Chi Omega Class of 2018 - a look back over the past four years

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Chi Omega Class of 2018 - a look back over the past four years

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

Four years ago, they opened an envelope on Bid Day to find "Chi Omega" written on a piece of paper. They ran home to 804 Iowa Avenue to celebrate joining a group of women who would quickly become family. Here is a look back at some of the highlights and accomplishments over the past four years.

2014-2015 Freshman Year

In their first year as Chi Omegas, they were Homecoming Champions, Intramural Champions, held the highest new member class GPA, contributed to the highest overall chapter GPA, Dean's Circle Award, raised over $38,000 for Dance Marathon, won the Chapter of Excellence Award, and won Chapter of Year! They received their Big Sisters, were initiated and made official, and formed even closer friendships at various Sisterhood and Philanthropy events. 

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2015-2016 Sophomore Year

Sophomore year they became even closer after moving into the Chi Omega house together. This year was also their first time on the other side of recruitment, and they were excited to have Little Sisters. After Bid Day they went on to win Iowa Shout and 2nd Place Overall during Homecoming Week, received 1st place in Greek Week Follies and 3rd place overall,, overall Intramural Champions, won the Chapter of Excellence Award, raised over $10,000 for Make-A-Wish, and once again held the highest chapter GPA.

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2016-2017 Junior Year

Junior year they passed the halfway point of their time as active members of Chi Omega. The tradition of excellence continued as they created their first online recruitment hype video, were Iowa Shout Champions and 2nd place overall in Homecoming Week, Greek Week & Follies Champions, the Top Fundraising Chapter for Dance Marathon 23, once again held the highest chapter GPA, were named Chapter of Excellence, and recruited another amazing group of women into Chi Omega. They also held numerous leadership positions in Chi Omega, and organizations across campus. 

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 Katherine Mendieta Photography

They also cheered on two of their Sisters as they gave Commencement Speeches at Graduation! Kayln Hugdahl and Kimberly Chexnayder.

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Read about the future plans and favorite memories of Some of our Seniors Below!

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

MADI SMITH

Degree / Future Plans: graduating in December with a Nursing degree

I owe a lot of my successes to Chi Omega. To begin, Chi O introduced me to the most incredible women that I now call my best friends. Chi O encouraged me as I began my journey through nursing school and it shaped me into the leader that I am today because of the opportunities I had while serving on our executive board. Chi O cheered me on as I ran marathons, studied for countless exams and celebrated with me on every single birthday. Chi omega  has repeatedly pushed me to be a better friend, daughter, student, leader and women and I couldn't be more thankful. I will never forgot the memories I had as an active member and especially the 2 years I lived in 804 Iowa Ave! I miss it already. Xo

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

PAIGE SHOCKEY

Degree: Marketing Management, Certificate: International Business

Future Plans: I will begin my training as a District Manager for ALDI in the Chicago suburbs.

Favorite Chi O memory was the night before initiation freshman year. Our pledge class all came over to Kenzie and I's dorm room and we hung out, ordered food, and watched movies. We were so excited to officially be Sisters the next day!

kayln hugdahl

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology and Spanish Minor

Post grad plans: Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Iowa

Fave memory: My entire senior year! Bid day, Nashville, spring break, formal, just hanging out and playing games. There is nothing better than seizing every moment with friends before we go our separate ways. I owe a huge thank you to Chi Omega for introducing me to the best people I know.

 Katherine Mendieta Photography
 Katherine Mendieta Photography

Alex Griffin

Degree: Journalism Mass Communication & Business

Future Plans: Traveling this summer, then working for Insight Global as an account manager

When it comes to my favorite memories with my time in Chi Omega, it is almost impossible to choose one specific time.  It's the moments that we have had where we are all in sweats cuddling and dying laughing about nonsense together, or all of us jamming to 80's music in the bathroom while curling our hair, or the infamous amount of McDonalds runs we would all take packed into one person's car.  The simplest of times with each other, where we are close and laughing, are the memories I will cherish the most.  I have made friendships I could only dream of, and as much as it kills us all to be separating physically, we all know we all will always have each other in our hears and memories.

Caroline Rossberger

Degree: Marketing

Future Plans: Traveling this summer to Brazil and looking for a job! Chi O has given more than I ever could have asked for. I have met my best friends, role models and future bridesmaids. Some of my favorite college memories are with my Chi O's driving to Coralville Lake with the music up and the windows down! These past four years have been the absolute best and I have my Chi O's to thank for them.

 Katherine Mendieta Photography
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Kimberly Chexnayder 

Degree: Journalism & Mass Communication

Future Plans: Junior Rotational Executive- The National Football League 

Favorite Memories of Chi O: Meeting my best friends and soulmates through Chi Omega. Women in this house have changed me for the better. I know that without them my college experience would’ve never happened as magically as it  did. 

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

Ashley Mazzocchi

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Minor: Spanish

Future plans: Graduating in December with my BSN and then will plan to work here at UIHC before moving back to Chicago! My career goals is to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner specializing in Oncology. 

Chi Omega has been the reason my college career has been so great. Because of Chi O I’ve been lucky enough to be blessed with my forever friends. These incredible, passionate, caring women have been by my side through the many ups and downs of my college career. They’ve been with me to support me through my hardships and help celebrate my achievements. I am so lucky to know these women will be by my side throughout the rest of my life. Chi Omega has also given me the courage to travel abroad for a summer, to apply to the nursing program, and endless opportunities to make a difference both on and off campus. I have Chi O to thank for my passion for Dance Marathon which has shaped my career path into becoming Pediatric Nurse Practitioner specializing in Oncology. Without Chi O, I wouldn’t have nearly as an amazing college experience. I will also cherish the trips and memories we have taken. From Nashville to Cabo to all the memories in Iowa City! Thanks for the absolute best four years, but thankfully Chi Omega is for lifetime.

 Katherine Mendieta Photography
 Katherine Mendieta Photography

JENSEN BISHOP

Degree / Future plans: Graduating in December with my BSN and plan to go into OB/maternity nursing. 

My college experience would not have been the same without Chi O. We’ve been through everything together. The ups, the downs, and everything in between. I will never forget all of the late nights living together, sharing bunk beds, running around Iowa City, and all of the road trips we have taken. Chi Omega is not just four years, it truly lasts a lifetime. 

ELIZABETH SHAW

Degree: Sport and Recreation Management with an emphasis in business studies, certificates in leadership studies and interscholastic athletic/activities administration

Future Plans: I will be attending the University of Iowa College of Law to pursue my Juris Doctor degree

Favorite memory from Chi O: is honestly meeting everyone from all of the different pledge classes and helping people navigate college! Sal Lee and Lucy Korsakov (graduated last year) really helped mentor me the past few years when it came to law school applications and I would have never met them if it wasn't for Chi O! I also loved being the Golf Classic Director this past year because it made me feel like I was truly giving back to Make-A-Wish and it was fantastic seeing everyone have fun out on the golf course.

 Katherine Mendieta Photography
 Katherine Mendieta Photography

Hayley Wilson

Degree: BA in Health Studies and minor in Business Administration, graduating in December 

Future Plans: Attend Des Moines University to receive my Masters in Health Administration & hopefully manage a pediatric specialty clinic in the future! 

Favorite Chi O Memory: IMPOSSIBLE to pick a favorite buttt my favorite memories always include snacks from Casey’s, and the chapter room full of girls “trying” to study but instead sharing stories and laughing about anything and everything.

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

CORTLYN KASIK

Degree: bachelor in science in human physiology (pre-dent)

Future Plans: Going to dental school next year at Iowa!

Favorite Chi Omega Memory: Every part of senior year. It was the best year of my life because I had my best friends at my side! We really came together and finished college with a bang. We lived by the Tom Petty quote and cherished every second!

 Katherine Mendieta Photography Katherine Mendieta Photography
 Katherine Mendieta Photography

Lindsey Hiepler

Degree: Finance

Future Plans: working in Bloomington, MN as associate finance manager at Aramark

Favorite Chi Omega Memory: how do i pick?!?! Probably our road trip and adventure in Nashville this past fall.. We were only there for 48 hours but man we had so many good times on Broadway and on the long car rides.

RILEY COYLE

Chi O helped remind me constantly to push myself. I was constantly reminded of our values through the actions of the people around me. I’m thankful chi o was able to shape me the last four years. 

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

Megan Frischmeyer

Degree: Environmental Bioscience and Public Health

Future Plans: Traveling!

Choosing Chi Omega 4 years ago turned out to be the BEST decision I made in college. I came to Iowa without a clue as to what I wanted to do here or who I wanted to be when I left but everything fell into place the minute I stepped inside. Each year brought new memories from dining together in Burge, having sleepovers every night in the house, or taking countless road trips and vacations with the women who know me best. I can't thank this amazing chapter for giving me the life I've always dreamed of and friends who support each other every step of the way. XOXO

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

Lindsay Randklev

Degree: BBA in Entrepreneurial Management, certificate in International Business, minor in Spanish

Future Plans: District Manager with Aldi in Chicago suburbs

Favorite Chi Omega Memory: The late nights in the house, full of pokey stix and endless shenanigans.

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

KELSEY WROBLE

Degree: Therapeutic Recreation with a certificate in Disability Studies 

Future Plans: attend graduate school for Special Education. 

My favorite memory from Chi Omega:  our Sophomore year sleepover on the porch.

Alexandria Seavey

Degree: English and Communication

Future Plans: I will be working for a company called All Community Events as an Event Manager for races from 5ks to Marathons.

I love Chi Omega because four years ago it brought me my best friends. These women will be my bridesmaids, my 4am call when life gets to be too much, my home team. I would not be the woman I am today without them.

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

Maddie Lorentzen

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology with honors and distinction 

Future plans: I will be headed to Rhode Island to work at the Rhode Island Free Clinic as a patient and volunteer coordinator for one year! After that I hope to attend medical school. 

I kind of think of Chi Omega as the best “cheat sheet” to college. Before getting halfway through freshman year I already had an amazing group of friends, help in my classes, a gorgeous house to live in. It’s the end of my senior year and as I snuggle on the couch with my best friends and sisters I realize I have a world of appreciation for the sisterhood that provided me with this impeccable “cheat sheet”. College would not have been nearly as great without it. 

Michelle Kannenberg

Degree: Marketing, a minor in Italian, and a certificate in international business

Future Plans: I have two full time offers, one in Chicago doing advertising and marketing consulting  and the other in Cedar Rapids doing digital marketing. I plan on choosing on of the 2 by graduation, spend a month at home, and then move/prepare for my full time career!

Favorite Chi Omega memory: Getting Katherine Crosby as my little. One of the reasons I joined Greek life was to have a little because I never got the privilege of having younger sibilants. She is one of my very best friends and I couldn’t be more blessed to have her and the rest of our Chi Omega family in my life. I know she will be a forever friend and I can’t thank Chi Omega enough for that.

Rosemary Adams

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Degree: Journalism and Mass Communication

Future plans: I will be working at Weber Shandwick in downtown Chicago doing Consumer Public Relations

Chi Omega shaped me into a more driven and strong young woman and showed me how to advocate for myself in order to accomplish my goals. It has given me friends for a lifetime and memories that I’ll cherish forever.

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

Seniors, we love you and are forever grateful for the lasting impression you have made on our chapter. We are so proud of you and can't wait to see you change the world. 

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

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Chi Omega Mom's Day 2018

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Chi Omega Mom's Day 2018

Mom's Day is special day for all of us here at Psi Beta. It is a day where we get to celebrate the empowering women in our lives and give back some of the love and support they have shown us. This year the event was held at hotelVetro and thanks to our amazing sisterhood committee, our celebration was nothing short of amazing!


I loved my first ever Chi Omega Mom’s Day because I was able to spend time with my best friend, my mom, and I was able to introduce her to all of my sisters. It was such a fun event to celebrate in the spring and I already can’t wait for it next year!
— Ellie Murphy
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I loved getting the chance to spend some quality time with my mum. She is my best friend so it was so nice to see her. I loved introducing her to all of my friends and getting to show her what Chi Omega is all about! I am so proud to be a Chi O so it was really special to share it with her. We do not have sororities in the UK, so it was really fun to introduce her to this and for her to understand it more. I talk so much about my friends so I was really excited for people to meet her. I am so proud of her so I couldn’t wait to show her off!!!
— Jess Hawkins
Being able to have a weekend to spend with my mom was incredible. I loved being able to introduce her to the wonderful women that I surround myself with on a day-to-day basis and show her why I’m so proud to be a Chi Omega. The day was lovely and I know we both really enjoyed ourselves.
— Kara Krantz
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My mom and I had SO much fun at Mom’s Day meeting everyone, listening to cute stories, and spending good quality time together! Even though we didn’t get the purses we bid on ;)
— Camryn Glienke
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"Mom’s day is one of my favorite Chi Omega events. I love being able to show my mom the kind, funny and intelligent women I have surrounded myself with. I am so thankful to be in a chapter that I am proud to share with my family." - Hannah Birt

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend time with my mom and my Chi Omega sisters. My mom is the strongest, kindest, most beautiful person I know, and I was proud to introduce her to all of the amazing women in our chapter. Together we danced and laughed and joked and cried, too, as the seniors and I stood up in front of everyone and shared how lucky we are to have been raised by our moms. My mom made me feel as if I had left the world behind and gone on vacation, and I wish that I could spend every weekend with her by my side!
— Morgan Jones
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"Since my mom and I couldn’t make it to Mom’s Day last year, this year was my mom’s first real experience with Chi Omega. It was such an amazing feeling to get to show her the people that I’ve chosen to surround myself with during my time at college, and to feel genuinely proud of the friends that I was introducing her to. Moms Day was the perfect opportunity to show my mom all that Chi O is about and why I love it so much, and I know that she loved it too!!" - Macy Meredith

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"This weekend was the best of both worlds having my first best friend and newest best friends all around me! My mom felt so at home being surrounded by all my sisters! I loved celebrating all of our moms’ jobs well done- bringing us ladies up to be the strong, talented females we are today. Already counting down the days to next year when the coolest moms come to town again and show IC where all us Chi O’s get our best traits from!" - Renee Cafun

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For the past three years at Moms Day my mom and I have listened to each senior class speak about the impact each their moms have had on their life. It’s been something I’ve been looking forward to doing, even though I knew I would lose it as soon as I looked at my mom and saw tears in her eyes. Being able to share my love and gratitude for my mom with the other women that have had such an impact on my life was truly special, and it is something we will always remember.
— Lindsey Hiepler

In addition to the lunch catered by Graze Restaurant, there was a silent auction and the money raised was split between the Chi Omega Foundation and Make-A-Wish. At the end of the event, the grand total was $7,751 with $5,945 going to Make-A-Wish and $1,806 going to the Chi Omega Foundation.


