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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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The Incredible Impact Chi Omega has had on My Daughter

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The Incredible Impact Chi Omega has had on My Daughter

We have had the great privilege of watching Cassidy and her Sisters grow both personally and professionally over these last few years. We are thankful for the guidance and structure that Chi Omega has provided and its dedication to integrity, friendship, sense of purpose and the pursuit of personal and professional excellence. I will also be forever grateful to Chi Omega for picking up where we left off… conveying the type of values that would help her make good choices…modeling philanthropy and a deep appreciation for community... teaching the importance of self worth and the worth of those around her.
— Debbie McDowell

Four years ago I watched my beautiful baby girl walk across the stage to receive her high school diploma.  My mind was filled with so many thoughts and emotions.  I thought about that first day of kindergarten when, just like every other parent, I hoped that her first day of school would be amazing and wonderful.  I hoped that she would make friends easily, pay attention to her teachers and that she would be happy.  As I sat through her graduation ceremony, I had all of those thoughts and more.  As I struggled to reconcile the fact that my little girl was graduating from high school, I couldn’t help thinking how fast the years had gone by and wondered if we had done our job as parents to ensure that she would have a successful future.  I wondered if we had passed-on the type of values that would help her make good choices.  I wondered if we had modeled philanthropy and a deep appreciation for community.  I wondered if we had taught her the importance of recognizing her self worth and appreciating the worth of those around her.  And most of all…. I wondered how she would manage without us when she went on to college. Had I known then that fate would place her in the welcoming arms of the Chi Omega family, I would have rested easier that night.  

Cassidy transferred to the University of Iowa as a sophomore after spending her freshman year at Boise State University.  Even though she had grown up in Iowa, the transition was difficult.  She missed the friends she had made in Idaho; she missed being a Boise State cheerleader; and she missed the small feel of the Boise State campus.  While she didn’t say it specifically, we knew she was second guessing her decision to transfer to Iowa.  She seemed sad and withdrawn and we struggled to know what to say or how to help.  I was cautiously optimistic when she said she was planning to rush a sorority.  While I was hopeful that the bustle of activity might help break her out of the unhappy rut she was in, I was also concerned that a sorority would take too much time away from school.  Who could have guessed that instead of taking time away, the experience would only work to enhance Cassidy’s college experience and leave her with a lifetime of memories.

Cassidy was thrilled to join the Chi Omega Sisterhood!  She loved the girls, the house, and everything that Chi Omega stood for.  As parents, we were thrilled to find out that she was joining a sorority that had the top GPA for several years in a row!  In addition, we were so happy to see how her Sisters had embraced her and helped make Iowa feel a little smaller. We noticed a change for the better in her demeanor.  We couldn’t have been happier when she started getting the sparkle back in her eye and living each day with purpose.  

The last three years have flown by as fast as the high school years, but Chi Omega has done it’s best to pack a lifetime of lessons, memories and friendships into those years.  The opportunities for personal growth and development have been numerous.  Chi Omega’s influence has gone beyond what is taught in the classroom. The life skills Cassidy has learned in Chi Omega will stay with her forever.

Photo by Katherine Mendieta Photography & Films

Photo by Katherine Mendieta Photography & Films

Since 2002, Chi Omega’s alliance with Make-A-Wish has served to reinforce one of the founding principles of the Sisterhood which is service to others.  The alliance has provided lessons too numerous and profound to quantify.  Reaching out and working with families that are facing constant struggle has had a grounding and humbling effect on those seeking to help.  Being involved with Make-A-Wish has taught Cassidy that no matter how discouraging her day might seem or how bad she might feel, there is always someone fighting a bigger battle.  And while watching the struggles of others can feel hopeless, participating in Dance Marathon has illustrated how rallying together for a positive cause can bring about change in the lives of others.  

Chi Omega broke the record for most money raised by a sorority at Dance Marathon 22, coming together to raise over $95,000! 

