By Spenser Hickey
Assistant Copy Editor
This year’s Greek Week, running from April 8-12, featured seven events designed to increase the bonds between fraternity and sorority members, and encourage Greek students to do acts of service.
The events included a Monday performance by comedian Evan Wecksell, a Tuesday canned food sculpture competition, Greek Olympics on Wednesday, a clothing drive Thursday and an all-Greek barbecue on Fraternity Hill Friday evening.
This year’s theme was “Greeks Give Back,” which incorporated community service into the events. During the week members of the Greek community collectively donated 586 pounds of canned or boxed goods and 2,705 articles of clothing.
“This week has been a really good reminder of the fact that we are service organizations,” sophomore Rebecca Caserta of Delta Zeta (DZ) said.
Levi Harrel, residential life coordinator (RLC) for Smith Hall and Greek Week adviser, said this year’s service theme was new.
“(Greek Week) is service-orientated, but (the theme) changes every year,” he said. “It’s really what our student planning committee comes up with and is a reflection of what that community wants that year.”
Junior Rachel Tallmadge, a member of the planning committee, said in an email the theme was chosen because “(t)he entire OWU Greek Life community is committed to philanthropy and service.
“In order to get people engaged, we wanted to play off of the passions that already exist,” she said.
The planning committee worked with Harrel and “bought supplies, contacted judges, made the advertisements (and) set up the events,” according to Tallmadge. She said the committee was “really proud” of the end result.
At each event, fraternities and sororities competed together as part of five teams, picked primarily by size but also with the goal of bringing together chapters that normally don’t interact.
The teams included the Purple Team of Phi Delta Theta (Phi Delt) and Delta Delta Delta; the Red Team of Delta Gamma (DG), Chi Phi and Phi Kappa Psi; the Orange Team of DZ and Alpha Sigma Phi (Alpha Sig); the Green Team of Delta Tau Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Sigma Phi Epsilon; and the Blue Team of Kappa Alpha Theta, Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Beta Sigma and Sigma Chi.
At the end of the all-Greek barbecue—the week’s “culminating event,” according to Harrel—awards were given to the most spirited team, the highest scorer and the week’s Greek “god” and “goddess.”
Harrel selected the spirit award himself. Teams earned points through donations and member attendance at events. Students chose the Greek god and goddess in an online election.
The two team awards both went to the Orange Team, while the laurel crowns for god and goddess went to couple Marshall Morris and Meredith Wholley, both seniors. Morris is a member of Phi Delt and Wholley, a member of DG.
Harrel said deciding the spirit award came “down to the last minute,” but ultimately he found the Orange Team best showed the “inter-fraternal spirit of what Greek Week was about.”
The Orange Team also earned 1,140 points, 35 more than the second-place Red Team.
Both Morris and Wholley said they didn’t expect to win, but Wholley said she had “a really good campaign team behind (her).”
Wholley’s team consisted of her sisters, who put 500 posters around campus in the days beforehand, according to sophomore Ali Smith of DG.
“We campaigned hard,” she said.
Many students present at the barbecue, including Morris, Wholley, Smith and Reynolds, said they thought the week went well.
“I feel like they’ve brought the community together,” Smith said.
Wholley said she liked being teamed up with other organizations.
“It was a really good bonding experience between some of the teams and I’m really glad,” she said. “Last year we focused on recycling, and this year we focused on donating.”
Senior Catherine Spence-Godin said she thought the teams were “competitive,” but also “respectful and supportive.”
Sophomore Jon Rodriguez of Alpha Sig said he thought the week brought his fraternity and DZ closer.
“We worked together to get where we are,” he said.
Sophomore Grace Thompson of DZ said the week improved as it progressed.
“I think Greek Olympics were probably the best because all of the sororities and fraternities were actually all together,” she said. “…I feel like the clothing drive was really the most service-oriented thing, and that was really successful.”
Sophomore Christian Gehrke of Alpha Sig said the week was “a good opportunity” for Greek charity.
“I just saw bags and bags and bags (of clothes) and it’s great—it just put a smile on my face,” he said. “(I’m) just glad that something good outside of all of us is happening.”
Spence-Godin said the service aspect was “wonderful.”
“I think the fact that they raised as many more cans than they have in the previous years was great,” she said.
Harrel the canned food donated was the most given to the organization at any one time.
Harrel said this year’s Greek Week was an attempt to “reinvent” the tradition.
“Our whole point this year was … (to) really build from the ground up so that it changes, it’s more substantial, it’s lasting and that we’re building a legacy, and I think that the energy surrounding it is already doing that,” he said.
During a speech at the awards ceremony, Harrel said the participants reinvigorated Greek Week at OWU.
“Regardless of whether you get (an award) or not, you made a difference,” he said.