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A Little Sunscreen Can Save Your Life!

(Education) Permanent link

Skin Cancer Awareness Month seeks to spread the facts you need to know.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month—a time when the weather is getting warmer, pools are opening, the sun is shining, and more than likely you’re spending more time outside! But are you prepared to protect your skin … and your life?

Did You Know?

•  Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than two million people are diagnosed annually.
•  Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
•  Treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers increased by nearly 77 percent between 1992 and 2006.
•  Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
•  One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.

•  Five percent of all cancers in men are melanomas; four percent of all cancers in women are melanomas.2
•  Up until age 40, significantly more women develop melanoma than men (1 in 391 women vs. 1 in 691 men). After age 40, significantly more men develop melanoma than women. Overall, one in 35 men and one in 54 women will develop melanoma in their lifetimes.

So, Now What?

 Did you know that anytime you are in the sun you should wear at least SPF 15? This is just one of the many guidelines offered by the Skin Cancer Foundation.  Here are more you should follow to avoid a life-threatening or life-altering form of skin cancer:

1.    Seek the shade whenever possible, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2.    Avoid tanning in tanning booths.
3.    Do not burn.
4.    Cover up with clothing, wide-brimmed hats, etc.
5.    Use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad- spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
6.    Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming.
7.    Keep newborns out of the sun.
8.    Examine your skin—head-to-toe every month.,
9.    See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

Facts and guidelines from the Skin Cancer Foundation website, skincancer.org

Univ. of Oregon Chapter Is 100!

(Education, Sisterhood) Permanent link

Beta Omega Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma was founded on January 11, 1913, at the University of Oregon in Eugene with 10 charter members. Since then, the chapter has initiated more than 2,150 members.

The Early Years
The five collegians who had formed local sorority Gamma Delta Gamma applied informally for a Kappa Kappa Gamma charter in 1909. They had been inspired by their housemother, Agnes Leach Dunston, Omicron, Simpson, mother of one of the five, to make Kappa their goal.

For four years, the group maintained strength on the campus, and a second housemother, Maude Stinson, Beta Eta, Stanford, helped to keep the thought of a Kappa charter before them. In the spring of 1912, a formal petition was approved by Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity officials and sent on for chapter vote. On January 11, 1913, Beta Omega was installed by the Grand President, Eva Powell, Pi Deuteron Chapter, UC Berkeley, assisted by Beta Pi Chapter, Washington.

Although the group had had the security of a rented house near the campus from 1910 to 1925, the years before and after the installation were difficult. Yet early members of Beta Omega have been described as “vigorous-minded individual girls of active and varied interests,” distinguished by “strength and self-reliance.”

The 20 members of the Eugene Alumnae Association were of great service to the young chapter, helping with house rent and expenses, assistance to the chapter adviser, and January 11 birthday parties for the group. Portland mothers donated furniture and rugs.

Most of the members in the early chapter came from Portland and Eugene, and majored in education, journalism, art or music. Their scholarship, to quote Sally Elliott Allen, Eta, Wisconsin, the 1930 history chronicler for Beta Omega, “has been creditable and often superior, and they have always stood for a sincere and unaffected womanliness.”

A New House
Financial conditions were often poor; but these conditions improved steadily. By the fall of 1925, a new house at 15th and Alder Streets had been built at a cost of about $37,000 for the lot, house, furnishings and landscaping. In 1974, new additions doubled the size of the kitchen, provided an apartment for the housemother, increased the sleeping porch area, and included a sun porch. Fifty-eight members could live in the house comfortably.

During World War I, members devoted spare time to Red Cross work. During World War II, members donated blood, collected scrap metal and adopted a German war orphan to whom they sent letters and gift boxes. During the 1960s, fund drives and parties for underprivileged children were co-sponsored, usually with a men’s fraternity. In 1965, the chapter won the Oregon Citizenship Cup, given to the organization outstanding in scholarship, leadership and service to the university, community, state and national government.
In 1942, five of the six seniors in the house were elected to Phi Beta Kappa. The 3.003 grade average in 1965 was the highest ever achieved by an Oregon group. The chapter has received many scholarship trophies.

Chapter Traditions
One year, the chapter was so small that it appeared that only two members would be back in the fall. Those two came to be known as Beta and Omega.