HUGE thank you to our sister Jenna Larson for all her hard work she put into making this event a success. Psi Beta loves you!

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"I am because you are."

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We are incredibly grateful for our moms and the numerous other strong women in our lives. We wouldn't be the women we are today without them. They encourage us to be confident and to never apologize for being ourselves, and most importantly, they taught us how to love. If we are half the women they are someday, we will be just fine. 

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FSL Weekend

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FSL Weekend

This year the University of Iowa hosted their first ever FSL Weekend! FSL Weekend was formerly known as "Greek Week", a celebration of Greek life on campus full of fun and friendly competitions between paired fraternities and sororities. FSL Weekend contained all the same events as Greek Week used to, except this time it was condensed into a fun, jam packed weekend! Chi Omega was honored to be paired with the men of Phi Gamma Delta and Pi Alpha Phi for FSL Weekend. The theme was "No matter our letters, we still rock together" and we proved that in everything we participated in. Our pairing rocked it and took home 1st Place! Take a look below to see all the fun events that took place. 

 Photo by Impact Photo / Joe Photo

Photo by Impact Photo / Joe Photo

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On Thursday, there was a blood drive and an educational given by RVAP representative Nailiah Roberts. Chi Omega was the highest donating chapter for the blood drive and had the highest attendance at the educational. 

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On Friday, Cortado hosted community day where Chi Omega raised the highest funds. Additionally, our sisters and our fraternity pairings busted some moves on the dance floor at Follies. At Follies, each pairing puts on a skit including singing, dancing, and a bit of acting. This year our Follies skit theme was 2000s pop. The men and women involved in our skit channeled their inner Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, rocking all the denim they could possibly wear. The skit was not only a blast, but all our hard work paid off as we received first place in Follies and the banner competition, as well as winning best female soloist - congratulations to our sister Sidney Smolik! 

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On Saturday we participated in Greek Olympics!

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Spanning the length of the entire weekend, there was a penny war and a school supply drive. In the end, Chi Omega did well in the penny war and received first in the school supply drive, which benefits local schools in the community.

We had one sister in particular who played a major role in FSL Weekend. Katie Cabel was the Executive Director of Follies and did an incredible job putting together such a big event. 

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 Photo by Impact Photo / Joe Photo

Photo by Impact Photo / Joe Photo

I had the honor of being selected as the Director of Follies on the FSL Weekend Executive Council. I had a blast planning with my awesome co-director, Devonte Chism of Alpha Sigma Phi, and the rest of the council over the past few months. Being Chi Omega’s Campus Activities Director and participating in the past couple of Greek Weeks were fantastic experiences for me, so I was thrilled I could extend my passion this year for the first ever FSL Weekend. I loved organizing the Follies competition at Hancher Auditorium (for the first time ever!) and seeing all the talented groups do what they love on stage. Being able to announce Chi Omega as Follies Champs was definitely an experience I’ll never forget!
— Katie Cabel
 Photo by Impact Photo / Joe Photo

Photo by Impact Photo / Joe Photo

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Our success of FSL Weekend would not have been possible without the hard work of our fantastic campus activities directors, Kaitlyn and Sydney. Thank you so much for your dedication to and love for Psi Beta!

 Photo by Impact Photo / Joe Photo

Photo by Impact Photo / Joe Photo

I’m just so honored to be able to represent Chi Omega on a bigger scale. I’m proud of everyone who participated and worked so hard to win Chi the Championship!
— Sydney Albertson
I am so proud of this chapter for putting so much hard work into FSL Weekend and winning FIRST PLACE!!! From winning Follies, to highest donations at the blood drive, these girls put their all into representing our chapter on campus. I absolutely loved every second of FSL Weekend—from working alongside our chapter pairings, to making late night runs to collect schools supplies—I would not change a thing! I was so ecstatic to see our fraternity pairings come together to make the most of this years FSL Weekend-we made an amazing team! I made some amazing friends and even better memories! I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a leader in such a strong chapter. Next up...Homecoming Week!
— Kaitlyn Ohrnstein
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Alternative Spring Break

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Alternative Spring Break

Spring Break is a time for college students to kick back and relax, but one of our sisters, Bella, decided to do something different. Bella went to Biloxi, Mississippi on a service trip through the University of Iowa and provided meals, education, and physical labor for those needing it in the community. Bella exemplifies our symphony in every way and was able to spread kindness by simply choosing to serve rather than relax over spring break. Read below to hear the impact this trip had on our sister.

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My journey for Spring Break 2018 all started when one of my old professors told me she would be leading an Alternative Spring Break trip this year. She, along with Karly Lent, who attended the Alternative Spring Break trip to Atlanta, Georgia last year, encouraged me to apply. Before I knew it, I was meeting with 15 strangers with whom I would spend my spring break. Along with the trip, I was enrolled in a class where we learned about the importance of community as well as how we should do service with members of the community rather than to the community. During this class time I got to get to know my class mates and soon-to-be travel partners even better and before long we were packing the vans at the IMU at 3:00 in the morning. The whole team took turns driving and after about 18 hours in the car, we had made it to our destination in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Our schedule was full and we were all excited to get our week started. On our first day of service, we made our way over to the Moore Community House, which is a daycare that provides early education to low income families. There, each of us picked a classroom to help out in and take the kids to recess. During nap time, we made some posters for the classrooms and helped in the garden. Directly following the Moore Community House, we headed over the Boys and Girls Club of Biloxi where we hung out with kids after school, playing basketball, heads-up-seven-up, picture bingo, and so much more.

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The next day, my team and I got up early to go to the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi which provides resources and support services for those seeking mental wellness and recovery in the Biloxi area. As soon as the members came in, we immediately began bonding with them. The day was filled with some amazing sheppard’s pie, a few rounds of bingo, a meditation practice, and a beautiful trip to the park for some volleyball and football. Although some of my friends and I admitted to being a bit nervous going into the day, not knowing what to expect, we all walked out of the mental health association with the feeling gratitude for our newly formed relationships.

On our final day of service, the team and I headed to Bread and Loaves, where we helped prepare breakfast and dinner for the homeless. It was really cool to spend time with the people that prepare these meals regularly because I got to witness the genuine love they have for the service they do. They work so hard to have everything ready for the meals, but still have time to catch up with the people that come in to eat. Once lunch was over and we were done cleaning, we said our “fair wells” to Bread and Loaves and drove to the YMCA where we helped with yard work.

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Before the trip, my friend Karly told me how close her team had become in just that one week together. Although I believed her, I never imagined that I would have become so close with 15 other students that were recently strangers. We often found ourselves in the kitchen cooking together, playing games around the church we were staying at, taking crazy pictures in New Orleans, and of course playing soccer at the beach. Since returning to Iowa, I talk to my friends from the trip every day, hoping that we can return to spend time with some of the greatest people we have ever met in the beautiful city of Biloxi, Mississippi.

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Will you be my Galentine?

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Will you be my Galentine?

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate those we love and for our sisters, there wasn’t any shortage of love. Take a look below to see why we love Chi Omega.

 Photo by Katherine Mendieta

Photo by Katherine Mendieta

"I love Chi Omega because it has given me a home away from home. Chi O gives me courage to strive to be my best self. It has surrounded me with girls that share similar goals and aspirations as me. While I am just beginning to get to know all of the girls in Chi O, I know my future bridesmaids are among this group. I am so grateful for all of the memories and friendships Chi O has given me this past semester. I cannot wait to see what the future holds. XOXO." - Gracie Wilson

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"When I came to Iowa, I knew I wanted to join a sorority. I knew I wanted all the friendships and leadership and service opportunities that were presented to all of us PNMS prior to recruitment. What I didn't know was how much a sorority was going to impact me on a personal level. As I went through recruitment I found myself being drawn to the Chi O house and all the wonderful and well-rounded ladies I met there. I anticipated every round and at the conclusion of each round I found myself wishing I could stay longer. It wasn't until I was talking to my best friend (a sophomore in Greek life at another school) about recruitment that I really learned why I loved Chi Omega. She asked me the type of person I wanted to be upon graduating high school and I listed characteristics such as determined, passionate, and humble, among many others. She then asked me what chapter I described and I knew instantly that it was Chi Omega. The ladies I met were some of the most kind hearted and down to earth ladies I've ever spoken to. Chi Omega truly gives a new meaning to sisterhood: a family that will push you, believe in you, and ultimately be there for you no matter what." - Michaela Goodley

I love Chi Omega because the women in this chapter genuinely care about what is going on in my life and encourage me to be the absolute best I can be!
— Olivia Grubbs
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Chi Omega has given me so many opportunities, connections, and lasting friendships. Not only has Chi Omega helped me grow socially and academically, Chi Omega has made me work on my personal life. Giving me support and love every second of the day and holding me accountable for every action I do. Chi Omega has changed my life in so many ways. Means the world to me!
— Jenna Heeren
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"Regardless if I'm sad or happy, whenever I'm with my sisters, I am surrounded by women who love me and support me. Every day I see women who want to be the best they can be and that motivates me to be the best I can be. (Can literally start crying because I love chi o and what being a chi o means to me). Whenever someone asks me why I love being a Chi Omega, my answer is because I am better because of it: sisterhood is worth more than any other relationship you can have. Rain or shine, my sisters will have my back." - Heather Lindenberg


Galentine's Day is a nonofficial holiday, created by fictional character Leslie Knope from the hit TV series "Parks and Rec". It is the day before Valentine's Day and is dedicated to ladies celebrating ladies. This year was nothing short of incredible as our sisters celebrated with each other. In fact, we had a little extra love going around this year as we welcomed our new transfer member formerly of the Zeta Delta Chapter at the University of Nebraska - Omaha, Lexy Larsen. We are so thrilled to have Lexy join us at Psi Beta and cannot wait to watch her thrive and grow with us!

I love Chi Omega because all of the girls are so genuine and are exemplary women all around. Since I have transferred to Iowa from the University of Nebraska - Omaha, all of the Psi Beta girls have made me feel included and I am so excited to get to know everyone better and become closer in our sisterhood through Chi Omega.
— Lexy Larsen
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"It's only fitting that I spent time with my sisters that I love so much during a holiday that's dedicated to love. We had so much fun eating the ice cream, punch and chocolate strawberries (s/o to our amazing sisterhood chair Bella!) and taking time to catch up with one another!" - Karly Lent

"Galentines was so much fun! I love any excuse to hang with my sisters and eat some yummy snacks!! I'm so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing ladies in Chi Omega who make celebrating this holiday so easy." - Kate Curran

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"I loved the Galentine's sisterhood event because it allowed me to spend time with all my lovely sisters! Sharing this event with them was so special and showed how much we care for each other and always put each other first." - Ellie Murphy

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"Galentines may be the most underrated holiday, but combining chocolate with your best friends will always be my favorite past time. Thanks to our sisterhood committee! This event was created and led to a stress relieving night with all my favorite people." - Sara Leiding


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We had the best time celebrating this day of love with those we adore. We wish you a lifetime full of roses, chocolate boxes, and happiness. From the ladies of Chi Omega to you, we hope you all had the best Valentine's Day. 
Love you like XO!

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Dance Marathon 24: A Year of Breaking Records and Changing Lives

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Dance Marathon 24: A Year of Breaking Records and Changing Lives

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24 hours. No sitting, no sleeping, and no caffeine. $3,011,015.24. All For The Kids. Dance Marathon 24 was a year of creating traditions and breaking records. The new tradition of the Kinnick Wave swept the nation, getting featured on ESPN and receiving the Disney Sports Spirit Award. Not only was DM 24 successful as a whole; it was also quite the year for our Chi Omega chapter. We are so proud to be the first Greek chapter at the University of Iowa to raise over $100,000 for Dance Marathon, and for the third consecutive year we received the Mary Peterson Award for being the highest Greek fundraising chapter on campus. Additionally, we had 17 sisters take on the Chicago Marathon in 2017 as charity runners for Dance Marathon 24. All of this culminated to February 2, 2018, where thousands of dancers from across campus gathered to celebrate life, rejoice the accomplishments made, and dance For The Kids.

