Greek Week Unites Greek Community
by Josephine von Dohlen
In 1951, Hillsdale’s Interfraternity Council gathered fraternity men for a week of events in which they competed in group activities such as a jug hunt in the Arboretum and a tug-of-war in the swamp. They called the event Greek Week. At the time, the week was for fraternity pledges leading up to their initiation and gained the moniker of “Hell Week.” However, it soon became a fraternity-wide activity that has continued until today in both fraternity and sorority Greek life on campus.
While Greek Week today is not pre-initiation hazing but rather a competition between houses, the tradition of cultivating camaraderie between the houses and among the Greek community remains. President of Chi Omega Mairead Cooper, ’20, says that while Greek Week represents a healthy and fun competition among the houses, it is more than that. “Greek Week is about uniting our sisterhood, but also bringing together all the sororities,” she explains.
Sorority Greek Week activities, sponsored by the Panhellenic Council, include sports competitions such as basketball, volleyball, and jump rope, but also other games—trivia, Finish-the-Lyric, where teams fill in song lyrics word-for-word, and the infamous trash bag and newspaper fashion show. Winning is taken seriously, too. In the weeks leading up to the days of competition, girls practice for the events, sometimes even daily. Chi Omega broke a record of more than 200 jumps in jump rope this year, where 10 girls simultaneously jump with one rope. Chi Omega took first place this year, as they have done every year except for one in the past 32 years.
Pi Beta Phi President Tess Skehan, ’20, agrees that Greek Week is unifying. “It is a way to celebrate the Greek system, both by unifying the individual houses and strengthening the community as a whole,” she says. Skehan adds, “This year’s inclusion of philanthropy really highlighted the latter, proving again that the Greek system has so much to offer to its members and the campus overall.”
New to Greek Week this year was a fundraiser for each sorority’s philanthropy—a project of the Student Leadership Workshop, which Greek leadership attended in early January during the winter break. Lauren Tunney, ’20, president of Kappa Kappa Gamma, said that her specific leadership group set out to refocus Greek Week, something that she loved watching come to life this year. “I really think the philanthropy focus will help better not only relations between Greek houses, but also the community through the money we raise and the projects we participate in as a result,” she says.
Fraternity Greek Week includes competitions such as softball, corn hole, basketball, euchre, ping pong, billiards, and bowling. The competitions are built around encouraging brotherhood and fraternity unity. This year, Alpha Tau Omega took first place for the eighth consecutive year. “A competitive spirit is something we, as Greeks, pride ourselves on,” ATO President Reagan Wardie, ’20, explains. “Each house wants to continuously improve each year. Without that competitive spirit, Greek life on campus would not survive. Greek Week gives each house a chance to come together and channel that competitiveness in a fun and healthy manner.”
Published in June 2019