West Chester University’s Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority, the Eta Gamma Chapter, received new recognition this year: the Crown Chapter Award given for excellence in membership, finances, activities and programming. “Our chapter went above and beyond the qualifications for each category and in return received the Crown Chapter Award,” said ZTA President Erin Grodnitzky. ZTA’s Eta Gamma Chapter received the Crown Chapter Award this past summer during their summer convention in The Woodlands, Texas.
Founded by nine women in 1898, Zeta Tau Alpha has a total of 187,000 members and 144 chapters throughout the United States. They have introduced such programs as “Stand up! Stand Out!” to promote women’s self esteem and empowerment. The program is being presented by the National Panehellenic Conference, an organization which includes 26 women’s fraternities and sororities around the world.
They have also created Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation in order to give college members a means to continue their education. The foundation has given a total of $3.38 million in scholarships to over 3,857 students. Most recently, the foundation gave $100,000 in scholarships to members that had been directly affected by both Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
The sorority’s primary focus has been on breast cancer education and awareness, a cause that ZTA has stood behind through their partnership with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. They continue to sponsor the Race for the Cure’s National Series Breast Cancer Survivor Recognition Program.
They have also established the “THINK PINK!” trademark, which has allowed ZTA to raise breast cancer awareness. Through shower cards with information on breast self-exams, calendar reminders for self exams, and by handing out ribbons attached to information cards, ZTA has spread awareness about early detection for breast cancer.
There are also partnerships through the “THINK PINK!” campaign and other companies including Yoplait yogurt who created the “Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives” campaign. In the first week of the campaign, over half of the lids collected came from ZTA, allowing them to receive a $15,000 donation from Yoplait to the ZTA Foundation.
Last year the Eta Gamma Chapter of ZTA at WCU continued the push to fight breast cancer and raised $1,500 during their first Annual Walk for an Answer to Breast Cancer. They also have a bunny hop each April, where members of ZTA jump on a moon bounce for 24 hours to continue their efforts for breast cancer awareness.
Sorority members have also volunteered at Courage Night in Philadelphia, a night that is meant to unite people in the fight against breast cancer. They teamed up with author Geralyn Lucas, who wrote the book “Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy” about her own experience with breast cancer. Her book has now been turned into a movie that premiered on Lifetime Television October 23.
New programs are scheduled for the sorority this coming year including “AlcoholEdu”, an online program that all members of the 144 ZTA chapters are required to complete and pass. The program is in response to a recent study done by the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse that cited 1,700 deaths related to alcohol use, and 2.8 million cases of driving under the influence of alcohol in 2001 (according to zetataualpha.org). It is an online alcohol prevention program ZTA is participating in along with over 450 campuses across the country to combat the dangerous behaviors associated with alcohol.
The Eta Gamma Chapter of ZTA at WCU had their second Annual Walk for an Answer to Breast Cancer on Sunday October 22, 2006. Their goal is to continue to bring breast cancer awareness through contributions to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Through the Crown Chapter Award ZTA has received, the sorority has been recognized for many of their efforts and accomplishments at West Chester University.