Archive for the ‘Heemsbergen, Jessica’ Category

Sorority Life

What is a sorority? A sorority is defined as a social organization for girls with similar interest.

 Sorority girls are often judged on campuses more strictly than their classmates. Most people before they ever reach college already have some stereotypical image of what sorority girls are like. Usually this image is based on the stereotypes they see on TV and in the movies.

This media package on Sorority Life will show you the effect stereotypes have on sorority girls and what sorority girls really have to offer to the community.

 – Sorority Stereotypes Revealed

Sororities Give Back To The Community

Not Your Stereotypical Sorority Girl


Sororities Give Back To The Community


Alpha Xi Delta member Mackenzie Hocking shares the love at the Especially For You Race in Cedar Rapids.( By: Keith Norem)

When you pay an entry fee to participate in a volleyball game or participate in a 5k run, what does that entry fee mean to you? For sororities, your entry fee could mean providing research funding for heart disease, cancer, or even autism.  Sororities conduct several philanthropy and community service events throughout the year to help improve the community they live in.

That Warm Fuzzy Feeling

On November 14, 2010 about 25 girls from Alpha Xi Delta Sorority at the University of Iowa car pooled to local nursing home to play bingo with the residents. The girls talked, laughed, and shared stories with the residents.

A lot of girls were as excited for bingo as the residents were. Cara Meyers and her partner were waging an all-out war with all the other bingo players.

“I remember I kept telling her we needed to get more cards. That way we would have a better chance at winning. Then she just turned around and started laughing,” Meyers said with a smile on her face.

Cara and her partner Dorothy did end up winning the last bingo round which happened to be blackout. Cara claimed they just had to win in honor of Dorothy’s 100th birthday the following week.

“It means a lot to them that Alpha Xi Deltas came out and played Bingo with them. The residents really enjoyed it and I know the girls did too,” said Andrea Anderson, a CNA at the nursing home.

The girls originally planned to only stay for two hours, but they were having so much fun they decided to stay an extra half an hour longer.

“I had so much fun playing. I didn’t even realize that it was time to leave,” said Natalie Tercheck.

Helen, a resident at the nursing home, approached the girls before they left and told them that she really appreciated the girls coming and playing bingo with them. She even asked them when they would be coming back.

The girls all agreed that they would definitely visit again sometime soon.

The Reason Why They Volunteer

Jordan Franklin, an Alpha Phi at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA, knows how rewarding of an experience it is to help someone in her community.  She even admits that sometimes it can be hard to host a philanthropy or community event because of how much the events personally affects her.

“Last year a few girls and myself helped with a fundraiser for a little boy named Ollie who was dying of a  brain tumor and only had a few months left to live. We helped set up a carnival for the fundraiser and got to play with children. But it was hard because we wanted to do more but there wasn’t really anything else we could do,” Franklin said.

The circumstances were sad, but the only thing they could do was live in the moment and hope that the fundraiser helped the little boy’s family.

Natalie Tercheck, an Alpha Xi Delta from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA, shares a similar experience.  Last term Tercheck volunteered at the Johnson County Crisis Center bagging groceries for the people who came in. During her experience, she had an interesting run-in with a lady.

“I specifically remember one lady who yelled at me for not giving her “real soap”. She wanted one with a brand name, like Dove, but the only ones they had were generic brands. I realize how frustrated she probably was. A lot of the people coming into the Crisis Center aren’t used to asking for help because they never used to need it. But the economy has really taken a turn for the worst, and a lot of the middle class can’t afford the things they used to be able to afford. The experience I had with that lady made me realize this, and it’s really sad,” Tercheck said.

Unlike Franklin’s situation, Tercheck has the opportunity to do more for her community. Tercheck mentioned that after volunteering she feels that it is important for her to continue helping out at the Johnson County Crisis Center. There are more people there that need help and there will be even more as the months start to get colder. Tercheck hopes to get some of her sisters to also volunteer at the Johnson County Crisis Center this winter.

