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Features Relays Edition

Redefining Drake’s Greek letters over the years

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Story by Rachel Weeks

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Braeden stanley  sophomore 

Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sig Ep), 2011

Describe your Greek life experience.

I think it’s been outstanding, I honestly don’t think that I would be where I am today without it. I think that it has been an incredibly valuable part of my experience at Drake. It’s really been a good experience for me.

I love how seriously our chapter takes our philanthropy for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I love how much everybody rallies around that and tries to raise as much money as possible.

Lyle Simpson  grandfather

Tau Kappa Epsilon, 1958

Describe your Greek life experience.

I was president of the TKE house and the student body president from 1959 to 1960. The experiences I received in my fraternity life have made a huge difference in my life as a lawyer today. The fraternity is a laboratory of life. I learned leadership techniques that are invaluable still, 50 years later. I used that experience as a model to create a breakfast club of local community business leaders that is still going today and is accountable for a third of my law practice. The fraternity experience was worth more than any year of academic study in the seven years I attended Drake.

How has Greek life changed since you were at Drake?

In many ways Greek life today is more sophisticated. However, it appears to be less formal. No suits to meetings. No housemothers, no cooks in some houses. Those factors added to the quality of Greek life in my day.

Kevin Riley  junior

Theta Chi (TC), 2010

Describe your Greek life experience.

It’s been a lot of fun. I couldn’t imagine going to Drake without being in Greek life. I don’t know what I’d do. I don’t know what people do without Greek life. Because you’re basically with all your friends. You have something in common. You know everybody.

What did you think about Greek life before you came to Drake?

I knew I wanted to join a house, because I saw that my dad and mom went through. They made good friends who they still talk to. My dad told me to find a group of guys that I could just hang out and have a beer with, so that’s what I was looking for. It’s just a good way to meet people.

Pam (Bergman) Riley  mother

Delta Gamma (DG), 1980

Describe your Greek life experience.

I can’t imagine college without being Greek. It was such a big part of my experience. It really taught me everything I needed for after school. It taught you to work as a team. It taught you basic leadership skills: delegation and organization. It gave you a sense of pride.

How has Greek life changed since you were at Drake?

There’s more of a sense of philanthropy. I don’t remember that. I think there is more of a concentration on community service, in general.

You know, it’s neat to see that things have changed, but a lot of it is the same. Sure, there are a few fraternities or sororities that have moved or have been replaced. But some things never change.

Peggy Leisz  first-year

Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta), 2012

Describe your Greek life experience.

It’s been a blast so far. With service and scholarship requirements, I feel that Greek life has motivated me to work harder for my academics and has also made me a better citizen. I love that we give back and have fun no matter what we are doing. I don’t know what I would do without my sisters because they help me be the best version of myself.

What did you think about Greek life before you came to Drake?

My mom always told me that Greek life was a great way to make friends, that you meet girls going through the recruitment, even if you don’t join the same house. My mom’s best friend, to this day, joined Kappa Kappa Gamma while she joined Theta. They taught me that Greek life at Drake is a community where we can support each other and build lasting relationships, no matter which house you belong to.

Julie McCall  mother

Kappa Alpha Theta, 1980

Describe your Greek life experience.

My fondest memory is of pledging day and finding out who my sisters for a lifetime would be. I sat in the President’s room waiting my turn to pledge, thinking, “Oh, what I have done?” It didn’t take long to realize that I had done the best thing possible.

How has Greek life changed since you were at Drake?

I am happy to hear that some traditions are still in place and my daughter and I will have those special bonds. I am proud that my daughter has chosen to be part of Greek life. She will never forget these years.

Hannah Risinger sophomore

Alpha Phi (Phi),  2011

Describe your Greek life experience.

It’s been everything I hoped it would be and more. My fondest memory since joining Alpha Phi was during our annual philanthropy, Fast Phi’t week. We raised money for women’s cardiac care, helped to unite Greek life and had a blast doing it. That made me realize that I was a part of something bigger than myself. It’s rare that an organization can offer so much to its members.

What did you think about Greek life before you came to Drake?

I had heard stories about Greek life at Drake since I understood what college was. I decided at a young age that I wanted to attend Drake and go through recruitment. My mom always told me about the beautiful, big yellow house. She even drove me past it a couple times when we visited Des Moines. Stories about living in the house got me excited to join a sorority.

Lorena (Gonzalez)
Risinger
  mother

Alpha Phi (Phi), 1981

Describe your Greek life experience.

I loved my time at Drake and being a Phi. I made wonderful friends in the house.  I loved the fundraisers, dances and parties.  But the best was meeting all the girls and knowing we would always be there for each other.

How has Greek life changed since you were at Drake?

When Hannah chose to be a Phi, I was so happy. I think the biggest change I’ve noticed is how incredibly active the sorority and fraternity members are in the school. It seems much more than when I was there.

Blake Miller   junior

Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sig Ep), 2010

Describe your Greek life experience.

Fun yet disappointing. It’s frustrating going to a school like Drake, where everyone has a hard time befriending people from other houses. I would rather see a system where everyone is encouraged to have fun together.

But I don’t regret joining Greek life and will look back on my time in Sig Ep with fondness.

I knew not to expect anything like “Animal House.” I was excited about the fun social life and priceless networking opportunities. I knew I would join a house even before coming to Drake.

John Miller   father

Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), 1980

Describe your Greek life experience.

I was a junior transfer and did not know anyone at Drake. Joining SAE was a big help in getting me involved. The best memories I have are making friends who I still stay in touch with, meeting the future Mrs. Miller (a Kappa Alpha Theta), competing with the other fraternities and hosting the best parties on the street.

How has Greek life changed since you were at Drake?

Houses have changed names, structures have been renovated and the path from 34th Street to campus is a big improvement. Dry houses are a change and the perceptions of a few houses seem different. There is more emphasis on grades and charitable activities, which is good. The Greek system was, and still is, an important part of Drake and I’m pleased it is thriving.

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