Arts

Local U of O chapter joins international women’s fraternity

Photo courtesy of Ashley Haugh

Beginning in October 2010 with three founding members, Kappa Zeta Psi has grown to more than 50 members and this year they’ve announced plans to colonize with the Alpha Phi International Women’s Fraternity.

The local sorority applied to join the National Panhellenic Conference, an umbrella organization for North American women’s sororities. Alpha Phi is one of the largest sororities in North America, with nearly 200,000 members across 160 campuses in both the United States and Canada.

Jaclyn Schaefer, a new member of Alpha Phi and former member of Kappa Zeta Psi is excited about the opportunity to affiliate the sorority.

“A founding goal of the original organization was always to move internationally and we’d reached the point where we felt that we had a strong sisterhood and that this year was the time to pursue that international affiliation,” she said.

Despite Alpha Phi accepting Kappa Zeta Psi into the sorority, they still haven’t become full members of the organization. The colonization period allows the international branch an opportunity to assess if the local organization meets the criteria and fulfills the values of the international branch. If accepted, the colony becomes a charter member of the international organization.

Schaefer didn’t comment on the specific criteria needed to become a charter member of Alpha Phi, but noted that, “as long as the colony stays on track, the colony would be chartered this year.”

“They’re a really, really great organization and they do a lot to support their chapters,” she said. “As a local, you’re on your own. You don’t have that international support.”

The benefits of being a part of a larger organization drew Kappa Zeta Psi to join Alpha Phi.

“There’s only so much a small organization can do on campus,” she said.

The members were particularly interested in expanding their philanthropic efforts.

“Greeks as a whole, when we come together on this campus, come together and raise thousands and thousands of dollars, and that money goes to our specific organizations,” Schaefer said. “When there’s more of us, our philanthropy can go a lot further and our support goes a lot further.”

Despite the changes to the organization and the Alpha Phi Foundation’s support primarily supporting American programs, Schaefer maintained that the chapter will still focus on making donations and helping local charities. This year Kappa Zeta Psi made donations to both Harmony House and the Ottawa Humane Society.

The members hope that affiliating with an international organization will allow the colony to both expand their philanthropic efforts and continue to reap the benefits they’ve had as a small, local sorority.

“If you’re looking for academic support, you’re looking for mental support. If you’re looking for a way to get involved on campus, this is it. This is how you can do it,” Schaefer said.

Kappa Zeta Psi will hold an information session on Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. in Portative at 150 University Private.