Today marks the start of five days full of fun and philanthropy for Penn’s Greek community.

Greek Week, a twice-annual event sponsored by the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek Council, will kick off with a “Meet the Greeks” event on Locust Walk and will culminate on Sunday with the 12th annual Rena Rowan 5K Ribbon Run/Walk.

This semester’s festivities differ from previous Greek Weeks at Penn.

For starters, fall 2012’s Greek Week is “more like a Greek weekend,” according to College senior and Panhel Vice President of Public Relations Alyssa Drobatz.

“We chose to do a Greek weekend based on the type of events we’re having,” Drobatz said. “More people will be likely to attend a barbecue or a kickball game on a Friday.”

College senior and Panhel President Jill Wang agreed that hosting activities on the weekend will “increase participation and maximize the amount of people showing up to events.”

Since Greek Week is beginning on a Wednesday, it is also shorter than past Greek Weeks – five days opposed to seven. “We have less events, but a higher quality of events,” College senior and IFC President David Shapiro said. “Since everyone is busy, we think this will generate a better turnout.

Most notably different, this semester’s Greek Week does not have an official theme. Previous themes have included “Greekelodeon” and “I’m a Super Greek.”

“We chose to not include a theme because we wanted to focus on what it means to be Greek and giving back to the community,” Wang said. “The Greeks do a lot behind the scenes to give back to the community and we want to celebrate that.”

A new philanthropy event this year involves making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. On Thursday, Houston Hall will host stations where Greeks can make sandwiches which will be donated to the Hillel Soup Kitchen.

Drobatz agreed that community service is an underlying theme this year.

“We’re doing the service event and the Rena Rowan run to give the community a better feel of how we’re into philanthropy,” she said. “Having a theme is fun, but it is hard to apply to different events. It really just relates to the T-shirts.”

“The Greek community is large and diverse,” Shapiro said. “Philanthropy is the best way to unite the community and to gain exposure to other Greeks and the West Philadelphia area.”

Uniting the Greek community with other student groups is another main focus of this semester’s Greek Week.

Events like Friday’s annual fall block parties are open to the entire student body, while Saturday’s “Grillin’ with the Greeks” encourages students to come out for a tailgate before the Penn-Columbia football game.

“We wanted to make this Greek Week as integrative as possible,” Wang said. “Things like giving support to Penn Athletics shows commitment to the Penn community as a whole.”

In addition to bringing together Greeks and non-Greeks, Greek Week also places an emphasis on uniting IFC, Panhel and MGC. For example, Friday’s kickball tournament will pair a sorority, a fraternity and an MGC chapter on teams to play against one another.

“A little friendly competition is always good,” College senior and MGC President Jacqueline Baron said. “MGC is historically not as involved in Greek Week, but it’s important to be involved and set precedent. This is our Greek Week just as much as it is IFC’s and Panhel’s.”

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