Greek rituals set chapters apart


Photo: William Deaton/Iowa State

The crowd cheers and claps for the fraternities and sororities after they perform a song during the first round of the Greek Week karaoke tryouts on April 2, 2013 on Central Campus.

Ryan Anderson

Organizations on the ISU campus each have traits that make them different from one another. But the greek community has specific traits that set each chapter apart from the rest.

Each greek chapter has a unique set of rituals and values. The rituals, however, are kept within the sorority or fraternity.

“What’s cool about the rituals is that it connects you to the history of the founding of that specific chapter and it connects you to the chapters across the country,” said Megan Jensen, junior in kinesiology and health and a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

Rituals are kept private out of respect for the members of the chapters and to emphasize the importance of the events. According to Jensen, doing so shows dedication to one’s chapter.

The rituals that occur in fraternities and sororities range from chapter events, ceremonies, and new member initiations. There are two fraternities, FarmHouse and Delta Upsilon, that hold open rituals which non-members can attend.

“It is never a goal of ours to be off and separate from the rest of campus; collaboration is one of our main goals,” Jensen said.

The community currently works with athletics, the office of admissions and the Sloss women’s center. However, the office of greek affairs feels that it can work more on collaboration efforts. 

The greek community is working to engage more with the ISU community as well the Ames community. This year’s Polar Plunge will include both greeks and non-greek participants.

“We are looking for more ways to work with the Ames community and more with non-greek students,” said Katie Cran, assistant director of greek affairs.

The greek system is very rich in tradition. According to the Alpha Chi Omega sorority resource center, rituals have deep meanings that connect chapters to their greek heritage.

The history of Alpha Chi Omega states, ”To those who are ritualistic by nature, the recurring ceremonies are a never-failing source of inspiration.”

According to Jensen, rituals all lead back to the individual values of the chapter.

“We don’t agree to live the same life, but we agree to live the same values and principles. I think that it helps guide us in a direction that we want to go as an organization,” said Ben Freese, junior in political science and president of the Interfraternity Council.