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UCLA’s Greek Week aims to boost interest with new activities

By Tyson Ni

Feb. 20, 2014 12:08 a.m.

Eating Oreos off their heads, picking cherries from a whipped cream pie and running a relay race in costumes will kick off this year’s Greek Week.

Greek life officers are planning new activities to encourage more people to participate in their upcoming Greek Week, an annual event that brings together members of fraternities and sororities at UCLA.

These new kickoff games will be followed by more traditional activities like flag football and volleyball on Friday. The week will continue with community service projects on Saturday and will wrap up with an awards gala on Wednesday.

On Saturday, all Greek chapters will also participate in community service projects at various locations around Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Westwood Horizons, a home for senior citizens.

Although 30 percent of the members from each chapter are required to participate in the activities, officers are making changes to Greek Week to increase attendance from last year. For the first time, the event’s kickoff games will be free, and event organizers condensed this year’s Greek Week into three days instead of four, said Samantha Tran, third-year psychology student and president of the Multi-Interest Greek Council.

Event organizers said they hope this year’s events, themed after the Hunger Games, will be “bigger and better” to encourage more participation. The relay race this year, for example, features a donut eating contest and requires participants to spin around while wearing costumes, said Koko Tanaka, a second-year mathematics student who is on the executive board that runs the events.

Monica Vuong, president of Phi Sigma Rho – a sorority for South Campus student – said Greek Week offers smaller Greek organizations a chance to build professional relationships with the larger Greek chapters. Increased visibility will allow more people to know more about Phi Sigma Rho, and will help her sorority recruit new members, said Vuong, a third-year molecular, cellular and developmental biology student.

“We (would) like to have a bigger presence (on) sorority row,” she said. “Just having other organizations know our name (and) what we are about is what I like about Greek Week.”

Vuong said Greek Week allows members of different Greek organizations to get to know each other and do more events together throughout the school year.

Some students said they find it challenging to participate in the games and deal with academic obligations at the same time.

Caitlin Choy, a second-year psychology student who is in Chi Omega, said she enjoyed her experience in Greek Week last year, when she helped make a human pyramid and raced through a blow-up obstacle course. But she said she may not be as involved this time around because she has classes on Friday when the events take place.

The money raised during Greek Week games, like penny wars and raffle baskets, will go toward the Mattel Children’s Hospital, said Ashley Rosenberg, a third-year psychobiology student who oversees the executive board.

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