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Groups unite for 1st joint Greek Week

The Chronicle

Although Greek Week has kept a low profile in past years, leaders from the entire greek community hope to change that this year when a revamped version of the annual event kicks off Wednesday evening with an East Campus barbecue.

For the first time, the three greek umbrella organizations--the Interfraternity Council for most on-campus fraternities, the National Panhellenic Council for traditionally black fraternities and sororities, and the Panhellenic Association for other sororities--and a fourth growing cluster of cultural greek-letter organizations are sponsoring Greek Week together. The week's events will include a canned food drive, a dance marathon and a speech by Janet Hill, mother of professional basketball star Grant Hill, Trinity '94.

"It's something new that everyone will be participating in," said Nicole Manley, program coordinator for the newly-created Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. "That in and of itself is what we're really excited about."

The week's events mirror the united greek community that planned them. Greek students who attend events will tally points for their chapters and the chapters with the most points in each umbrella organization or group--IFC, Panhel, NPHC and the multicultural groups--will win a University-sponsored four-group mixer.

Many greek leaders also said they hope the week's events will show students and administrators that fraternities and sororities have a greater role in the community than hosting parties and mixers.

"We definitely want to emphasize the other elements of the greek community," said Panhel president Kerianne Ryan. "This is going to be a good way, in large units, to participate in philanthropy and leadership and social activities that don't involve alcohol."

Sheldon Maye, NPHC president, said the decision to sponsor Greek Week cooperatively was not to stage a diverse appearance, but to begin authentic interaction among groups. He added that the joint planning effort has saved both the NPHC and other groups resources that would have otherwise been spent separately.

"I see a lot of people saying that, 'They're trying to look nice,'" Maye said. "If anything, it's a start to the socializing [between members of different races].... Maybe it's better to start formally to go to something more informal."

Maye and others said they hoped the interaction among students during Greek Week will become a model for improving campus racial climate.

"To have the national organizations behind an event like this, it's to show that these organizations want to work together and help contribute to the campus community," said Kristen Luneberg, president of Delta Delta Delta. "These groups are dedicated to having interaction between the greek community."

Campus leaders also praised the new greek affairs office for facilitating interaction among chapters, which allowed members from different groups to organize the week. Jeremy Morgan, IFC president, said plans for the joint effort began last spring after the office's creation.

"The office has done so much for getting people to know each other. [Greek Week] is going to further promote that," Ryan said. "With everyone working together... we know the other people, and it took away some of the barriers to doing it."

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