5 Things to Do with Sisters in Des Moines

Grab your sisters, get off campus, and go see what Iowa’s biggest city has to offer. Here’s how:

1. Shop the East Village

Downtown Des Moines’ East Village is bursting with local boutiques fit for the neighborhood’s young and vibrant crowd. Stop by the trendy yet affordable Matilda Muse, which stocks dresses perfect for fun sisterhood events or a weekend date party. And don’t forget about the accessories. From fine jewelry to glam statement pieces, Leona Ruby has the jewels to finish off your new look. Before you go, get a dose of Midwestern pride at Raygun, where graphic T-shirt designs border between insult and comic genius.

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2. Take a study break

Countless readings and a planner full of assignments can create overwhelming stress. But there’s something about getting off campus that offers relief—even if it is just to study. Diner meets coffee shop at the always-busy Smokey Row. When you’re lucky enough to find a seat, it’s the ideal setting for group meetings or solo study breaks. Brick interiors warm the shabby chic furniture of Java Joes, located downtown just off of Court Avenue. Live music from next door often seeps into the coffee house, so don’t bring along work that requires too much focus.

3. Catch a Game

Nothing comes between a sports fan and her team. But supporting your favorite home team can be difficult when away at college. Luckily, Des Moines is home to several professional athletic teams that will help keep that competitive spirit alive. Gather some sisters at the beginning of Fall semester to watch the Iowa Cubs, the Triple-A affiliate for the Chicago Cubs, at Principal Park. The Iowa Energy (NBA D-League), Iowa Barnstormers (IFL), and Iowa Wild (AHL affiliate-Minnesota Wild) kick off their seasons later in the year at the Wells Fargo Arena.

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4. Sing your Heart Out

From small, hole-in-the-wall venues to sold-out stadiums, Des Moines is a music city. Go to local favorites Vaudeville Mews and Wooly’s for up-and-coming artists. Both venues offer a close-knit experience and reasonable ticket prices. Check out the Wells Fargo Arena for big-name artists, including Taylor Swift this fall.

5. Break a Sweat Outdoors

Face it, too many late-night Quad orders of cheese curds and mozzarella sticks adds up. Turn those extra college pounds into a positive by joining your sisters for an enjoyable workout. Walk the short route of downtown’s Western Gateway Park, which hosts more than 20 art sculptures. Rent kayaks or paddle boards at Gray’s Lake in warm-weather months, or grab a group and a mat and attend their free Saturday morning yoga—a refreshing way to end a long week of classes. As the weather cools down, visit the Brenton Skate Plaza for an open-air skate in the heart of downtown. Go at night when the illuminated skyline is a picture-perfect backdrop.

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What our Sisters are Doing This Summer: Susanna Hayward

We love to show off our members! This summer, many of our sisters have taken on prestigious internships around the country, this week, take a look at what senior Susanna Hayward is up to:

My junior year was spent doing three things: designing, studying and more designing. After making grades and getting to class on time my priorities resided in being involved with every publication on campus. Drake Magazine, The Annual, The Times-Delphic, DuIN and Drake Political Review which I helped co-found with my Phi sisters Bri Steirer and Olivia O’Hea. Through hard work and late nights one goal (and coffee) kept me going: a summer in NYC.


I applied to over 20 magazines based in New York City, a few interviews, email exchanges but overall no luck. As said in The Devil Wears Prada, a million girls want this job, so I kept trying. I took up freelance positions in Des Moines towards the end of the semester and interviewed with a few in town.

Two days before the end of the semester my phone buzzed. I jumped out of the shower, shampoo still intact, and checked my email. The resume and portfolio I had sent Marie Claire months prior had caught someone’s eye. I was offered the position as a Design Intern on the spot. Three days later I found housing in the city and four days later I was starting my first day. It was a whirlwind of planning and last minute packing but I can’t imagine starting my summer or career any other way.1907545_10155753167170374_1368651487450055000_n

On my Mondays off I work for Shape Magazine, a Meredith publication and in my free time I work freelance for Admira Studio and Linked Strategies. The weekends are spent exploring the city and wandering through art museums.

