Greek Week Promotes Transparency and Openness Within Colgate Community

From Wednesday, April 8 to Sunday, April 12, the Panhellenic Council (PanHel) and Inter Fraternity Council (IFC) hosted this year’s Greek Week. These five days started with “Wear Your Letters Wednesday” and ended with the Colgate Olympics on Sunday. The purpose of the week was to celebrate Greek organizations’ achievements in philanthropy, and more importantly, to improve Greek relationships with the non-Greek Colgate and Hamilton communities. According to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA), the Greek system is often perceived in a negative light, due to some issues associated with the system, such as hazing, sexual assault or exclusivity. Through Greek Week, OFSA, IFC and PanHel all hoped to demonstrate their commitment to all communities in Hamilton, not just to the Greek community.

“I was hoping that the week would bring Greek organizations together and prove to the school that the Greek system is a positive and caring part of the school,” Vice President of IFC and member of Theta Chi fraternity sophomore Connor Chabot said.  

To achieve their goals, IFC and PanHel made social awareness a core theme. Greek members were given the chance to talk to other people in the community about their perspective on Greek life, and community members were able to do the same, through several events.

On Thursday, April 9, there was an open reception at Theta Chi fraternity allowing members of the Colgate and Hamilton community to join Greek students in a discussion on the fraternities and sororities. Professors were especially encouraged to go and speak on relationship between faculty and Greek life. In addition, throughout the week, IFC and Pan-Hel held a Chapter Can Collection Contest, during which each Greek organization attempted to collect as many cans as they could to donate to the Village of Hamilton’s Community Action Partnership relief fund. Then, beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 10, each chapter was judged by how creatively they displayed their cans in the window.

Jessica Sullivan, a junior and member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority, organized Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® at Colgate. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® is an event run through Venture Humanity, Inc., where mostly men can walk in high heels to support sexual assault victims. Due to a large concern with sexual assault on Colgate’s campus, this was a way of showing that Greek organizations will not support sexual misconduct at Colgate. This event represented a more philanthropic aspect of Greek Week, showing how the Greek system as a whole stood on the issue of sexual assault. President of PanHel and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority junior Natalie Carpenter expressed positive sentiments in regards to this event.

“A personal highlight [of the week] was the Greek community’s support of the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® event. We wanted Greek students to actively acknowledge their role on this campus and as a result, engage with the rest of the Colgate community,” Carpenter said.

Sophomore Olivia Acker, a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, felt like Greek Week was a good way of bridging together those in Greek life and those who are not affiliated with Greek organizations.

“I think that in a Greek letter organization, and at Colgate especially, it’s possible to get caught up in your own bubble, so Greek Week is an important time for all of the Greek students to come together as a reminder of our common goals of supporting the Colgate and Hamilton communities,” Acker said.

By instituting Greek Week, which was only created in the past couple years, IFC and PanHel hoped to show that Greek organizations are concerned with the rest of the community and wanted to connect the village with the school in a way that benefits all, not just Greek organizations. It was the hope that Greek students would be able to intermingle with everyone during Greek Week, working together to create a more inviting environment for all. 

“Greek Week was definitely a success,” Carpenter said. 

However, senior Christina Gutowski was one student who did not believe that the week was advertised well enough. 

“Greek Week is supposed to be a liaison between Greek and non-Greek students, but I barely knew it was happening,” Gutowski said.