Machy Days widens scope

Team Imma Let You Finish... But performs at the Greek Beats battle of the bands outside of Coffman Memorial Union on Friday where different Greek pairings went head-to-head as a part of Machy Days.

Image by Liam James Doyle

Team “Imma Let You Finish… But” performs at the Greek Beats battle of the bands outside of Coffman Memorial Union on Friday where different Greek pairings went head-to-head as a part of Machy Days.

by Parker Lemke

Celebrating in warm weather, the University of Minnesota’s greek community held its second annual Machy Days week with a mix of activities and community outreach events.
Along with staples like a dodgeball tournament and a dance competition, the greek councils that organized the week sought to expand its reach this year with sexual assault awareness events.
“It really provides one of the best opportunities that we’ll have throughout the year to get our community together and do that stuff,” said Interfraternity Council Vice President of Programming Jason Lambert. 
Events began with a Tuesday panel that brought attention to the consequences of stereotypical portrayals of masculinity. That theme continued with the “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes” march on Thursday to raise awareness about violence against women. 
During the march, men walked down University Avenue in women’s shoes while women marched wearing men’s shoes before reaching Northrop Auditorium where organizers held sexual assault awareness presentations, Lambert said.
This year, a sizable portion of the Machy Days budget went into renting space at Northrop for the presentations, Lambert said.
“Last year they tried to do the same thing in the Fieldhouse,” he said. “It just didn’t give off a professional vibe to reflect the seriousness of the topic.”
Machy Days gives the greek community a chance to show their involvement in addressing serious problems, said Sigma Phi Epsilon Vice President Keaon Dousti, who organized the Tuesdaypanel. 
“Any time there’s a week this popular, you also want to give back to the community,” he said. “There’s a lot of perception that [greeks] just like to engage in the social aspect.”
After last year’s Machy Days’ philanthropic events didn’t raise much money, Lambert said organizers partnered this year with Gopher Athletics and the student group
Unlimited Dance Marathon to help raise funds for the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital with a dunk tank and raffle.
Coming together as a community remains the central role of Machy Days, said IFC President JD Braun.
“The main focus is bringing the greek community together,” he said. “It’s really building bonds with people you may not interact with too frequently.”
Before the week kicked off, Braun said organizers were hoping to broaden these connections by pushing for involvement with the Multicultural Greek Council, which represents culturally diverse greek chapters on campus, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council, which is composed of nine historically black fraternities and sororities. 
In the past, Machy Days and similar springtime celebrations have been oriented toward IFC and the Panhellenic Council, Braun said, and involving the other councils would help the event represent a larger part of the greek community. 
But there was miscommunication about how those councils were going to be involved, discouraging multicultural greek chapters from taking part, MGC President Brandon Bogan said.
Similar problems came up last year, he said, and the councils are still laying the groundwork for how to collaborate consistently. 
In the future, Bogan said, he hopes communication between all participating councils can be done from the beginning, and that it’s important for events billed as “all-greek” to represent the entire community. 
Though including multicultural fraternities and sororities in Machy Days this year didn’t work out as planned, Lambert said he wants them to be involved as much as possible in future greek festivities.
“For Homecoming, you know, we are going to work really close with them to incorporate all greek life,” he said. “That’s something we really want to make happen.”