Zeta Tau Alpha
Wofford's chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha is known as the Theta Zeta Chapter. Theta Zeta is Wofford's first women's Greek organization. The Zetas have been around since 1978, only two years after women were allowed to enroll as full-time students.
In the fall of 1975, Elizabeth Hammitt transferred to Wofford College from the College of Charleston, where she was a member of Eta Lambda Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha. Letters were exchanged between Elizabeth, alumnae, and school administrators. On November 11, 1975 an informal meeting was held for all females interested in establishing a national sorority at Wofford. December 2, 1975 was the first rush party for this national sorority. Mrs. Martha Helms attended as well as the sisters of Beta Omicron chapter from USC. the Board of Trustees approved the charter to begin a Zeta Tau Alpha colony at Wofford on December 8, 1975, which served as the official beginning of Theta Zeta.
Theta Zeta held its first pledge ceremony on December 10, 1975, picking up five members for Theta Zeta and five new sisters-to-be for Elizabeth Hammitt. In the spring of 1976 rush was again a success as Theta Zeta picked up four more girls. the summer of 1976 brought sizable recognition to Theta Zeta and to one of her members, Hyla Hope. At the International Convention held in New Orleans, Hyla was asked to be one of the two pledges in the entire Zeta organization to be initiated at the convention. It was the first time ever that a pledge was initiated as a part of a convention.
By the fall of 1977 and after the recruitment of eight new members, it was within the realm of possibility that the colony could soon be installed, making it a full chapter. In October of 1977 we gained another girl, Grace Lowe. This moved the number of girls up to 16, within range for installation and initiation. Not long after Grace joined, another Wofford woman was added: Shepherd O'Brien. With the addition of the 17th girl, Nationals gave the colony the go-ahead for installation and initiation. What the original members worked so hard for was finally within sight. On Friday, February3, 1978, 16 members of Theta Zeta were initiated into the higher realms of the Fraternity.
The day finally came. On Saturday, February 4, 1978, Mrs. Martha Helms, Mrs. Shirley Weaver, and the initiating team from Frances Marion College, USC, and the College of Charleston all helped to make Theta Zeta Colony become the Theta Zeta Chapter. That same evening, a recognition banquet was held in honor of the new chapter. Representatives from Province and Nationals gave gifts and added the 179th link of chapters to the complete chain of links.
Today, Theta Zeta is a thriving, successful chapter of over 120 young women dedicated to the motto of the Fraternity. We pride ourselves in our excellence in academics, service, and campus involvement on an individual, chapter, and national level. We are proud to currently stand ranked as the #6 Chapter in Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity! What a long way we have come since our humble beginnings, and we are eternally thankful for all the woman who help us to achieve what we have today.
Zeta Tau Alpha’s National Philanthropy is Breast Cancer Education and Awareness. In 2004 our Fraternity expanded into our own Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation to promote breast cancer awareness and research. Our sisters, along with other ZTA Chapters across the nation have whole-heartedly committed ourselves to raising funds and awareness for this foundation. Theta Zeta holds many events and activities throughout the year to benefit the ZTA Foundation.
Theta Zeta’s fall fundraiser is an annual “Think Pink” week. The Sunday night before our fundraising week, sisters “pink out” Wofford’s campus with pink ribbons, flyers, chalk writing, and posters in order to raise awareness. During this week we coordinate with Burwell, our main dining hall, to orchestrate a lunch on the lawn in which students will come and enjoy lunch along with pink lemonade and pink themed deserts. We are excited to plan a new ending to our fundraising week this year where we will hold a flag football tournament for student teams to come and compete against each other for prizes. This event invites the whole Wofford campus, as well as the Spartanburg community to come and help us fight against Breast Cancer.
The Spring fundraiser is our annual Shag-a-thon! In the past three years through this event we have been able to raise over $60,000 for the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation. This is a night with live music, low-country food, dancing, and of course, a shagging contest! Sisters sell tickets to the Wofford campus along with the Spartanburg community to come share this special night with us. Our philanthropy is very near and dear to the hearts of members of Theta Zeta so this year we included our first “Survivor Spotlight” into our night. Sisters invited family, friends, and staff who they wanted to recognize who are fighting breast cancer, or who have won the fight and are survivors! Sisters introduced their special survivor and read a small bio of their journey through breast cancer. Our “Survivor Spotlight” gave our sisters and all in attendance a very unique visual of what our fundraising efforts through the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation can help do!
How uch of a time commitment is there?
Zeta Tau Alpha has one chapter meeting a week which generally lasts an hour on Wednesdays from 6-7pm in the Anna Todd Wofford Building. This is the time in which the chapter can talk as a unit about upcoming events of both fundraising and social aspects. If a PNM pledges ZTA and chooses to become an officer on PC in the second semester, then there is an additional one-hour meeting Sunday nights. Aside from that, once a month a sister has to complete a service project in the Spartanburg area, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 full hour. During Recruitment, however, there are required recruitment practices that range 4-5 hours per week, but this begins in the PNMs sophomore year. We take our commitment to ZTA seriously, and only absences that have been pre-approved by our Recording Secretary or General Advisor will be excused.
Will joining a Greek organization affect grades?
ZTA firmly believes that school always comes first. In fact, it is proven that Greek women have a higher GPA than many non-Greeks. Zeta holds their members to high standards and rewards sisters for academic achievement. Additionally, ZTA at Wofford provides resources to help sisters do well by implementing study halls, tutoring sessions, etc. During chapter, awards such as "Geek of the Week" and "Yippee, No Skippy!" that have done well academically or have had 100% class attendance and participation.
How do finances and dues work?
A sorority is a financial commitment, but there are many ways to work out paying for dues, and the Treasurer takes each sister into an individual account when setting up a payment plan. ZTA operates through an online banking system called "BillHighway" to pay dues, buy t-shirts, and pay any additional expenses. The ZTA Foundation offers two academic scholarships annually to each chapter, and they are available to Wofford ZTA undergraduates and those planning on applying to graduate school when needed and earned. These dues are necessary in order to have social events throughout the year as well as to keep the chapter thriving and growing.
HELP! I don't want to sign up for too much at once!
This is probably the most common reaction when freshman begin thinking about pledging a Greek organization. Greek life as a whole provides ample opportunity to meet many new women, who are all unique and amazing. Going through recruitment isn't binding a PNM to accept a bid, it is just an experience to get to know upperclassman, fellow freshman, and to truly understand why each of the Greek organizations is special. It is a time in which the sororities have the ability to express what being a part of their organization means to them, which can be a decision-altering opportunity. If you're afraid you'll sign up for too much, agree to go through recruitment with an open mind just to see if you enjoy it. At Zeta Tau Alpha, we believe in our commitment to involvement in the Fraternity and all that is required for membership, but 100% of our sisters are also involved in outside clubs and/or sporting teams.
Are there any events where my parents can come?
ZTA has a Parent's Cocktail and/or Parent's Brunch annually. This is an opportunity for your parents to come and meet your sisters and learn about the sisterhood that we all share. This is also an opportunity for the parents to meet our chapter's advisors and ask any other questions they may have.
I'm packing for school, should I bring anything specific for recruitment?
Philanthropy Party attire is usually capris or a skirt with a casual top. PNMs wear a sundress or casual dress to Theme Night, and finally semi-formal attire is typically worn on Preference Night. Most of the Greek women's organizations have the need for a solid white dress at some point throughout the school year as well. The most important thing is to remember that your personality is what is most important-not your clothes. Just be yourself, and wear what makes you comfortable, and what you would say encompasses you.
Learn more at the Zeta Tau Alpha national website.