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My freshman year here at Iowa I stood in the back of the ballroom seeing the tote board go up showing 2 million dollars.My senior year, I stood in the front of the ballroom seeing the tote board go up to show three million dollars. In 4 years, we achieved a million dollar increase on top of moving into a brand new children's hospital, and ACHIEVING many milestones in between!! I couldn't love this organization more. I am so honored to be a small part in the financial and emotional support Dance Marathon provides for cancer victims and their families. - Ashley Mazzocchi

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DM24 was unforgettable, 100%. We had an AMAZING year and Chi Omega and Dance Marathon broke so many records raising money for the kids! On a personal note, my role as a Morale Captain Assistant was something I will never forget. There are so many people that are passionate about Dance Marathon, and I am so thankful I am able to experience it with my sisters. DM25 can’t come soon enough!
— Heidi Swanson
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24 hours of no standing, sleeping, or caffeine? Seems pretty daunting. And there are times when it is definitely just as hard as it sounds. But the pain that our bodies are feeling throughout that one day is nothing compared to what a innocent child battling cancer experiences in just one hour. This big event was my first year on leadership with Dance Marathon, and I didn't think that my passion for this organization could grow any more, but DM once again proved me wrong. The atmosphere of being surrounded by 3,000 other students is absolutely exhilarating, and the inspiration fills every corner of the room to help keep you on your feet. Why do I dance? I dance for a cure. I dance for more laughs, birthdays, and memories. I dance so that parents never have to experience losing a child to cancer. I dance for the kids. Dance Marathon is so much more than just the money (not that Chi Omega raising 100k as a chapter isn't amazing because holy moly is it!!!) Dance Marathon is the hope that one day, we will no longer need to dance for a cure, but we will be dancing in celebration of that found cure. These kiddos are my inspiration, and for them, I will never stop dancing. - Hayley Stuenkel

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'Their journeys will become a part of each of us.' As a first year member of the Family Relations cabinet I walked into this year thinking I was going to change the lives of these families. Little did I know, they changed mine. Each kiddo I have played with and every parent I have talked with on the 11th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital has given me a reason to both laugh and cry. What these families endure throughout their journey battling pediatric cancer is one which no words can do it justice. I dance to remind them they aren’t alone. I dance for the kiddos who fought but did not win. I dance for the families who are running out of hope. I dance with a goal in mind that someday we will find a cure and this $3 million is one giant steps towards reach exactly that.

- Courtney

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As a Junior this year, one of my favorite parts about Dance Marathon was spending time with some of our Chi Omega New Members. I never knew that Zumba at 5 in the morning could be such a bonding experience but we all had fun working out despite our sore bodies. I loved watching everyone power through the exhaustion with determination and love for the experience. We all helped each other fundraise, and together, we reached our goal. I wouldn’t want to spend midnight burritos, 3AM karaoke, and the big reveal any other way than surrounded by the people I love most.
— Bella Swan
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Experiencing the big event as a captain was easily the best 24 hours of my life. Not only did I get to dance, smile, cry, and laugh, I got to do that with all of my dancers that made it to the big event. It's so heartwarming to see them find their way and to see them experience it for the first time...and this year for them to have experienced breaking records and raising $3,011,015.24 FOR THE KIDS at their very first is the coolest and most rewarding thing to see as a captain! As for this year as a whole, I couldn't be more thankful to have fundraised FTK, met some amazing kiddos, and found the best friends on Morale '18. Dance Marathon 24 gave me memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. - Annie

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Dance Marathon is unlike anything I’ve ever done. The people you work with, the dancers you dance with, and the kiddos and families you meet change your life. It’s amazing to be a part of something bigger than yourself. My first year on Operations introduced me to some of my best friends and it was awesome to see that all our hard work paid off. We danced, we cried and laughed together, and raised of 3 million dollars all For The Kids.
— Kylene Spanbauer
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I am so proud to be a Chi Omega and to have been a part of Dance Marathon. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it again (standing for 24 hours is hard), until I saw those kids’ faces. I’ll definitely be doing it next year, hopefully raising even more than $3 million!
— Julia Romanowski
 Chi Omega Sisters with Leadership Positions for Dance Marathon 24

Chi Omega Sisters with Leadership Positions for Dance Marathon 24

We had many sisters who held leadership positions throughout the year, but one of our sisters had an essential role in DM 24. Riley Coyle was the Executive Hospital Director and has decided to dedicate her life work to kiddos like those on the 11th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital.

Serving as Executive Hospital Director for the University of Iowa Dance Marathon 24 has absolutely changed my life. I’ve met children who showed me strength like never before, I experienced loss to cancer I had hoped I’d never have to face, and I think most importantly I learned so much about the resiliency of children in times of distress. Dance marathon gave me everything, including a future career path. I will hold on to the memories, friendships, and lessons I learned this year for the rest of my life.
— Riley Coyle
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"Creating tomorrow by dancing today."

After 24 hours of dancing, singing, and being on our feet we may have been tired and sore--but it is nothing in comparison to what these kiddos are battling every single day. We are incredibly proud of our 88 sisters that participated in DM 24 and can’t wait to see what records DM 25 will break. FTK!

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Read about Dance Marathon 23 HERE

Read about Dance Marathon 22 HERE

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Initiation 2018

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Initiation 2018

Initiation 2018

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January brings a plethora of feelings for most people: it brings a new year, a time of reflection, and for Chi Omega’s most recent pledge class, initiation. Leading up to this special event, new members learn about the fraternity established in 1895 and reflect on why they chose to join this sisterhood. As a new chapter begins, we asked our newly initiated members to take some time to reflect on their first semester with their sisters at Chi Omega.   

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My favorite Chi O event was the sisterhood event at the orchard. Looking at the past semester, this was one of the first times I hung out with girls who I now call my best friends. I love Chi Omega because it focuses on the values that I want to emulate most: focusing on character rather than my appearance, to be lovable rather than popular, working earnestly, speaking kindly, and choosing wisely. Chi Omega has shown me the sky is not the limit, it goes even further. SO many of my older sisters have accomplished so much, and knowing we care about the same things shows me that if I push myself I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, especially since I have Chi Omega behind me.
— Rory Laubengayer
My favorite Chi O event so far was Dad’s day because my family is so important to me. I love Chi O because I am able to be myself. Chi O has inspired me to not limit myself because of my age or any other challenges. I have applied to many positions and broken outside of my box because of it!
— Emma Hapeman
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My favorite Chi O event so far was the apple orchard sisterhood event— I didn’t know very many people going into it since it was one of the first events, but I bonded with so many girls and met some of my closest Chi O friends there! I love Chi O because of the people in it. I feel like I could have a conversation with every one of the girls and they each inspire me in a different way. The girls all hold themselves to such high standards and are constantly striving to become the best person that they can be, so it is amazing to be surrounded with that kind of energy. The Chi O symphony is something that really resonates with me and inspires me if I am having a hard day. Chi O inspires me to be the best version of myself.
— Jess Hawkins
My favorite Chi O Event so far has been Bid Day! It was so cool to meet lots of people in my pledge class, and we had the CUTEST theme! I love Chi O because it is filled with genuine women. All of them are willing to do anything for their friends and approach every task with confidence. Chi O has made me a better person because my sisters push me to make a difference through service. It is so much fun to give back to the community with the support and help of my Chi O friends!
— Mary Grace Henderson
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Oh my goodness, where to start. I am UNBELIEVABLY grateful I found and joined Chi Omega. I couldn’t imagine a group of girls as encouraging, funny, loving, or welcoming as the ones I’ve found. To me, there’s no such thing as the ‘sorority type’. Because who wouldn’t want to be a part of an organization as beautiful as this?
— Becky Nelson
I love Chi Omega because when I look at each of my sisters, I see a woman who is always there to pick me up when I’m down; that came in handy during my favorite event, our ice skating sisterhood. Not only has Chi Omega provided me with lifelong friendships, but it has encouraged me to be myself. Chi Omega isn’t Chi Omega without everyone’s little quirks.
— Peyton Swift
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My favorite Chi O event so far has been finding out who was my “Big” Sister. It was so exciting to see that Michaela was my big since she made me realize I wanted to be a Chi O! I love Chi O because of all the women who make this sorority what it is. They make me want to be the best version of myself each and every day. I always feel welcome in the house and I know that I truly belong here. Chi O has challenged me to make sure that I put my best foot forward every day and present the world with the best version of myself. Chi O has inspired me to set my goals high and given me the drive to achieve these goals.
— Sarah Niesman
My fave Chi O event was the ice skating sisterhood. Even though I fell almost 20 times, I loved doing it with my sisters. I love Chi O because it represents the kindest, classiest, and most beautiful ladies I know, and I am so honored to be a part of it. The friendships I have formed are so genuine and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Chi O has given me somewhere to run to, and has inspired me to be more kind, more open, and just an overall better person. I love these ladies with all my heart, and I want to be the best sister I can be.
— Julia Romanowski
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I love Chi Omega because it pushes me to be the best possible version of myself. I look around me and I see that I am surrounded by so many hard-working, strong, intelligent, and beautiful women and I am continuously inspired by my sisters. My favorite event thus far was the sisterhood event held at Wilson’s Orchard last fall because it was the first time I got to hang out with my soon-to-be big, Morgan Jones. From that first magical day of bid day to becoming an initiated member, I cannot wait to see what else Chi Omega has in store for me!
— Skyler Lawson
I would say my favorite memories from this past semester was Bid Day and the apple orchard sisterhood. I love getting the chance to celebrate with the entire house and seeing how all the girls come together to support each other, lift everyone up, and just have a good time! I definitely felt that on these two occasions.
— Caely Tietz
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I have a few favorite Chi O events! The Holiday Cozy was definitely a very fun and different event that I loved very much. It was so much fun to see everyone in holiday sweaters and to be serenaded by the men of Intersection A capella group. Another favorite event of mine was Myth Night! It was so fun to come full circle after a semester of learning about Chi Omega and finding ourselves within the chapter. We all had so many laughs about the memories we all shared together in just a few short months (and many more to come!). Spending more time with and really getting to know my sisters has really reaffirmed my love for this wonderful organization. We all bring out our best selves when we are together and I truly think we can do amazing things!! I think Chi O has really inspired me to be my best self. I really don’t want to be the person to bring our chapter down, so I make sure to work my hardest to make my sisters proud!
— Andrea Huls
My favorite Chi Omega event so far was the first sisterhood to Wilson’s Orchard. It allowed us all to meet more of the girls in our grade and all across Chi O while still being super fun and cute! I love Chi O for the opportunities that have opened up and all the lovely people I’ve met. Chi O has inspired me to become a better person by giving me goals to attain in school and people to surround myself to help me reach them. Also, I LOVE community service work and Chi O gives so many chances to get out there and help others!
— Hanna Chambers
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Initiation is a special moment for everyone in a sorority, but for some of our sisters, it was extra memorable. A few of our sisters have family members who are a part of Chi Omega and their families were able to witness them being initiated.

When I saw my sister, I was so surprised and filled with joy. She’s my best friend and I love that I got to share that special moment in my life with her. Not many people get to experience that. Now we can officially say we are sisters x2!
— Camryn Glienke
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It is inspiring that Chi Omega is so rich in tradition that a mother and daughter can participate in the same ceremony!
— Peyton Ross
Seeing Peyton’s initiation was extremely nostalgic for both my mom and me. For my mom, it brought back so many fond memories of her Chi Omega days and for me, it made me cherish the friendships and memories I’ve made thus far and thrilled for those to come. I was so proud, excited, and elated to call myself an official member of Chi Omega a year ago and now that I have this special bond with both my mother and my sister, my feelings only escalate. Peyton, the best gift our parents and Chi Omega ever gave me was you as my sister ❤️
— Morgan Ross
I get to share a sister bond with my cousin, Gracie. It made my initiation experience so much more memorable! She helped me through my entire recruitment process and has always been someone I look up to. I’m beyond happy I get to have a cousin, sister, and role model like her in my life.
— Ali Randolph
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As we welcome in our 2018-2019 executive board, we asked the incoming new member educator to reflect on this momentous occasion for the new initiates.

Taking on the role of new member educator is one of the most exciting opportunities I’ve had in my college career this far. Learning so much about Chi Omega’s ritual and history has renewed my love for our organization. Initiation was such a heartwarming and meaningful experience for me as I got to experience the big day with our new members, and it was the perfect way to start this journey of being new member educator! There are so many great things I’m looking forward to like Bid Day, meeting PC ‘18, and strengthening the bond of our sisters more than ever before. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store!
— Kate Vittore
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"Individually unique, together complete"

By the end of the week, we initiated 58 young women into the largest sisterhood in the nation. We are overjoyed for our new sisters to have joined Chi Omega and cannot wait to see what the coming years will bring them.   

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2017: A Year for the Books

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2017: A Year for the Books

As 2017 comes to a close, it calls to mind all of the memories that we made this year. From Dance Marathon in February to Semi Formal in December, Chi Omega truly has done it all! Here is a look back at our incredible year together and all of the accomplishments and memories we have made along the way.

FEBRUARY:
DANCE MARATHON 23

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Chi Omega raised over $85,000 For The Kids for DM23 and it all culminated at the Big Event in the beginning of February. Our sisters danced for 24 straight hours with no sitting or caffeine all to benefit the children and families at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Other sisters even ran the Chicago Marathon to support Dance Marathon, and THEN participated in the Big Event later in the year! Dance Marathon truly shows how far our passion and commitment can take us. We love not only supporting our national philanthropy, Make-A-Wish, but our on campus philanthropy, Dance Marathon! (click HERE to read more about it!)

