Greek community bonds, gives back during Greek Week


Chris Jorgensen/Iowa State Daily

The Polar Bear Plunge was held Friday at the Hansen Agriculture Center. The annual event supports the Special Olympics of Iowa.

Sierra Hoeger

Hundreds of sorority and fraternity members flocked to Lied Recreational Center to watch their fellow chapter members compete throughout the week. Dressed in attire to accommodate the various themes, greek community members could be seen wearing pajamas, leis and jerseys. Flags, signs and other various items related to different chapters were displayed throughout the competition.

Whether they were playing soccer, volleyball or basketball, the greek community made their mark at Lied throughout the week.

“The atmosphere during a Greek Week event has its own, unparalleled energy,” senior Zachary Johnson, a member of Pi Kappa Phi, said. “The moment you walk into Lied Recreation, you and your pairing are constantly cheering your team on, knowing you will lose your voice the next morning.”

Greek Week is a week-long celebration, competition and get-together for the greek community. All week, large groups of members could be seen gathering for lunch on central campus, participating in sports competitions or performing in lip sync challenges. But more importantly, each and every member was working toward the same goal: raising money for a good cause and making it the best week ever.

“Greek Week means so much to our community because it is a great chance to give back to a worthy cause and it exemplifies the values that the greek community strives to uphold,” said Madi Carr, junior in psychology and member of Kappa Delta. “Even though we are all a part of different chapters, Greek Week unites us towards a common goal and creates lasting bonds between members of different chapters.”

Raising funds for Special Olympics means more than ever before this year. Greek community members have been inspired by the announcement made by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos saying she would cut costs to the organization. Even though President Trump has since overridden the action, it still highlights how much the Special Olympics organization means to those who support it.

“Every Greek Week, each sorority and fraternity pairing is assigned a Special Olympics athlete,” Johnson said. “This year, I got to get to know our athletes. We have had dinners and sports events together. My favorite aspect is that our own athletes have even come to our Greek Week events to cheer and support our team. This really speaks volumes about how impactful this week-long tradition is at Iowa State.”

Establishing and creating lasting relationships is a common theme that chapters shared throughout the week.

“My favorite part of this week is seeing all the relationships, connections and memories that are made from chapters coming together in friendly competition,” said Greek Week Executive Director Jessie Glanz, a senior in dietetics. “At the end of the day it’s never about who won but more so the memories that come from it. All the time and stress Olivia, our central team and myself have put into this week, then witnessing all the enjoyment that comes with it for our community, makes it 100 times worth it and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

Plans for Greek Week begin almost a year in advance, and Greek Week Executive Directors Glanz and Olivia Weaver try their best to ensure variety and include different things from the year before.

“The early mornings and late nights preparing for events with my best friends are moments I will never forget,” said Weaver, a senior in biology. “Spending an entire year planning a week-long event is exhausting but seeing all of the hard work pay off and watching 4,000 students love every second of the week is so rewarding.”

Toward the end of the week, students donned purple long-sleeve t-shirts with the Polar Plunge logo on the back in hopes of raising both awareness and funds. On social media, members of the Greek Community used templates and bucket list challenges as a way to increase money raised for the event.

“Greek Week is important to myself and other greek members because it’s a week where we get to interact with members in other chapters, support each other and show others why we love being greek,” said Samantha Wray, sophomore in elementary education and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Greek community members in a variety of chapters agreed that Greek Week is one of the best weeks during the school year. Cohesiveness, competition, creating close relationships and coming together to create change are traits that make Greek Week so admirable.

“Greek Week is the best week of the year. It is one of the traditions at Iowa State that I look forward to most,” Johnson said. “Not only do I get to create more friendships, but we get to engage in multiple acts of volunteerism and philanthropic efforts. Personally, this is what I love the most about the sorority and fraternity community.”