Greek-letter groups push community service

The GW Greek-letter community held its first annual Community Outreach Day Friday, an event that promoted involvement in the D.C. community, said event organizers Tracie Anzaldi, GW’s coordinator of Greek affairs, and Carmen Johnson, a GW graduate student.

Members of the Greek-letter system spent the morning assisting the staffers at the Deanwood Day Care Center and cleaning up the river bank near Kenneworth Park for planting.

Their efforts were followed by a period of reflection, during which members of the fraternities and sororities discussed their plans to give back to the community.

“This gives us the chance to gather our resources and help out the community,” said Ben Krishner, vice president of the Interfraternity Council. “This is a first annual event, and we want to get more of the University involved.”

Many of the students who gathered to kick off the event Friday morning in the Marvin Center Ballroom said they see a resurgence of negative commentary in the media about the Greek-letter community. References were made to articles in The GW Hatchet about an alleged rape at a Boston University fraternity and the recent legal troubles facing Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

“We want to create a more unified Greek system, so you can be proud of not only your own fraternity or sorority, but of being Greek,” said Hannah Eskridge, of Kappa Kappa Gamma. “When we do good things, we get good press. When bad things happen, there’s bad press.”

Although not all the people gathered in the Marvin Center Ballroom agreed on the recent portrayal of Greek-letter life, most said they were satisfied with being part of the community.

Panhellenic Association President Jennifer Pilz stressed the importance of sorority life for potential rushees.

“It’s more than social,” she said. “A sorority offers philanthropy, service and sisterhood.”

Greek-letter community members said they feel there has been an overemphasis on the negative aspects of Greek life, but the relationship between Greek organizations and the administration is improving.

“Right now, the relationship between Panhellenic and GW administration is great,” Pilz said.

Others said they are concerned single members of organizations are poorly representing Greek-letter life.

“There is a responsibility to keep up the high standards of one’s sorority or fraternity,” said Bridgette Nadzam, president of Delta Gamma. “You have to be true to the history of the fraternity,” said Jeff Norton, of Phi Sigma Kappa. “There are a certain number of people you know you can count on and who can count on you.”

Although many students said they are concerned about the Greek-letter community’s reputation, others said they were more concerned with promoting their commitment to community service in the D.C. area.

“We have a great opportunity here,” said Sarah Versace, of Kappa Kappa Gamma. “We have an opportunity to meet people and do things like the service exhibited here today. Also, you can meet a lot of true friends.”

Anzaldi said she hopes the community outreach efforts will attract potential rushees, Anzaldi said.

“There should be an equal amount of press for good things,” she said. “We do community service. We are a community and we are interested in what the interests of potential rushees are.”

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