"The strength of the group is the individual, the strength of the individual is group."
In the years prior to 1917, there existed Literary Societies that were organized for men and women to gather and socialize, as well as discuss their classes. These societies were more or less, for lack of a better term, like fraternities and sororities in our times. 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 these 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 its sweet smell it left in the hills of her home 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 3 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 Arbutus, fought for their right to exist. Finally in 1922 the college authorities recognized these groups’ existence.
Epsilon Kappa Tau has been very active ever since! Arbutus has, throughout the years on Otterbein’s campus, remained true to the ideals of the five founding sisters. Once you are united in the sisterhood of EKT, you are linked FOREVER with the ties of friendship and unity, which are created during our college years, and you too became a part of the History of Epsilon Kappa Tau.