Fraternities and sororities at Penn are bringing a new level of collaboration to this semester’s Greek Week, which began yesterday.
This year brings a significant increase to the Multicultural Greek Council’s involvement in the week.
More interactive philanthropy events and an increased emphasis on bringing everyone together are some of the other key changes the Greek Week organizers have focused on this year, said Inter-Fraternity Council President and College junior Jimmy Germi .
The MGC has greatly expanded its role in organizing events this year, Germi said, describing the work this semester as a “great bridge” between the Greek councils. He hopes this will “set a precedent for years to come.”
MGC is “not traditionally involved as much” in the planning of Greek Week, MGC President and Wharton junior Peixin Mo said. This comes from the smaller size of the MGC and the consequent smaller scale of visibility and hype, she explained.
This year, however, MGC has been present at all planning meetings, and each individual MGC chapter has increased its involvement in the week, Mo said. This is in line with one of MGC’s aims this year to “foster a more collaborative Greek environment,” she added.
Over the course of the week, Greeks will participate in a range of events that are based on the pillars of Greek life.
This semester, events are working with a “Camp” theme, said College junior and Panhellenic Council Vice President of Programming Alyssa Kaplan . Chapters will be asked to donate supplies and equipment to Camp Kesem , a camp run by Penn students for children whose parents are suffering from cancer, she explained.
The planners have also made structural changes to the week. Instead of each chapter submitting individual teams for competitions, chapters have been combined to form nine groups. Each group consists of representatives of a single Panhel chapter, about three fraternities and about three MGC chapters.
Germi hopes that the structure will encourage new friendships, as in the past “there felt like there was a disconnect between MGC Panhel and the IFC.”
Greek leaders have also redesigned many of the events.
This year’s charity event, the Camp Greek Carnival at 40th Street field, will bring nearly 100 children from local Philadelphia schools for a field day. It will be a chance for students to “interact with the community,” Germi said, stressing the benefits of being able to see the direct impact of philanthropy.
Sign ups for this event have been “off the wall,” Kaplan said.
Other new features include changes to the Quizzo event, which has been organized in collaboration with Wharton Undergraduate Consulting Club this semester , Mo said. Instead of being held in a classroom, tonight’s Quizzo will be hosted by City Tap House and questions will range outside the normal themes of Greek life.
Last night also introduced a new theme of mental health to Greek Week as the team welcomed an evening of talks and workshops from representatives of the mental health group Minding Your Mind.
Mental health is “a very important topic on campus, especially this semester,” Kaplan said.
Greek leaders have been wanting to proactively address mental health in the Greek community for a while, Mo said. The team decided that Greek Week would be “a great way to get that message in a big way,” Kaplan added.
The planning committee has implemented many of the changes to the Greek Week schedule after surveying chapters several months ago.
“We wanted something people would be excited to take part in,” Kaplan explained.
Athletic competition was something recommended by students and so the team has continued to include sports events, like Wednesday’s Powderpuff tournament and Thursday’s Soccer Tourney.
Recommendations from the survey also included ideas that the team hopes would be possible to implement during next fall’s Greek Week, Kaplan added. One idea is a big community event, such as a concert or a comedian performance .
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled the name of Camp Kesem as Camp Kesum.
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