Story by Larissa Wurm
Photo by Luke Nankivell
Lavaliering: to some, this word may have no meaning. For those in the Greek community, however, it is a symbol of true commitment.
“Lavaliering is the act of making a greater commitment to a significant other,” Brittan Williams, director of fraternity and sorority life at Drake University, said. “You are opening your Greek membership up to another person. It’s the promise of a long term commitment to
“Lavaliering is a way for the fraternity man to show how much he values his relationship,” Student Body President Amanda Laurent said. “It also allows the woman to wear his
Laurent was recently lavaliered by her significant other, David Karaz.
“I was very surprised and happy when David (Karaz) lavaliered me,” Laurent said. “We both knew how much we cared for each other, but it was a step to show each other and the Greek community how much we value our relationship and where we see it going in the future.”
“You are showing another person how special they are to you. You are making the promise of a long-term commitment,”
There is a process for lavaliering for both fraternities
“Lavaliering is a Greek tradition where a fraternity man, places his significant other ahead of his chapter. It is also known as a pre-engagement of marriage,” Laurent said. “Within the sorority sphere, when a member is going to be lavaliered, a candle-passing ceremony is performed where the whole house gathers in a circle and passes around a lit candle. The first time the candle is passed around means a ‘pinning,’ which is not a common practice within Drake’s Greek Life.
The second time around the circle is for lavaliering and, if it makes it around a third time, it means engagement.”
“In Pi Kappa Phi, you first have to make a personal decision,” Josh Schoenblatt, a sophomore politics major, said.
“If you know that your significant other is a person that you want to spend the rest of your life, and you’re in your later years of college, preferably past your junior year, then you can go and talk to our chaplain who will host the ceremony. After the chaplain and the lavalierer decide on a date and time for the ceremony, the lavalierer goes and purchases a lavalier necklace for their significant other.
“Finally, the time comes for the ceremony and tears of joy, and at the very end of the ceremony, the men of Pi Kappa Phi will go and sing our Rose Song to the newly lettered member of our brotherhood,”
“Lavaliering has a major impact on the Greek community,” Schoenblatt said. “We all value our letters and put them on a pedestal. We spend countless hours our first year learning about the importance of our letters and then constantly keep careful watch over our actions to keep the meaning of our letters pure. To choose to give another person your letters is not only a strong commitment of your belief in them, but it tells that person that you believe them to be your true love.”
“Personally, I really like traditions, and I love that Drake embraces this Greek tradition,” Laurent said. “When looking to past people that have been lavaliered, I do realize that some couples didn’t stay together despite going through this Greek commitment. I think it is up to the couple to understand how meaningful this commitment is to
“It’s a very emotional ceremony for both sides, and the feelings of excitement and joy are felt by both sides,” Schoenblatt said. “Because the letters are so important to a Greek member, lavaliering is not a decision that is taken lightly.”
“Lavaliering is a definite pro to the Greek community,” Laurent said. “It has the ability to show how Greek life fosters lasting and personal relationships well beyond college. It also allows the Greek community to enact traditions that every chapter can take a part in and understand its meaning.”