand signs on social media, and asked for his thoughts on the concept. I also polled him to see if Kappa’s sign is similar to any that an unsavory organization might use. This was his response:
“Do they resemble gang hand signs? Sure they do. That’s what members of such gangs do to represent their crew by throwing up their sign. So I guess it’s not too surprising members of sororities and/or fraternities, who see themselves as close-knit groups (just like gangs do), may adopt a similar display of representation.”
Again, a quick Google search for hand signs will render photos of hand signs by members of organizations that promote violence and intimidation. Just as with Greek hand signs, these are designed to show unity, solidarity and loyalty to an organization to which these members took a pledge or oath. However, when my family member pointed out to me that Kappa’s hand sign is startlingly similar to one used by a white supremacist group, I was stunned. He sent me two images of this group “throwing what they know,” accompanied by the following explanation:
“They’re throwing up the SS bolts, a common white supremacist symbol. In fact, it even looks a little like the Kappa hand sign—it’s just that they don’t have their fingers open in the pics below, like those for Kappa do. That may be compelling to make them want to stop doing it.”
Compelling, indeed. Did you ever stop to think that the photos with hand signs that members of our Fraternity take, post and repost—which are meant to show Kappa pride—could be misconstrued as a symbol of white supremacy? Or that the very concept of a hand sign may be associated by the general public as not a symbol of membership in a Greek organization, but in an organization that uses violent and intimidating tactics? Again, we always need to be mindful of interpretation, not just intention, when posting online or to social media sites.
Starting now, the Fraternity will no longer post any photos on our website or our official social media sites of members displaying this hand sign. We encourage you to help this trend fade away by not posting images with it on your chapter or individual websites or social media sites, either. As a symbolic representation of Kappa Kappa Gamma, this hand sign is unnecessary to show our loyalty. Instead, continue to share with us those images that show your chapter’s personality and tell a story. Those are the compelling photos we want to share with the world.



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