New Lehigh Greek Week focuses on community service, unity

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This year’s Greek Week, which took place Thursday through Saturday, underwent a transition in an effort to promote increased participation in the week’s events, a focus on giving back to the Lehigh community and an overall unity among the Greek chapters.

The Greek Week theme was focused around the hashtag “#NeverStandAlone,” and students were encouraged to use the hashtag throughout the week to promote involvement in the events, according to the Lehigh Greeks Twitter account. Greek Week occurred over the span four days as opposed to six in an attempt to increase attendance.

According to Jennifer Tedeschi, assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, activities began Wednesday with the Greek Gala, followed by the Phonathon, during which students contacted their chapters’ alumni to raise money. On Thursday, students took part in the first-ever Greek Day of Caring, and Friday was the Multicultural Greek Council yard show on the front lawn. The culminating event of this year’s Greek Week was a day of field games and a barbeque at Sayre Field all day Saturday.

“Our hope was that putting all of the competitions on a Saturday all at once, we’d get increased participation and more of each chapter’s members involved,” said Elizabeth Campbell, ’15, a member of Panhellenic Council. “We also sent a survey at the beginning of the summer to get feedback on what people were looking for.”

Campbell said the goal of Greek Week has always been to foster Greek unity, and this year’s changes were an attempt to achieve that in a different way. In particular, the introduction of a Greek Day of Caring created opportunities for students to give meaningful contributions to the Lehigh Valley community.

“This was actually our first year doing the Greek Week Day of Caring through the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley,” said Rob Solis, ’15, the Interfraternity Council Community Service Chair. “We wanted to incorporate service for the first time because we believe that service is an important component to a Greek’s experience.”

Solis said he considered the event a success, as 110 Greeks took part in service projects across the Lehigh Valley.  Chapters were not given any requirements for selecting where they would volunteer. Instead, chapters were simply told to visit United Way’s website, find projects the chapter would be interested in and then volunteer at the service sites they chose.

At Saturday’s field day, students engaged in friendly competition, including relays, tug-of-war and a softball tournament. All of the chapters were separated into teams and participated against each other for the different games. The light blue team, comprised of Gamma Phi Beta, Phi Kappa Theta and the Multicultural Greek Council won the relays, while Alpha Gamma Delta, Sigma Chi and Delta Chi won the tug-of-war for the navy blue team.  The day ended early due to rain, cutting the softball tournament short.

The student consensus was that the new and improved Greek Week was a big success, allowing Greek students to interact and have fun all while giving back to the greater Lehigh community.

“An important part of this year’s Greek Week was to really promote unity between the different councils and houses,” said Gladys Castellon, ’17, president of the Yemaya Chapter of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Inc. “We want to work on making the entire Greek community more unified which will definitely benefit the Lehigh community, too.”

Campbell said that after seeing how the changes positively affected the participation in events this year, she plans to provide next year’s committee with advice on how to continue to improve Greek Week for the future.

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