Editor’s Note: This post is written by Jilan Shimberg, the current President of Kappa Alpha Theta and a junior in Leverett House. This is the first post in a four-part series on formal sorority recruitment at Harvard.
Founded in 1870 by Bettie Locke Hamilton at DePauw University, Kappa Alpha Theta was the first Greek-letter fraternity for women. In accordance with Theta’s tradition of being a sorority of “firsts,” our chapter was the first sorority established at Harvard. Zeta Xi has been leading the effort to strengthen sisterhood and Greek life on campus since our founding in 1993. Since then, we have helped to install two new Theta chapters at Boston University and Tufts University, doubling the amount of Massachusetts Theta chapters in the last two years.Our chapter demonstrates Theta’s strong commitment to charity by supporting our national philanthropy, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization that provides love, support, and protection for children in the foster system. Last spring, we collaborated with Tufts, Boston University and MIT Thetas to host KAOraoke for CASA, a widely popular charity karaoke event held at MIT. In addition to this new philanthropy event, we organize other service opportunities throughout the year for causes such as Cradles to Crayons, Habitat for Humanity, and the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.At the most recent Grand Convention, we were honored to be one of 20 college chapters awarded with “Golden Kite Status”, showing that we excelled in all aspects of running our chapter. Furthermore, we were thrilled to be recognized as one of 8 “Founders Award Finalists” college chapters. The 2014 Grand Convention also recognized the Advisory Board and Ritual practices of the Zeta Xi chapter as some of the most outstanding among all college chapters.
Here at Harvard, Thetas are also known as leaders on campus, concentrating in a wide variety of subjects and participating in many extracurricular activities, such as political and public service groups, business leadership groups, Division I athletics, and the arts. Additionally, the women in the Zeta Xi chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta are genuine, loyal, and extremely humble.
The amazing qualities of every member in our Theta chapter promote sisterhood among us all. We attend weekly chapter meetings where we learn about what is going on within our chapter as well as other extracurricular activities that Thetas are involved in. We support one another by attending sporting and arts events our sisters are a part of and planning outings to the North End or Fenway Park. We stay in touch with alumnae at our annual Harvard-Yale Theta Brunch, where we get to reconnect with alumnae and meet the Yale Thetas. Other exciting social events include our semi-formal and formal date events, held every semester, as well as our annual tailgate with Kappa called “Kite & Key.” We are proud to have more opportunities for sisterhood events at our house, acquired in 2011. The house is a home away from home at Harvard, and it is a great place for us to study together, hang out on weekends, and host our weekly study breaks, which are a great time to wind down and catch up with sisters.
Deciding to go through recruitment my freshman year was the best decision I’ve made at Harvard, and being in Theta is still my favorite part of college life. I joined Theta knowing only one or two girls in the chapter; however, I quickly felt welcomed by the older members and knew I had made the right decision. Throughout my time as a Theta, I have formed friendships that will last long after I graduate from Harvard and I cannot imagine my time here without my Theta sisters. Theta gave me the opportunity not only to connect with new people on campus, but also to connect with women nationwide. After my freshmen year, I traveled to Chicago to attend the Kappa Alpha Theta Emerging Leaders Institute with one other Zeta Xi Theta. Attending this conference introduced me to Thetas from around the country and allowed me to learn more about myself as a leader. This conference taught me to be the best friend, sister, and leader I could be. The national aspect of Kappa Alpha Theta truly sets us apart from other social organizations on campus. I know that when I leave college, Theta will be invaluable in its ability to provide advice, job opportunities, and friendships that I will forever cherish.
Thetas always impress me in their ability to simultaneously be my biggest inspirations and my greatest source of fun and relaxation. As President, I am extremely honored to represent this impressive group of women as we continue to grow as individuals and as a sorority.
I encourage everyone to go through recruitment, even if you have never considered it before! I have met my very best friends through Kappa Alpha Theta and I cannot imagine Harvard without this amazing group of young women.