Kappa Alpha Theta
|Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups|
|Kappa Alpha Theta|
|Zeta Mau Chapter|
Green Hall: A History
The house of Kappa Alpha Theta, or, more simply, “the House,” was built in the early 1900’s as the 83-bed Charlesgate Hospital. It was rechristened the Santa Maria Hospital in 1940, and eventually sold to MIT in 1964 as the student’s infirmary. In 1983, it was renovated and became a female graduate dorm named for its prominent benefactor Ida Flansburgh Green Hall.
Acquired in 2008 by Kappa Alpha Theta, Green Hall is the only sorority house on campus. Its convenient location between McCormick Hall and Baker House at the start of dorm row makes the house an easy place to stop by for a snack from the well-stocked pantry, p-set in one of the many quiet study rooms, or simply hang out. While home to 40 sisters, it is also very common to see sisters eating or relaxing in the 75-person-capacity basement, TV room, lounges, or the kitchens that are found on each floor (pillow fights have been known to happen, but only on rare occasions).
Academics are a large part of being an MIT student (go figure), and are very important to Kappa Alpha Theta as well. Over the last few years, the chapter’s GPA has averaged around a 4.42, has been the highest of all sorority GPAs three of the last four semesters, and has placed Theta on FSILG honor roll as far back as FSILG records exist. Additionally, several of Theta’s sisters have achieved outstanding awards and recognitions. In the last two years alone, Thetas have been Rhodes, Truman and Fullbright scholars.
The house’s aforementioned convenient location on campus allows sisters to not only work with each other on PSETS and study together but also seek help from some of Theta’s numerous TA’s, who often hold special review sessions before exams. The house also has a well-stocked library full of resources to aid any student tooling away at 3 am (though the library is there 24/7), and a pantry to satisfy those late-night urges.
As Thetas, we are passionate leaders in all that we do. We believe in doing well while doing good, and our track record of service to the MIT community and beyond speaks volumes about the character of our sisters. Thetas push each other to be the best that they can be in all of our pursuits, and we fearlessly follow the road less traveled in pursuit of our dreams. In everything that we do, we lead with integrity. The support of our sisters never falters as we develop as leaders, as women, and as Thetas.
Across campus, Theta's presence is felt in almost every niche of MIT. We are varsity team captains, teaching assistants, and dancers. We are community service award-winners, airplane pilots, and are heavily involved in the UA. We are artists and tour guides, advisors and club presidents. And we are so much more. We work to empower those around us, and to be the widest influence for good in our communities and in the World.
The Zeta Mu Chapter is a leader among Kappa Alpha Theta chapters, too. We are recognized every year as one of Theta's exemplary chapters, and were awarded "Best Membership Development", "Best Facility Management", and "Runner-Up for Campus Panhellenic" at the Fraternity's 2010 Grand Convention. In 2010 (the conference is held in even years), we also won a Silver Kite Award, the second-highest honor the Fraternity can bestow on a college chapter.
Similar to other sororities, Kappa Alpha Theta has a few national causes for which the chapter holds several benefit events. Theta’s main philanthropy is CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization that appoints lawyers to speak for abused or neglected children in court and find them safe, permanent homes. CASA volunteers help place approximately 280,000 children every year to give them a second chance at life.
Theta’s second philanthropy is the Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation. This by-Theta-for-Theta non-profit organization raises money for scholarships and grants to provide each sister with the resources necessary to help them reach their highest potential. Many sisters of MIT have received these scholarships every year to not only honor their contributions to Theta but also help them along their way.
Each fall, Theta hosts and organizes KATwalk, a student fashion show to benefit CASA. Students from all over campus strut down the runway, boasting of designer labels such as Marc Jacobs, Brooks Brothers, American Apparel, Nike, and many others. KATwalk also features performances by a capella groups, such as the Chorallaries of MIT or the MIT Logarhythms, and dance troupes, such as Ridonkulous or Immobilaire. The fashion show is hosted in Walker Memorial, and is usually filled to capacity with students cheering on their favorite model. KATwalk is a very successful fundraiser, and generates funds anywhere from $2000 to $4500, depending on the state of the economy.
Cookies for CASA
Every semester, Theta sells cookies to benefit CASA and the Theta Foundation. They are baked in the ovens of our beautiful home and sold every day for one week in the Student Center.
Finals Care Packages
The last of Theta’s charity events is the Finals Care Package Sale at the end of spring semester. Students and employees can purchase care packages for $1 to be delivered to the recipient with their personalized note just before the finals crunch. The packages, which include candy and other feel-good food stuffs, are a nice way to wish friends good luck while supported the Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation as well as CASA.
In addition to Theta's national Philanthropy, many sisters support community service projects either through Theta or independently. Theta's Service Chair provides activites for sisters to participate in together in the Boston or Cambridge communities, such as cleaning up the Charles River or putting together science Lego kits for local children. Additionally, Theta works with other Greek communities by supporting their events and participating as a team.
While many complete community service through Theta itself, most are also involved in independent activities around campus. For example, several Thetas were involved in planning this year's Relay for Life, so a group of sisters spent the night walking the track as a team. Others work with GPI, the on-campus Global Poverty Initiative, to improve the quality of living in communities around the world by taking trips over the summer or over IAP. A few have even started their own programs, such as one entitled the "Entrepreneurial Spirit," for which a team travels around the world, to India or Mexico, for example, to teach people how use their skills in starting and sustaining businesses. Locally, many sisters work with the local community, getting more kids interested in math and science through mentorship or helping the community grow in general. This descriptive list could go on for hours, but needless to say, community service is very important to the sisters of Theta as they continue to travel around the globe or even stay right at home, making a world of difference one day at a time.