Chi Omega broke the record for most money raised by a sorority at Dance Marathon 22, coming together to raise over $95,000! 

The Chi Omega/Make a Wish alliance has provided a wealth of lessons and has had a deep impact, yet it is only one of the many learning opportunities Chi Omega has provided.  

Living in the Chi O house has taught her about community and how everyone must do their part to keep the community thriving.

The Mom’s day and Dad’s day celebrations have taught her to reflect and appreciate those who have supported her dreams and endeavors.

The weekly recurring meetings have taught her the value of structure and organization.  

The Chi Omega family not only opened her eyes to the opportunities that Iowa provides but also the infinite opportunities that lie ahead of her.  

We have had the great privilege of watching Cassidy and her Sisters grow both personally and professionally over these last few years.  We are thankful for the guidance and structure that Chi Omega has provided and its dedication to integrity, friendship, sense of purpose and the pursuit of personal and professional excellence.

Soon I will watch my baby girl walk across the stage to receive her college diploma.  I’ll watch with great admiration of the intelligent, compassionate and caring young woman that she has become.  Again, I will be filled with emotions and questions about her future but I will rest easy knowing that we did the best job we could as parents to ensure that she would have a successful future.  I will also be forever grateful to Chi Omega for picking up where we left off…  conveying the type of values that would help her make good choices…modeling philanthropy and a deep appreciation for community...  teaching the importance of self worth and the worth of those around her.  And most of all…. I will be thankful that fate placed her in the welcoming and loving arms of Chi Omega.

- Debbie McDowell

photo by: Katherine Mendieta Photography & Films

photo by: Katherine Mendieta Photography & Films

Chi Omega has been a wonderful experience for Ashley. During the past four years, we have seen Ashley become more interested in how she can make a difference in the world.  She has become very independent and thoughtful. Not only has Chi Omega guided Ashley with her personal and career development, she now strives for academic excellence and continual improvement. She has changed her professional goals to teach artwork that will help children express themselves. She has become committed to serving others by volunteering, not just for Make-A-Wish but for others that may be in need.  

Chi Omegas at the annual Make-A-Wish Gala

Chi Omegas at the annual Make-A-Wish Gala

Chi Omega has challenged her to be the best she can be: to put others first; to pursue friendships with those that need a friend; to continually think before making judgements. Our very shy child that would never go or do anything without a friend or family member is now a strong conversationalist, very funny, adventurous and outgoing!  Chi Omega has made her into a strong, confident woman, with integrity.  We are confident that by living and learning the Chi Omega Symphony, Ashley has now found a sense of purpose. Her Chi O house, her Chi O friends and her Chi O experiences have changed Ashley to be the best she can. She will make a difference in the lives of those that need that extra hug. She will make a difference in the greater good of the community. Chi Omega will be in her heart forever; and because of that fact, she will have a bright future!

- Diana Willits

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Happy Nurses Week to our Chi Omega Nursing Majors

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Happy Nurses Week to our Chi Omega Nursing Majors

Studying Nursing at the University of Iowa has been the most challenging, rewarding, and inspiring experience of my 21 years thus far. Ten years from now, I see myself as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner working full time in a NICU, providing extraordinary care to neonates and their families. To say that pediatric nursing is a clinical interest or a preference of mine wouldn’t nearly be enough. My passion for providing care to children and babies is as deeply ingrained in me as my heart and soul; it is something that makes up the very fiber of who I am. Pediatric nursing is not just my goal, but my vocation: a path I feel so inherently suited for and confident about that I couldn’t imagine dedicating my life any other way.

