Students work to break down ‘greek myths’


Photo: Huiling Wu/Iowa State Daily

Members from Phi Beta Chi host a Bake Sale to raise money on Central Campus on Thursday, Nov. 3. 

Kayla Kienzle

The MTV show “Sorority Life”

followed the lives of women in sororities. The series ran for just

three seasons, but during its time, it gained attention, especially

from those curious about sororities.

In fact, it was so popular it gave

way to the Facebook “Sorority Life” application.

Shows like “Greek” and movies like

“Sydney White” have also explored the lives of Greeks. Most

Recently, TLC has created its own new reality series, “Sorority


The series ventures into the lives

of five American sorority women as they head to the United Kingdom

to bring the “traditions of exclusivity and glamour,” to start the

first British sorority, Sigma Gamma.

The series website boasts the girls

recruit “eager candidates who’ll battle it out to gain membership

in one of five coveted spots.”

The series portrays and creates

several stereotypes of members in the greek community, not all of

them good.

Haley Theilig, sophomore in

management, went through formal recruitment before the start of her

freshman year at Iowa State, after her sister told her she should.

“I wanted to have fun,” Theilig said. “I thought a lot of girls

partied. I was looking for the total college experience, and I

thought joining was a good way to make it happen.”

After joining and getting to know

more women and seeing how the greek community worked, things were

not how they had seemed.

“A lot of people think girls are

wrapped up in a fantasy world,” Theilig said. “We actually do a lot

of good for Iowa State and the community.”

Theilig said there are many

misconceptions toward the greek community. “For example, so many

people think that girls in sororities have ‘daddy’s money,’ but I

know many girls who face obstacles and who have a budget,” Theilig


Theilig is not the only greek member

who can’t relate to the TLC series. Elizabeth Nahas, junior in

event management, feels that ISU greeks do not match the media


“In movies you see girls with frat

guys and doing crazy things at crazy parties, and people think

that’s what really happens,” Nahas said. “They think it’s like

‘House Bunny.’”

Most sororities at Iowa State put a

substantial amount of time to volunteering and


“The focus is on philanthropies and

school,” Nahas said. “We have to have a philanthropy and maintain a


While being greek offers positive

benefits, students still have to combat stereotypes.

“I think there are schools that do

things like haze and the excessive drinking in other parts of the

country,” Nahas said, “I think that’s where most of the bad

reputations seem to come from.”

Greek Affairs at Iowa State says it

is up to the students in the chapter to break stereotypes. Showing

values-based membership helps chapters to create and recruit


“Greek Life provides training,

programming and support,” said Jennifer Plagman-Galvin, director of

Greek Affairs.

National headquarters set rules and

maintain greek chapters at each university. However, there are a

number of chapters nationally that have continued the


Greek Affairs agrees that things can

happen, but students and alumni need to be equipped to handle

problems, so there are no negative repercussions.

According to Greek Affairs, on Iowa

State’s campus there are more than 2,800 greek students and 53


Plagman-Galvin summed up the large

greek community: “It’s a culture of leaders, values and scholars.

It’s a support system.”