Although summer won’t last forever, I’m excited to return to Drake for senior year with Alpha Phi. Serving as a design apprentice for Meredith Corporation and Art Director of Drake Magazine. My best advice is to never stop pursuing what you’re passionate about, some of the best things can happen in the eleventh hour.

My Experience in Alpha Phi: A Senior Reflection

Hey everyone! My name is Emily, and I am going to be a senior this year at Drake (which still seems crazy). I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, and graduated from a high school about half the size of Drake. I always played sports growing up and was in my school choir, so when I got into Drake, I started picturing myself doing these things as a Bulldog. One thing I never pictured myself as? A “sorority girl.”

I wasn’t planning on going through recruitment, but on a previous trip to Drake I had met the student body president, who encouraged my to give it a try. She ended up being one of my sisters. Recruitment seemed a little scary to me, because there were girls who knew everything about every chapter, and I was just along for the ride. But something unexpected happened on the second night of recruitment. I left the Alpha Phi house and I couldn’t stop smiling. I had met the most genuine, funny, intelligent, driven and passionate women, and I knew I wanted to be a part of their sisterhood. Getting my bid to Alpha Phi was like Christmas, but instead of presents, I got 120 women who instantly became my friends.


I expected joining a sorority to be like joining a club. You go to a few meetings, have some fun events, and go home. But what I’ve come to realize is that Alpha Phi is home. It’s where I go when I need to laugh or cry, to study or let loose. I literally cannot imagine my college experience without Alpha Phi, because it has been so much of life these past 3 years. My little, Lara, is my best friend, partner-in-crime, and soon to be roommate, as we’ll be living in our chapter house together next year. She, like so many of my Alpha Phi sisters, has taught me how to be a friend, a mentor, and a better person overall.


Through my time at Drake and with the support of my sisters I’ve been a student, an intern, a world traveler, a philanthropist, a volunteer, and absolutely without a doubt, a sorority girl.


Emily spent a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Emily spent a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Hi everyone! My name is Emily.
I’ll be a senior next year at Drake (which I still can’t believe), studying International Business and Anthropology. One of the coolest things about my majors is that they really encourage studying abroad. I’ve been abroad three times already, and this summer I’m going again! I’ll be in beautiful Salvador, Brazil interning for a company called Brazil Cultural. I’ll be helping to coordinate cultural exchanges between students from the U.S. and Brazil, and hopefully picking up some Portuguese along the way! Although I’m nervous about going to a new country alone, I’ve already received advice from Alpha Phi sisters in my chapter and others around the country who’ve been to Brazil. The network of support has been incredible. I’m so excited for the adventure that awaits this summer, but look forward to coming home to my incredible sisters this fall. Wish me luck!

Pillar Profile: Character Development

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The Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive” plays in the background as more than one hundred Alpha Phis press hard against the chests of mannequins. It’s the Take Heart. Take Part program, an educational event sponsored by The Alpha Phi Foundation to teach members how to perform CPR. We were so happy to have Carol, an Alpha Phi alumna, lead the program. Thanks to her training, the ladies of Gamma Omicron are up-to-date on CPR and AED skills.



Alpha Phi Presents Go Red Week

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This past week, Alpha Phi honored the American Heart Association and National Heart Month by hosting Go Red Week, an annual event that raises awareness of heart health. Because heart disease is the number one killer of women, we wanted to show our prevention efforts while encouraging others. The rules were simple. Step one: Post a photo of you being heart healthy on social media. Step two: Include #PhiFitChallenge in your caption. We even offered an invite to dinner with the women of Alpha Phi for others who participated, and we had a great turn out! Check out the fun and creative ways Phis promoted their heart health efforts in the slideshow below.

