Sweetheart Week brings community members together

Candidates participate for more than a crown.

Junior Ashley Kipka, right, and her assistant Ashley Swenson, left, serves her roast to the seniors of Alpha Gamma Rho as part of their sweetheart week activities on Thursday at the fraternity's house.

Mark Vancleave

Junior Ashley Kipka, right, and her assistant Ashley Swenson, left, serves her roast to the seniors of Alpha Gamma Rho as part of their sweetheart week activities on Thursday at the fraternity's house.

Nickalas Tabbert

 

As she put on the Alpha Gamma Rho sweetheart queen sweatshirt and adjusted her flowers, Mary Kennedy smiled.

Kennedy, a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, had just been named the fraternity’s sweetheart –– a title reserved for greek members chosen to represent another chapter.

Sweetheart Week is a popular tradition in the greek community, where fraternities and sororities come together for food, socializing and charity.

Kennedy shares her reign with Alpha Omicron Pi’s Rachel Otter, who was crowned as AGR’s sweetheart princess. The two will carry their titles throughout the year.

For AGR, the week-long process began Feb. 13, when candidates from eight sororites attended a formal dinner to meet with the 35 members of the chapter. Their goal for the week was to win over the judges — AGR’s eight seniors, whose votes determined the winner.

Throughout the week, chapter members interviewed the girls and held competitions to get to know the contestants individually.

The questions thrown at the girls were sometimes rather atypical. At ARG, the members wanted to know “red or green?” — in reference to which brand of tractor, International Harvester or John Deere, they preferred.

“The looks on the girls’ faces can be really funny,” said Royce Durhman, AGR’s president. “The questions are really laid back and are a great way for the guys to start the week off with the girls.”

AGR also held a bake-off where candidates boasted their favorite dishes and desserts. Each candidate served the seniors before answering questions about their choice and how it represents AGR.

The process is important to find the things that set the girls apart, said member Chris Judd.

“It’s the small things like coming over for lunch and talking with us,” he said.

To AGR members, the chapter’s sweetheart is someone who best represents their house. The idea is to network and build long-lasting relationships.

“We are able to meet kids that we normally wouldn’t see or have class with,” said Darin Davis, another member.

The week concluded Friday night with the coronation of the 2012 Alpha Gamma Rho Sweetheart Queen and Princess. Awards were given to each girl for something they did during the week, including best interview, best talent and cutest dessert.

All the candidates were seated in a row facing a room crowded full of greek members. The chapter gives out a sweatshirt instead of a crown, and as it was held above each girl’s head, excited cheers filled the room. When the sweatshirts fell into Otter’s and Kennedy’s laps, the room broke out in even louder applause from their chapter sisters and house members.

But wearing a sweatshirt is not the only prize at the end of the week. For AGR, it’s the new connections.

“We want all the candidates to come hang out here,” Charlie Tank said, “for the rest of the year and for years to come.”