Greeks ‘Serve’ out-of-towners

The University of Illinois Greek community will be hosting 50 students from the Ohio State Greek community this weekend through the Greek Serve program. During their stay, they will be attending the Illinois versus Ohio State football game, performing three service projects and touring the campus.

The Greek Serve football weekend started last fall when 50 members of the University’s Greek community visited the Ohio State campus to do two service projects and attend the football game.

“Last year, (the football weekend) was set up at Ohio State, and we heard so many wonderful things about it that we wanted to invite them to come back to our campus,” said Marta Hitchcock, vice president of service for the Panhellenic Council.

Hitchcock and JD Langefeld, Interfraternity Council vice president of service, will follow the example set by last year’s football weekend. The group last year helped fix up Kipp Journey Academy school by doing general maintenance and painting a mural demonstrating unity between Illinois and Ohio State. They also helped organize after-school activities for children at the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus.

Ashley Dye, assistant dean of students for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, said that this weekend’s visitors will be given a tour of campus and fraternity and sorority chapter houses Friday evening.

On Saturday, 50 Ohio State students and 50 University of Illinois students will split up to perform the three service projects. One group will be assisting in the restoration of the Orpheum Theater in downtown Champaign by building panels that help restore the sound. The students will also be painting and moving furniture for the Champaign County Christian Health Center.

Langefeld said he and about 30 students will go to the Boys and Girls Club in Champaign to build and plant two garden sites for the children to enjoy. He is most excited to interact with the community in a positive way, and to do so on behalf of the Greek system.

Hitchcock explained that to participate, fraternity and sorority members were required to apply online. Fifty students were chosen based on leadership that they have demonstrated in their particular fraternity or sorority or in the Greek community in general. Hitchcock said they would also like some of the students who went last year to participate again. Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council fund most of the trip, which includes transportation, food and a hotel room.

Hitchcock says that Greek Serve is “a great way to get Greeks that don’t know each other together working for a good cause and enjoying the football game while we’re at it.”

The Greek Serve program is also looking into doing a similar program for basketball season and has already been contacted by other schools about a football weekend for next fall. Hitchcock hopes it can be something the Greek community does every year with different schools.

“We are really excited that other schools really like the idea,” she said. “It’s an awesome opportunity to see the Greek community really coming together.”