The independent spirit of the chapter was seen in a number of interesting ways. There was no brass nameplate on the door; the telephone was answered by a repetition of the number “204,” not “Kappa Kappa Gamma;” and every Tuesday “outside girls” were invited for dinner.

Chapter traditions included the joint Founders Day celebration with Gamma Mu, Oregon State; the Christmas Serenade with white candles, white collars and sacred songs; Apple Polishing, a party for favorite teachers; a Kappa–Pi Beta Phi dinner when keys were worn slanted and arrows straight; the blown-out candle to announce an engagement; and the spring awards banquet.

A revolving emergency loan fund was started by Eugene alumnae in 1945 in memory of Hazel Prutsman Schwering, Oregon’s dean of women, who was a Beta Omega. These alumnae contributed greatly to the house and to the morale of the chapter. The mothers clubs of Eugene and Portland and the Portland Alumnae Association continued to make utilitarian and decorative contributions.

The stamina that enabled Beta Omega to find boarders and to keep the chapter going when it was thought that only two members would be making up the entire group at one time, and the independence of spirit, which has characterized the chapter from the start, can be seen today.

Excerpted from The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870–1976.

Smart and Simple Ways to Survive Tough Economic Times

(Scholarship) Permanent link

By Cindy Bennett Jarboe, William and Mary, Former Fraternity Treasurer

“My family’s financial situation is dire.” “My summer job may not turn out.” “I have to work a lot of hours to pay my college costs so I can’t devote as much time to Kappa.” “I can’t afford to be in a sorority.” These are all comments heard recently from active members.
Alumnae also are feeling the impact as many facing the loss of jobs and health care benefits. The Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation has seen a significant increase in scholarship and Rose McGill Aid requests while seeing a decline in contributions to meet these needs.

So how can we all survive? First, understand that our economy has survived these situations before, and we will again. Worrying does not help the situation and just makes matters worse by increasing health problems (and therefore healthcare costs).

It’s all about cash flow and budgeting. Yes, it takes discipline to stick to a budget—but it’s worth it.

Prepare a schedule with each month across the top and your income and expenses listed under each month. First, list sources of income and evaluate how you can increase cash flow. For example, your take-home pay—can you increase hours or work overtime? Is your tax withholding correct? If you are getting a large refund this year, it indicates the U.S. Treasury held your money for you and you had too much withheld that you could have used to pay expenses. Consider increasing your exemptions on your W-4 form you filed with your employer to reduce the taxes withheld from your pay.

If your receive funds from another source, such as your parents, make sure you allocate that income over the period it is supposed to cover.

If you have savings, use discipline to only withdraw a minimum amount each month.  You need to keep as much of your savings intact for unforeseen emergencies. While interest rates are low, make sure you have your account with a financial institution that pays the highest rate. 

On the expense side, look at what you spent last month and list expenses individually.  Look at what you are putting on credit cards. If possible, remove all your credit cards, except one that is accepted everywhere, from your wallet. Credit card debt is the most expensive debt. Look on your statement and see what your credit limit is. Going over by just one dollar or being late in the payment by one day costs $35 or more. By only using one credit card, you can better manage your spending. Since it is easy to spend more by using a credit card, use cash whenever possible.

Next, list expenses in priority order. For example, rent or mortgage, insurance, car loan, utilities, other financial commitments such as dues, room and board, and essential food should be listed ahead of restaurants, travel, iTunes and other discretionary spending.

Focus on the essentials and eliminate or reduce discretionary spending. If your cash flow does not even cover your essential payments, contact your bank or insurance broker and explain you would like to work out an extended payment arrangement. Make sure you understand the fees and other costs involved in any refinancing.

Students should work out a payment plan for tuition, dues, room and board. Visit the financial aid office for help.

If you have accumulated credit card debt, make sure you pay at least the minimum payment. Look at utility bills. Are you doing everything you can to keep them as low as possible by turning off lights and monitoring the thermostat?  Do you really need a land phone line if you use your cell phone? Are you at the lowest cable and Internet service level of billing? Carpool whenever possible or take mass transportation. Buy the least expensive items in the grocery store such as generics and buy all your groceries for the week at one time so you can see the total amount. Avoid convenience stores with their higher costs and impulse-buy items.

