Greeks continue lawn displays tradition

Delaney Vierkandt

Every year, the greek community spends about a month of their time in preparation for a Homecoming tradition called “Lawn Displays.”

This year, five pairings started “ground-breaking” on Oct. 5, which is where they dig a hole where the displays are placed.

Lawn displays are a spectacle for the audience. 

The greek community may choose if they want to do community service or lawn displays, which is why there are only five pairings this year, said Jessica McDonald, co-chairwoman of lawn displays.

“A lot of the time, [the pairings] choose community service over lawn displays because it is either a lot of work, or they don’t want to tear up their lawn,” McDonald said. “It is pretty costly, also.”

Each pairing gets to have their own theme, as long as they incorporate it into the main Homecoming theme, which is “Homecoming 101: The Tradition Continues.”

These lawn displays aren’t just something to look at, McDonald said. Each pairing also has a 20-minute skit they perform. 

To match the theme this year, the skits are going to be based off past and present traditions of Iowa State.

The co-chairs started organizing last spring by updating the Homecoming Activities Guide, which is a reference for the pairings and explains everything to the community. Planning picked up when school started, McDonald said.

“Lawn displays are my favorite Iowa State tradition,” said Katelyn Carver, junior in agronomy and member of Alpha Delta Pi. “People should come and enjoy them this year if they’ve never experienced it before. It’s always a great time.”

Homecoming is a competition within the greek community. They are awarded points based on how well they place in events such as Yell Like Hell, sports tournaments and other activities.

The lawn displays are no different, McDonald said. Points go to the winners, while participation points are also given


“Since there are five [pairings], there will mostly just be one, two and three rankings,” McDonald said. “There will be participation points also but of course, you want to get first place so you can win overall, because the ultimate goal is to win Homecoming 2013.”

The two co-chairs of lawn displays, McDonald and Michael Burt, decide on who will judge each of the activities. For lawn displays, they like to have a minimum of six judges, so there are diverse opinions among the group, McDonald said.

“The majority of the pairings know what homecoming is, just because it’s been around for so long,” McDonald said. “So a lot of times we’re just here for support, not so much telling them what to do. They have upperclassmen who contribute to making it a better time for the house.”

Lawn displays are a long-running tradition in the greek community, which is expected to continue in future years.

“My favorite part of lawn displays are just to see how everything comes together. It truly shows school spirit, hard work and dedication,” McDonald said. “These pairings have spent so many hours working on the displays to put on a good show for the audience, Iowa Staters and the alumni.”

The pairings participating this year are Alpha Gamma Delta, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Lambda Chi Alpha; Alpha Delta Pi, Phi Delta Theta and Phi Kappa Theta; Chi Omega, Delta Tau Delta and Delta Chi; Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Gamma Rho and Kappa Sigma; and Gamma Phi Beta, FarmHouse and Delta Upsilon.

Hundreds of people come to see the lawn displays, Carver said.

“Many people come to see lawn displays. It is a great event to enjoy with the family,” Carver said. “The streets are all closed off and bleachers are set in the streets so the audience can enjoy the skits.”

The lawn displays will be presented from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday night after the pep rally.