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Chapter History

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 in Kappa's digital archives.

The University of British Columbia opened in 1915, and the first sorority was founded in 1919.

On May 11, 1929 that original sorority became the Gamma Upsilon chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Throughout this time our chapter continued to take a leading role in university life, as well as becoming involved in various projects away outside of campus.

During World War II, Members of Gamma Upsilon made up 20 percent of the university’s Red Cross Corps. Our sisters paid regular visits to military hospitals and provided Christmas gifts and music for pensioners in retirement homes.

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 common 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 passion for helping encourage and foster literacy by introducing its longstanding tradition of Reading Buddies with the third grade class at University Hill Elementary school every Friday.

In 2011, the Gamma Upsilon Chapter introduced its annual Founder's Day Brunch, bringing together alumna members of all ages, actives and new members!

The year 2012 was a successful and memorable year for the Gamma Upsilon chapter at UBC. We were delighted to receive multiple awards at the Kappa Kappa Gamma 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 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. We introduced another weekly philanthropy at the First Baptist Church, where we participate in soup kitchen every Tuesday. 

In 2019, We participated in our annual CIBC Run for the Cure and this year we reached over 8 times our goal by raising over 8000$ and were also awarded with the Women's Team Challenge Award for being the top fundraising team. 

Not only is UBC’s Greek life thriving, but extracurricular involvement at UBC outside of 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 one of the most diverse groups of members of any Greek organization at UBC, with members from all over the world. The bonds of sisterhood still prove to be stronger than ever.

We are looking forward to another exciting year in 2024!