The sisters of Kappa Delta, the newest sorority on campus, are making their new house on “The Hill” a home during their first year living together on campus.
Kappa Delta chapter president Olivia Hodina, ’15, said it’s nice to finally have everybody living together.
“Last year, scheduling everything was really hard because we didn’t have just one place,” Hodina said. “We would have to go through campus reservations for everything and try to find random rooms on campus to do everything from ritual, to chapter meetings.”
The house, which was used as a residence hall last year and Delta Gamma’s house before that, is undergoing renovations before formal recruitment in January. The sorority has the assistance of Sue Hicks, a Bethlehem resident and Kappa Delta alumna from Clemson University. Hicks is in charge of decorating the house and hired the chapter’s chef.
“She’s kind of the go-to person for everything related to getting our house in order,” Hodina said. “She’s constantly coming up to the house and bringing random pieces of furniture and decorating.”
The renovations have been a combined effort between the university and Kappa Delta’s nationals. Lehigh completed and paid for structural-related renovations, such as the bathrooms, the flooring and the painting, while the chapter paid for furniture and cosmetic renovations through a loan from nationals.
Hodina said that the house was very outdated before the renovations, but is now much better.
“Everyone’s bedrooms are a nice neutrally-green color,” Hodina said. “Kappa Delta’s colors are green and white, so everything is pretty much green and white.”
Mackenzie Quinn, ’16, is Kappa Delta’s house manager and acts as a medium between the chapter and Residential Services. Hodina said that Quinn has had to take on much more than other house managers have, just because it is a new house.
Quinn and Hicks meet on a weekly basis to talk about improving the house.
“We go over things that girls tell me they want in the house,” Quinn said. “We’re trying to put up a study room — that’s our next big goal because we don’t have one set up. We just go over what else we need in the house, what we absolutely need versus what we want for the future. We work on a lot of interior decorating stuff as well.”
Quinn and Hodina said assistant director of residential services Brooke Zygmund has been very helpful and open to anything during the transition.
As president, Hodina makes sure that all members are on the same page when it comes to the house, more so than a chapter president usually would.
“Because we’re still starting out, it’s very much a team effort,” Hodina said.
Forty-eight of Kappa Delta’s 74 sisters currently reside in the house. Hodina said that everyone who wanted to live in the house was able to do so.
Sophomores and council members were guaranteed a room. Many juniors had already signed leases for off-campus houses when the sorority was formed last November. Quinn said that the house could hold 78 occupants within the fire code and that, although there are about nine forced triples, the chapter is at a happy medium.
The only issues the chapter has encountered with the house so far are routine maintenance issues.
There was a consensus that having the house has brought the sisters closer together. Mercedes McSorley, ’17, a sister in Kappa Delta, said that having chapter meetings in Neville Hall last year was a little rough.
“Nobody was as close because we didn’t have a common place to interact,” McSorley said. “The house has really brought us together. Now we sleep and eat together. You really get to see each other all made up and just out of bed.”
Hodina said, as a council member, having the house makes the process of contacting sorority members more efficient, and as a senior makes her feel more connected to her sisters.
“I get to know the newer members, especially the sophomores – the youngest girls,” Hodina said. “I feel like I’ve gotten to know them so much better this year than last year.”
Kappa Delta is also getting to know the other sororities on campus they now share the Hill with. Last month, the chapter hosted a Panhellenic open house and trunk show.
“Each girl (from Kappa Delta) invited a woman from another Panhellenic sorority to come to our house,” Hodina said. “Events like that don’t really happen that often…it was really nice to see girls from every house in our house.”
Aside from now having a common place to hold meetings and interact, the residents also have their newly-hired chef, who received high praises.
“She’s amazing,” McSorley said. “She caters to gluten-free and vegetarian and is very welcoming and interacts with the girls.”
Hodina said that she will celebrate every member’s birthday with a dessert of their choosing.
Jennifer Tedeschi, assistant director of fraternity and sorority affairs, said Kappa Delta, along with their alumni, Residential Services and everyone else involved, has worked very hard to make the chapter’s transition effortless.
“They have been working hard to make their house something the sisters will be proud of and their home away from home,” Tedeschi said.
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