Cultivating Connection, Leadership, and Achievement with Theta Kappa, Kappa Epsilon, and Kappa Iota

by Katie Gates in Impact

2021 Susan Weiskittle Barrick Recipients utilize grants to engage and educate members

Seeking to enrich the unique membership experiences of their sisters, the Theta Kappa (Rochester), Kappa Epsilon (Georgia), and Kappa Iota (Wyoming) chapters had the opportunity to host engaging leadership programming through the support of the Susan Weiskittle Barrick Endowment for Leadership Enrichment. Hosting virtual and in-person events throughout 2021, each chapter took advantage of this targeted funding to support mental wellness, activate their leadership skills, and better communicate with one another.

Pictured: Members of the Theta Kappa Chapter

Recognizing a need to address the challenges of perfectionism and mental health in their chapter and their greater campus community, the Theta Kappa chapter elected to invite certified life coach and keynote speaker, Maria Pascucci, to speak with their peers. Holding a virtual presentation last spring open to all students attending the University of Rochester, Pascucci led a campus-wide discussion on identifying the root causes of stress as college students and methods to resolve unnecessary stressors. The Theta Kappa chapter also invited Pascucci to campus in the fall to speak with members to expand on lessons learned in the spring and focus on the attitudes of a leader can possess.

Following both events, former Chapter President, Claire Decker (Theta Kappa–Rochester) reflected on the impact Pascucci made on her sisters and peers, sharing that “there was a common sentiment amongst members that they would have an easier time achieving their goals and becoming leaders when they relieve self-imposed pressure.”

“[Maria] emphasized having ‘anabolic energy’ as a leader and thinking in terms of ‘this is something I GET to do’ rather than ‘this is something I HAVE to do,’” added Decker. “One of the biggest takeaways was members feeling comfortable letting themselves be imperfect and not forcing themselves to do everything they think needs to be done to be a good college student.”

Pictured: Members of Kappa Epsilon’s 2022 Executive Board

Aiming to enhance their chapter programming to better meet the needs of our membership, the Kappa Epsilon chapter engaged the team at Perfectly Polished to enhance their social and leadership skills. Hosting their event safely in smaller groups at their chapter facility, this program also allowed for newer and older members to interact with one another for the first time in an in-person setting.

Focusing on the importance of social intelligence and better connecting with people in face-to-face conversation, the chapter’s training with Perfectly Polished concentrated on enhancing important skills like engaged listening, navigating conversations with confidence, welcoming body language, and introductions.

“This program helped our members as individuals improve their communication and business etiquette skills,” shared Kappa Epsilon’s leadership team. “It allowed us to better engage members after almost an entire year of virtual, distanced programming and demonstrate the value of continuing membership to upperclassmen members.”

Pictured: Members of the Kappa Iota Chapter

As the newest Panhellenic sorority at the University of Wyoming, the members of the Kappa Iota chapter sought to bring a sense of cohesiveness to their young and growing organization. Using their grant to facilitate a chapter-wide CliftonStrengths Top 5 assessment, the chapter’s leaders incorporated the activity into their spirit week and invited Wyoming’s Student Organizations Advisor, Gilbert Falcon, to help members interpret their results.

After each member completed the assessment, the chapter broke into small groups to further discuss their newly identified insights on their personal strengths and characteristics with one another. “This program has allowed the chapter to understand that everyone has different approaches to everything in life,” shared Andrea Perez (Kappa Iota–Wyoming), former Chapter President. “By understanding this, they were able to assess each other and decide the best way to approach each other. I believe our sisterhood has a deeper understanding of each other now!”

A special thank you to the organizers of each event for their respective chapters and to Susan Weiskittle Barrick (Beta Omicron–Bowling Green) for making this opportunity for leadership, growth, and reconnection possible.

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