Giving Back

Although sororities are required to do volunteer work and host philanthropy events, giving back to the community means more to them than just fulfilling a sorority requirement.

Alpha Phi requires its girls to perform two hours of volunteer work a term in addition to the time they spend raising awareness about their philanthropy.

 Jordan Franklin has already met her sorority’s quota for volunteer hours this term, but she has not stopped volunteering.

“So far this year I have done four hours of volunteering at Go Red for Women’s cardiac care. I volunteered for an hour at the chili cook off for Rett Syndrome. I also participated in another sorority’s philanthropy event. The sorority hosted a kickball tournament to raise money for breast cancer research,” said Franklin.

Franklin and her sorority sisters think that volunteer work seems more like fun than work, because they enjoy helping out the community.

Dede Six, a Nu Psi Tau at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, IA, said her sorority manages volunteer hours differently than other sororities. Nu Psi Tau does not require a minimal amount of volunteer hours but requires girls to volunteer for two events. These events can range from an all-day event to just a couple of hours.

“Nu Psi Tau this year has volunteered at the Clow’s Company picnic. We have also partnered with a lot of student organizations on campus for fund-raising events. This winter we are scheduled to do bell ringing so we are pretty excited,” said Six.

Nu Psi Tau Sorority has just recently become affiliated with Greek Life at William Penn University. Six said that the main mission for the sorority currently is to just volunteer throughout the community and let everyone know who they are.

By: Jessica Heemsbergen

For more information on the sororities’ philanthropies please view Philanthropies & Community Awareness. Also check out Not Your Stereotypical Sorority Girl  and Sorority Stereotypes Revealed.

Philanthropies & Community Awareness

Alpha Xi Deltas Amy Rakiewics and Lindsey Castellano Volunteer at the Iowa City's "Sand in the City" Event (By:Jenna Wilson)


Sororities enjoy participating and hosting philanthropy events. They just wish that the community was more aware of all the great causes they support.

Philanthropy events usually include some type of activity for the public to participate in. The only thing people have to do is pay an entry fee and then they can participate.

At the University of Northern Iowa, Alpha Phi’s philanthropy is women’s cardiac health. The sorority promotes awareness about women’s cardiac health and visits the Cardiac Care Foundation

“We have two major philanthropy events. The first event is Spike Out Heart Disease. It’s a volleyball tournament we host all day long and all the money from entry fees goes to the Women’s Cardiac Care Foundation. Our second event, which is our major one, is our Red Dress Gala event.  The Red Dress Gala event is a dinner and silent auction. It’s a three course meal and where respectable people in the community along with family members are asked to come,” said Franklin

At the University of Iowa, the Alpha Xi Delta’s philanthropy is Autism Speaks. The sorority hosts a competition called the Puzzle Palooza in hopes of raising awareness about autism which is currently an incurable disease. The funds raised are used to advance autism research.

“We have a lot of girls in the house with autistic family members, so this philanthropy means a lot to them personally. I love the fact that we have a philanthropy that isn’t as well-known, because I feel like it means more,” says Tercheck.

Nu Psi Tau at William Penn University does not currently have a particular philanthropy, but instead raises awareness for multiple organization including the Red Cross, United Way, and the Salvation Army.

By: Jessica Heemsbergen

Also check out Not Your Stereotypical Sorority Girl , Sorority Stereotypes Revealed, and Sororities Give Back To The Community.

Sorority Stereotypes Revealed

Alpha Phi Sorority from the University of Northern Iowa

The Alpha Phi Sorority at the University of Northern Iowa on Bid Day 2010. By: Jordan Franklin


Out of all the organizations on college campuses, sororities are often the target of negative stereotypes. Being in a sorority is like wearing a red scarlet letter on your chest. Girls who join a sorority are instantly labeled as the promiscuous, partiers, and even the airheads on campus.


