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Dissolve: A Vancouver Kappa’s Documentary on Drug Induced Sexual Assault

(Education) Permanent link

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and for the next few weeks (and even in the upcoming spring issue of The Key) we’ll feature some of our members’ stories.

 Meghan Gardiner, British Columbia, had the unthinkable experience of being assaulted after having her drink spiked at a college party. Working from her experience and combining her talents as an actress and playwright, she produced a one-woman play titled “Dissolve,” which she has performed across the continent. She plays 14 characters using comedy, mime, satire and irony, portraying a college party gone wrong. A question and answer session follows, plus guidelines for safety. She appeared as a keynote speaker at the Toronto Police Service's International Conference on Sex Crimes. Due to the overwhelming demand for bookings, Meghan has produced a documentary film on the issue of drug-facilitated sexual assault, www.dissolvethemovie.ca available on DVD at Moving Images, www.movingimages.ca. She says, “Awareness is the first step toward prevention. If I had seen this film in college, things may have turned out differently for me.”

Some of Meghan's safety tips include:

  1. Never, ever, ever leave your drink unattended! If you want to dance, or
    go to the washroom, finish your drink before you go. And, if someone
    offers to buy you a drink, go with them and watch the bartender make it.
    Be especially wary of punch bowls, and remember, nonalcoholic drinks
    can be spiked, too.
  2. Stick with your sisters! Know their intentions before you go out, and
    make a game plan that doesn’t change. These drugs take 20-30 minutes
    to kick in, so if you know how little your friend has had to drink, that may
    be your first clue. Don’t assume they just decided to have a wild night
    and leave them.
  3. If you suspect that your drink or your friend’s drink has been spiked, get
    to a hospital immediately! These drugs are flushed out of the system very
    quickly, and a urine sample is the most reliable source for testing. Try not
    to go to the washroom until you get to the hospital, and definitely don’t
    shower or change your clothes. There could be very valuable evidence on
    you, and in you.
  4. If someone discloses to you that this has happened to them, BELIEVE
    THEM! If you don’t, they may never tell anyone again, and your support
    is the only way they are going to get through this horrific event. There
    are also wonderful counseling services available across North America.
    Talk to your chapter Risk Management Chairman for more information.
  5. Have fun, but be safe! Awareness is the first step toward prevention.


Kappa’s Univ. of Colorado Chapter Going Strong Since 1901

(Sisterhood) Permanent link

The Early Years

No state university could claim more humble beginnings. On the windswept plain of sage and buffalo grass, a lone four-story brick structure rose incongruously to mark the campus of the University of Colorado. Two instructors, one of them the new president, and 44 students assembled in the fall of 1877. Among the goals restated each year by that first class, none was more urgent than a sidewalk to town to escape the sea of mud. The goal was finally realized for the first commencement.
By 1901, the campus had grown to a half-dozen buildings, including a “Cottage Number One for Women, with Boarding Table.” There were four national men’s fraternities and two women’s. A local group, the Althea Society, rejected by Kappa Kappa Gamma in an early petition, was inspired to two more years of work to meet requirements, and finally was so enthusiastically endorsed by Kappa’s Denver Alumnae Association that the usual inspection by the Grand Council was waived—the history of Beta Mu Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma had begun.

On April 5, 1901, 19 young women in long woolen skirts walked to the tiny train station on the prairie, nearly swooning with excitement as the train pulled in, bringing members of Sigma Chapter—Nebraska. Kappa’s Grand Secretary, May Whiting (Westermann), Sigma—Nebraska, was among the 20 who were to initiate Beta Mu’s charter members.
The other campus Greeks hosted an afternoon reception, and there was a banquet at the Brown Palace in Denver. Initiation was at the home of a new member with a Pi Beta Phi mother. In 1974, Nettie Schwer Freed, age 93, was Beta Mu’s only living charter member and she recalled clearly the events of the 1901 Installation. She explained how early meetings were held in her room at the cottage or at members’ homes. By 1905, the chapter was able to rent a house at 1221 University Avenue, which was to be the Kappa house for nearly two decades.

World War I Years

Fraternity houses became barracks and coeds volunteered daily hours of work. By commencement, 1918, all able-bodied male students had been called to arms and the class history was delivered for the first time by a woman, a Beta Mu.
Dreams of a permanent home began to take shape by 1920 when lots were purchased for the present house at 1134 University Avenue at a cost of $21,000. Mae Fry, at one time a member of the Colorado legislature, was president of the newly formed building committee.

The 1930s

Nearly every rush plan had been tried during Beta Mu’s first 25 years and, by the 1930s, it had become a complicated system of summer parties and formal calls preceding the fall week of teas and dinners. Expensive decorations, costumes and entertainment were required, and rivalry was bitter.
Increasing membership called for a house addition in 1939, a large recreation room, which brought new informality to the Colonial structure.
In 1939, Dr. Robert L. Stearns became the University’s sixth president and brought inspired leadership for 13 years. His Beta Mu family included wife (Amy Pitkin Stearns) and four daughters (Judith Stearns Caughey, Amy Stearns Goodell, Marion Stearns White and Barbara Stearns Wooten). Dr. Stearns was keynote speaker at the 1940 Sun Valley Convention, where Beta Mu proudly accepted the Standards Cup for the most outstanding chapter of the biennium.

