Phi Beta Chi sorority came to Iowa State as a colony on March 29, 1992, and it became the Iota chapter two years later on March 5, 1994. Founded to provide a female counterpart to the fraternity Beta Sigma Psi, the sorority’s guiding ideals reflect the Lutheran origins of the national sorority. Even though members today are not required to be Lutheran, they still uphold Lutheran principles in their daily lives, striving to be “faithful and energetic” and celebrating the “Lutheran Heritage.” According to their creed, revised in 1988, Phi Beta Chi stands for “good scholarship, for the guarding of good health, for the maintenance of fine standards, for service to Church and Humanity, and for the attainment of excellence in all of our endeavors.”
Members of Phi Beta Chi Hanging Out, ca. 2005
According to Christine Blenner, past president of Phi Beta Chi, the sorority does not have a chapter house or facility. Instead, the sorority meets every Monday evening at Memorial Lutheran Church. Membership totals have fluctuated in the past three years, with just four members in 2005 to thirty-three today. Word-of-mouth is the vehicle of recruitment for Phi Beta Chi, and the sorority provides a comfortable, supportive environment for its potential members. The sisters enjoy spending time together at their weekly meetings and at their retreats each semester. At these retreats, the sisters participate in team contests, leadership activities, and enjoy watching movies and getting to know each other better. Other social activities include a White Rose Ball, a “baby shower” for older “mothers” to give their younger sisters gifts, and Inspiration Week, a week in which each night of the week celebrates the upcoming initiation of the new associate members.
Phi Beta Chi Members Participate in ISU Events, ca. 2006
In addition to their social time together, members of Phi Beta Chi organize numerous philanthropic activities. Their Silpada Jewelry fundraiser in November 2007 raised over five hundred dollars for Bethesda, the national philanthropy for the group. They recently held a silent auction, which raised one thousand dollars for the philanthropy. They also assist Memorial Lutheran with various seasonal activities, including the Easter Egg Hunt in the spring. On campus, Phi Beta Chi participates in Dance Marathon, VEISHEA activities, and Homecoming activities.
Phi Beta Chi Members Walk in Relay for Life, ca. 2006
The national headquarters is currently celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Phi Beta Chi, and the organization continues to grow both locally and nationally. At the July 2008 national conference, the Iota chapter won the best scrapbook award, the spiritual growth award, the chapter growth award, and was runner-up for the chapter of the year award.