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MARCH:
SPRING BREAK

Several of our sisters traveled to amazing places over Spring Break in March, including Cabo, Florida, Arizona, London, Ireland, Spain, Austria, the list goes on. Other sisters went on service trips to give back to different communities and those in need over break and we are so proud of them and their philanthropic efforts! (click here to read more!)

Our sister, Karly, was one of our sisters who was chosen to attend an alternative spring break through the University of Iowa. "For my spring break, I went to Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta isn't the first thing that pops into most people's minds when they think of a spring break location, but that's where I ended up! I went there with 16 other students from The University of Iowa for an alternative spring break trip. Instead of going on vacation with friends, it is a chance to give back to the community. It was a life changing experience that I'll look back on for the rest of my time here at Iowa as well as the rest of my life!" 

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APRIL:
GREEK WEEK & MOm's Day

This year for Greek Week, we were partnered with the men of Delta Tau Delta and Delta Upsilon, and were thrilled to take first place overall with our theme of Candy Land! From earning the most donations through the Chipotle Community Day, donating blood, attending educationals, participating in penny wars, to getting crowned the CHAMPIONS at the Follies dance competition, this week was nothing short of fantastic. (click here to read more!)

We also welcomed our mothers to Iowa City as we had our annual Mom's Day at the Sheraton Hotel. We all loved getting together for a brunch commemorating on another great year in Iowa City, all while supporting our philanthropy with our Make-A-Wish Silent Auction. (click here to read more!)

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MAY:
GRADUATION

Our amazing senior class graduated last May. These women left behind strong legacies in Chi Omega and we cannot wait to see what they accomplish in their future pursuits. Though we will miss seeing them at the University of Iowa, we are excited to see where their journey takes them next! (click here to read more!)

 Katherine Mendieta Photography & Films

Katherine Mendieta Photography & Films

 Katherine Mendieta Photography & Films

Katherine Mendieta Photography & Films

SUMMER:
TRAVELS ABROAD

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Many of our sisters studied abroad this past summer to places like South Africa, Spain, Italy, South America, and all over Europe! They advanced their college careers through rigorous coursework overseas and expanded their horizons with new cultures around each corner. Many of our sisters also participated in a volunteer program, Vida Volunteer, where they dedicated two weeks of their summer in Guatemala helping provide free medical services to those in need! (click here to read more!)

Our sister, Madeline, was the campus coordinator for Iowa for the trip. "Vida provides so much for its volunteers. This is a very unique volunteer opportunity that not only allows students to learn from doctors and serve communities, but also to experience another culture. Vida brings volunteers out of their comfort zone and encourages adventure. It creates lifelong friendships and memories. Both of the Vida trips I have been on left my heart so full and for that I am forever grateful. I also owe a huge thank you to Chi Omega for introducing me to Vida Volunteer. Through other sisters, I was encouraged to be apart of this incredible program. Being able to experience all of this alongside some of my Chi O sisters made it even so much more special. It was so rewarding to be able to watch my sisters grow through service and share their passion for healthcare with others!" 

AUGUST:
SPIRIT WEEK & RECRUITMENT

Spirit week started right when Chi Omegas returned to Iowa City during August and spent a week getting ready for recruitment throughout spirit week, with each day representing a new way to dress up! From Make-A-Wish day to PJ Day, we had a blast reconnecting with sisters and getting ready to welcome the new class of women who would join our sisterhood. During the last weekend before recruitment, we welcomed our moms into the 804 to spend some quality time with them before we started recruitment! We then spent two weekends sharing what we love most about our sisterhood and philanthropy with over 1,000 women here at The University of Iowa.

 Katherine Mendieta Photography & Films

Katherine Mendieta Photography & Films

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SEPTEMBER:
BID DAY & Dad's Day

This brings us to September, where we welcomed home and amazing new member class of 59 incredible women! These women have already had a huge, positive impact on our chapter and we could not be happier that Chi Omega is their new home away from home. Bid Day was themed Enchanted Forest, and the decorations in the front yard were beautiful. We could not have been more thrilled to welcome our new members as they ran off the bus into our forever sisterhood. (read about our new members here!)

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The end of September also brought our fathers to Iowa City for our annual Dad's Day and our First Annual Make-A-Wish Philanthropy Week, Wish Week, which ended on Sunday at our 13th annual Chi Omega Golf Classic! Our Wish Week was a huge success! We held various events on campus: Adam's Wish Story, donuts and coffee at Hubbard Park, CHIpOtle Community Day, 24 hour Wish Rally and finally our Golf Classic! We are so proud to be able to have raise a grand total of $8,670.08 all for Make-A-Wish and are able to grant a child's wish! Our Dads Day was so much fun as we cheered on the Hawkeyes against Michigan State! Our day was complete with a bags tournament at the Chi Omega house followed by a tailgate at Quinton's in Coralville. Read about Dad's Day by clicking HERE, and all about Wish Week HERE!

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OCTOBER:
CHICAGO MARATHON

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17 of our Chi Omega sisters who ran 26.2 miles in October For The Kids! All 26.2 miles ran were in honor of the children and families who are undergoing cancer treatment at The University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. Many sisters also traveled to Chicago to support the runners, making it one of the best days of the year. Our sisters trained for months to accomplish this task and it is a shining accomplishment of theirs! We are so proud of our sisters for running all FTK! (read more about the Chicago Marathon HERE)

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HOMECOMING

October was also Homecoming week! Chi Omegas participated in many events throughout the week, from relay races, canned food drives, donated blood, and took home FIRST PLACE in Iowa SHOUT - a dance competition with our pairings of Delta Upsilon and Delta Tau Delta. All of our hard work earned us second place overall in Homecoming! We are also so proud of our sister, Kimmi Chexnayder, for being awarded Homecoming Queen for the University of Iowa this year! (read more about Homecoming week HERE)

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DECEMBER:
HOLIDAY COZY & SEMI FORMAL

December may bring finals with it, but it also brought us our annual Holiday Cozy, complete with cookies and our favorite, our personal Intersection Concert! Sisters wore their ugliest holiday sweaters and brought the cheer to the Chi Omega basement as we celebrated the holidays before we all parted ways for Winter Break!

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We also had our Semi Formal, where Chi Os spent the night hitting the dance floor at Rapid Creek Cidery at Wilson’s Apple Orchard. Everyone had a blast dancing the night away with our sisters and we are already looking forward to our Formal in the spring!

Finally, right before Finals Week, we had our last sisterhood event of 2017, where we went ice skating at the Coral Ridge Skating Rink! We had so much fun taking a break from studying for finals to skate the afternoon away with our sisters! 

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2017 may be over, but that means the 2018 is just beginning! A new year means a new start, but it is also an opportunity to build upon a strong foundation from the year before!

Happy New Year!

 Katherine Mendieta Photography

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17 Chi Omegas Ran The Chicago Marathon FTK!

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17 Chi Omegas Ran The Chicago Marathon FTK!

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On Sunday, October 8th, 17 Chi Omegas ran the Chicago Marathon For The Kids! Each of the 26.2 miles came with their own difficulties, but every runner can agree that it was nothing compared to what the kiddos in the Stead Family Children's Hospital face each and every day. Each of these women had a blast in Chicago representing Dance Marathon at the University of Iowa. Read their stories below: 

MacKenzie

"You ask me who I run for and I'll tell you. I run for those who do not get a break from chemo or transplants. I run for all of the kiddos and their families who are going through the unimaginable. I run for more birthdays and more smiles...but most importantly I run for my mom! Because let me tell ya, running 26.2 miles is nothing compared to the battles they face everyday."

MEGAN F.

"Running in the Chicago Marathon was easily one of the most rewarding experiences I have had and it completely changed my point of view on how strong your mind is. Running has never been easy for me and even throughout training, I knew that it would be a miracle to survive the marathon...but I did! Not only did I complete my first marathon, but I LOVED IT! The energy and support that was continuously present the entire 26.2 miles from other Chi Omegas and Dance Marathoners were what carried my feet. If i hadn't gotten to think about our amazing kiddos and constantly hear "FTK!" the entire way, I don't know if I could have done it. BEST DAY EVER and of course, FTK!"

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MORGAN

"Every blister, every cramp, every step, and every mile was for those kiddos on the 11th floor of the Children's Hospital."

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Megan T.

"These kiddos have inspired me to reach beyond what I ever thought I would be able to do. Having the honor to run a marathon to not only help, but inspire, these kids undergoing the unimaginable has been my favorite and most valued opportunity of my college career. I can only hope that the organization of Dance Marathon is changing their lives as much as it is changing mine. FTK always!"

alex

"This was my second year running the Chicago Marathon FTK, and to say I was like a little kid on Christmas would be an understatement. I always underestimate the passion that exudes from the spectators as well as the other Dance Marathon runners. We were like a pack moving through the streets of Chicago screaming "FTK!" and "GO HAWKS!" These marathons have been my two favorite memories at Iowa. There really is nothing like doing your favorite thing with some of your favorite people for the best kiddos out there." 

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kayla

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"If you zoom in on my arm, you'll see the words: "For those who can't, for those who are still fighting" and I think that truly says it all. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for the kiddos up on the 11th floor. 26.2 miles was nothing compared to what they endure every day, and I am so honored to have been able to run the Chicago Marathon for them!"

ellie

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"I laughed, I cried, I walked, I ran. But most importantly, I finished 26.2 for my heroes."

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annie

10.8.17: the day I did the coolest, hardest, most crazy thing I have ever done...run the Chicago marathon FTK! To my little heroes: thank you for giving me a reason to run 26.2 miles.
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gillian

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"26.2 miles. Yep, that's a lot. Yeah, it hurt. But there are children and families up on the 11th floor of the Stead Family Children's Hospital in more mental, emotional, and physical pain than any of us could even imagine. Some of these children do not even know what life is like beyond the hospital walls. So compared to these incredible kiddos who continue to fight with all the strength they can muster from their tiny little bodies, 26.2 miles is nothing."

RILEY

“This year, I’m ran my my 3rd Chicago Marathon FTK. Throughout these years of running long and hard, sore joints and tired muscles, I have found that I run because if the kids I’ve gotten to know and love can fight for their life, then I can fight for 26.2 miles. This year, I have the honor as serving as the Executive Hospital Director for Dance Marathon. This position has also given me a special opportunity to choose 26 Dance Marathon kids to each represent one mile. Hearing 26 stories of children who have had their lives turned inside out by cancer and having the opportunity to tell their story to hundreds of runners has been unlike anything else. I am so thankful for what each of the kids has taught me. Their stories and struggles are why I run. All FTK.”

alicia

"This race wasn't about me. It was about the kids fighting cancer on the 11th floor of the Children's Hospital in Iowa City."

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brookanne

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"Running the Chicago Marathon was one of the greatest experiences of my life! Being my first marathon, it was a little challenging, but with all of the people, friends, and family yelling "FTK!" and cheering me on, I was able to push through and finish one of my most prized accomplishments. I raised over $1,000 for the kiddos battling pediatric cancer at the Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City! It is amazing how far you can go (26.2 miles actually) with a little inspiration from such an amazing cause. I loved every second of it and I am counting down the days until I can do it all again next year because honestly, it becomes an addiction!"

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kaitlyn

"Marathons are hard, like really hard. But every time I looked down at my wrist and saw that list of kiddos that reminded me who I was running for, every stride got a little easier and a whole lot more meaningful."

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"Running Chicago was an unbelievable experience that I would recommend to anyone! People that that running a marathon is such an impossible feat, but being surrounded by 40,000 other runners and over 60,000 spectators makes the 26.2 miles go by in a blur. I'm so glad I got to experience it as well as raise over $1,000 FTK!"

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Michaela

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"I have no words for this past weekend...26.2 miles later and my love for this organization and these kiddos has grown even more than I thought possible. I ran for every kiddo that has no choice in what he/she endures, for every family that has had their lives permanently altered by pediatric cancer, and for the hope that one day pediatric cancer will be beat. Until then...we will dance, we will run, and we will fight. Peace, Love & FTK!"

Nicole

"And just like that, it’s over. Months of training, and 26.2 miles. 26.2 miles of running, crying, and continuously pushing forward FTK. I am so incredibly grateful for this experience, and in awe of the love and support in this world for these amazing kiddos fighting an unimaginable battle. If these kids can fight cancer, I can run 26.2 miles."

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Darby

"Last year when I ran the marathon, it was such an honor to be one of the 200 people to be wearing my lime through downtown Chicago on that long, long run. This year, when given the opportunity to Run Chicago again, I did not hesitate to sign up. Running can be really, really hard. But, it never fails to amaze me how something so challenging becomes so rewarding. It is even easier when the motivation comes straight from the kiddos and straight from the "lime army" that is Dance Marathon. It is said time and time again, but those kiddos go through the unimaginable, and they do it all with a smile on their face. Now, running a marathon is nothing compared to battling cancer, but if that is what it takes to provide more smiles and more birthdays, I think we should all run a marathon (or five)!"

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ALUMNAE

We are also proud of all the wonderful Chi Omega Alumnae that ran the marathon this year, too! We are so proud of these amazing women and all that they have done after graduation!

Hannah Credille (left) and Stef Mueller (middle), both class of 2015, loved their first experience of a marathon!

Grace Rafferty (right), class of 2015, represented Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago where she works as a nurse.

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Photo by Lurie Children's Hospital 

Lauren Patnoe, class of 2014, had a big Chi Omega cheering squad!