Natalie Terchek, a member of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority at the University of Iowa, experienced firsthand the power that stereotypes can have on people. According to Terchek, one of her friends confronted her about her decision to join Alpha Xi Delta last year.

“Why did you pay so much money just to paint each other nails, watch Jersey Shore together, and wear pink all the time?”, asked Terchek’s friend.

Terchek admitted that she was frustrated that her friend had such a negative viewpoint about sororities, but she just ignored it.

Aaron Breon, a senior at the University of Iowa, also has a stereotypical viewpoint about sororities.

 “Sororities are just a way for girls to buy friends. They can’t find friends anywhere else so they join a sorority,” said Breon.

However, if this was the case Jordan Franklin, a member of Alpha Phi at the University of Northern Iowa, wonders why other organizations are not stereotyped for buying friends. There are not a lot of differences between sororities and other campus organizations that collect membership dues. After all, a sorority is just a social organization for girls.


Josh Walker, a senior at the University of Iowa, says that he knows a few people that participate in Greek Life at Iowa. Walker claims that both sororities and fraternities are extremely exclusive and their members are stuck up.

“I used to talk to this one girl all time, but then she joined a sorority and now we never talk,” claimed Walker.

Dede Six from Nu Psi Tau sorority at William Penn University disagrees with Walker. Six says that when a person joins a sorority, they are constantly busy volunteering, doing sisterhoods, philanthropy work, and homework.

“I don’t think people realize how much work goes into being in a sorority. There have been times that I would have loved to hang out with one of my friends, but then I get to busy and it just doesn’t work out. It doesn’t mean that I am stuck up or ignoring them,” said Six.

Hannah Benson, a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority at Simpson College provides another answer for why people view sororities as exclusive.

“I think people see sororities as some sort of exclusive private club because of the way we recruit girls,” said Benson.

When girls rush to join to a sorority, they are judged by each sorority differently. The sorority recruitment process is selective. This means just because a girl wants to be in a particular sorority, it does not mean they will be accepted into that sorority.  However, every girl does get placed in a sorority.

“I am not gonna lie, I was EXTREMELY intimidated by sororities before I joined. It had a lot to do with the sororities’ reputations on campus. It seemed like such an exclusive process, and I didn’t want to be a part of an organization that tears you down and makes you feel crappy about yourself,” said Terchek, an Alpha Xi Delta member.

Not All Stereotypes Are False

Jordan Franklin says that not all sorority stereotypes are wrong. 

“Some stereotypes are true, especially those associated with sisterhoods and lifelong friendships,” claimed Franklin.

 Franklin admits she use to believe the negative stereotypes about sororities but  not the positive ones.

Franklin joined Alpha Phi last year after she transferred to UNI. She refused to rush in a sorority at first, but her friend eventually talked her into it. Franklin said she ended up joining Alpha Phi because the girls seemed real and she could see herself being friends with them. She has not regretted it yet.

Franklin also admits that going out and being sociable is also a true stereotype about sororities. However, Franklin questions whether or not that is actually a bad thing. 

 “I don’t know why sororities get stereotyped for being the partiers when everyone else is doing the same thing,” said Franklin.

Sorority vs. Sorority

All sorority girls claim that negative stereotypes are completely false. Yet when sorority girls are asked about other sororities, they start using stereotypes to describe the other sororities.

 Dede Six from Nu Psi Tau explained it perfectly when she said, “On surface, we all seem to get along but it is a lie. We are always competing to see who can get the highest GPA or can get the most members.”

Six’s sorority Nu Psi Tau is not like a lot of other sororities on college campuses. Her sorority is only 3 years old and went Greek just this year. After her sorority was accepted into Greek Life, one sorority that did not like Nu Psi Tau told them that they were just the nerdy sorority on campus.

“It didn’t bother me that they call us the nerds. The whole reason we started the sorority was to show girls that there are other sororities out there that do other stuff beside drink, party, and sleep around,” said Six.

