The low down on greek life


Six members of Alpha Gamma Delta during recruitment.

Megan Salo

It seems like when you graduate high school and are preparing to head off to college, everyone in your life has an opinion on what you should do.

“Why are you going to that school? You should go somewhere that’s closer/farther/bigger/smaller.”

“You don’t know your major yet? You’re just wasting your time at college then.”

“Don’t major in that – you’ll never find a job.”

“You’re living with your best friend from high school? You’re going to ruin your friendship.”

“You’re joining a sorority/fraternity? You know you’re just paying for your friends and partying, right?”

Chances are, if someone is telling you this, they’ve never been a part of greek life. They’re probably getting all of their information from movies like Animal House, House Bunny, Legally Blonde and Sorority Row. But greek life can offer you much more than just a ticket to a party. Here are the five pillars of greek life at Iowa State and what they can do for you.


This pillar used to be known as ‘brotherhood’ and ‘sisterhood’. The friendships that many students find through greek life run deeper than just friends – they become your family. Since we’re ‘paying for our friends’ we better be getting the greatest friends ever out of the deal right? Kidding.

Being a member of a sorority or fraternity gives you so many opportunities to network. Whether it be with the members of your own chapter, members of other chapters, alumni, the community or guest speakers – greeks know people.


Although networking is important, you came to college to get an education. Academics play an important role in greek life. Chapters have a minimum GPA requirement for their members and many have academic programs, like paying for tutors, to help their members achieve this GPA.  

The greek community GPA at Iowa State is traditionally higher than the all-university average because of these programs. 

Social justice

The greek community is striving to create a welcoming place for students of all races, genders, sexualities, etc. There are four greek councils at Iowa State: Collegiate Panhellenic Council which serves the women of 17 sororities on campus, Interfraternity Council which serves the men of 32 fraternities at ISU, Multicultural Greek Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council which governs the historically African-American fraternities and sororities.

The community is also working towards education on diversity and empowering their own members as well as nonmembers through programs like the Women’s Leadership Retreat.


When you go to a school with over 35,000 other students, it may seem hard to get any real leadership experience. There are many positions within each chapter that are crucial to keeping the chapter running in different ways. Organizing recruitment, making a chapter budget, running the chapter social media accounts and communicating with alumni are just a few examples of how you can use your skills to gain the leadership experience you need for your resume. 

Civic engagement

Another impressive aspect of a resume is community service. Each chapter at Iowa State holds philanthropy events to raise money for a charity of their choice. These events aren’t only fun and often delicious (many chapters sell food), but it also makes a real impact on the programs that they are serving.

Along with individual philanthropies, the greek community at Iowa State also raises money for Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics Iowa during Greek Week. In 2015, the greek community raised $188,000 which broke the record for the largest single donation made to Special Olympics Iowa. This past year they broke that record by just a bit – raising $356,000.

So, tell me again how all greeks do is party?

Go Greek!