Betas of the 1940s
Although it was established in 1928, it was not until the 1940s that the Beta Theta sorority firmly took root at Minot State Teachers College. Prior to this decade, the group was still relatively small and new and the group was finding its way among local and national affiliations. There were 14 members during its first year. By the 1930s, there were about 25 members, on average, during each school calendar year.
During the very late 1930's early 40s, member numbers declined. There were only 22 members in 1940. Then World War II forced many American men overseas, especially young men who otherwise might have been enrolled on college campuses. As a result, women had more roles to fill on the home front, in the nation as a whole as well as on college campuses. Women sought camaraderie, and desired to do their part in supporting the war effort. Joining a service sorority such as the Beta Thetas provided an ideal opportunity for such service and fellowship. By 1943, member numbers rose to 37. By 1945, the stonger, more unified Betas decided to remain a local sorority, rather than to seek national affilation. The members, who were all from the isolated state of North Dakota, believed that remaining local would best serve the sorority, its members, the community and Minot State College.
For the Betas, the 1940s also brought change. Bylaws were reformed and additions made to include: limits on unexcused absences from meetings, gradepoint average requirements, rules of etiquette, participation in homecoming functions, limits on membership numbers (an increase in pledges forced the group to put a maximum limit on actives to 40 members), and meeting protocol. The Betas also created a sorority pin and Beta jacket that they wore at all Beta and campus functions.
The Betas also strengthened their identity and sense of community when they leased their first sorority house off campus. Up until the 1940s, the Betas met in hallways in Old Main at Minot State College.
The photo above is of a group of actives from 1940. Actives are the sororities members currently enrolled in school on campus. During the Betas first stint at MSU, active members could not be married. Once married, actives then became alumnae.
The other images on this page come from Beaver yearbooks spanning 1940-1947.