By putting everything in writing, you can see where your money is going. Now for future months, list your budgeted amounts and you will be surprised how much further your money will go if you only spend what you budget. If you stick to your monthly budget and have a few dollars left over, reward yourself with a treat! 


All About the Fraternity Coat-of-Arms

(Education) Permanent link

Excerpt from January 2006 Historically Speaking, by Kay Smith Larson, Washington, History Chairman 2002-2006

Did you know that the insignia most commonly referred to as the “crest” of Kappa Kappa Gamma is actually the Fraternity Coat-of-Arms?

Coat-of-Arms at Fraternity Headquarters (Coat-of-Arms at Fraternity Headquarters)


The “crest” is only one part of a coat-of-arms and always appears above the helmet. According to Webster’s, a coat-of-arms is “a shield with heraldic emblems as the insignia of some group” and a crest is “a heraldic device placed on seals, silverware, etc.” Let’s look back at the development of Kappa’s Coat-of-Arms.

It was 101 years ago when the Fraternity first discussed a coat-of-arms. At the 1905 Council meeting, the Grand Treasurer was asked to confer with the chapters about designs. A Standing Committee was appointed. They collected designs from the chapters and brought them to the 1906 and 1908 Conventions. It was not until the 1909 Council meeting that an appointed committee achieved the desired result. Chairman Margaret Brown Moore, Wooster, made it her personal responsibility to understand the rules which govern heraldry, with the help of Joanna Strange, DePauw, head of the reference department of the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh and the designer of the Sigma Nu coat-of-arms.

In 1910, the Convention delegates realized that Margaret must have expert help if the Fraternity was to have a piece of work which was technically correct. She worked with Marc J. Rowe of Philadelphia, the authority on heraldry in America. He rendered her ideas in a watercolor sketch. The sketch, which was adopted by vote of the chapters in 1912 as the official Coat-of-Arms of Kappa Kappa Gamma, is the result of the work of both Margaret Moore and Marc J. Rowe.

At the 1912 Convention in Evanston, the delegates voted to have the shape of the key conform to the one-inch measurements and its corresponding proportions, rather than have the symbolic key that was on the original print. Although it does not conform strictly to the requirements of heraldry, it was voted at the Convention to allow the six Greek letters to appear on the badge in the coat-of-arms.

The description of the coat-of-arms as it appears in the present Fraternity Bylaws is the same as the original technical description, but expressed in terms which translate the other words.

  1. The shield shall be azure*, bearing in the honor point the golden key of the Fraternity, in the middle base a golden owl, these two charges being separated by a chevron of silver on which lie three fleur-de-lis of azure.
  2. The crest shall be a wreath of azure and silver resting on the helmeted head of Minerva, thereon a Sigma in Delta in azure hues.
  3. The motto shall be the Greek letters KKΓ (Kappa Kappa Gamma) in silver resting on a ribbon of azure.
  4. The mantling shall be silver and azure. (Article XXII, B, 1-4)

Coat-of-Arms Diagram (click to enlarge the diagram)


The next time you look at the Fraternity Coat-of-Arms, study the various parts and you’ll understand the significance of what was used: the general outline of the mantling and ribbon is supposed to suggest the conventional fleur-de-lis; the key is in the honor point; the chevron is protection, accomplished by work of faithful service; fleur-de-lis is purity and light; owl is vigilant and of acute wit; key is guardianship and dominion; blue is truth and loyalty; silver is peace and sincerity; gold is generosity and elevation of mind.

Margaret urged the Fraternity to protect the design so that “the technically perfect coat-of-arms will not be lost to us.” She expressed a wish that there should be perfect dies for stamping in gold and silver as well as plates for printing on documents and reports. Cleora Wheeler, Minnesota, prepared such plates and dies. The College of Arms in England was consulted before Cleora cut her die in filigree and it was made after the others that were modeled in the regulation way. When these were done, Margaret Moore declared that perfect reproductions had been made.


* Azure is the term used in heraldry for blue.

