Greek Week shifts focus to interfraternalism

Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: Greek Week shifts focus to interfraternalism.

Greek Week

Photo Credit: Leslie Irwin | Loyolan

Before this year’s Greek Week commenced, community anticipation for the upcoming celebration of Greek Life was struggling to overcome mixed feelings regarding changes to the week’s structure.

“In the beginning, everybody was pretty concerned,” said senior psychology major Lisa Flanigan, president of Kappa Alpha Theta. “For a while, when we didn’t have anything figured out and we didn’t really have ideas of how to make Greek Week work … it was a subject that didn’t really go over well.”

Junior political science major Michael Hanover, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, agreed, calling the community’s response “between negative and [mixed]” before the week began.

“The idea behind the changes … [was] building a certain level of respect that, according to some, has been absent in past years between organizations. I believe, wholly and truly, that the changes were motivated by the right sentiment,” said Hanover. “The reaction has fallen off from that complete level of positivity.”

“Change is never easy,” said Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Development and Greek Adviser Dan Faill. “But I truly feel it was the best move … and I was pleased at the overall reaction from chapters to combine into larger teams for Greek Week, an idea that was brought forward from chapter presidents at the fall Greek retreat.”

Said conglomeration has paired one fraternity, one sorority and one “multicultural chapter” in each team, according to Faill. This plan was met with enthusiasm from some individual organizations, especially Sigma Lambda Gamma, according to Chapter President Nina Garofalo, a senior English major.

“We felt we weren’t included in the camaraderie of Greek Week, and so [the new system] gives us an opportunity to make friends and not be so competitive about it,” Garofalo said. “We’re already so proud to wear our letters, so we don’t feel like we need to prove ourselves.”

This interfraternal pride was purposefully designed as one of the overarching goals of Greek Week, according to Co-Vice President of Greek Week Sean Daly, a senior communication studies and theatre arts double major.

In addition to the conglomerate teams, the other major change was the separation of Greek Week from Lip Sync and Stroll Off, according to Co-Vice President of Greek Week and junior psychology major Penney Azizi. Lip Sync and Stroll Off, once the culminating event of Greek Week, was moved to early September this year due to scheduling conflicts in booking Gersten Pavilion.

“Certainly, Lip Sync was a great way to cap it off, but was there anything that the Greek Week VPs could have done about that?” said Hanover. “According to what they’ve said, I don’t think so, and I trust them on that.”

Substituting for Lip Sync will be the All-Greek Masquerade Ball, a formal event on Saturday in Burns Back Court, where winners of the week will be announced.

Other changes included a redesigned football tournament with only one day instead of two, and a restructured obstacle course that involves more team members and a chariot race leg, according to multiple sources.

While final judgment on the week’s redesign has yet to be rendered, before it even began, individuals from within the community had disparate reactions to the week’s true meaning.

“I really appreciate all the work they’ve put into this Greek Week and making it more interfraternal, really trying to bridge those gaps,” Garofalo said.

“It’s all about being Greek, not necessarily about what letters you wear, and the community as a whole,” Azizi said, echoing Garofalo’s sentiments about inter-fraternalism.

Flanigan, however, emphasized personal chapters saying, “I think it’s positive, because you’ll still have your own pride for your own organization.” But, she added that through Greek Week, individual chapters would be “breaking down the barriers between different organizations.”

Hanover said in summary, “On the one hand, any … time of change brings about some strife from somewhere or another in the community. On the other side of it … to make big changes like that, you have to be bold to do that, and if you go there you’re gonna make some mistakes too. You can’t make big changes like that and expect that it’s gonna please everybody.”