Avery Staker kickstarts a queer community in Greek life


Courtesy of Lillian Wyatt

Avery Staker is the founder and president of Pride Goes Greek, one of Iowa State’s queer organization in greek life. 

Mackenzie Bodell

Avery Staker decided to challenge historical heteronormative ideas in greek life when they established a queer greek organization two years ago. 

Staker is a junior at Iowa State studying journalism, a member of the sorority Alpha Gamma Delta and president of Pride Goes Greek. They also serve as the photography director for an on-campus student-run magazine, Cardinal Eats. 

Staker said kickstarting Pride Goes Greek has been a memorable part of their college experience. Staker started Pride Goes Greek their freshman year while serving as social justice chair for their sorority. 

Towards the end of their freshman year in 2020, while everyone was at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Staker had an idea to create an LGBTQ group within the greek community at Iowa State. 

“What if I just made this little organization for not only queer people to meet each other but for everybody who has any kind of connection to the queer community to get together, meet each other and make a little pocket of queerness in a historically very heteronormative organization?” Staker said of their motivations to establish Pride Goes Greek.  

Pride Goes Greek is one of several greek social justice organizations created to promote “change through challenging inequalities and embracing diversity,” according to Iowa State Sorority and Fraternity Engagement.

While serving as president for Pride Goes Greek keeps Staker busy, they still manage to find time for other extracurricular activities such as involvement in Cardinal Eats. 

With their busy schedule, Staker spoke about their relationship with stress and how they cope with a heavy workload. 

“Stress isn’t supposed to be some kind of big deal all the time, stress is just supposed to be stress,” Staker said. “It’s okay to be stressed, it’s a normal human thing to be stressed.”

Staker said they have spent time learning how to develop a better relationship with negative emotions through meditation, journaling and therapy. 

Through these coping mechanisms, Staker has discovered their spiritual side. 

“I like the idea of spirituality because it gives that sort of power, that sort of like decision-making to us as people so we’re not relying on anything else,” Staker said. “It gives us the power to make things better or change how we’re feeling or deal with things, which I think that’s very empowering.” 

Staker is from Dubuque, Iowa, where they love visiting small business shops and cafes. This translated to a love for Ames, especially the downtown area, where they were excited to find new favorite places to visit. 

“I really like that Ames has a really cool assortment of small businesses,” Staker said. “I like to be in those areas, especially Dog Eared Books.” 

Staker said they have had a positive college experience at Iowa State.

They spoke about repairing their relationships with creativity and being motivated by the desire to be creative rather than being motivated by a fear of inadequacy. 

“I am just excited to keep developing the creative side of myself,” Staker said. “I think that will lead me to some very interesting and very cool places.”