Franklin from Alpha Phi says that every sorority on her campus is associated with one stereotype or another.

“The stereotypes associated with sororities on my campus include the partiers, the nerds, the outcast, and the snobs,” said Franklin.

Hannah Benson from Kappa Kappa Gamma mentioned that she has never been personally affected by sorority stereotypes. Benson did say that her sorority has been the subject of certain sorority stereotypes, but she would not mention which ones.

Natalie Terchek from Alpha Xi Delta claims that she does not know of any particular sorority with a stereotypical reputation on her campus. However, she did admit that she knows of some sorority girls that have acted the part of the stereotypical sorority girl.

“I just wish that they would lock it up, they give people the wrong idea on what Greek life is all about,” said Natalie.


Most people have seen sorority movies such as Legally Blond, The House Bunny, and Sydney White. These movies depict sorority girls in a negative light.

In Legally Blond, they present sorority girls as airheads. The movie, House Bunny, depicts sorority girls as being shallow and vain. Finally, the movie Sydney White portrays sorority girls as mean and exclusive.

“I just want people to know that sorority girls are not like what they see in movies. In movies, they take one aspect of sorority life and twist it around to make it funny. That’s not real life,” said Six.

Franklin agrees and says that although movies are based off sorority stereotypes, they do not get everything wrong.

“I mean yeah, we aren’t all blond or skinny, but we do stand for leadership, friendship, and sisterhood which are also portrayed in movies,” said Franklin

By: Jessica Heemsbergen

Also check out Sororities Give Back To The Community and Not Your Stereotypical Sorority Girl.

Tomcats Vs. Owl’s Nest

I am in Ottumwa, Ia covering the Tomcats Vs. Owl’s Nest  coed softball game.  You can follow my live game coverage here.

Not Your Stereotypical Sorority Girl

Jenna Wilson (By:Jessica Heemsbergen)

Recruiting new Alpha Xi Deltas, consoling a fellow sister, cramming for an exam, and planning for the future may sound hectic, but that is just a typical day in the life of Jenna Wilson.

This summer, Jenna flew to New York to work as an intern at BWR Public Relations. BWR Public Relations specializes in entertainment and fashion. At BWR Public Relations Jenna learned how to construct media kits and write press releases just like the professionals do.

Jenna’s internship gave her a chance to re-evaluate her future job plans.

“From my internship I learned that I didn’t want to do public relations for fashion or entertainment. I wanted to do something more meaningful. I would like to do public relations work possibly for a theatre company. Even though I wouldn’t get paid as much money for it,” said Jenna


Jenna always knew that she wanted to do something in the journalism field, but she was unsure as to what that exactly might be.

“I first tried broadcasting, but it just wasn’t for me. So I then decided to take a public relations class even though I wasn’t 100% sure what public relations was when I first signed up for the class,” said Jenna

After taking a PR class, Jenna realized she had been doing PR work in her sorority for years.

“The sorority is like a business. You have to appeal to different types of girls to get them interested in joining the sorority. This is similar to doing PR work.” said Jenna.

Jenna acknowledges that the Alpha Xi Delta sorority uses several PR tactics during recruitment. When it comes to COBing (continuous open bidding), Jenna says it is fun to see all her hard work being carried out and watching her chapter grow. Jenna believes the PR work she has done in the sorority has increased her interest in the PR industry.


Jenna joined Alpha Xi Delta sorority in the fall of 2007.  Since then, she has taken on several jobs within the organization including Sisterhood Chair, Chaplin, and COB Chair.

She has done these jobs while also juggling a double major in Journalism/ Mass Communication and Theater. Jenna hopes to pursue a public relations career that incorporates both of her majors.

 “I know that I want a career in public relations. However, I love theater and I would like to be able to find a job where I could apply both my majors to,” said Jenna.


