You have to know where you’ve been to know where you are going. Kappa holds a special place in its heart for Fraternity history, but every chapter of our organization has unique beginnings of its own. Each plays a part in shaping us today. Read more about our chapters’ histories at Kappapedia.
The University of British Columbia opened in 1915, and the first sorority was founded in 1919.
On May 11, 1929 the original sorority became the Gamma Upsilon chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma! Gamma Upsilon, following the tradition established by the first sorority, continued to take a leading role in university life, as well as carrying on projects away from the campus.
During World War II, Kappas took part in money-raising events for the Canadian Red Cross. Members of Gamma Upsilon made up 20 percent of the university’s Red Cross Corps. They paid regular visits to military hospitals and provided Christmas gifts and music for pensioners in an old people’s home.
One of these wartime members was Audrey Reifel, who demonstrated outstanding leadership and gave unselfishly to Gamma Upsilon until her sudden death. In 1950, the chapter established the Reifel Award, to be presented to an active making outstanding contributions to the well-being of the chapter. The Reifel family generously donated to the chapter three paintings by two of Canada’s foremost artists, in memory of their daughter.
Kappas have always been involved in many activities. Two members were championship tennis players in the 1930s. Another received one of the most prestigious University of British Columbia athletic awards for two consecutive years. Although a woman becoming a minister is not unusual today, the chapter is especially proud of a member who was one of the best known ministers in Vancouver.
From 1985 to 1995, UBC was ranked as one of the top 50 universities in the world. This brought increased enrolment and expansion to the campus. UBC purchased Pacific Spirit Park during the expansion phase as part of the UBC Endowment Lands. Due to the increase in the university, Gamma Upsilon was also able to expand. The downside to expansion was the crowding of the Panhellenic House (built in 1958). In an effort to find a solution, Kappa’s actively helped in the planning of the Forever Friends Campaign in 1994. This campaign helped to raise more than $4,000,000 to put towards a new Panhellenic House to help overcome the constraints of limited space.
In the 2000's, Gamma Upsilon continued its tradition of Reading Buddies with a third grade class at University Hill Elementary school every Friday and won a number of awards from Panhellenic including third place Philanthropy Award, third place Sports Award, and third place Top All Around Sorority. Six members were also recognized for achieving outstanding academic averages and five were recognized for achieving an outstanding number of sports points. Charlotte Paterson was honored with winning the Panhellenic Top Individual Athlete Award and Magee Walker won the Panhellenic All-Around Woman Award.
Gamma Upsilon had a positive 2011. Sisterhood blossomed during Recruitment through the forming and strengthening of new friendships. On Founder's Day, the chapter decided to try something new and hosted a brunch. It was a wonderful morning of interaction between alumna members, actives and new members and continues to this day!
The year 2012 was a successful and memorable year for the Gamma Upsilon chapter at UBC. We were delighted to receive multiple awards at Convention, such as runner up for our excellence in Standards; runner up for the Philanthropy Award, runner up for Reading is Fundamental, as well as receiving the Legacy Award.
In 2013, our Philanthropy Week was a great success thanks to the hard work and commitment of the women in our chapter. Our annual Desserts-For-A-Cure was extremely popular, featuring all-you-can-eat desserts for a $5 donation to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition, we raised money by selling candy and flower grams which were distributed in time for Valentine's Day. It was wonderful to experience such support from fellow Greek members and it allowed to raise around $1,500 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. On a weekly basis Gamma Upsilon members volunteered at First Baptist Church, where we participate in soup kitchen.
Not only is the campus’ Greek life thriving, but extra curricular involvement at UBC outside of the Greek life is at an all time high. With UBC Sororities at the forefront of involvement of the Alma Mater Society’s 370 recognized clubs, it is a wonderful time to be in the Greek system. Kappa Kappa Gamma hosts the most diverse group of members of any Greek organization at UBC. With members from various parts of the world such as the USA, Great Britain, and Thailand, our members are very well rounded. The bonds of sisterhood created still prove to be stronger than ever as sisters frequently make plans to visit our sisters from abroad.
We are looking forward to another exciting year in 2018!