Mother's Day Proclamation

(Education) Permanent link

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! While Mother’s Day is an opportunity to show our gratitude for the kindness and care shown by mothers, it isn’t just about biological mothers. We all have friends, relatives, neighbors and coworkers that offer the kindness of a mother. Reeling from her experiences during the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe wrote her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870 – just as the Founders of Kappa Kappa Gamma were planting the acorn from which the mighty oak of our great Fraternity would spring forth. Already famous for her poem that would become the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Howe’s next cause was to mobilize women to stand up for peace and oppose war in all of its forms. Jone Johnson Lewis writes that Julia Ward Howe “issued a declaration, hoping to gather together women in a congress of action.” Recognizing the shared sacrifice of mothers who would suffer the death or injury of their children in war, Howe’s declaration called for a Mother’s Day of Peace.


Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870


by Julia Ward Howe


Arise then ... women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace ...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.


In 1884,Julia Ward Howe accepted the invitation of the Phi Chapter at Boston Universityto become an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. 



The Climb

(Leadership) Permanent link

By Guest blogger Rachel Elizabeth, Florida

“Pole, pole” (pronounced poe-lay, pole-lay) he said to me in Swahili as I stared up into his kind face ready to collapse from exhaustion. It meant “slow, slow” but really took on more of a meaning like the old saying “slow and steady wins the race.” Somehow I found the strength to nod and reply with a smile and “pole, pole” as I took one more step in the dark, frigid night.

What was I doing climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro? I had no idea this fanciful whim would be so overwhelmingly difficult. Growing up I had always been a quitter. I used to convince myself I was just easily bored and would move on from one extracurricular activity to another. Indian Princesses for a year, then softball for one, gymnastics for one, acting for one, horseback riding (for you guessed it—one year!) … the list goes on. But as soon as each activity got tough and it came to disciplining myself in order to keep advancing in the field, I would just move on to another. The trend continued through high school—I even quit cheerleading mid-season my senior year to volunteer at a local animal shelter instead. It seemed like I was doing a good thing at the time and that I had simply moved on to something else of interest—no big deal. Except I had let the rest of my team down and I didn’t realize the impact of this at the time. I had even been this way with friends. I had moved frequently from school to school never feeling quite satisfied and hoping for something “better” each time I left. Thank goodness Kappa would later come along and show me that the strongest and best friendships involve time, sacrifice and remaining there for each other even through the rough patches.

 When I joined Kappa my sophomore year, I was hesitant to get involved. Looking back, it wasn’t that I was afraid of losing interest in these new sisters. Deep down I was afraid that they were going to lose interest in me. It wasn’t until my junior year when I moved into the house that I really got to know some of the girls better and became more involved in their lives. There were a few times when it was difficult balancing school, my job and other student organizations I was involved with Kappa life and I thought about moving out of the house and placing those friendships on a back burner. But I’m so glad I didn’t! I am still the best of friends with many of those girls whom I watched “Grey’s Anatomy” with on the couch over a bowl of ice cream, or cried over a breakup with in the bathroom, or studied with in the den, or held Bible study with in my room. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything, and it was Kappa that showed me the beauty of sticking with something.

Three summers after graduation, I found myself climbing to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro, by myself, in the middle of the night. My father and sister had set out with me but had been unable to complete the overnight summit due to developing altitude sickness. I set out on the fourth day of the journey by myself with a new guide whom I had never met (our main guide had accompanied my sister back down to the hut to reunite her with my father), and I was about to embark on a 20-hour hike, in the middle of the night (to avoid avalanches), on no sleep. I struggled to breathe. I wanted to quit. But I thought of the lesson that Kappa had taught me and all the rewards to be gained from sticking with something. I kept going, one foot in front of the other, until I reached Uhuru peak (19,344 feet high to be exact!) just as the sun began to rise over the mountains. I cried when I was about an hour away from the top—not so much because I was exhausted, or my feet were blistered, or my nose was running from the bitter winds, but because I knew at that moment that I would make it. My fear of not knowing if I could stick it out disappeared, and I realized that all I had to do was keep putting one foot in front of the other and the payoff would be oh-so-worth-it. Fellow sisters, whatever you commit to, I encourage you––to fully commit! Whether it be friendships, leadership positions, classes or Kappa. There may be times when it seems easier to part ways, only put in a mediocre amount of effort, or let yourself slack off, but know that if you stick it out, the rewards will be greater than you can ever imagine!.


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