Delta Delta Delta, or Tri Delta, first came to Iowa State in 1889. Originally the fourth national chapter of Delta Delta Delta and the second sorority at Iowa State, arrival of the sorority on campus was “important because it ‘helped break the feeling prevalent among many eastern sororities that a chapter in an agricultural college was beneath their dignity.’” The sorority was closed at Iowa State in 1891 when the administration under President Beardshear banned all fraternities and sororities from campus. Thirteen years later, in 1904, President A. B. Storms lifted the ban prohibiting fraternities and sororities at the school, and Tri Delta was reestablished as the Omega Delta Chapter.
Delta Delta Delta House
Today, up to sixty-five women can live in the Delta Delta Delta house on the corner of Ash Avenue and Sunset Drive. Additions to the house in 1955 provided a recreation room, and during the 1980s, more bedrooms were built to accommodate the rising number of women who wished to live in the house. With a large dining area and many large meeting rooms, numerous bedrooms called the “news” and the “adds,” and a host of 24-hour study rooms, the house proves to be the center of sorority life for its members.
Delta Delta Delta Members, ca. 1975
The women of Delta Delta Delta are involved in virtually every large-scale campus event at Iowa State. They partner with other fraternities to create a large float for the Veishea parade every year. They create a skit to perform at the annual Varieties musical show each February. New members are encouraged to perform a cheer during Homecoming’s Yell Like Hell pep event. The Tri Deltas enjoy the Lip Sync and Blood Drive during Greek Week.
Members of Delta Delta Delta, ca. 1980
Along with the campus-wide events, Delta Delta Delta has a large number of sorority events available to its membership each year. President Chelsey Holtz explained that although these events are not mandatory, members are encouraged to participate wherever and whenever they have time. The sorority emphasizes academics first, and each member is required to fulfill a required number of study hours and maintain a high grade point average. Despite the rigorous academic standards set by the sorority, members take full advantage of all the sorority events available to them. In December each year, the sorority has a Pine Party, because the pine tree is one of its symbols. Each fall, Tri Delta has a house party, and each spring, a formal. Special dinners abound throughout the year and include etiquette dinners, friend dinners, appreciation dinners for house mom and cook, dinner exchanges with other sororities and fraternities, and faculty dinners. Sorority moms enjoy brunch at the Gateway Hotel in Ames and dads enjoy a barbeque and a football game when they visit during their respective Mom’s and Dad’s weekends.
Delta Delta Delta Members Dressed Up, ca. 1985
Life as a member of Tri Delta at Iowa State is not all about dinners and campus events. Members also emphasize national philanthropic ties to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Each fall, Delta Delta Delta organizes Delta Wild Wings, a late-night barbeque. Proceeds from the barbeque go directly to St. Jude’s. In the spring, members send letters on behalf of St. Jude’s and Tri Delta in a fundraising campaign called Sincerely Yours. According to Holtz, the national organization issued a goal in approximately 2003 to raise $10 million in ten years. Since that time, the sorority has raised $7 million to fund research at St. Jude’s. When Tri Delta is not organizing its own philanthropic events, they participate in the fundraisers for other sororities and fraternities, including Pi Beta Phi’s Dirty Open Volleyball tournament and Sigma Chi’s Derby Days.
Delta Delta Delta Members, ca. 1990
In addition to the national campaign to raise money for St. Jude’s, the women of Delta Delta Delta arrange and complete three to four community service events each semester. Members have planted and groomed roses at Reiman Gardens, organized a team and raised money for cancer research through Relay For Life, and danced together for the Dance Marathon fundraiser.
Senior Graduates of Delta Delta Delta, ca. 2008
Each fall promises to be another great semester for Delta Delta Delta. Recruitment during the third week in August brings new members to the group, and the officers work on creating a tight-knit, positive group of recruits to carry on Delta Delta Delta's legacy at Iowa State.
Members of Delta Delta Delta, ca. 2008