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Sisters Taylor Curran (left) and Megan Merrion (right) from the class of 2015 cheered on Stef and all the other Psi Betas!

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Iowa Homecoming 2017

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Iowa Homecoming 2017

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This year's Homecoming was an absolute blast! Chi Omega was paired with the fraternities of Zeta Beta Tau and Lambda Chi Alpha and participated in activities like Can-Struction, bags tournaments, Ruckus at the Rec, and of course, Iowa SHOUT. We placed 2nd overall and we could not be more proud! Read all about our events below! 

Can-Struction was a mad dash to build the best design with canned goods that would be donated at the end of the day. Chi Omega decided to build the children's hospital to honor the kiddos on the 11th floor and to represent the newest Iowa football tradition: The Wave. 

We also had a blast at Ruckus at the Rec! We participated in Tug of War, obstacle courses, and dodgeball. Those who did not play cheered in the stands and caused a ruckus for their sisters. Ruckus at the Rec is always a fun way to bring out our competitive side and cheer each other on.

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Our Campus Activities Director, Katie Cabel, played an enormous role in Homecoming Week. She spent countless hours preparing the dances for SHOUT, and making sure the week was a blast for everyone. We are so proud of her dedication and love for this chapter. 

Homecoming Week 2017 was one to remember. I was so proud to see our pairing come together and give it their all at various events. I especially had a blast working with our team for Iowa Shout, and I was absolutely thrilled when we won! It was a great time for me to get close to our new members and share with them how this aspect of Chi Omega holds a special place in my heart! I can’t believe my time as Campus Activities Director is already up, but I look forward to seeing someone else take over and hopefully give their heart and soul to the position because I loved every minute!
— Katie Cabel
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Iowa SHOUT is always the highlight of the week (besides the football game, of course)! Each chapter gets a chance to show off with a girls dance, boys dance, and a partner dance. This year, Chi Omega took FIRST PLACE in SHOUT and had a blast doing it!

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The dancers worked their butts off for weeks leading up to the performance to make it past try-outs and be able to take the main stage in the IMU! They put in many hours of work each week and the payoff was outstanding!

All of the rehearsals and the performance allowed us to bond even more with our pairing-making new friendships all week long!

 Iowa Shout Photos by JoePhoto

Iowa Shout Photos by JoePhoto

Besides Chi Omega having  blast during Homecoming week, our Sister Kimmi Chexnayder won Homecoming Queen this year! We could not be more proud of her and everything she has accomplished! HUGE congrats to Kimmi! 

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As with everyone home game, we also enjoyed seeing our Sisters who perform on the field and pump up the crowd! Kylene Spanbauer is Iowa's Golden Girl, Sydney Albertson and Kayla Drow are on the Iowa Dance Team, and Maria Werner Anderson is a member of the Hawkeye Marching Band!

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photo by Connor Barber

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We finished off the week in a very special way this year. Two of our inspiring alumnae, Brooke Mickelson and Meighan Phillips, took the new first quarter 'WAVE' to the children's hospital a step further. Both Brooke and Meighan have a personal connection to the hospital, as they have experienced firsthand having a child treated at the Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. So they created a shirt to fundraise for the kiddos in the UISFCH. This shirt raised over $100,000 for the Stead Family Children's Hospital in the first 48 hours it was on sale! You can order your WAVE shirt by clicking here ---> The Iowa Wave Shirt

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Chi Omega Dad's Weekend 2017

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Chi Omega Dad's Weekend 2017

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During the last weekend of September, Chi Omega celebrated our fathers at our annual Dads Day and hosted the fourteenth annual Golf Classic! We were lucky enough to spend the weekend with our families, play bags with our Dads, cheer on the Hawkeyes, and enjoy some golf of Sunday to benefit Make-A-Wish! Our Chi Omega sisters and their fathers describe their favorite moments below:

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“Dad’s Day is always one of my favorite weekend of fall! I love getting to spend quality time with my dad in Iowa City, and it’s so much fun to watch all of the dads become friends. My dad and I may lose in the first round of bags every year, but we have a lot of fun doing it! Dad’s Day is a holiday I look forward to every year!” -Ellie Begg, Class of 2019

"I always look forward to Dad’s Day. The turnout is huge and the atmosphere is fun. I always play my best golf (and only golf) of the year on Dad’s Weekend. Must be because we get the best caddies out there! It was great to spend a weekend in Iowa City with my daughter, her friends, and their dads." - Mr. Begg

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As for me, I grew up with a twin sister ad had to do a lot of sharing with our parents. When I get one on one time with either of them, it’s something I really value and hold close to my heart. Chi Omega gave us an amazing opportunity to spend time together and really reassured me that family is everything. I am so lucky to get to share moments like these with my dad!” - Sara Leiding, Class of 2020

"It was a special weekend because I got to enjoy a different kind of event with my daughter and spending time together is special for both of us. I enjoyed getting to know Sara's roommates and their families better as well!" -Mr. Leiding

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“Dad’s Day has always been one of my favorite events throughout the year because it’s a whole family affair! I’m so lucky to have a family that’s always down for some Hawkeye or Chi Omega fun! This year was even more special since it’s my last Dad’s Day, but we definitely did our last one right. Dad’s Day will be an event my whole family is going to miss in my years after college!
— Lindsay Randklev, Class of 2018
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"I don't know what was more fun...missing the ball seven times in a row or spending time with my dad!" - Peyton Swift, Class of 2021

"The caddies were better golfers, but everyone had a really great time!" - Mr. Swift
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Dads Weekend was the most awesome birthday weekend a dad could ask for. Golf Classic was a great way to bond with the dads!” - Mr. Hickerson

"Saturdays are definitely for the dads!" - Meredith Hickerson, Class of 2020

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Katherine Henry

 

“Golf Classic was a great opportunity to get my brother out of Iowa City! Not only did I get to spend quality time with family, I also got to support all the great kids and families involved with the Make A Wish Foundation!” 

I really enjoyed the golf classic. I met so many great people and we all had a lot of fun. It was totally worth the drive to Iowa City, because it’s for such an amazing cause! - Jack Henry, Katherine's Brother

Julia Stenger, our incredible Sisterhood chair planned Dad's weekend and was incredibly pleased with how it turned out. We are so grateful for all of her hard work and dedication that made the weekend such a success!

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Julia, Sisterhood Chair

"Dad's Day was an absolute blast! My dad and I didn't play in the bags tournament, but we did organize it and had so much fun doing so. We got to watch games that came down to the wire and we were thrilled to see Gianna Fiandaca and her dad win it all-new defending champs of 88 teams! Following the fun at the house, we went over to Quinton's for a restaurant full of Chi Omegas, food, and cheering for the Hawks. It was beautiful weather, great company, and an awesome time to be able to make the day as fun as I could have!"

 

 

 

 

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Chi Omega's First WISH WEEK!

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Chi Omega's First WISH WEEK!

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Chi Omega’s first Wish Week has come to an end in what seems like the blink of an eye. But Wish Week started off as just that - a wish. A wish to raise awareness, to raise money, and to provide hope for children and families grappling the burdens of life-threatening illnesses to show them the happiness, relief, and renewal that a wish can bring. This was Chi Omega's goal with our first ever Wish Week to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation: our philanthropy that we are deeply attached to and proud of. We decided to plan a week full of events leading up to our annual Chi Omega Golf Classic to raise funds and awareness for Make-A-Wish within the Iowa City, University of Iowa, and Greek communities.

It is a beautiful thing when an entire campus comes together for a cause bigger than themselves. In years past, we have had single-day events for the cause, but this year we decided to take it one step further. The results? More than we could have imagined. In seven days, we raised a grand total of $8,670.08: enough to grant a child's wish!

Our sister, Anna Vos, played a huge role in organizing this week and we could not be more grateful to her and her hard work. Read more about this incredible week below! 

Monday - Adam's Wish

This year, each day of Wish Week saw a new event. On Monday, we kicked off our week by hosting an event called "Adam's Wish," where we were blessed to listen to Adam's family speak. We heard about how Make-A-Wish granted Adam's wish to visit San Diego, California, and learned first hand what the power of a Wish truly means to a kiddo and his family. We loved being able to invite the Greek Community to come listen to Adam's story and it was so awesome to share our philanthropy among so many different chapters! 

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Tuesday -Donut you wanna grant a wish?

Tuesday mornings call for donuts and coffee, which we handed out at Hubbard Park all morning. We got to spread the power of Make-A-Wish to our fellow student body over some delicious pastries and caffeine! 

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Wednesday -Chipotle Community day

On Wednesday, our sister, Ella Paris, organized our first community day at CHIpOtle. This means that 50% of the proceeds that Chipotle made from 4-8pm that night went directly to Make-A-Wish! The line was out the door for hours as everyone on campus chowed down on burritos for an amazing cause.

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Thursday & Friday - 24hr wish rally!

Thursday and Friday we blew Facebook up with our 24 hour Wish Rally! We urged our family and friends to find a few extra dollars to donate to Make-A-Wish through social media, and the results were incredible. We started out with a goal of $1,100 and surpassed that before the 6 hour mark. We then raised our goal to $2,000 and ended up with a grand total of $2,555! 11:11am on September 28th to 11:11am on September 29th saw the funds for portion of a child's wish get raised, and that is something we are truly proud of. 

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Sunday - Golf Classic

Wish Week finished up on Sunday with our annual Chi Omega Golf Classic! Golfers sign up to play 9 holes in competitive fun on Brown Deer Golf Course. Chi Omega's caddied for our dads, fraternity men, and community members all throughout the day. This is always one of our favorite events throughout the year and having it finish off our first ever Wish Week made it even better! 

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 Our friends in Phi Kappa Psi took home the gold on the Front 9 by shooting 8 under par!

Our friends in Phi Kappa Psi took home the gold on the Front 9 by shooting 8 under par!

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Liz

"Golf Classic 2017 went really well! Clare Keating and Margaret Kaufman were my assistants and I could not have done it without them! We couldn't have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect and it seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves. What I enjoyed most about Golf Classic in general was witnessing all of the planning pay off. I was able to caddy for my dad and boyfriend, which let me relax and soak in the whole day. We raised so much money for Make-A-Wish and all the families that Make-A-Wish helps! It will be great to see another child be granted a wish!"

Our sister, Liz Shaw, was the mastermind behind the planning of Golf Classic. She spent months contacting the golf course, organizing the donations, and making sure it would be a wonderful event for all! 

Anna, Chi Omega's Philanthropy Director, commented on the incredible turn out in on both the participation and financial ends of the spectrum of Wish Week -which so successful largely in part to her hard work and dedication!

"As the Greek Philanthropy Director, I cannot express how much it meant to have such a great turnout at the Wish Week events. To me, it demonstrates the sense of unity in the Greek community when we come together to show emotional and financial support for organizations that make an impact across the country. It’s incredible to see the way Greeks contribute to that impact, and how we empower one another by encouraging leadership and awareness through organizing philanthropy events. Most importantly, we came together to raise enough money to grant a child’s wish. In meeting Wish families throughout our events, we were able to catch a glimpse of the lasting impact that can make on one child’s life, and how that one person can continue to inspire others who are wishing to make a difference." -Anna Vos

Chi Omega's President, Sarah Fisher, could not be more proud of how the week turned out.

"As Chi Omegas, we are so excited to take on new projects and try to push ourselves to go above and beyond. We are so proud to have raised nearly $9,000 for Make-A-Wish during our first Wish Week! However, none of this would have been possible if we did not have such amazing individuals organizing these events. Anna Vos, our Philanthropy Chair, went above and beyond to make sure this week went so smoothly. She spent countless hours setting things up, tearing things down, and making sure everyone had a smile on their face throughout the week. Anna, along with the rest of our Make-A-Wish committee, are women that make Chi Omega so outstanding. Each and every one of them contributes their strengths that make this organization successful. We want to give Anna and the rest of these ladies a HUGE thank you for all of their hard work. Psi Beta has endless love for them and all that they do!"

Missed this year's Wish Week? Don't worry! Next year's is already in the works!

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Bid Day 2017! Meet Our New Members

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Bid Day 2017! Meet Our New Members

This August, we welcomed home 60 new members to our HOME in Chi Omega! These ladies have already become such assets to Chi Omega and we can't wait to see how they will change the world in the next four years. Read all about them below!

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Rony Wright

"Rony exudes confidence yet remains humble and kind. She is a friend til the end and an irreplaceable one at that. Everyone is always laughing around her!"

Hometown: Lisbon, IA.

Major: Pre-Pharmacy

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Jordan Winke

"Jordan embodies everything in a good role model. She is disciplined, hardworking, sincere, a lady!"

Hometown: Albia, IA.

Major: Marketing/Sports & Rec Management

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Anushi Wijayagunaratne

"She is very intelligent, cool, calm, & collected, smiley, stylish and relatable. She can get along with anybody and has a smile that lights up the room!"

Hometown: West Des Moines, IA.

Major: Biomedical Science

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Gracie Wilson

"Gracie is such a sweetheart. She lights up the room when she walks in and you can't help but smile when you're with her! She is radiant, compelling, and simply incredible!"

Hometown: Bettendorf, IA.

Major: Spanish & Education

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Maria Werner Anderson

"Maria is stunning and bright-minded. She is graceful and charming and we are so proud that she is a Chi Omega!"

Hometown: Ames, IA.

Major: Nursing

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Madeline Volk

"Madeline always has a smile on her face and I love seeing her around campus! She is one of the sweetest, funniest, and hardest working girls. Everyone is always smiling around her!"