One of the most important keys to success at MIT is finding a balance between life and work (even at MIT, they are, in fact, separate things). Theta is a fun, meaningful way to find that balance through not only the planned social events but also the impromptu hangouts, retreats, and adventures into Boston or Cambridge. The three largest social events are Semi-Formal, which is held in the fall, Formal, and Date Night with Theta, both of which are held in the spring.
Semi-formal is usually held in the middle of fall semester. It is a great opportunity for the new members to socialize with the sisters in a classy but casual setting. This past year, Semi was held at F1 Racing, which, speaking from personal experience, was simply fantastic. In recent past, the event has been held at Jillian’s Bowling and Pool Hall and several dance clubs in Boston.
As everyone is wrapping up the semester and finals are looming closer, Theta plans a formal dance for its sisters. It is a wonderful excuse to get out of the pre-finals sweatpants, grab a date or a friend and have a night off to socialize and dance. Formals are always in special locations, such as the Taj Hotel, Fenway Park, the Aquarium, or the Boston Public Library. When public transportation is not available or convenient, transportation is provided.
Date Night with Theta
An exciting and always-anticipated event held in the spring, Date Night with Theta is an evening when sisters can set each other up on blind dates and then go out to dinner in groups. The meals are subsidized and always prove to be entertaining and interesting, as the sister does not know who she will be dining with until her date walks through the door.
Throughout the year, Theta’s social chair works with the social chairs of the fraternities and other sororities to arrange Mixers, which are evenings designated only for the sororities or fraternity involved to partake in some fun, relaxing activity. Mixers are a great way for sisters to meet new people in the Greek community. Previous activities have included service activities, mystery dinners, crepe-making, game nights, and pumpkin carving for Halloween.
Besides the formal events run by the social chair, every semester the sisters go off campus for an evening to procrastinate their MIT worries and bond with each other. Retreats take place at campsites, historical locations, and retreat centers, and include games, discussions, and relaxing.
Greek life has many, many opportunities to offer besides, and usually not including, what the typical stereotypes or television shows portray. Joining a sorority is joining a close community and a support system to help girls not only make the transition to college life but also adjust to the roller coaster ride that is life at MIT. At this amazing school, you will experience the highest highs and also the lowest lows, regardless of what course you are, where you live or what you do. A sorority, therefore, is a group of girls that not only celebrate your achievements but also peel you off the floor after those long nights and hellish weeks.
Additionally, being Greek may seem like a distraction to academics, but statistics show quite the opposite. The aforementioned community environment provides distinct academic advantages, such as upperclassmen who are only too eager to procrastinate their own homework by helping a freshman with theirs, and in-house TAs who are happy to give last-minute review sessions before exams. In fact, the average GPA of Greek organizations is a 4.3 compared to the non-Greek average of 3.5.
Formal Recruitment occurs in the fall between the end of Orientation and the beginning of classes. A select group of sisters from all six sororities temporarily disaffiliate, or disassociate with their respective sororities, for a short time in order to act as an unbiased guide to help PNMs, or Potential New Members, choose their sorority. These sisters, called PRCs (if you have not found this out already, MIT is chock-full of acronyms) or Panhellenic Recruitment Counselors, are able to answer any and all questions about Greek life and walk PNMs through the decision-making process after they have had the opportunity to meet with all of the sororities over the course of the four-day process. For more information about Recruitment in general, please visit panhel.mit.edu. In fact, registration is open now for Fall 2011 Recruitment for those wishing to sign up.
Every sorority here on campus has amazing opportunities to offer to its sisters, so how does one make the difficult decision? Before going into the specifics, it is important to note that the PRCs are there to help make sure that PNMs make their choices for the right reasons, whatever sorority they choose. And usually, there’s not a wrong choice. Each sorority consists of anywhere from 20 to 140 sisters, so it is needless to say that there is often very much variety and diversity within each chapter.
But why Theta? Since choosing a sorority is such a personal decision, the only way to describe why girls have chosen Theta is to have them answer the question themselves.
“Why am I Theta? I am a Theta because being a Theta means being associated with some of the most talented, brilliant, and compassionate women I know. I have friends that are Thetas but also many that are not, and we certainly have a blast together all the same. However, while my friends tell me that I’ll “do better next time” or that I should relax because I “tried my hardest,” it is my sisters who tell me what I need to hear. They challenge me and inspire me to challenge myself, and constantly set the bar higher so that I may achieve what I never thought I could. It is my sisters that see me at my best and at my very worst, and are there for me just the same. They make me strive to be a better student, citizen, and friend only so that I may be there for them in all of the ways they are there for me. My sisters are my home away from home, and will no doubt be the reason I survive MIT.” - Class of 2014
“I've been unquestionably, irreparably spoiled by Theta. I've learned and grown and laughed more in these four years than I think I ever really will again: wasting away evenings in the kitchen talking about ambition, societal pressure, and whether or not cheesecake is technically a pastry taught me how warm, inspiring, and hilarious these girls can make my life; learning to understand the women who are now my closest friends made me realize the value of confidantes who alternately sympathize with me and whip me into shape; and meeting my littles showed me that when I know that amazing girls in their own right look to me as someone older and (questionably) wiser, I can't help but want to reach higher and be the person they see." - Class of 2009
The Class of 2011
Having survived all four years at MIT, the graduated seniors are off to do amazing things with their lives. Some are headed to graduate and medical schools such as Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, MIT and the University of Florida (medical school). Others are working for companies like J.P. Morgan, Bain & Company, Morgan Stanley, Teach for America, RCL&Co Real Estate Consulting, Anheuser Busch, the US Government and various startups