Greeks reach out to community with three-day event

Raiza Beltran

Cheering wildly, the University greek community watched their fellow greek brothers and sisters fall in tumbled masses while playing tug-of-war Saturday in the Greek Olympics held at Bierman Field Athletic Building.
Beginning Jan. 27, more than 20 University fraternities and 12 sororities gathered for a weekend of charity and community building. The Greek Weekend was the first all-greek three-day event in more than two decades.
“We knew in the ’60s and ’70s the University had a Greek Week,” said Anna Taff, an Alpha Gamma Delta member and event coordinator. “We wanted to bring it back.”
The weekend opened with a daylong clothing drive Thursday with stockpiles of donated items collected during the past few months. Taff said more than 150 trash bags bulging with clothes were donated to Sharing and Caring Hands, a homeless shelter in Minneapolis.
“The greek community (at the University) is not very big, but it’s a really good community,” said Ken Gartner, a marketing senior and Delta Tau Delta member.
A mission statement created by the 13-member Greek Weekend committee included a pact to continue philanthropic pursuits together in the future.
“We wanted the greek community to build better relations but also support the surrounding community,” Taff said.
Psychology sophomore and Delta Gamma member Vicki Brown said she found new acquaintances in the Greek Olympics where sororities and fraternities that do not usually associate with each other were placed in teams.
Brown said Saturday’s games, which included wheelbarrow races and tug-of-wars, were more community-oriented, as opposed to the greek-sponsored Spring Jam, normally held in May. “Events like Spring Jam are more competitive,” Brown said.
The greeks also showed their creativity in a snow sculpture contest that was judged Saturday night after the olympic events.
Snow carvings of a turtle, a castle and a large University of Minnesota “M” were exhibited on the front lawns of the greek houses along University Avenue. The team of fraternities Alpha Tau Omega, Sigma Alpha Mu and sorority Alpha Phi won first place for their castle snow sculpture.
“There was a lot of detail and use of color,” said Alicia Peterson, a Delta Gamma member and a microbiology junior who judged the contest. “I thought it was pretty creative.”
The All-Greek Formal rounded out the three-day event Saturday, as a reward to greek members. Held in the Radisson Hotel Metrodome on Washington Avenue, fraternity and sorority members danced the night away amid the cacophony of fraternity songs being sung.
The Greek Weekend is only the beginning, Taff said.
“We kind of set out expecting it to be small, but we were pleasantly surprised,” Taff said. “Spring Jam and Homecoming started out small also; hopefully Greek Weekend will follow in their footsteps.”

Raiza Beltran covers student life and student government. She can be reached at [email protected] or 627-4070 x3221.