It’s April and Greek Week 2012 has just concluded. As someone who has been an active member of a Greek organization for the past four years of college I can truly say that my experience at George Mason University would not have been what it was had I not been a part of Fraternity & Sorority Life at GMU.

I was appalled to have read the article last week “explaining” what Greek Week is about and the fact that it is considered a “burden” on the rest of the Mason community. The following is an unbiased, neutral position regarding the positive impact GMU Greeks have on the Mason community.

As you all know, every spring, GMU Greeks participate and compete in several events that make up Greek Week.  This year, there were several major changes made in order to build more unity among all four councils (PHC, IFC, NPHC and MGC).  For the first time, Greek Week incorporated NPHC and MGC and encouraged chapters to participate by pairing with another Greek organization. Not every organization chose to participate, but those who did become a part of a new tradition in Greek Life at George Mason that will hopefully continue to grow and improve with time.

The week started off with a Greek Week kick-off party held in the Corner Pocket on Saturday March 24. This was a new event, which encouraged organizations to come together in a social setting and celebrate the beginning of the very busy and exciting week. This is the one time of the year that Greeks really stand out on campus and are recognized by the university.

Sunday morning, March 25, Greeks participated in Shackathon. Traditionally, this event consisted of Greeks building shacks or other randomly shaped structures out of wood. This year, the challenge was to construct the shack using cardboard and other recyclable materials.  The shacks were put up Sunday afternoon and stayed on campus until noon the following Tuesday. During this short time, Greeks collected cans for Food for Others and raised funds for Habitat for Humanity. Every single year this is an extremely successful event that the Greek community as a whole can come together and give back to those who are less fortunate. This year, Greeks donated 8,292 pounds of canned good to Food for Others and raised $7,500 for Habitat for Humanity.

There were several other events throughout the week, some of which were old, and some of which were new.  These events included a faculty staff appreciation luncheon, an academic advising expo, the Real World: Greek Edition (a forum to present issues faced by each council), Field Day and Aquatics Night. Despite these events completely dominating the schedule of anyone who is participating, they demonstrate the dedication Greeks have toward their organizations.

Every year Greek Week concludes with Greek Sing, which is a skit/song/dance routine that goes along with the set theme. This year’s Greek Sing theme was I Love the 90’s. Some may find it absurd the time and energy organizations put into the preparation of this production.  Regardless of the outcome it is a great time for chapters to bond within while working very hard towards a common goal. I personally cannot imagine not participating in this event with all my sisters. No single other college experience can compare to the memories I have from participating in Greek Sing.

Greek Week aside, every organization works hard throughout the year to raise awareness for their philanthropies as well as participate in community service events to show their support in the NOVA area. It is unfortunate that many are not aware of the positive contributions all Greeks are involved in. We are leaders on this campus and deserve more recognition for the enthusiasm we instill within the GMU community. Each and every Greek organization holds their members to certain standards, which reflect their values. Greeks are also required to maintain a minimum GPA to remain active. Not only are they heavily involved in Greek life but typically are also involved in other clubs, organizations, sports or activities.

I encourage all current and upcoming Mason students to get involved in something on campus.  Greek life may not be for everyone, but you’ll never know whether or not it is the perfect fit for your college experience unless you push stereotypes aside and allow yourself to accept the fact that we are a strong community that has a positive impact on this campus.

– Katie Hennis