This school year represents the 100th Anniversaries of women’s social clubs Ko Jo Kai and GATA.
Ko Jo Kai, formerly known as the High-A Club, was formed in 1919, while GATA, formerly standing for Girl’s Aid to Athletics, was formed in 1920.
Ko Jo Kai and GATA are the longest continuous socials clubs on campus and continue to have larger sized pledges classes with GATA having 53 Flames and KJK having 62 NuNus.
However, although both centennials take place this year, KJK’s will be celebrated this semester, primarily during homecoming, while GATA’s will be celebrated next semester.
Sarah Ross, senior worship ministry major from Sugarland and president of KJK, said being 100-years-old has allowed the club to look back to its roots and evaluate how far they’ve come.
“We get to hear all these stories of pledging from alumni and sponsors and we even get to see a lot of our alumni becoming these great moms, teachers, speakers, and more,” Ross said. “By looking at this diversity I feel it makes the history of our club richer and how it shows how the women in our club are always seeking sisterhood.”
For the centennial, KJK has a breakfast planned for 500 to 600 people Saturday morning for incoming alumni and current club members.
The club also plans to include the alumni in the homecoming parade, as well as giving the oldest living Kojie, Eloise, her own car in the parade.
Ko Jo Kai will end their centennial night of celebration with a birthday party, where current members and alumni will attend wearing their club jerseys.
“A lot of people from a lot of different generations of Kojies have responded, so we’ll have a good outcome of each generation being represented,” Ross said.
Ross said she is thankful that she is a part of KJK and is grateful for her position as President of the club, even if it can be stressful. She said it’s amazing, considering her previous thoughts as a sophomore:
“I wasn’t even planning to pledge; however, I felt like the Lord wanted me to find a ministry within club,” Ross said.
She said that her position in club gives her the ability to approach presidency with a chaplain mindset.
“If you’re gathering in a room on a Wednesday with 100 plus girls and you’re not talking about the Lord, then you’re wasting your time,” Ross said.
Ross said she thinks it’s incredible how ACU has kept the traditions of KJK and GATA around for so long.
“The fact that both of us, two clubs celebrating 100 years, just speaks to how incredible the communities are that are brought up because of social clubs.”
Looking into the future, Ross said she wants members to continue knowing they would not be here without Jesus.
“Yes, social clubs are fun,” Ross said. “You have formals and grubs and fun, light-hearted club meetings on Wednesdays, but a huge proponent we try to say is that this would be a waste of time if we were not utilizing it to talk about the Lord.”
She said she believes the way KJK will continue to prosper is by putting God at the center of it just as they’ve done in years prior.
GATA, while at the end of their 99th year, is coming up on their own centennial beginning next semester.
As for events to celebrate their 100th year, Bailey Baker, senior kinesiology major from Abilene and president of GATA, said that it is a secret right now.
“It will be chaos,” Baker said. “When it is our birthday, everybody will know.”
Regarding their centennial being close to KJK’s, Baker said that GATA loves to celebrate and that that includes others around them.
“We love that it’s their 100th as well; it’s the importance of sisterhood across the campus, not just for us,” Baker said.
She said that it is an honor being GATA’s 100th president and being a part of an organization that has its traditions deep in ACU’s roots.
“Something we’re teaching our flames right now is that there are things all around this campus that people may not know are affiliated with us, for example the ACU museum has a big GATA pledge pin on the side.”
These traditions, Baker said, are motivating her to get the new pledge class and current members to think about why they do what they do.
“We want to be vulnerable with them and explain to them that these things have a purpose,” Baker said. “We want these flames in this club, but that means helping them learn, especially in fun ways.”
Through this, Baker said she ultimately wants the club to be as accepting as possible.
“Moving forward, we want to portray ourselves as a club that is ‘come as you are,’” Baker said. “We accept you as who you are, even when you fail. I know I’ve failed.”
Baker said that once she is graduated, although club has meant so much to her, she wants students to know there is so much more out there than being part of a club.
“There’s so much more to college than being in a club,” Baker said. “However, it’s important to know that when we’re done here we won’t be looking back at tests, not the classes we skipped, it’s going to be the fun times we had with each other. To quote David Moses: ‘Don’t miss out.’”