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A three-day celebration of Greek life that is being billed as "My Big Fat Greek Weekend" begins this afternoon, despite the Office of Student Conduct's ongoing investigations into three fraternities and three sororities.

Greek Weekend -- organized annually by the InterFraternity, Panhellenic and BiCultural InterGreek councils -- aims to bring together members of the Greek community and to show non-Greeks what Greek life is all about.

As in the past, the weekend will begin with a powder puff football game and barbecue on Hill Field and will feature a massive community service project as well as mandatory study hours for the Greeks.

But what separates Greek Weekend 2003 from those of previous years is the block party that will occur on Spruce Street tomorrow night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

"It's going to be huge," IFC Executive Vice President Conor O'Callaghan said. "Two to three thousand people will show up.

"The general consensus is that this could definitely be the biggest party outside of Fling. But unlike Fling, it's going to be a controlled, registered party environment that will be safer for all Penn students," he added.

As of Wednesday, plans for five registered wet parties and three dry parties remained in place despite the investigations.

While there is one wet party planned at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, Spruce Street seems to be the center of the action, with four of the wet parties -- Alpha Epsilon Pi, Phi Kappa Psi, Pi Lambda Phi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternities -- taking place between the Veterinary Hospital and Allegro's.

Presidents of each fraternity and sorority as well as board members of the IFC and Panhel have been assigned to "Team Sober," a group of 40 to 50 student leaders who will be monitoring the events and ensuring that they run safely and smoothly.

"This event is our keystone event to bring everyone out," O'Callaghan said. "We're hoping if we do it right this year, that it could become an annual mainstay.

"I'm really nervous, because it's either going to be the greatest thing ever or the worst thing ever. This is the first time that anything like this has been done, at least in recent memory," O'Callaghan continued.

For the community service project tomorrow morning, the Greeks will be working with the University City District to clean up the city. Sunday study hours, open to non-Greeks, will take place in Huntsman Hall's forum level from 12-6 p.m. where both tutors and refreshments will be provided.

"I think the weekend is very important because it brings all the Greeks working together for a common goal," Panhel Executive Vice President Neha Bansal said. "We're all working together to clean up our community. We are doing something positive."

With much of the IFC's budget directed toward this weekend, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Director Scott Reikofski also had a positive outlook on the festivities.

"I think overall the students from IFC, Panhel and BIG-C have worked together better than they have in the past in planning it."

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