Zeta Tau Alpha

Chapter History

Zeta Tau Alpha was founded by nine women on October 15, 1898 at the State Female Normal School, now known as Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. The founders started Zeta because the members hoped to create permanence to their friendships and hoped to perpetuate their sisterhood after college. Originally, the nine women delayed selecting a formal name and instead, a temporary name was used while they sought an appropriate Greek name and symbols. During this time, the group received assistance from two of the women’s brothers, members of men’­s Greek-letter organizations. After a year of careful contemplation, the women chose the formal name, the patron goddess, and the badge.

Since 1898, 237 chapters have been established around the nation. James Madison University’s Gamma Kappa ZTA chapter was founded November 19, 1949. Today, Gamma Kappa is made up of approximately 140 women.

As the history of ZTA states: “The aim of ZTA, first and foremost, is to band together, in a union providing lasting qualities, girls who are congenial companions and close friends, perpetuating those friendships beyond their college days.” This original purpose for the establishment of ZTA still persists today as sisterhood is the most important component of Zeta Tau Alpha. Through a variety of activities including themed sister dates, community service endeavors, chapter development programs, social events, and weekly movie nights at the ZTA house, lifelong friendships are developed and sisterly bonds are reinforced.

Additionally, maintaining high academic standing and community involvement is another highly encouraged goal for every Zeta Tau Alpha. Currently, ZTA holds the JMU title of, ‘¬Highest Sorority GPA.’® Also, Zeta has over 75% of our members involved in other JMU organizations. More specifically, sisters participate in activities ranging from participating in other Greek organization’­s philanthropies, holding positions in the Student Government Association, pre-professional groups, and other JMU organizations, volunteering at a nursing home in Harrisonburg, to donating time to help local community organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club. Members of ZTA are taught to improve themselves and the world around them by promoting good scholarship and involvement.

For every ZTA, the greatest time of the year is October ZTA’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month! With the assistance of on-campus health organizations and breast cancer health groups in the Harrisonburg community, ZTA generally raises over $15,000 annually for Breast Cancer Awareness and Education. ZTA organizes, directs, and sponsors events such as Survivor Night, a Pink Ribbon golf tournament, Breastival Educational fair, and a Late Night Breakfast Acapella concert. Additionally, Zeta sells cookbooks, Madison pink t-shirts, and pink ribbons throughout October on the JMU Commons. Currently, Zeta holds the Most Philanthropic Sorority title at JMU.

Chapter Information

  • Nickname: Zeta
  • Colors: Turquoise Blue and Steel Gray
  • Founded: October 15, 1898
  • Philanthropy: Breast cancer education and awareness.
  • Mission: To make a difference in the lives of our members by developing the potential of each individual through innovative programming, which emphasizes leadership development, service to others, academic achievement and continued personal growth for women, with a commitment to friendship and the future based on the sisterhood, values and traditions of the past.
  • National Website: www.zetataualpha.org
  • President: Kristen Friel
  • President Email: frielkm@dukes.jmu.edu
  • Local Website: http://ztagammakappa.wix.com/atjmu