To the Greek and university community:
It has come to my attention that you are in the middle of-from what I have heard while walking around campus-“the best week ever.” To the non-adrenaline-rush craving Greeks on campus, I am referring Greek Week 2007-insert random sorority/fraternity chant here.
Competition between peers is a great way to deviate from the monotony that can sometimes occur here in Oxford. I just pitched my softball team to a 19-1 loss this past Saturday. Greek Week gives the chance for students on campus to enjoy one of the last weeks of good weather, the company of good friends, and some pretty cool T-shirts.
On this note, it is unfortunate that not everyone in the Greek community can partake in this infamous week to its full extent.
Being a Jewish member of the Greek community, I learned earlier this school year that Greek Week overlapped the two holiest holidays in the Jewish religion, Rosh Hashanah-the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur-the Day of Atonement.
These Jewish high holy days are traditionally devoted to prayer and reflection. Jews around the world come together to celebrate the Jewish New Year, as well as the Day of Atonement, both in synagogue and in their homes. On Yom Kippur most observing Jews fast, and thus abstain from eating and drinking, among other comforts, as well as any type of work in order to devote their time to prayer and penance.
While it is important to mention that Greek Week events were scheduled around the high holy days themselves-Opening Ceremonies occurred at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 when Rosh Hashanah ended at sundown, and the last Greek Week event on Friday will be held at 5 p.m. prior to Yom Kippur. I find it hard to fathom that the Greek community would schedule something that would overlap the Easter holiday weekend, even if nothing was held on the actual holiday itself.
The Intrafraternity Council (IFC) and the Panhellenic Association (Panhel) pride themselves on having more than 50 fraternities and sororities on Miami’s campus. However, they seem to forget that two of these Greek communities, Alpha Epsilon Pi and Alpha Epsilon Phi, are Jewish, while many other fraternities and sororities have Jewish members.
As I browsed the Greek Week Web site, I noticed on the opening page that this year’s Greek Week will bring an “emphasis on the five core values of our Miami Greek Community: Scholarship/Learning, Service (Philanthropy), Community, Leadership, and Brotherhood/Sisterhood.”
Scheduling Greek Week over these holidays creates an image that the Greek community does not support three of their five core values. By not making sure that all students can be involved in such an event, the Greek system closes its eyes to the idea of a global society-one that Miami University’s liberal education plan supposedly holds so dear to educating its students. What better way than to become more diverse than to learn from the brothers and sisters of the Greek community?
Secondly, I find it hard to believe that to support the value of community the IFC and Panhel find it right to make its Jewish members choose which community they prefer to be a part of-their Greek community or their religious/cultural community.
Lastly, a strong brotherhood or sisterhood cannot be created by segregating the Jewish students from their prospective fraternities and sororities during such a week, instead of possibly learning from their Jewish brothers and sisters, and becoming involved in what may be important to their friends.
In the future, I hope to see more consideration put into planning such a large-scale event such as Greek Week. I spoke briefly with IFC vice president of programming, Kayvon Golshani, who told me that in order to schedule an event such as Greek Week, the Greek community must schedule around university events such as Family Weekend and Homecoming.
He told me that Greek Week was scheduled for the second year in a row during the high holy days coincidentally. Golshani also said that next year the IFC and Panhel would try harder to schedule it around these important holidays, and that they did not realize some students like to go home for the holiday weekend.
In no way am I saying the Greek community purposefully scheduled Greek Week over the Jewish holidays, I believe they have good intentions and have not fully realized how Jewish students celebrate theses important holidays. Last week seemed to be a perfect week to have such events.
While UniDiversity was Friday, this possibly could have been co-sponsored by the Greek community in order to spread diversity, and
in so doing, also support the five core values of the Miami University Greek system.