Hometown: Ankeny, IA.

Major: Nursing

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Caely Tietz

"Caely is genuine, kind-hearted, and humorous. She is a total sweetheart, a lifelong friend and a sister to the end."

Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN.

Major: Political Science

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Peyton Swift

"She is the most kind-hearted person I know. Peyton brings the sunshine wherever she goes. She is captivating and gentle."

Hometown: Urbandale, IA.

Major: Speech & Hearing

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Kylie Spanbauer

"Kylie is Iowa's Golden Girl! Kylie is delightful, pure-hearted, and has an old soul. She is passionate and driven; the epitome of success. She is inspiring yet humble, kind and graceful."

Hometown: Fon Du Lac, WI.

Major: Therapeutic Recreation 

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Sidney Smolik

"Sidney is completely genuine and has such a sweet soul. She is a ray of sunshine and so much fun to be around."

Hometown: Waukee, IA.

Major: Human Physiology 

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Sydney Shie

"Sydney has such a joyful disposition and wears a smile wherever she goes. She is charming, sweet, and charismatic!"

Hometown: Iowa City, IA.

Major: Public Health

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Macy Schares

"She is goofy, funny, determined, smart and outgoing. Macy is also so stylish! She is energetic and there's never a dull moment with her."

Hometown: Cedar Rapids,  IA.

Major: Nursing

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Peyton Ross

"Peyton is a classy lady with integrity who is extremely personal and well-rounded! She is a fantastic person all around!"

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, IA.

Major: Human Physiology 

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Julia Romanowski

"Julia is absolutely awesome. She's intelligent, has good humor, and absolutely lights up my day. She's smiley and always knows how to make the best of a situation!" 

Hometown: Joliet, IL.

Major: Biology

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Ali Randolph

"Ali is ambitious, fearless, and she always keeps it real. Her sparkling personality is what will make her flourish in these next four years and beyond!"

Hometown: For Madison, IA.

Major: Biology 

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Kaitlyn Pfaffle

"She is genuine and has a gentle soul. She is warm, caring and a complete genius. She is already an amazing sister!"

Hometown: North Sioux City, SD.

Major: Direct-Admit Nursing

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Nicole Pagliari

"Everyone would love to be around Nicole. She is always smiling and makes everyone laugh. She is funny, unique, and completely relatable!"

Hometown: Park Ridge, IL.

Major: Creative Writing & Psychology 

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Sarah Niesman

"Sarah is beautiful and sweet. She is intelligent and down-to-earth and a complete role model! She radiates positive vibes wherever she goes."

Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL.

Major: Nursing

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Rebecca Nelson

"Becky!! She is an adorable human with the most kind and pure heart. Her natural optimism and ability to make the most out of every situation is so inspiring."

Hometown: Audubon, IA.

Major: Speech Pathology  

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Clare Nelson

"Clare is lovable a kind-hearted soul, and radiant! She is selfless, outgoing, and she effortlessly makes everyone's day brighter by just being herself. Her sweet demeanor makes everyone she talks to feel like an instant friend."

Hometown: Chicago, IL.

Major: Human Physiology 

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Ellie Murphy

"Ellie is so genuine and curious about the world. She is involved, kind, and has an absolute heart of gold."

Hometown: Chicago, IL.

Major: Speech & Hearing 

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Mary Mondanaro

"Mary is sweet, spunky, and so adorable! Her smile is completely captivating and she is such a welcoming young woman."

Hometown: Iowa City, IA.

Major: Economics & Mathematics

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Jana Miller

"Jana is fun-loving, easy-going, mature, and has a calming presence. She is so personable and makes everyone feel special!"

Hometown: Davenport, IA.

Major: Health & Human Physiology 

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Marisa Milavitz

"Marisa is a very outgoing lady with a sparkling smile and capturing eyes. She has a sweetness that is so memorable and makes everyone want to be around her!"

Hometown: Iowa City, IA.

Major: Human Physiology 

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Emma Meador

Emma is compassionate and outgoing and has a huge heart. She is down-to-earth and a great role model!"

Hometown: Independence, IA.

Major: Public Health

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Danielle McComas

"Danielle is bold, she is true to herself and outgoing! She is unique, smiley, and genuine to the core."

Hometown: Council Bluffs, IA.

Major: Political Science

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Julia Matthews

"Julia is a genius! She is a ray of sunshine with a heart of gold and anyone could talk to her for hours about anything and everything."

Hometown: Naperville, IL.

Major: Nursing

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Chase Marzen

"Chase is so bubbly and fun to be around!! She is a absolute joy to spend time with and when someone meets her they instantly want to be her friend."

Hometown: Ankeny, IA.

Major: Open

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Kelly Lynch

"Kelly is smart, caring, and a total show stopper. She is the life of the party, because people are drawn to her and that amazing smilet!"

Hometown: Bloomfield, MN.

Major: Open

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Lydia Leyden

"She is a breath of fresh air! Her smile is completely contagious. She's courageous, successful, and spunky."

Hometown: Iowa City, IA.

Major: Nursing Interest

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Hannah Lee

"Hannah Lee is so sincere and down to earth. Her smile lights up a room and her genuine spirit makes her so approachable."

Hometown: Johnston, IA.

Major: Exercise Science & Pre-Physical Therapy 

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Skyler Lawson

"She is kind, mature, and a helping hand! Skylar is enthusiastic and beautiful in every way and will flourish wherever she is planted."

Hometown: Cincinnati, IA

Major: English

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Rory Laubengayer

"She's bubbly, conversational, hilarious, and has a heart of gold. She is a great friend to everyone!"

Hometown: Chesapeake, VA.

Major: Marketing

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Jenny Kulhanek

"This girl has a contagious personality that everyone can see! She is driven, personable, and is a light to everyone that knows her."

Hometown: Davenport, IA.

Major: Nursing

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Beth Kuhn

"Beth is extremely smart and is so easy to talk to! She is humble, kind, and inspiring in every way."

Hometown: Lockport, IL.

Major: Biomedical Engineering

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Kara Krantz

"She is relatable and talkative and won't let you down. She is a fighter and her fierce spirit is contagious!"

Hometown: Dyersville, IA.

Major: Journalism & Mass Communication

 

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Mary Kainec

"She is fun-loving, mature, and so smart! She loves to laugh, has a heart of gold, and finds joy in everything."

Hometown: Bettendorf, IA.

Major: Open

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Carson Hunt

"Carson is a fantastic writer and always brings a positive energy wherever she goes. She is so intelligent, ENERGETIC, enthusiastic, positive, smiley, and upbeat!"

Hometown: Duxbury, MA.

Creative Writing

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Andrea Huls

"Andrea is so kind-hearted and cheerful that anyone can have a good time around her. She is one of the most caring people I know."

Hometown: Sergeant Bluff, IA.

Major: Political Science

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Haleigh Houston

"Haleigh is such a spunky spirit, but she also has a kind and empathetic nature about her. She is driven, fun, and compassionate!"

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, IA.

Major: Human Physiology 

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Katherine Henry

"Katherine is studious and focused and dazzles anyone she talks to. She is a leader and the world is hers!"

Hometown: West Des Moines, IA.

Major: Speech & Hearing Science

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Mary Grace Henderson


"Mary Grace is a fabulous dancer and a leader. She lights up a room, she can make anyone smile, and she is extremely intelligent." 

Hometown: Des Moines, IA.

Major: Psychology & Dance
 

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Jessica Hawkins

"Jess Hawkins is so genuine and down to earth! She has such a kind soul and makes everyone happy around her."

Hometown: Evanston, IL.

Major: Journalism & Graphic Design

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Ellie Havenstrite

"Ellie is confident, independent, funny and well-rounded. She is calm and collected, so driven, and an unstoppable force."

Hometown: Wisconsin

Major: Mathematics

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Emma Hapeman

"Emma is the total package! She is a natural born leader, eccentric, sharp, intelligent, and she brightens up any room she walks in!"

Hometown: Kohler, WI.

Major: Marketing & Management

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Camryn Glienke

"Camryn is sweet, lovable, and so natural! She is enthralling and a natural leader."

Hometown: Clive, IA.

Major: Art Education

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Stephanie Garoufalis

"Stephanie is a ray of sunshine! She is responsible and leads by example and she has an infectious smile."

Hometown: Orland Park, IL.

Major: Human Physiology, Pre-PA

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Gianna Fiandaca

"Gianna is fun, outgoing, super trustworthy, sweet as can be, and everybody's best friend!

Hometown: Mundelein, IL.

Major: Human Physiology, Pre-PA

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Lucy Ernst

"Lucy is a girl with the most radiant presence and brings light into every room she walks into. Her positivity is contagious. To know her is to love her!"

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, IA.

Major: Pre-Pharmacy

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Kayla Drow

"Kayla is passionate and determined. She is a loyal and fierce friend who will not let you down!"

Hometown: Naperville, IL.

Major: Marketing & Accounting 

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Rachel Diomar

"Rachel has a contagious smile and laugh. She is fun loving, a friend to all, and a complete sweetheart!"

Hometown: Winfield, IL.

Major: Psychology 

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Laura Derby

"Laura is so easy to talk to that she will hit it off with anyone she meets. Her sweet, genuine personality and bright smile lights up a room!"

Hometown: Urbandale, IA.

Major: Nursing

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Liv Denkinger

"Liv can talk to anyone. She is sweet, down-to-earth, and an absolute ray of sunshine!"

Hometown: Des Moines, IA. 

Major: Public Health

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Holly Dannen

"Holly lights up my world! She has such a pure heart and genuine presence. She is kind-natured and so easy to love."

Hometown: Altoona, IA.

Major: Open

Kate Curran

"Kate is sweet as PIE, inclusive & welcoming, intelligent, poised, radiant, giggly, loyal, and bonus: she gives great hugs. The whole package!"

Hometown: Humboldt, IA.

Major: Early Admit Nursing

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Hanna Chambers

"Hanna is extremely dedicated to not only her academics, but also to her activities outside of school like Ultimate Frisbee and Chi O! She is incredibly kind and is always there for you."

Hometown: Urbandale, IA.

Major: Human Physiology 

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Renee Cafun

"Renee is driven, yet sweet and bubbly at the same time. She is engaging, relatable, and an amazing friend!"

Hometown: Quincy, IL.

Major: Biomedical Engineering

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Zoe Bussanmas

"Zoe is so smart and independent. She brightens anyone's day and holds herself in the most respectable way!"

Hometown: Urbandale, IA.

Major: Business

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Jess Berning

"Jess is so outgoing and social-she could seriously talk to a rock! She is poised, positive, and always smiling."

Hometown: Centennial, CO.

Major: Business

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Addi Bennett

"Addi is an amazing, pure person! She lives life to the fullest every single day and everyone wants to be around her. She is the sun on a rainy day!"

Hometown: Morton, IL.

Major: Pre-Nursing

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Chi Omegas Train For Chicago Marathon, to Run For The Kids!

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Chi Omegas Train For Chicago Marathon, to Run For The Kids!

We will rise at 4:00am in a city that will still be asleep. We will wipe our eyes, stretch that early-morning stretch, and remember the reason we are here. Three simple words: For The Kids. Upon that remembrance, 4:00am will not seem that early and the city of Chicago will burst into life. On October 8th 2017, we will arrive to the start line in Chicago and see 26.2 miles laid out before us. We will be enveloped in a sea of lime green representing Dance Marathon at each mile marker. We will be nervous, but we will be ready. This summer, 17 Chi Omegas have been training each and every day for the Chicago Marathon, all For The Kids. We use each other as a support system and strive to be our best for the kiddos in the Stead Family Children's Hospital. After countless months of training, these Chi Omegas are nearly ready for the big race in just under a month (and counting). Each Chi Omega comes with their own reasons for training-read them all below!

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26.2 miles. Yep, that's a lot. Yeah, it will hurt. But there are children and families up on the 11th floor of the Stead Family Children's Hospital in more mental, emotional, and physical pain than any of us could even imagine. Some of these children don't even know what life is like beyond the hospital walls. So, compared to these incredible kiddos who continue to fight with all the strength they can muster from their tiny little bodies, 26.2 miles is nothing. 

-Gillian Fiandaca, Class of 2019

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Last year when I signed up for the marathon, it was such an honor to be one of the 200 people to be wearing my lime through downtown Chicago on that long, long run. This year, when given the opportunity to Run Chicago again, I did not hesitate to sign up. Running can be really, really hard. But, it never fails to amaze me how something so challenging becomes so rewarding. It is even easier when the motivation comes straight from the kiddos and straight from the "lime army" that is Dance Marathon. It is said time and time again, but those kiddos go through the unimaginable, and they do it all with a smile on their face. Now, running a marathon is nothing compared to battling cancer, but if that is what it takes to provide more smiles and more birthdays, I think we should all run a marathon (or five). - Darby Drenzek, Class of 2019

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I’m training to run 26.2 miles for the kids because I’ve always known I wanted to run a marathon and I couldn’t think of a better opportunity than to do it for the best kiddos I know!
— Kayla Corrothers, Class of 2019

"I am running the marathon because I would never want to miss a chance to show my support for the kiddos currently battling pediatric cancer. I am running because they deserve to be showered with as much love and hope as possible. I am running because those 26.2 miles don't nearly compare to the pain they suffer through every single day. I am running to make a difference. I am running For the Kids." 💚 Anne Korff, Class of 2019

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I am training to run 26.2 miles FTK because those kiddos inspire and motivate me to push my comfort zones beyond what I could ever imagine. Every morning when I look at how many miles I have to run for the day, I stop myself from groaning because I remember I CHOSE to run this marathon. Those kiddos did NOT choose to fight cancer. The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens. Don’t give up.
— Morgan Ross, Class of 2020
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After participating in Dance Marathon last year for the first time and loving it, I decided to train to run 26.2 miles FTK! I made this decision because I knew that by facing this challenge, I could raise even more money for the kiddos in order to better their lives and show them how far a little bit of strength and bravery can go. Not only have I felt more connected to Dance Marathon through my running, I have been inspired to go even further than I ever thought I would for these kids. Ultimately, running is easy, cancer is hard. 
-Megan Theis, Class of 2020

I chose to train for the Chicago Marathon through DM because of many reasons. The most prominent reason was to raise more money for the kiddos and their families who need it the most. My biggest motivation to keep training is the fact that each mile we run represents a kiddo who is going through the unimaginable. I can’t wait until I raise enough money to run the Chicago Marathon in October and attend the Big Event in February!

