Greek Reunion floods campustown bars

As is often the case with the Greek community at the University, Greek Reunion was met with a range of emotions this past weekend.

Members of fraternities and sororities had an eclectic amount of reasons for attending the event.

For some, like Hannah Marks, junior in the sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi, Greek Reunion provided an opportunity for her to visit her apartment for the fall and relive the experience of spending time with friends.

“We got to go out to lunch together, and we didn’t have to plan it or anything,” Marks said. “That’s how it always was. With my sisters, like it’s supposed to be.”

For others, Anthony J., and his friend visiting from Iowa, Nick M., both of whom chose not to give their last names, the weekend provided the potential for other endeavors.

“We’re getting drunk. I’m smoking weed and getting drunk,” a clearly inebriated Nick M. said, before vulgarly indicating his desire to have sex.

Both Nick M. and Anthony J. said the bars were especially keen on making a profit. They expressed frustration after Red Lion denied their readmittance even when they showed their stamped hands, a bar-issued symbol marking their initial admittance.

“They (cheated) us with the stamps,” Anthony J. said, also plainly intoxicated. “I understand what they’re trying to do, but they were really stiff.”

Sgt. Joe Ketchem of the Champaign Police Department said in an email that the police treat Greek Reunion as if it were a busy weekend in which there was a home Illinois football game.

“The crowds and patrons during this event seem to be older and somewhat less unruly,” Ketchem wrote. “We will obviously have a full staffing level of officers in the campus area for Greek Reunion. We are not, however, making any special plans.”

Ketchem said a large contingent of people from out of town can lead to the possibility of an increase in DUI activity, medical calls and crime in general.

“Negatives are obviously the increase in police calls for service and officers being tied up on calls related to the event,” Ketchem wrote. “The normal things will happen — probably a few more battery and criminal damage reports, etc. The event itself is good for the community economy as it provides a boost during the summer, which is usually the slow time on campus.”

With over 100 fraternities and sororities, Illinois has the largest Greek community, per capita, in the nation with about 22 percent of undergraduates participating, according to the University’s admissions website.

Michael Evans, an employee at Campus Liquors, said the liquor store anticipated an influx of customers over the weekend and acted accordingly, ordering extra amounts of specific products while dropping the prices on others in an attempt to increase sales. Evans said that larger amounts of Natural Light, a beer popular among the Greek community and college students as a whole because of its low cost, were ordered and that the prices of kegs of Pabst Blue Ribbon were dropped from $100 to $69.99.

“There are a lot more people in town and a lot more business going back and forth consistently,” Evans said. “On a regular day, we’d probably make about $2,500, but today we’ve probably made $4,000 — $5,000 tops.”

Additionally, a waitress who works at Joe’s Brewery said the bar experienced triple the attendance of a typical summer weekend.

Chellie Akuamoah, a junior majoring in consumer economics and finance, said Greek Reunion forced her to change plans during the weekend.

“It’s been pretty rowdy,” Akuamoah said. “I’ll be staying clear of everything. It’s too much for me.”

Stephanie S., a recent Business graduate, and her boyfriend Sam, a Marine who declined to give his last name, while waiting in a line at Joe’s that lasted nearly 20 minutes, announced that they were celebrating its one-year anniversary. The couple met in Joe’s beer garden. While they admitted the bar was not the most romantic of places, they said the added electricity Greek Reunion brings was “a lot crazier and more fun” than an average summer weekend.

“It is pleasant and reminiscent of the past,” Sam said. “And we are going to have sex later tonight.”

_UPDATED: In an earlier version of this article, it incorrectly stated the source was in a fraternity when The Daily Illini were unable to confirm that information. The Daily Illini regrets this error._