Sororities, fraternities battle it out in Greek Week 2012


Sarah Groft, Staff Reporter

Greek Week is the year’s most anticipated event for many of Case Western Reserve University’s Greek members. Each year, sororities and fraternities practice for and compete in events; based on their scores in the events, a winning sorority and fraternity are crowned.

This year, the theme for Greek Week was “This is fun, damnit.” Fraternities and sororities were scored in areas such as grades, standards, chair meetings, Greek III, and attendance at a faculty luncheon. Other interesting events were Greek Sing, Trivia Night, Letter Check-In, Beach Ball, Raft Race, Knockout (Spot Shot), Variety Show, Can Castle, Banner, Obstacle course, Egg Toss, Pyramid, and Rope Pull.

The obscure theme prompted skepticism at first. But as John Kane, Interfraternity Council (IFC) president and member of Sigma Chi, pointed out, it left a lot of room for imagination.

“It enabled each and every song and show to be completely different, and many even poked fun about taking the week too seriously. In addition, the theme was a nice reminder that this week and all of the events are supposed to be friendly competition and enjoyable,” Kane said. Aiste Degesys, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and president of the Panhellenic Council, said the sororities seemed to love the theme. “It was less pressure to win and more of an opportunity to spend time with friends,” she said.

Mark Starr, director of Greek Life, also had a few comments about the theme. While the Greek Week committee chooses the theme, Starr said, “this was a theme that I have been advocating for over the last 10 years, and this committee was the first to adopt it.”

He also noticed that although the theme was initially disliked, everyone seemed to warm up to it. Starr said he felt it was most obviously embraced in the Banner competition: “It was easily the best year I’ve seen for banner from top to bottom.”

Alpha Phi was the winning sorority this year, followed closely by Phi Mu, Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Gamma, Alpha Chi Omega, Phi Sigma Rho, and Sigma Psi. Alpha Phi sister Carrie Foster was extremely excited to receive the honor of being number one. “It’s such a great feeling when your hard work pays off. I’m really proud of all my sisters,” she commented.

Foster said Alpha Phi prepared for Greek Week just like everyone else: they had designated sisters in charge of recruiting sisters for events, holding practices, and making sure they did their best. “We just try to be as organized as possible,” Foster said.

Foster also noted that it was bittersweet to see Greek Week end. The competition is a great way to get to know new members and Alpha Phi has a lot of fun participating in all the events. When asked if Greek Week was becoming too competitive, Foster replied, “I think events like Rope Pull and Variety Show really build closeness in the Greek community, because every chapter watches each other and cheers for everyone. I think the key is to be able to laugh at yourself, which makes the events more fun for you and other chapters.”

Sigma Phi Epsilon was the victor for the fraternities, followed by Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Nu, Delta Tau Delta, Beta Theta Pi tied with Zeta Psi, FIJI tied with Phi Kappa Tau, Sigma Chi tied with Zeta Beta Tau, Delta Upsilon, Delta Chi tied with Theta Chi, and Phi Kappa Psi.

Kane commented on a few of the changes made to Greek Week this year. “Spot Shot (a team shooting contest) was replaced with Knockout. This change seemed to be very well-received as the championship round was very highly attended and all the fans were electric.”

Starr agreed. “I have gotten nothing but positive feedback. We even had people watching the event. No one came to Spot Shot other than the participants because it was so boring to watch. This is something that we will almost certainly keep for next year.”

According to Kane, “In addition, some rules were changed in Pyramid and the obstacle course was changed and kept a secret, which resulted in several dramatic finishes.” Starr also commented on the changes to Obstacle Course, such as the dizzy bat accompanied by a run, walking backwards with a ping-pong ball on a spoon held in the participant’s mouth, a piggyback ride, and a leisurely tricycle ride.

This year, instead of teams completing every obstacle task, one member completed one part before handing the baton to the next member, who continued the course. “The legs were more fun to watch,” Starr said, “There was definitely a lot of excitement. Everyone seemed to really get into it.” Starr plans to keep this change around for Greek Week 2013 as well.

The change to Obstacle seems to be a favorable one all around. Abbott Veldhuizen, a member of Theta Chi, said, “I liked the fact that this year’s Obstacle was in a relay form. I think it was more kinetic and it was much more fun to watch because something was always happening.”

Degesys spoke mostly about the change to the Greek Week theme between last year and this year. “Last year’s theme was ‘Greekopoly,’ which limited the ways that chapters could incorporate the theme into skits, songs, banners, etc. This year, with the theme being something as simple as ‘This is fun, damnit,’ Greek members had more artistic license as to how they wanted to go about handling Greek Week.”

The theme also served as a constant, important reminder. In their various activities, many chapters alluded that Greek Week was becoming more competitive and less fun. There appear to be many opinions on how true this is. Kane acknowledged that Greek Week can be very competitive, but he does not necessarily consider that a bad thing. “In recent years Greek Week has been incredibly competitive in many of the events. This drives a lot of chapters to take the week seriously and practice very hard, and there are other chapters who do not take it as seriously and really try to focus on the fun aspect,” he said. “Each chapter has their own way of enjoying the week, and I don’t think there is a serious problem with the level of competition.”

Starr felt competitiveness has always been a part of Greek Week. “That was one of the main reasons I liked the theme,” he said. “It points out that this is supposed to be a fun week where we all get together as a community. It shouldn’t be all about winning.”

The Greek Week steering committee does all planning and makes all decisions in regards to Greek Week. Kane, however, mentioned that this role may change in the upcoming year. The steering committee may be changed to allow each chapter on campus to have one representative.

Kane also mentioned a tentative idea to do many of the events “blind.” This would mean that Greek chapters would be told when the events are to be held, but they would not be provided any of the rules or background. One goal behind this is to limit the time that sororities and fraternities spend practicing. According to Starr, Greek Life will continue to try to make the events as fun as possible for participants and spectators, and he expressed his gratitude for the work of the Greek Week Steering Committee.

“The committee…has to deal with a lot of complaints from chapters, and it’s not always easy to be the focal point of that. But overall I thought that this group had the courage to do things differently and make some big changes and I think…it was a more fun event that it has been in the past…damn it.”