Order of Omega Shifts Greek Week’s Focus from Competition to Unity
BY JIM MALVEN
Last week was the first time Order of Omega did not name a winner of Greek Week, as the organization toned down the competitiveness in hopes of increasing participation.
Formerly, assigned groups of fraternities and sororities challenged one another in a series of events, and the winning group was announced at the end of the week. While this format became the norm, formal competition led to a decrease in student participation, according to Order of Omega member Molly Dwyer, ’16.
“In the past, it was just a week of things that people weren’t terribly involved in,” she said.
Dwyer said the changes, which also included moving the week from October to February and including the Greek Leadership Awards, were suggested last fall.
She added that the main focus was on trying to make Greek Week seem like less of a rivalry among Greek houses.
“We looked at it a little differently this year,” Dwyer said. “As Order of Omega, we didn’t really like the competition style.”
Dwyer expressed that the modifications were due in part to the closing of Westminster’s Sigma Chi Epsilon chapter, which eliminated the possibility of the traditional three-groups-of-three-organizations format, but she also said that change would have been necessary anyway.
“I still don’t think we would have done it that way, just because so many people didn’t like that,” she said about the old format.
This year’s Greek Week still contained a number of competitions: a lip sync battle on Tuesday, a dodgeball tournament on Wednesday, Greek Awards on Thursday and Penny Wars throughout the week. However, Order of Omega emphasized that these events were intended to recognize Greek excellence, not to establish a ranking of organizations.
For the dodgeball tournament, each team was required to be mixed in gender and chapter affiliation. During Penny Wars, typically a part of the competition among chapters, the emphasis was on raising money for the local nonprofit organization SERVE.
“The goal Order of Omega had for 2016’s Greek Week was to celebrate our Greek Community, unite the community through fun activities and reflect and award those chapters and individuals who make our community so great,” Nicole Elliott, assistant director of Greek Life, said.
Members of Order of Omega said they saw an improvement in attendance and participation from last year.
“It turned out better than I expected,” Dwyer said.
She added that the increased participation was a result of the less competitive style, as well as pushing Greek Awards back and moving Greek Awards forward to unite them in one week.
Tuesday’s lip sync battle drew a crowd, as groups and individuals performed on stage in Mueller Leadership Hall . After all of the performances, the judges announced a three-way tie for first place: an air guitar routine and lip sync of “Welcome to the Jungle” by Phi Delta Theta’s Eric Woytus, ’19, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s rendition of “It’s Raining Men,” and Westminster’s Panhellenic Council’s routine to “Wannebe” by the Spice Girls.
The dodgeball tournament on Wednesday night filled the gym in the Hunter Activity Center. The winning team consisted of members from Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Alpha Order.
“The goal is to get people really excited and brought together,” Dwyer said about the competitions.
She added that with the new changes, she is still not completely satisfied with the current state of Greek Week. Dwyer said she wants Order of Omega to incorporate more service events in future Greek Weeks. She also hopes to involve William Woods University in Greek Week.
“They weren’t able to do that this year, but I think that’s something we’ll continue next year because I think that’s an opportunity missed if we don’t try to engage with William Woods,” she said. “There’s definitely a lot of need for improvement, but I think for the first year of changing so many things, it’s going pretty well.”