About EKT

Epsilon Kappa Tau is a local sorority founded at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. We have 35 active members as well as hundreds of alumni. Since our founding in 1917, we have lived by our guiding principle of "love and honor". We believe that the strength of the group is the individual and the strength of the individual is the group, and we seek to honor this ideal in our daily lives by serving others, involving ourselves in campus life at Otterbein, and welcoming members from all walks of life and perspectives into our chapter.

Our History

Sisters from 1969

In the years prior to 1917, Literary Societies were organized for men and women to gather and socialize as well as discuss their classes. These societies were more or less like modern-day fraternities and sororities. But in this time of Otterbein’s history, Greek organizations were banned. The Philatheia, a women’s society, was very strong. Within this diverse group of women, there were five members who recognized their common ties of friendship, ideals, and purpose. In 1917, these 5 women, Lois Clark, Evelyn Darling, Vera Stair, Bertha Hancock, and Rena Rayot felt the need to create an organization to strengthen and unify the ties between them. In secrecy, the women met faithfully once a week in room 310 of Cochran Hall to plan their newly found organization, The Arbutus Club. 

 

During the first meetings, the group adopted the five-petaled pink Arbutus flower as their symbol.  Bertha Hancock was fond of this flower because of her wonderful memories of the sweet smell it left in the hills of her hometown in Pennsylvania. "Eros Kai Timi", meaning "love and honor" in Greek, was chosen as their motto. The Greek letters Epsilon Kappa Tau were adopted, even though reference to Greek organizations was forbidden.

When asked what the letters EKT meant, the women replied "Earnestness, Kindness, and Truth".  

 

The existence of several groups came to the attention of the faculty in 1918 and steps were taken to disband them. All the groups, especially The Arbutus Club, fought for their right to exist. Finally, in 1922, the college authorities recognized these groups’ existence and removed the ban on Greek communities.  

 

Epsilon Kappa Tau has been active ever since. The Arbutus Club has remained true to the ideals of the five founding sisters throughout its years on Otterbein’s campus. Once members are united in the sisterhood of EKT, they are linked forever with the ties of friendship and unity that are created during their college years, and they too become a part of the history of Epsilon Kappa Tau.

Arbutus