Traditions, feelings remain through 60 years of Greek Week

Megan Swindell

This year’s Greek Week theme, “Sixty Years Has Been Quite a While, But Greek Letters Are Still in Style,” says it all. In fact, many of the traditions held throughout this week go back to its origins in 1952.

Jami Larson, Delta Upsilon fraternity chapter adviser and president of Greek Alumni Alliance, shared his experiences of Greek Week.

“My memories of Greek Week go back more than 40 years, so there have been huge changes in Greek Week since the early ’70s,” Larson said. “We did have the ‘bed race,’ but I don’t remember many other events like Lip Sync.”

The Blood Drive is one of the same philanthropic events that the members of ISU sororities and fraternities participate in today.

“Our big philanthropy was definitely the Red Cross Blood Drive, and I remember how exciting it was to reach the 1,000-pint level during Greek Week,” Larson said. 

The Polar Bear Plunge also has stood the test of time for the past several years as one the week’s main philanthropies.

“You always knew when the plunge was going on because of all the trucks going to campus and coming back to Greekland with people in the back dressed in such crazy costumes,” said Katie Raymon, 2007 Alpha Omicron Pi sorority alumna and Alumnae Chapter President. “Our showers looked ridiculous after Lake LaVerne was washed off of everyone.”

The values of the week have been consistent over the years, and the week’s “wacky” events seem to have followed suit as well.

“[My] favorite part of Greek Week were the team competitions,” said Lori Calvino Oriatti, 1987 alumna of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. “We did relays where we had to do all kinds of wacky relay races — I remember [running] around a bat with your forehead on the bat and then try[ing] to run straight ahead to the finish line as one of the relays.”

The 2012 Greek Week events still consist of events such as Dizzy Dizzy Duck and Skin the Snake.

“I think some of the tournaments and Olympics have changed, but the feeling is still the same,” Raymon said. “The one tournament I remember was water basketball, and we played in State Gym’s pool where you not only had to play basketball in the pool, but you also had to stay balanced on an inner tube.” 

Although Lindy Good did not have specific memories of Greek Week as a student, her memories for the last nine years of Greek Week have come as Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house director.

 “I think it is so much fun to see the houses come together and work as teams on the different activities — Lip Sync, the Olympics, banners and window-front paintings,” Good said. “I remember taking my cousin and her husband to Greek Week Lip Sync several years ago. They were not greek and went to that ‘other’ school down the road.  After the event, the husband said, ‘That made me wish that I had been in a fraternity.'”

“[Greek Week] made me feel like being greek was the best thing you possibly could do at Iowa State,” Larson said.