This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Catherine Barnao
The University’s service, professional and honors Greek groups are taking cues from their social Greek counterparts to strengthen ties among members and promote chapter pride during the fifth-annual Alternative Greek Week.
The chain of events, which kick off today, have been hosted each year since 2008 by a council that unites groups that fall outside the social Greek life community. Coordinators said this year, they are planning more social events to prove their booming membership can do more than unite around a cause or interest.
The 11 chapters forming the Professional, Honor and Service Greek Council received three new representatives this year after Phi Alpha Delta, Delta Epsilon Mu and Delta Sigma Pi joined the non-traditional Greek community.
In previous years, the events during Alternative Greek Week included Rock Band, Iron Chef and trivia competitions, which members said did not encourage members of alternative Greek organizations to socialize with other members.
Sarah Kranau, a sophomore member of the service-centered Epsilon Sigma Alpha sorority who sits on the board for Alternative Greek Week, said this year’s programming resembles events put on by social Greek organizations – a focus she thinks will draw more members.
This year, the organizers of Alternative Greek Week added a tricycle race, a dodgeball competition, a skit night and a club night at Josephine’s – events that the council said are typically associated with social Greek chapters.
“Just because we’re in a service sorority as opposed to a social sorority, that doesn’t mean we automatically have like no life,” Kranau said. “We like to go out and have fun just as much.”
Chapters across the alternative Greek community saw unprecedented growth in membership this year, with most seeing vast increases in their membership.
Senior Bianca Gutierrez, president of the service sorority Epsilon Sigma Alpha, said her chapter’s 40-member pledge class this year nearly doubled their organization’s size. In previous years, the chapter added no more than 20 girls at once.
Lauren Jacobson, president of the professional foreign service Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, said about 60 women attended her chapter’s recruitment this year, up from an average of 30 or 35 in previous years, though their pledge class has remained the same size.
“I think in the same way that the Greek community at GW has grown, alternative Greek community has seen that same growth, with people trying to find kind of their niche in the GW community,” Jacobson said.