“Jenna is definitely one of the leaders in the sorority. She always listens to everyone’s problems, helps assist the new girls and just tries to cheer everyone up.” said Lindsay Castellano, a fellow Alpha Xi Delta member.

The girls in the house view Jenna as a motivated, outspoken, and independent woman. Jenna laughs at that statement and says she owes the sorority for making her the woman she is today.

 “Before I joined the sorority I used to be kind of shy and quiet,” said Jenna.

 The girls tease Jenna and say that they cannot get her to stop talking now.

Jenna even manages to find sisters hundreds of miles away from home. While working at BWR Public Relations, Jenna started talking to one her fellow interns. After talking for a while, they realized that they were both members of the Alpha Xi Delta Sorority.

“I was kind of surprised at first, but then I just thought that it was cool that I got to meet another Alpha Xi Delta from a different chapter,” said Jenna.

Jenna also mentioned that it was nice to bond with a fellow Alpha Xi Delta and it just proves that when you are in sorority you are never alone.


Jenna has already started to make plans to go back to New York after she graduates in May 2011.She has even applied to become a Dream Careers summer leader for 2011.

Although a summer leadership position is not what she necessary wants to do, it is a stepping stone to achieving her dream. Jenna believes that she has a good chance of getting the summer leadership position with Dream Careers in 2011.

Since the start of the term, Jenna has been working hard to improve her resume and get more experience in public relations field.

“I currently have two internships right now. One is for Dream Careers distributing fliers and doing some PR work for the organization. I also just recently got a PR internship at Hancher, so I am pretty excited,” said Jenna

Jenna has big dreams and she is determined to accomplish them.

“I know that New York is where I want to live and find my future career. Whether I get the job or not I am still going to move out to New York this summer,” said Jenna.

By: Jessica Heemsbergen

Also check out Sorority Stereotypes Revealed and Sororities Give Back To The Community

Salmonella Found in Dog Treats

The Hartz Mountain Corp. has issued a recall for their dog treats after traces of salmonella were found in a few bags of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats.

A good source for a local story on the dog treat recall would be  Allan Berger. Allan Berger is a veterinarian at the Bright Eyes and Bushy Tails clinic in Iowa City. He deals with emergency and critical care animals. Berger would be able to provide more information of the side effects the dog treats could have  and  list possible symptoms to look out for if dog owners have given their dog the treats. I found Allan Berger through the website that listed all the veterinarian clinics in the Iowa City Iowa.

My second source would be the manager of the PetCo.  store in Iowa City. The manage of the store would be able to give information about how they deal with dog food recalls and the possible side-effects this recall could have on the store. The method I used to find this source was by going directly to the stores national website and using it locate finder to find the closet store in Iowa City. I then would get the number from the Iowa City store and call the store directly.

Jenna Wilson

Jenna Wilson is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in Theater and Journalism/Mass Communication.

Jenna is also involved in the Alpha Xi Delta sorority on campus. Where she helps promotes leadership, friendship, and community within her chapter.

Jenna having been in Alpha Xi Delta for three years now has gotten used to the negative stereotypes associated with the Greek Organizations , but always try dissuade people from thinking that way.

Having been able to participate in Alpha Xi Delta Jenna has gotten opportunity to make friendship that will continue on after her college career has ended.

I choose the Alpha Xi Delta site because Jenna Sorority is important to her and takes up a large amount of her time. I know this site is credible because it is run by the University of Iowa’s Alpha Xi Delta Chapter. As a precaution I also went to the National Alpha Xi Delta site and checked to make sure the web site was real  chapter’s website. For the second website I choose Fraternity Communication because it promotes a positive image Greek Life. I choose this website because it shows who the author is and has links to other fraternities. I think this website is credible and gives good information about Greek Life. For last site I choose the Alpha Xi Delta National Facebook page because it will sow people how Jenna established life ling friendship through her sorority. This page also links to the University of Iowa Chapter’s page and is a credible source for this topic.