-MacKenzie Watterson, Class of 2020

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Running is my passion. If I go a day without it, I feel like something is missing. I am training to run 26.2 miles FTK because I cannot imagine what it would be like to not be able to do what I love everyday. These kiddos and their families are missing something every single day: a normal life. By using my passion to help others, I have a purpose. I fight through each and every mile because these kiddos fight through each hour in the hospital. They don't give up, so neither will I. Every mile that I conquer is a step in the right direction for the Dance Marathon kiddos and I will continue to pound the pavement until my lungs burn and my legs go numb in October. Every single mile will be worth my while. - Alexandria Seavey, Class of 2018

Last year I watched all of my best friends cross the finish line in Chicago and made a promise to myself that I would run 26.6 FTK the next October. Now the time has come and a lot of blood, sweat and tears have been shed while training, but I know that if kiddos can fight cancer, I can run. They are the most motivating and inspiring humans and I am beyond blessed to be given the opportunity to run Chicago for them.
— Ellie Begg, Class of 2019
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"I am not a runner, but I decided to run the Chicago Marathon because of the amazing families and kiddos that I have met through Dance Marathon. At DM23, every single family that I had the opportunity to hear spoke about what a positive and important role Dance Marathon has had on their family. These kids have gone through the unthinkable - all with a smile on their face. If they can fight, I can run." Alicia Orr, Class of 2019

 

This year, I am fortunate enough to be an Morale Captain Assistant as well as a charity runner for the Chicago Marathon! Because the natural progression from junior high track is clearly to run a full marathon 5 years later, right? But on a serious note, the real reason I'm running 26.2 miles in October has nothing to do with me. It's all about providing hope. Each and every one of these children has had a unique journey, filled with highs and lows, good days and bad. It is my hope that these amazing kiddos keep fighting and eventually tackle their own "marathon," one step and one mile at a time. - Michelea Goodley, Class of 2020

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A few short years ago, I joined Dance Marathon, not knowing the impact it would have on my life. Now, as a Morale Captain, I’m running the Chicago Marathon FTK. I’m running For The Kids who are currently battling, who have battled, and who have lost their battle with cancer. I’m running for more firsts: first birthdays, first days of school, first kisses. If these kiddos can battle cancer, I can run 26.2 miles!


-Nicole Anderson, Class of 2019

I am training for the Chicago Marathon because it’s for an amazing cause and its always been on my bucket list. It makes it easy to train when you are training to run for the kiddos and when you have a bunch of your sisters to train with! I am beyond excited for this incredible experience and to be apart of such a great organization!
— Brookanne Pfaffle, Class of 2018
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Last year, I remember seeing a video DM made with 26 different kiddos asking Dance Marathon to run a mile for them; and all my doubts about running the marathon vanished. If these amazing kiddos could battle cancer, I knew I could run 26.2 miles in their honor!
— Kaitlyn Reth, Class of 2020
This year, I’m training for my 3rd Chicago Marathon FTK. Throughout these years of running long and hard, sore joints and tired muscles, I have found that I run because if the kids I’ve gotten to know and love can fight for their life, then I can fight for 26.2 miles. This year, I have the honor as serving as the Executive Hospital Director for Dance Marathon. This position has also given me a special opportunity to choose 26 Dance Marathon kids to each represent one mile. Hearing 26 stories of children who have had their lives turned inside out by cancer and having the opportunity to tell their story to hundreds of runners has been unlike anything else. I am so thankful for what each of the kids has taught me. Their stories and struggles are why I run. All FTK.
— Riley Coyle, Class of 2018
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Volunteers Abroad: Guatemala

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Volunteers Abroad: Guatemala

Every summer, Chi Omega takes action with the VIDA Volunteer program to help provide medical aid and services to various communities in the country of Guatemala. Chi Omegas have served as the campus coordinators for The University of Iowa for the past few years to encourage other Hawkeyes to join the trip as well. Madeline Lawrence, one of the coordinators for the summer 2017 trip, told us some more information on the program. "Vida Volunteer is a nonprofit organization that takes groups of students interested in health related careers to Central America for service learning clinics," she said. "There, we set up clinics in areas that do not have access to regular health care. The volunteers work with and learn from the doctors. It is a very hands on experience. We also are able to learn a lot about the culture while we are there as well!"

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Each Chi O that takes part in this trip comes away with life-changing stories and the desire to promote volunteering at home and abroad as much as they can. Chi Omega seeks to spread our light into the lives of others - no matter the borders. Here is what a few of our sisters had to say about their time in Guatemala.

"Nothing in my life has come even close to impacting me as deeply as these 2 weeks did. There is no way to describe the complete change my heart went through from the conversations I had, the things I saw, and the experiences I made. Never have I ever met such amazing men and women who are so overwhelmingly kind and grateful for everything that they have, even though they have next to nothing. Never have I ever had an opportunity feel so rewarding than to see a women breakdown in tears over receiving a months worth of medication, free of charge. Never have I ever received a sweeter hug than from a child who was just showered with chalk, stickers, and bubbles as though it was Christmas morning. This trip completely changed my life, and will continue to impact me forever. My heart is now dedicated to serving others, and I cannot wait for the years to come with Vida Volunteer. Thank you for the best 2 weeks of my life."

- Hayley Stunkel, Class of 2020

I knew I was going to Guatemala to help people, but what I didn’t know was how much it was going to help me. Through VIDA Volunteer, our group was able to improve the lives of over 900 patients. From spending time with our homestay families, to zip lining 1200 feet high through the mountains of Antigua, Guatemala has taught me to never take anything for granted. In this life we are often so materialistic, always paying attention to the ‘next best thing’ and comparing ourselves to others. This trip has given me the strength to realize that above all, our friends, family, and relationship with God are all that truly matter. When taking a step back I was able to see with clear eyes how lucky each and every one of us are. This is not because of the things we have, but because of the opportunities and gifts God gives us. Sure, it opens your eyes to the reality of how life differs in other countries; however, I’ve learned that whether we have nothing or everything, as long as we have a heart full of love and God by our sides, we will forever be lucky.
— Meredith Hickerson, Class of 2020
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"Traveling to Guatemala opened my eyes in so many different ways. Being able to serve multiple communities and hundreds of people is a wonderful feeling. Not only did I come across the kindest people, but I got to learn so much about Guatemalan culture as well through a home-stay. That home-stay is something I will always remember. It showed me that you don't need luxurious items to live and be happy. The family I got the honor to stay with took me in like one of their own children and showed me their way of life. Guatemala was an experience of a lifetime and it truly taught me above and beyond what my expectations were."

-Kelsey Wroble, Class of 2018

"Vida Volunteer has given me the courage and knowledge to not only grow in my medical skills, but to also grow as a person. The lives I have touched and memories I have made will last me a lifetime. Not only did I have the amazing opportunity to learn from experience and test my medical skill; but I also learned to look with compassion, speak with courage, and to be grateful for the life I live. I was able to experience new cultures and see the joy in simplicity. Thank you Vida Volunteer for opening my eyes and taking me on this wild, life changing adventure. These past two years will stick with me forever."

Kathryn Lorenger, Class of 2019

I am so thankful for all that Vida has brought me. I have learned so much more than I expected over the past year working as Vida’s Campus Coordinator. To start, the Vida staff is incredible. The doctors promoted such a positive learning environment and confirmed my passion to work in healthcare. Their vibrant energy was truly contagious. Aside from my passion of healthcare, Vida has made me realize my passion for service. It sparked something huge for me and I cannot stop here. This program has completely changed my perspective on the idea of service to others. A little goes a very long way. I cannot wait to see where this takes me and share this with others.
— Madeline Lawrence, Class of 2019

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Happy Mother's Day!

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Happy Mother's Day!

“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
-Dr. Seuss

It is oftentimes difficult to put into words what the women who raised us mean to us. They are the women that we would not let go of on the first day of preschool, that we gave a hard time in middle school, that we said we would never be like in high school, and the women that we realize we so desperately want to become today. They are our mothers; and they are the ones who scream into the phone with us when we get the job, hold our hands when life disappoints us, and fearlessly guide us into the future even when we want to stay a kid forever. Chi Omega celebrates our mothers on Mom’s Day each year, but to say that one day is enough to celebrate the women that gave us our lives would be a huge mistake.  

This year, we celebrated our Mom’s Day in April to show our mothers how much we love and care about them. We hosted a brunch at the Sheraton in downtown Iowa City, complete with a silent auction and Senior Farewells. Saturday night brought a night out on the town for the mother-daughter pairs, which never fails to be talked about for the remainder of the year.  Mothers came in from all across the country to join us on this special weekend and we could not have had a better time.

As we are all reflections on each other as Chi Omegas, we are first and foremost reflections of our mothers. We love the women that raised us and we can only hope to emulate their beautiful spirits and kind souls to become half the women that they are.

Though impossible to fit onto a page, below are a few words about what our mothers mean to us.

 

My mom loved coming to Mom's day. Not only did she see how much work we put into making the best day possible for our moms, but she saw how many wonderful women I chose to surround myself with. What impressed her the most was meeting my "wonderful lovely friends". She and I went and got pedicures Saturday after brunch and enjoyed having a sleepover in the hotel.
-Megan Crotts, Class of 2021

 

"The Mom's Day Brunch is always one of my favorite Chi O events. Not only do we spend a beautiful morning with our mothers, we also get to raise money for Make A Wish in the process! The weather was absolutely gorgeous this year, so my mom and I walked around campus after the brunch. We went into a couple of the boutiques in Iowa City and just talked and caught up with each other. It's so sad to know I only have one Mom's Day left!"
-Kayln Hugdahl, Class of 2018
I love my mom because what's not to love? She is always there for me when I need her and is my number one fan. My mom has the biggest heart and I don't know what I'd do without her.
-Heidi Swanson, Class of 2019
I love my mom so much because she has always been supportive of what I want to do in life and has given me all of the opportunities to succeed. Everything I do is all thanks to her!
— -Kate Vittore, Class of 2019
My mother is my inspiration. She is the most kind-hearted person I know and she would save the entire world if she could. She constantly goes above and beyond with anything she does and I owe every success and opportunity to her.
— Alex Seavey, Class of 2018

To all of our mothers, we thank you and we salute you. Raising us was not an easy task, but you did it with beauty and grace and inspiration. We thank you for sending us to The University of Iowa, where we were allowed to meet each other and we thank you for encouraging us to become Chi Omegas, where we made each other our sisters. For making us into dreamers, believers, go-getters, philanthropists, and sisters: thank you.  

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Greek Week 2017

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Greek Week 2017

A little participation goes a long way. That is what we learned during this year’s Greek Week. Partnered with the men of Delta Tau Delta and Delta Upsilon, we took first place overall! From earning the most donations through the Chipotle Community Day in the beginning of the week (we LOVE to eat), to getting crowned the champions at the dance competition called Follies, the women of Chi Omega and our pairings never failed to show up.

Just ask our fearless Campus Activities Director: Katie Cable. Katie went above and beyond all year long, and it was especially apparent during Greek Week. Here is what Katie had to say about our success and teamwork.