Neonates need not only a dedicated, competent nurse, but also a motherly figure for when mom is gone. They need a voice for when they cannot speak and eyes and ears to monitor their health and direct their care when they cannot. They need critical thinkers, clear communicators, detail-oriented observers, and emotionally stable supporters. Since I joined Chi Omega, I have been incredibly blessed to belong in a sisterhood of women who provide each other with genuine care and support similarly to the care I value so much in giving my patients. My Sisters in Chi Omega are my eyes, ears, shoulders to lean on, cheerleaders to find perseverance in, and above all, my family in a new and unfamiliar face. They push me to refuse to settle, and to remember to believe in myself when the stresses of college seem unbearable and my goals seem unattainable. Chi Omega has instilled in me leadership skills that I plan on translating into the workplace by becoming a leader in the nursing field, particularly by going back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner.

I chose nursing because I believe in my capability and in my purpose. My Chi Omega Sisters are always there to remind me of this when I forget.

Amy O'Grady

Amy O'Grady teaches Kindergarteners about germs, through the Young Pediatric Nurse Clinicians Program. 

Amy O'Grady teaches Kindergarteners about germs, through the Young Pediatric Nurse Clinicians Program. 

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Chi Omega raises over $95,000 for UIowa Dance Marathon, FTK!

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Chi Omega raises over $95,000 for UIowa Dance Marathon, FTK!

Chi Omegas are passionate about their involvement in the University of Iowa Dance Marathon, truly making a difference everyday for children and families who are affected by pediatric cancer. As a leadership member, I was inspired by my fellow Chi Omegas who were both on leadership and dancers. They were always putting the kids and families before themselves and went above and beyond raising money FTK! (For the Kids!). Their enthusiasm for the organization never ceases to amaze me!

This Dance Marathon 22, Chi Omega broke the record for the top fundraising Sorority, raising over $95,000 which contributed to the final total of $2,424,031.22. As a result, we were awarded the amazing opportunity of going the Rec Center during the Big Event for an hour or two where we were able to do yoga, go for a swim, sit in the hot tub, or play pickup games of basketball or volleyball.

$2,424,031.22 raised FOR THE KIDS!

$2,424,031.22 raised FOR THE KIDS!

Morgan Kennedy, Dance Marathon 23 Executive Director

Morgan Kennedy, Dance Marathon 23 Executive Director

I could not be more proud of everything that Chi Omega has done for Dance Marathon 22 and I am excited to see how we make an even greater impact on the families this year!  Our very own, Morgan Kennedy has been an amazing role model for all of us to look up to. This year she has been chosen as the Executive Director of Dance Marathon 23. I could not think of any other person who deserves this positive more than Morgan. She is going to blow DM 23 out of the water because of her outpouring love and dedication to this organization.

Four Chi Omegas have been chosen for DM Chair positions. These ladies continue to show their love for this organization by taking on a big role for DM 23. As a chair they oversee the committee members and are constantly working hard to plan events, weekly meetings, and getting ready for the Big Event.

  • Jestine Rands - Morale Chair

  • Kenzie Kennedy - Family Rep Chair

  • Riley Coyle - Hospital Co-Chair

  • Emily Fortman - Dance Marathon the Marathon Coaching Chair

photo by Melissa Quaiyoom

photo by Melissa Quaiyoom

Jestine, a Morale Chair, is one of four individuals who are in charge of 50 Morale Captains as well as 54 Morale Captain Assistants. This year I have been given the opportunity to serve on leadership as a Morale Captain. I could not be luckier to have Jestine leading all of us to be the best Morale Captains that we can be. Last year as a Morale Captain, Jestine was awarded the “Highest Overall Retention at 92.96%”. She never gave up on her dancers and was willing to go out of her way for every single one of them in order for them to get to the Big Event. I know she will push me to keep raising the bar to raise the most money I can for the families as well as getting my dancers to the Big Event. Jestine is the definition of a Morale Captain that went above and beyond for her dancers. We are so lucky to have her representing Chi Omega as Morale Chair for DM23! 

Dance Marathon has given me many opportunities in life that I would never have gotten had I not made the decision to join freshman year. Dance Marathon has not only changed my life but it has also guided me along the right path to my dream profession, Child Life. Child Life Specialist’s help children and families cope with the hospital experience. They provide procedural preparation and use play as a coping modality to make the hospital and medical language less scary for children.