World War II Years

Beta Mu instigated the equipping of all sorority houses as Red Cross relief stations, and limited social functions to buy war bonds. House decorations and homecoming floats were discarded in favor of patriotic decorations for the student union. Beta Mu sent gift boxes overseas and to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, and during the campus drive for supplies for war-torn Europeans, assembled the largest contribution.
Enrollment soared at the end of the war, and numbers forced a simpler rush—ice-water teas replaced elaborate entertaining.

The 1950s

By spring of 1956, Beta Mu won both the campus and Denver area Panhellenic Scholarship Cups. At the 1956 General Convention, Beta Mu was runner-up for pledge training, and two years later, won the top award. The 1956 Convention brought the chapter its finest honor—Eleanor Goodridge Campbell was elected Fraternity President.
By now, the chapter was providing room and board for its first foreign student, from Norway. Since then others from Sweden, Hungary, Austria, Finland, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands have made Beta Mu their home for a year.
Beta Mu members continued to be leaders on campus, and prizes filled their trophy case. With 14 queens and attendants in one year, Kappa’s yearbook page was once titled “Home of Royalty.”

The 1960s

In the face of ever-crowded conditions, another house addition was made in 1962, which included 19 double bedrooms. Eighty-two members could now reside in the house.
The changing social climate affected by the war in Vietnam, new student lifestyles, and the end of restrictions on university housing created the chapter’s greatest challenge. Within five years, a decrease in chapter membership had caused a house maintenance problem. However, Beta Mu won the first Fraternity Appreciation Award at the 1960 General Convention.

For more chapter histories or to add details to your chapter’s history, log in at www.kappa.org and visit Kappapedia.

--Excerpted and edited for clarity and length from The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870–1976.

Welcome, Eta Rho Chapter!

(Sisterhood) Permanent link

Kappa’s history is written every day by our members, in their communities and on their campuses. Certain special moments make us pause--to reflect and to celebrate that history. One occasion that Kappa truly cherishes is when we welcome a new chapter into our organization. Installation is a special and joyous occasion! It takes a small army to pull off, and it is an incredibly moving experience –especially when you witness the charter members realizing what an incredible organization they are joining. On March 2, Kappa history was once again made, and now we celebrate our 111 new sisters at our newly installed Eta Rho Chapter at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif.! As their recently elected chapter President, Jenna Strack said, “When I received the charter from Julie Leshay, Fraternity President, I felt like I had been entrusted with a piece of history. I could feel the love and energy in the room as active Kappas and alumnae performed the sacred ritual.”

Congratulations and welcome, Eta Rho.



Still Mine at Heart—The Saga of My Stolen Badge

(Education) Permanent link

By Guest Blogger Hermine McLarty Granberry, Mississippi

Here I was, out of town, sitting in an auditorium on a Saturday between events at my daughter’s dance competition, checking emails. An email from my Kappa sister, Fraternity Vice President Elizabeth Bailey, Mississippi, simply asked, “Does this badge on eBay look familiar?” I gasped out loud when I opened the photo attachment. There was my chapter’s ruby scholarship award badge that had been stolen with my luggage in 1980 when I was a junior in college. I had attended Kappa’s General Convention in West Palm Beach, Fla. when my bag was stolen between the hotel and the airport.

The next 24 hours was a quick lesson in pin collectors, eBay auctions, and how to protect your badge. While I was willing to bid to get the badge back, I knew that the price would quickly escalate out of my price range. The next day, I watched on my iPhone as the final minute of the auction ticked down and the price jumped to $1,034. The badge I had lost 32 years ago was gone again.

While I was saddened to see the badge slip away, I was also encouraged to know it still existed. When that ruby badge was stolen, I also lost my mother’s charter badge. Ironically, nine years later in 1989, burglars broke into my house, and my own Kappa badge was among the jewelry stolen. Might these badges still exist, too?

The lesson learned from this experience was to get my records in order. I’m working now to gather insurance papers, police reports, etc., from those thefts long ago because if and when those badges appear in an auction or in a pawn shop, I’ll have ready the proof of ownership to retrieve them. I’m also providing that information to the Golden Key Alumnae Association/Keepers of the Key in case they spot my badges in an auction. So, no matter how long ago you lost your badge, get your records together and register with Golden Key. You never know when they may email you a photo of your golden key. It can happen.

To register your badge with the Golden Key Alumnae Association or join their efforts of badge rescue, return, disposition and appreciation, visit: http://associations.kappakappagamma.org/goldenkey/pages/keepers-of-the-key.php

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