A Short History of Kappa Chapter(much of this is based on stories as passed down through the years, this needs a fairly serious fact-checking before it goes much further) As one of the longest continuously active chapter in Alpha Phi Omega, Kappa is rich in history and tradition. Once upon a time...
In 1925 or so, Carnegie Tech student Carl J. Long became interested in service, because his father had organized a group of boys called Rangers which was similar to Boy Scouts. Along with about eight of his friends, he formed the groups that was to become Kappa Chapter and began doing service projects. They took over room next to Kresge Theater and set up coat checks in Fine Arts. Dean Tarbell, Dean of Men (who later became an advisor), however, was skeptical of a service fraternity. Another obstacle was the Interfraternity Council, which was very influential at the time, and did not want another fraternity. Fortunately, Carl and friends were not to be defeated. Since the president of IFC was quarterback of the Carnegie Tech football team, he was persuaded by Beta Chapter (U. of Pitt composed was mainly of football players!) to recognize the group. On April 29, 1929, Kappa finally received its charter.
One of the first service projects was helping with registration. Freshman registered at Skibo, which was an old airplane hangar located where Hunt Library presently stands. When Brothers helped set up registration tables, they sneaked in a few extra tables at the end of the line. At the time, freshmen were required to wear black ties, socks, beanies, and numerous other items singling them out as freshmen. A Phi O kindly provided these essentials, while making a fabulous profit. They also made a killing buying ticket booklets for campus events from band members and athletes and selling them to locals.
Activities in the 1930's also focussed on assisting freshman: in securing rooms, in registration, and in becoming acquainted with classmates and faculty. They also provided guides to visitors, and assisted at information booths on Exhibition Nights. They were ushers at charitable productions given by campus organizations; and frequently sponsored open lectures on travel and nature study.
During the World War II there wer e not many college students, and hundreds of A Phi O chapters folded through lack of participants. At Kappa, however, advisor Kent D. Shaffer played a vital role in keeping up interest in the chapter. The inside cover of the C-book and an annual scholarship are dedicated to his memory. The chapter held smokers to introduce A Phi O and its members to Scouting and freshman. Beta and Kappa chapters jointly sponsored a Christmas Party for children of broken homes who were wards of juvenile court, as well as work sessions at Camp Hubbard.
In 1972 our chapter (unofficially) went co-ed, initiating women using only their initials or mascu line versions of their first name (So Gertrude Schnitzel would be G. Schnitzel or George Schnitzel.) C. S. Robinson was our first female Brother to be registered with the National Office.
In the late 70's and early 80's, the chapter struggled. President Jordan Nash was largely responsible for the chapter's growth in membership and in service. Drafted into the chapter when it was mostly composed of seniors, he took a leadership role early, forming a link between the outgoing seniors and the new membership.
Today, we Kappas look back proudly on our unique history as we move beyond our 70th year of Leadership, Friendship and Service.
by Judy Haraburda, Historian, Spring 1988 revised by Connie Wai, Historian, Fall 1990 and Meg Veily, Membership VP, Fall 1990
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