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March 30, 2001 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-30

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 30, 2001

FRIDAY Focus

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As fraternities and sororities participate in the many community
service projects and friendly competitions of Greek Week, they struggle
to shed an image that they are more about partying than philanthropy.

Greek houses
strive for unity
through diversity

0

By Elizabeth Kassab
Daily Staff Reporter

Students of all cultures and backgrounds
joined together last night in the Lydia
Mendelssohn Theater for the Black Greek Asso-
ciation's Step Show, incorporated into Greek
Week for the first time.
This inclusion is indicative of a Greek system
that is moving toward unity of race and ethnicity.
Traditionally separated into the BGA, the Inter-
fraternity Council and the Panhellenic Associa-
tion, the groups are making strides to work
together, illustrated through the inception of a
fourth body, the Multicultural Greek Council.
The newly-formed MGC is comprised of mul-
ticultural Greek organizations, specifically Asian
and Hispanic houses, whose needs are not fully
met through any of the previously existing bod-
ies. The MGC will work with IFC, Panhel and
the BGA, but president JR Ramos said one of
their goals is to "increase unity within our
groups:'
This year has witnessed "more overtures to
bring the groups together," said BGA President
Marcus Collins, an Engineering and Music
senior. These groups were aware of each others'
presence, but there was "never a true interaction,"
he said.
Panhel President Stephanie Deal, an LSA
junior, said the four organizations eagerly plan to
move into a much closer relationship with each
other.
"Our goal is to start planning events with all
four councils," Deal said. Ideas include a charity
ball and a Greek Service Day similar to the
Detroit Project.
Although the Greek system has traditionally
been comprised of white students, minorities are

a growing presence in today's Greek community.
Wes Del Prete, a member of the Sigma Nu fra-
ternity, said institutional segregation was more
than a second-hand memory for his parents' gen-
eration. In contrast, he said, "our generation is
growing up together.... In general, color and eth-
nicity doesn't play into effect as much."
He added that he thinks Greek houses are
becoming closer to representing the diverse
makeup of the student population. He also said
diversity was a factor when he considered which
fraternities to rush.
"I did choose Sigma Nu because it is one of
the most diverse traditionally Greek houses,' he
said. He added that the members of the house
seemed "like a group of guys who were all equal
and had a good time together."
Sigma Kappa sorority member Gina Kuhn said
although minorities are a rarity in sororities, she
has been exposed to different types of people.
"I feel like I've met people from all different
aspects of America," Kuhn said. "Predominantly
everyone in every sorority is white ... but you do
learn a lot about different religions and people in
general."
"I don't ever feel like it's not diverse," said
Deal, who is Hispanic. "We're really working to
encourage (diversity)."
Choosing whether to join multicultural or tra-
ditional Greek organizations is a personal choice,
said Kuhn.
"It depends on who you identify with;" she
said. "You can be Mexican, but if you are raised
with white people, that's who you identify with."
Kuhn said she values her Hispanic heritage,
and it gives her a unique identity in the tradition-
al Greek system.
"It does make me stand out," Kuhn said. "For
me it's good."

DAVID KATZ/Daily
Fraternity and sorority members compete in numerous events during Greek Week, including this game of volleyball in front of the Alpha Delta Phi
house on State Street.
t go Gr emek: Someft
aru allruh istoo arly

By rten Beaumont
Daily StaffReporter

George Cantor is one of many people who
says fall rush for Greek houses can be a factor
contributing to colleges' ongoing problems
with underage drinking.
As part of negotiations with the University
of Michigan in a lawsuit he filed following
the1998 death of his daughter, Cantor asked
the University to consider delaying all frater-
nity and sorority rush until winter semester.
Courtney Cantor died after falling from her
sixth-floor window in Mary Markley Resi-
dence Hall less than two months into her
freshman year. She was seen earlier on the
night of her death consuming alcohol at a Phi
Delta Theta fraternity party.
"I have said all along that I don't like the
idea of fall rush. It puts too much pressure on
freshman with the new experience of being at
an elite university like the University of
Michigan;' said George Cantor, a columnist
for The Detroit News.
Currently, students have the option of rush-
ing during the fall or winter.
Like Courtney Cantor, most students rush-
ing sororities choose to rush in the fall. For
women, winter rush is often not even an
option.
"We have rush quotas in our houses that are
usually filled by the end of fall rush. There-
fore, only about three or four houses end up
having a winter rush," said Monica Rose,
executive vice president for the University's

Panhellenic Association.
Interfraternity Council Vice President of
Recruitment Dan Fanton said fall rush pro-
duces the highest number of new members.
"We usually get about twice as many new
members during the fall compared to the win-
ter rush," Fanton said. He added that during
the past few years, chapters have received
roughly 400 new members as a result of fall
rush and just under 200 new members from
winter rush.
He said students are usually more interested
in fall rush for several reasons.
"In the fall everyone is just getting back on
campus and the new students are looking for
something to do on campus. Nobody has
much on their plate yet," he said.
Fall rush is also publicized more than win-
ter rush, which is generally categorized as a
quiet "friends" rush, Fanton said. He
explained winter rush as attracting students
who are usually friends of the new members
from the fall term.
Fanton also said that the amount of publici-
ty for winter rush may be affected by the fact
that winter is a busy transition period for IFC.
However, many critics of fall rush say IFC
and Panhel should make a point of advertising
winter rush.
"The winter rush gives freshmen a chance
to get their feet set on the ground," Cantor
said. Many people see part of this as adjusting
to living in a social setting that often includes
alcohol.
But, Fanton did not agree with the argument

that underage drinking may be a result of the
fall rush.
"There is no proof that the fall rush con-
tributes to underage drinking on campuses,"
he said. He cited a University of North Caroli-
na study from 1996 that found that fall rush
does not negatively affect students.
Fanton stressed that there are valid argu-
ments in support of both a fall and winter rush
stating that there is no proof, however, that the
fall rush negatively impacts students.
He added that most schools in the nation do
not have separate rush times and that most
national fraternities and sororities do not even
support two rush periods.
"You have to look at the facts and studies
and draw conclusions from those," Fanton
said.
But Fanton added that the Greek system is
always looking into any social policies that
need addressing.
"I am really positive that we are doing a
great job and changing the things that need to
be changed," he said.
Mike Baldwin, a member of the Kappa
Sigma fraternity and an Engineering sopho-
more, said he chose to rush during the winter
rush period.
"The reason I didn't rush in the fall mainly
was because of the class load I took. Original-
ly I planned on rushing during the fall, but
there seemed to be a lot more going on during
fall term compared to this term," he said.
"I don't think there is a big difference
between the fall rush and the winter rush."

0+
0.

DAVID KATZ/Daily
State Street Night was the first of many Greek Week events bringing together members of different
fraternities and sororities in games and competitions.

Study finds that Greeks aren't more
likely to drink a lot after graduating

By Kara Wenzel
Daily Staff Reporter
On campus, fraternity and sorority members are often
categorized by large parties in even larger fraternity
houses.
While this image usually coincides with others of
excessive drinking and free-flowing alcohol, a recent

"A maturing out effect occurs after graduation, and they

become involved in activities such as jobs and family life that
don't support a drinking lifestyle."
-- Prof. Kenneth Sher

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