Greeks clean up for Derby Days

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March 25, 2008

1:27 AM

When most people contemplate the contributions that the fraternities of the College have made to our community, a long list of dance parties, tailgates and basement revelries typically come to mind. The units have become notorious for the festivities they provide each week, and with only a small percentage of the College’s students involved in Greek life, it is hard to fend off the immature and irresponsible stereotypes for which members are scrutinized. Far too often the actions of a few taint the reputations of an entire group, and the good that Greek organizations do contribute goes wildly unnoticed.

p. Contrary to popular belief, sororities and fraternities are organizations dedicated to more than just social events. Members of the Greek community are leaders who make a conscious effort to assist and participate in events that benefit charitable groups throughout the College and the surrounding community. However, recent skepticism since the embezzlement of philanthropy funds by a member of Beta Theta Pi has made it even more difficult for certain organizations to assert their worth.

p. Few events have been more controversial than Sigma Chi Derby Days. After drawing personal criticism from the Inter-Sorority Council, Sigma Chi was faced with the difficulty of legitimizing its philanthropy while preserving the competition that makes the event so successful.

p. Derby Days is a week-long competition between sororities that is meant to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding hospitals and medical research.

p. In previous years, Derby Days has been more of an underground, no-holds-barred competition between members of the sorority community. Girls would vie for brothers’ attention often in inappropriate ways. Judgment of events such as the lip sync and the skit seemed to be based on how well girls bashed other sisters and exploited their bodies — not by the guidelines Sigma Chi had provided. Scoring was confusing, and some even questioned whether the money raised was put to good use.

p. After taking into consideration the complaints of ISC, the fraternity succeeded in creating a positive atmosphere in last week’s Derby Days, in which more jokes were aimed at the brothers of Sigma Chi than at members of any particular sorority.

p. Events were publicly held in the University Center, and speakers from Children’s Miracle Network were present to explain the impact of the money Derby Days raised. Any issues that did arise during the friendly competition were addressed and resolved quite efficiently, transforming Derby Days into less of a girl fight.

p. Sigma Chi should be commended for putting on stage a Greek community worthy of applause, as sorority members were given the opportunity to put a positive spin on the inevitable rivalry that exists between them. They successfully turned around a derisive event that barely raised enough money to break even in past years into a respectful representation of Greek life at the College.

p. Philanthropy season isn’t over yet, and you do not have to be Greek to participate. I encourage all students to get involved in the upcoming philanthropies regardless of Greek affiliation.

p. The Greek community is not separate from the College community. Any problems that exist within the Greek population are problems everyone at the College should feel responsible for fixing. Instead of bashing the Greek system, we should act as Sigma Chi has done and be the change we wish to see.

p. Joanna Sandager is a freshman at the College.

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