"As Campus Activities Director, it is extremely easy to say that Greek Week is one of the biggest weeks of the year. Preparations begin almost a month before, including weekly rep meetings with the other chapters, picking themes, working with dancers to participate in Follies, etc. On top of being a full-time student and working every day at the hospital, preparing for Greek Week definitely was not an easy task, but the countless hours were more than worth it in the end due to the more than incredible efforts my chapter put in every day.
As Greek Week inched closer and closer, I was excited to see our participation in the multiple events throughout the week. These events included the Greek Blood Drive, Chipotle Community Day, Greek Olympics, Circle of Sisterhood Educational, etc. Our members blew me away with their responses to my requests of their involvement  – we had an overwhelming amount of blood drive donors (most in the entire Panhellenic community!), an impeccable turnout at Chipotle, phenomenal efforts in Greek Olympics (third place in tug of war!), and other endless participation efforts throughout the week.
While all of this was going on, approximately 30 Chi Omega’s teamed up with our incredible pairing, the gentlemen of Delta Tau Delta and Delta Upsilon for the Follies dance competition. Together, we created an exciting CANDY LAND production! Just ask any member – our practices were definitely a ton of work, but every time we left smiling because working together was always a blast! We took our colorful suspenders, candy cane shirts, rainbow tutus, and dyed hair and hit the dance floor on Friday night of Greek Week. We made it to the final round at Carver Hawkeye Arena, and then took FIRST PLACE overall! We also received first place for our stunning homemade banner! I am still smiling from ear to ear to this day – that victory was nothing less than sweet, and I am so incredibly proud of our team!
Greek Week 2017 was hectic to say the least, but the stress comes nowhere close to the amount of fun we had every day. The week ended with the Fraternity and Sorority Life awards, where our pairing received FIRST PLACE overall for the entire week! Our members went above and beyond by working together to reach our absolute greatest potential. Everyone was "all hands on deck" from banner painting, to penny wars, to attending educationals, to cheering on our team at Carver. Our strong sisterhood has never been more apparent than it was during this week, and I will be forever grateful to have had the greatest support system on earth. I am so proud of every Psi Beta member! You ladies deserved every bit of first place! I love you all to the moon, and I can’t wait for Homecoming Week!"
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I loved Greek Week. In high school, I was big into dance and as I started college, I was not able to do some of the things I did in high school. Being in Follies really made my month and reminded me of how fun it is to let loose, dance it out, and just laugh with my sisters.
— Meredith Hickerson, Class of 2020
My favorite part about Greek Week was wearing my letters every day and feeling like I was seeing more of my sisters around campus! The hardest part of the week was definitely not winning the twitter poll, but it was so rewarding winning the week, especially being on the campus activities Cardinal Cabinet! I am so proud of everyone that participated and I can’t until Homecoming week!
— Kayla Corrothers, Class of 2019
Greek Week was an amazing opportunity to get involved not only with Chi Omega, but as a Greek community as a whole! Participating in Follies was the perfect way to show off my mom-like dance moves and get closer with not only my Chi Os but with the men of Delta Upsilon and Delta Tau Delta. I was so proud of our chapter for winning Greek week and showcasing what it means to be a Chi Omega!
— Kaitlyn Orhnstein, Class of 2020
For Greek Week I tried to get involved as much as I could. I gave blood, got Chipotle for the Community Day, and also texted everyone I know to vote #XODTDDU on Twitter! I also performed in the girls dance at Follies and winning Follies was just the beginning of our victorious weekend! It felt amazing to come together and know that the hours of late rehearsals we put into it paid off! Also, I got to pretend I have pink hair for the night, so that was pretty fun, too!
— Ciara McCune, Class of 2020
Greek Week has officially become my favorite week of the year! My goal was to take part in as much as I could. I went to every letter check-in I was able to make it to and took part in each event including Penny Wars, the Circle of Sisterhood Educational, Greek Olympics, and I also was a part of Follies. When everyone found out we won Greek Week, we were beyond excited! I am so proud to be able to tell all of the incoming freshmen next year how awesome being a part of this chapter is and how successful we are able to be when each of us come together. Greek Life raises thousands of dollars for philanthropies to benefit people around the world and although winning Greek Week and Follies was so exciting, the impact Greek Life has on millions of people is truly the ultimate reward.
— Courtney Sadler, Class of 2020

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4 Years That Last a Lifetime

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4 Years That Last a Lifetime

A lot can happen in four years.

Four years ago, our seniors walked through the door of Chi Omega for the first time. They were 18 years old, had just arrived at The University of Iowa, and had never met the majority of the people surrounding them. Over the course of those four years, they participated in Homecoming weeks, contemplated over who to take to date parties, studied endlessly for final exams, and then wished they could do it all over again when they found themselves apart for three months over the summers. They are the leaders, the nurses, the artists, the dancers, the future CEOs, and they are the ones that will change the world. They are our sisters, and they are our family. 

A lot can happen in four years and the excerpts that follow are simply a snapshot.

 

As my time comes to a close as a member of Chi Omega, I can’t help but think how much this organization has changed my life for the better. Walking into a sea of girls on bid day is nothing less than intimidating, but little did I know that these girls were some of the best people I will ever have the pleasure of knowing. We are not the stereotype of what people believe sororities to be. We are incredibly smart, we are dedicated, we are passionate in all that we do, we are go-getters, and we are philanthropists. Joining this sorority was much more than getting to wear Greek letters or take cute pictures. Joining this sorority was the chance to grow as a leader and to realize I am capable of impacting things much larger than myself. To serve as Chapter President of Psi Beta was truly an honor and I’ll never quite understand how I was given this opportunity; but I will never forget the lessons and values it has taught me. I will always remember sleeping in late on the weekends to find ourselves around the dining room tables to talk about everyones night, or the ability to walk two feet and find yourself in your best friends room. These memories I will keep forever.

As a nostalgic senior, my advice for current Chi Omega’s, is to never take these moments for granted. Go get pizza with your sisters even though you have that test to study for, blast your speakers and have a dance party with them in the bathroom while you’re getting ready for a date party, go to a football game together, stay up late at night when you have an 8am class talking about your memories, try Dance Marathon: do it all. If you give your heart to Chi Omega, she will give it back to you!
— Andie Toledo
I would not be who I am today without Chi Omega. These women inspire me everyday to be the best version of myself. I owe my last four years to these amazing women, and am so thankful to have had my best friends beside me every step of the way.
— Alyssa Nolte
 Katherine Mendieta Photography

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Alternative Spring Break

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Alternative Spring Break

For Spring Break this year, our sister Karly Lent did not go on vacation to relax, but instead she went on a service trip through The University of Iowa in Atlanta, Georgia. Karly is an inspiration to all for her selflessness in helping others and sets a great example for Chi Omegas everywhere. Karly writes all about her unique Spring Break experience below.

 

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For my spring break, I went to Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta isn't the first thing that pops into most people's minds when they think of a spring break location, but that's where I ended up! I went there with 16 other students from The University of Iowa for an alternative spring break trip. Instead of going on vacation with friends, it is a chance to give back to the community. I applied for the program first semester and was lucky enough to be selected to participate.

Before the week of spring break, we had a class where we met once a week to discuss different leadership qualities and to plan the trip. The fun started on the 14 hour car ride where I bonded with the other participants and started to make relationships. While we were in Atlanta, our focus was public health, so we did service projects that fit in that category.

The places we volunteered at were Jerusalem House, Atlanta’s oldest and largest provider of permanent housing for Atlanta’s low-income and homeless individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. At this site, we did a lot of outdoor work such as landscaping, gardening and cleaning windows. The next place we had a chance to work with was MedShare. To be honest, I didn’t think I would enjoy it that much there compared to the other places we volunteered at, but it turned out to be one of my favorite places. MedShare is a national non-profit organization that recovers surplus medical supplies and equipment from U.S. hospitals and manufacturers and redistributes them to needy hospitals in developing countries. What blew my mind is that everything in their warehouse would have ended up in a landfill if MedShare hadn’t gathered it all. There, we packaged supplies to be shipped to different countries in need. The third place we volunteered at was the Atlanta Community Food Bank. In high school, I loved doing the Student Hunger Drive, so this was right up my alley. We sorted through the donated food to check expiration dates and make sure things hadn’t been contaminated, and then placed them in the proper bins. Over a span of two days, we sorted through over 18,000 pounds of food which served over 12,000 meals to people in need.

As fun as volunteering is, we were also able to be tourists for a day. The first full day in Atlanta was spent visiting museums and touring the city. We toured CNN studios, the Civil and Human Rights Museum, World of Coca-Cola and the Martin Luther King Jr. sites. All of these places were so fun, eye opening and I would totally recommend them to anyone planning on going to Atlanta. Later on in the trip, we also had a chance to visit the CDC Museum which is the Center for Disease Control. It was such an informative tour and experience.

I HIGHLY recommend applying for Alternative Spring Break at The University of Iowa if you ever get a chance. It was a life changing experience that I'll look back on for the rest of my time here at Iowa as well as the rest of my life. I made 16 new friends that I absolutely love and am SO blessed to have met.

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Dance Marathon 23

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Dance Marathon 23

Dance Marathon. To some, these words do not make much sense. To some, it is just two words strung together that are not usually associated. Marathons are typically ran or watched on Netflix, but never danced.  At The University of Iowa, Dance Marathon is 24 hours of no sitting, no sleeping, no caffeine, and all dancing. It is a commitment to helping the kiddos and their families both financially and spiritually that stay in the Stead Family Children’s Hospital. To Chi Omegas, Dance Marathon means infinitely more than one 24-hour period where poor dancing is constant. In the past year leading up to Dance Marathon 23, it has meant our fearless sisters on Leadership working tirelessly to plan every finite detail of The Big Event, being the kiddos’ light on even the darkest of days, and it has been, and always will be, a passion that has encapsulated Chi Omega in its entirety.

Through running the Chicago Marathon, knocking on strangers’ doors for contributions, and sending countless letters to friends and families, Chi Omega raised over $85,000 For the Kids. “For The Kids,” is a catch phrase that is widely associated with Dance Marathon. To Chi Omega, it means even more than that. Below are a few quotes that beautifully capture what “For The Kids” and Dance Marathon means to those of our sisters that served on leadership this past year.

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This year I was the Hospital Co-Chair for Dance Marathon and I loved every second of it. Being the hospital co-chair meant I had the opportunity to volunteer on the pediatric inpatient unit and worked closely with the patients and families affected by pediatric cancer and bone marrow transplants. I had the chance to plan themed hospital parties monthly for inpatient kiddos, provide gift cards every week to Dance Marathon families so they could get food that wasn’t from the cafeteria, and worked closely with my co-chair to run our first ever Dancing In Our Hearts walk that honored the children who had passed away from their battle with cancer. Every single week the kids I got to know on the floor gave me another reason to dance. This was surely the best year of my life and the biggest honor I could imagine! I was floored by the amount of money Chi Omega raised, and gladly accepted our highest sorority fundraising award on stage for all the women in our chapter who worked so hard! I was proud to represent Psi Beta and put my whole heart into Dance Marathon 23.
— Riley Coyle, Hospital Co-Chair and Family Relations Committee
“It seems cliché to say, but Dance Marathon has truly changed me for the better, allowing me to pour my heart into something bigger than myself and bringing me back down to earth when life gets overwhelming and messy at times. I can gladly say that committing a great amount of my time here at the University of Iowa to all things FTK has proven to be more of a blessing than I ever could have imagined.”
— Annie Clendenen, Family Relations Committee
This year was my third year participating in Dance Marathon, and I can honestly say every year continues to get better and better. The atmosphere and amount of selfless people all united together to fight pediatric cancer is truly inspiring. Although 24 hours of sitting, sleeping and no caffeine is extremely difficult, it is nothing compared to what these kiddos and families endure every day. When we found out we raised over 2.5 million dollars, I couldn’t control my emotions. Not only is that the most Dance Marathon at Iowa has ever raised in our 23 years, but this number will immensely support all of our kiddos and families here at UIHC.”
— Ashley Mazzocchi, Event Committee

 

In addition to more than 20 Chi Omegas that served on the various leadership committees for Dance Marathon 23, Chi Omega also sent over 80 dancers to The Big Event.

I did Dance Marathon my freshman year and my senior year of college. Seeing how much bigger the event has gotten over the years was fun, but seeing the total board even bigger three years later was the most rewarding feeling. One thing that didn’t change was the pure passion I saw in everyone’s faces, helping these kids fight their battle of pediatric cancer. 24 hours dancing with no sleep, caffeine or sitting is hard but whenever I felt like I couldn’t make it, I looked at my Chi Omega sisters their drive and their passion picked me right back up to continue showing the kids they aren’t alone in their battle.
— Aly Reedy
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Being a part of an organization that does SO much for Dance Marathon and the kiddos with pediatric cancer is truly an honor. When my feet were hurting and my eyelids were drooping during the Big Event, my sisters were there to lift me up. Whether we were laughing at each other’s terrible dance moves or wiping tears from each other’s eyes listening family speakers, I wouldn’t have traded those 24 hours for anything. I couldn’t have gotten through it without my Chi Omegas!
— Kayln Hugdahl

 

Many of our new members jumped right into Dance Marathon from the beginning, and we could not be more proud of them and excited for what they experienced!

I thought the experience of DM was not only life changing, but shocking. Seeing the sheer number of families that have been touched by DM was incredible. I had no idea that some students at a university could make such an impact in peoples’ lives. Staying on my feet for 24 hours tested me physically and emotionally but it was nothing compared to what the kids go through.
— Megan Crotts
I participated in Dance Marathon because so many of my sisters encouraged me to give it a go! After dancing for those 24 hours, I feel very humbled. Not only was it so much fun, but it also did so much good and reminded me what the power of passionate people can accomplish together. I can’t believe we raised over $2 million all For The Kids!
— Kate Vittore
A quote that I would use to describe my Dance Marathon experience would be ‘Dance for a day, give hope for a lifetime’. This quote is perfect for DM because everywhere you look you find inspiration to keep dancing. Whether it be when the kiddos and their families are walking up to the stage at the beginning, graduating, or telling their stories, you can look at them at see that you are making an impact that will last long after the 24 hours has finished. You’re giving them and their family’s hope for a better, brighter future.
— Macy Meredith
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Not only did we send dancers and leadership members to The Big Event, but Chi Omega also has the honor of being the Alma matter of Executive Director, Morgan Kennedy. Morgan worked day in and day out on Dance Marathon and she has dedicated her entire heart and soul to this organization. For Morgan, Dance Marathon will never be a simple 24-hour event, but a commitment to bettering the lives of pediatric oncology patients and encouraging as many other people as she can to do the same. Morgan led this organization to grand total of $2,572,130.23 raised for The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. She is truly an inspiration to us all, and for her work on Dance Marathon 23, we are eternally grateful.

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