Yell Like Hell is an excuse to be loud

Cameron DeVaux, sophomore in interdisciplinary studies, performs during Yell Like Hell Sunday afternoon. Yell Like Hell has been a homecoming tradition since 1963. 

Sydney Mclaughlin

Crowds of greek community members approach the parking lots of Hilton Coliseum at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday for two hours of stomping, hanging out with friends and a whole lot of yelling.

The 14 pairings waste no time getting started, knowing there is very little resting time available if they want to win the friendly competition. This is hard work and losing their voices may prove inevitable.

Nineteen practices later, adrenaline rushing, the groups come face to face with the stage on Central Campus for first cuts with sweaty palms and one common goal in mind: win Yell Like Hell. 

Established in 1963, Yell Like Hell started as a way for residence halls to get involved with Homecoming by coming up with a yell that would be judged on originality and charisma.

Now, Yell Like Hell is well known around campus as a greek tradition, but is not limited to the greek community. Homecoming co-chairs are contemplating a way to break down the barrier between greeks and non-greeks, but it might be a long process because some students have the idea that Homecoming festivities are restricted to greeks. 

Lisa Friesth and Kensie Noble, Homecoming 2015 general co-chairs, have high hopes for eliminating the divide.

“That’s the one thing about Homecoming we really want to try to make an impact on,” Friesth said. “Homecoming is for everyone at the university, not just the greek community.”

Each sorority and fraternity is required to participate in Yell Like Hell and is assigned two co-chairs per chapter. The co-chairs are given a rulebook of time limits and safety precautions they must take into consideration when coming up with their skits.

Pairings consist of three or four different chapters, usually a large fraternity and sorority, and either one or two smaller chapters. 

This year’s Homecoming theme is Making a STATEment, which encourages students to become more involved in Homecoming and their time at Iowa State. This theme will be incorporated into each skit by the co-chairs during the planning process. Co-chairs also come up with their own theme to integrate into their script. 

“Every pairing chooses a theme as well,” Friesth said. “For example, they have previously incorporated themes like ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Tangled.’

Once the skit has been approved by Friesth and Noble, it’s up to the individual Yell Like Hell co-chairs to lead their pairing to a victory.

The pairings have attended 19 practices this year from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays leading up to their first performance.

All 14 of the pairings performed at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on Central Campus wearing a casual T-shirt and jeans. They had a time limit of five-and-a-half minutes from the moment the first person stepped onto the stage and were critiqued by seven judges on their creativity and enthusiasm.

Eight pairings will now move on to second cuts and will be painted head-to-toe in school colors for their next performance at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“Greeks are very competitive,” Noble said. “Being painted is a really big deal.”

The closing performance will consist of the final three pairings at the pep rally in front of the Alumni Center on Friday.

Practices are led by the Yell Like Hell co-chairs, who stand on pick-up trucks and teach the stomps and chants while encouraging the participants at all times.

Members of Theta Delta Chi, Alpha Phi and Tau Kappa Epsilon made up one of the 14 pairings. Dressed in Hawaiian attire, the group was in the process of learning a new chant.

Although the pairing did not move on to the second cuts, it made the most of the process and the opportunity to meet new people in the greek community.   

“We have Theme Thursdays. It makes it more fun for them,” said Talbot Kraus, co-chairman for Theta Delta Chi. 

The participants caught on fast to the chants, while two co-chairs taught them the steps and the others made sure everyone was picking up the new choreography correctly.

Nicole Willse and Rachel Rothmeyer were the first ever Yell Like Hell co-chairs for Iowa State’s Alpha Phi chapter.

“We really wanted to make everything stand out with creative characters and clever chants,” Willse said. “We knew we needed to step it up, especially because [Tau Kappa Epsilon] won it last year,” Willse said.

Loud voices and even bigger movements are what make Yell Like Hell such a workout.

Nick Coduto, member of Theta Delta Chi and a senior participating in the Homecoming tradition for his second year, said he liked the experience because “It’s an excuse to be loud.”

Yell Like Hell not only gives people a reason to be expressive but it also gives them an opportunity to get to know other people in the greek community by being a part of a tradition that continues to make a statement year after year.