Friday, May 16, 2014
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.-- Westminster's Greek community rallied in April for Greek Week, the first Greek Week since Sigma Nu lost its charter last fall. While Westminster's Greek Life is down one organization, the brothers and sisters of the five sororities and four remaining fraternities managed to raise $11,656 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of Claire Hartner, daughter of Eric and Kelly Hartner, Westminster enterprise network manager.
The spring's version of Greek Week also came with other changes. Gone was the "Anything that Floats" race on Brittain Lake. It turns out that Greek Week is undergoing some changes that could shift if from a Greek Week to a Greek Weekend in years to come.
Jenna Hasson explores the changes facing Westminster's Greek Life and recaps Greek Week 2014 for this WCN 24/7 podcast.
Each April brings out the Greek animal on campus. Sororities and fraternities show their spirit by wearing Greek gear and cheer on very focused competitions like tug-of-war. The competitions are part of a week-long celebration of Greeks. Senior Chair Coordinator Rachel Gibbs pointed out that each year's organizers are always tweaking Westminster's Greek Week.
"We did the survey. We had a list of all the events we had at the previous years along with some new events that we kind of brainstormed. Every sorority and fraternity got those surveys and rated them from what they wanted to see the most to the least and then we kind of compiled those between the sororities and fraternities and saw what they wanted to see and compiled our schedule that way."
The survey method seems to work well. The committee brought back kick ball this round. Dead in the water was "Anything That Floats." On the agenda: flip cup; a drinking game, however this version uses root beer.
"We went through a bunch of impromptu events just to kind of give people more opportunities to get some points," said Gibbs. "I think everything went pretty well. I think we'll still maybe do the survey again next year to see if people still want to keep those events."
The Greek community participates in a service drive each cycle. The items donated benefit the Lawrence County Paper Pantry. Most of the items are paper products and toiletries. Alpha Gamma Delta and Sigma Phi Epsilon donated the most products.
"We raised over 9,000 items which was almost double than last year and filled two entire buses up," Gibbs noted.
The Greeks also unite to raise money by participating in Penny Wars. This year Alpha Gamma Delta and Theta Chi won the philanthropy awards for donating the most money.
"This year the Greek community raised $11,656 for cystic fibrosis research," said Associate Dean of Student Affairs Gina Vance.
Vance sent out a survey seeking information on proposed changes. She believes that there's some appetite for change.
"Lots of things have been batted around through conversations that I've had with students in the last couple of weeks. Things like having independents chair it, having a different chair structure, maybe going to a weekend event or a couple weekends events instead of a week-long deal. So we'll see. There's lots of creative opportunity right now."
Sing and Swing is a Westminster community crowd pleaser. Each fraternity and sorority performs a five-minute dance to a medley of songs. This year the committee went to the movies. Senior Chair Coordinator Rocky Radeff shares what the sororities and fraternities are basically judged on for their Sing and Swing performances.
"One is their dance - which is huge and choreography, said Senior Chair Coordinator Rocky Radeff. "Also style and excitement go into the judging - how they get the crowd into it. It's not always about having the best moves - it's about maybe costumes or how they get the crowd roaring."
Phi Kappa Tau performed to the soundtrack of Grease. They won Sing and Swing for the men's category. Phi Tau incorporated themed costumes and dancing as well as some acting here and there.
Zeta Tau Alpha performed to the soundtrack of White Chicks. They clinched the Sing and Swing champion title for the ladies for the first time in four years.
"They really took a new aspect," explained Radeff. "You see a lot of traditional moves in other - for the last four years I've seen a lot of the same with traditional moves and they kind of stepped back from that and did new and exciting moves which I think was something that really helped put them over the edge."
Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Gamma Delta secured the title of the 20-14 Greek Week Champions. The Westminster College Greek community may see some changes for next year's Greek week. But they will still come together for charitable causes that contribute a great deal to the local and campus communities.
This story was written, produced & reported by Jenna Hasson.