Marlee Speak, Kelsey Tebbe, and Annie Clendenen with fellow dancers during 'Power Hour' the last of the 24 hours of Dance Marathon.

Marlee Speak, Kelsey Tebbe, and Annie Clendenen with fellow dancers during 'Power Hour' the last of the 24 hours of Dance Marathon.

Dance Marathon has also led me to be a counselor with Children’s Cancer Connection, Camp Heart Connection. Camp Heart Connection is a week long camp in June for children who have had pediatric cancer. It is a place for them to go where they don’t have worry about kids staring at their scars or asking a million questions, because they have all gone through the same thing. They also offer a week long camp in August for the siblings of kids with pediatric cancer. This is a time for the siblings to be able spend time together in an environment where they are #1, and can bond with others who have dealt with the experience of having a sibling with cancer.

This summer, numbers have risen and 5 Chi Omega’s will be attending camp as either a counselor or on another camp committee! I am so excited to welcome them into the Camp Heart Connection family! Dance Marathon is a proud sponsor of Camp Heart Connection.

FTK always <3
Kelsey Tebbe

( read from Marlee Speak below )

Marlee Speak and Kelsey Tebbe served as counselors for Camp Heart Connection this summer.They are both studying to become Child Life Specialists.

Marlee Speak and Kelsey Tebbe served as counselors for Camp Heart Connection this summer.They are both studying to become Child Life Specialists.

As a founding purpose of Chi Omega, the importance of service to others plays a huge role in our lives. Chi Omega's alliance with Make-A-Wish has sparked a light in us, pushing us to fight for something bigger than ourselves everyday. So it's easy to see how our love for Make-A-Wish has also inspired our passion for Dance Marathon, where we dance for 24 hours to raise money and help kiddos battle a fight against cancer that no child should ever have to face. Chi Omega not only almost tripled the amount of money we raised last year with an outstanding number of $95,000, but had over 25 ladies hold various leadership positions for Dance Marathon, which is an entirely student run organization. 

We also had over 80 members of our chapter dance at the Big Event (you need to raise a minimum of $500 to attend), with several donating their hair as well. Paige Shockey even co-hosted a game of family feud with former Bachelor Chris Soules at Dance Marathon. 

Our business minded members had the opportunity to serve on the Business and Sponsorship Committees soliciting businesses for items to donate; restaurant gift cards to give to our Dance Marathon families, and collect and handle cash from family events and canning opportunities in the community. A few of our members had the opportunity to serve on the Development and Event Committees, brainstorming and planning all events that happen throughout the year and events that happen throughout the Big Event. A few other Chi Omega sisters had the opportunity to serve on the Family Relations cabinet directly working with our Dance Marathon families at family events. They worked inside of the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, and help put together the family room at the Big Event that is magical for the families and kiddos to enjoy together. Last but not least, our creative Sisters had the opportunity to serve on the PR/Marketing Committee to brainstorm new themes, apparel, social media, and document Dance Marathon events throughout the year.

When I joined Chi Omega, I never realized how impactful so many passionate, dedicated, and selfless women I would be surrounded by. I am so lucky to share my love and passion for Dance Marathon with so many of my Sisters that change the lives of those affected by pediatric cancer every single day. I think we could all agree that we knew we wanted to help change lives when getting involved in this organization, but little did we know how much it was going to change ours. Dance Marathon has led me to my future career of Child Life, further serving kiddos and families like the ones Dance Marathon has brought me to. It has completely led me to the purpose of my life where I can proudly support and uplift others. I can’t thank Dance Marathon and Chi Omega enough for inspiring me everyday, and for giving me the best college experience I could’ve ever asked for.

- Marlee Speak

Want to be a part of Dance Marathon 23? Sign up here!

You can even choose to join a group lead by a Chi Omega!
-Group 2: Haylee Parker
-Group 29: Kelsey Tebbe
-Group 41: Megan Frischmeyer

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