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Alpha Phi Abroad: Sisters in Cyprus

IMG_4465For sisters Nicole, Kim, and Emily, January was spent with scenic mountain-top views, visits to the Parthenon, and lots of delicious Greek food. The three traveled to Cyprus, an island country in the Mediterranean Sea, and Greece for a J-term course, where they the studied the Greek and Turkish conflict. The girls were more than happy to share the exciting points of the trip as well as some photos.

Sister Nicole visits the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

Sister Nicole visits the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

Nicole, what were you studying while abroad?

The course was titled Cyprus: Cultural Diffusion and Conflict. While in Cyprus, we studied the past and present influences of other countries on the island, as well as the current tension between different peoples of the island, specifically the Greeks and Turks. We observed how heritage, environment, religion, and many other factors determine how citizens identify themselves. We ended our trip with a visit to Athens to learn about the history of Greece as well.


Sisters Emily (left) and Kim (right) show their Alpha Phi pride while exploring Cyprus.


Kim, what was your favorite part of the trip?

My favorite part of this trip was exploring the different cultures the Greeks, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots individually possess and comparing the differences to American culture. I also loved trying all the new and exciting food! 

Emily, what are the takeaways from your experience?

The importance of travel and culture. By traveling, I not only learned so much about the countries of Cyprus and Greece, but also about myself. I had never heard of the country of Cyprus before this trip, and now I cannot imagine the world without it. Along with learning about new cultures, I was also able to grow as a person. I now feel more cultured and independent. Overall, this trip helped me understand the benefits of travel, and now I cannot wait for my next adventure.


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Pillar Profile: Sisterhood

phi1-rushOne of the most valuable parts of joining a sorority is the sisterhood. Alpha Phi is a network of positive young women who respect one another and are always there to pick you up when you fall, a characteristic that was taken literally at this past week’s ice skating sisterhood. The event concluded our Spring recruitment process, which introduces  new members to our chapter. We’re so happy to welcome Sadie, Claire, and Kendra into the sisterhood of Alpha Phi! For more photos from our fabulous night at the Brenton Skating Plaza in downtown Des Moines, check out the slideshow below!

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Remember Red Dress Gala?


A few weeks back we had our annual Red Dress Gala over parent’s weekend. Red Dress is a special night where Alpha Phi Chapters across the country raise funds and awareness for Alpha Phi Foundation and the American Heart Association. This was the most successful year the Gamma Omicron Chapter has had yet! After a few weeks of patience, the total is finally in! We raised $14,696 in just one night! We want to thank everyone who came and donated! It’ll be hard to top this year.



‘Twas the Night Before Recruitment

Tomorrow marks the first day of Values Night for Formal Recruitment at Drake University. To ease nerves, we’ve compiled a list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to keep in mind:


Do: Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to be on your feet for a long time, don’t let your shoes hinder your experience.

Don’t: Wear heels if you’re not comfortable in them. (As a senior, I’m still not good on heels for more than 30 minutes)


Do: Keep an open mind. You’ve been on campus for a full week now. You may have already formed opinions on different chapters, but don’t let those opinions keep you from getting to know the women you’ll encounter. You may be surprised who you’ll connect with!

Don’t: Write off a chapter because your roommate didn’t have a great experience. Recruitment is something you should do for yourself. Don’t let another person’s experience impact your decision process.


Do: Finish your homework before the events start. With the excitement of recruitment it’s easy to skip that reading assignment. Don’t skip it.

Don’t: Ignore your homework because you want to be in a sorority. School comes first. Chapters know that. After all, we’re all students, too!

Do: Lay out your outfit the night before. This will keep you feeling organized and hopefully reduce your nervousness.

Don’t: Stress out about what you’re wearing. The women you meet want to get to know you, not the clothes you are wearing. Come in whatever makes you feel like you. 


Do: Get a good night’s sleep. Your mind will be running and you’ll be excited, but remember to get in a good night’s sleep… or at least a good nap!

Don’t: Forget to eat. You’re not you when you’re hungry. 


We’re excited to meet all of you tomorrow! Until then, get a good night of sleep, eat enough food, do your homework, and try to keep calm!