September 10, 2007

Greeks Run Wild For a Good Cause

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Sorority and fraternity members raised $650 for the Tompkins County Public Library Saturday during Greek Week’s grand finale, a 5K race around the Cornell Plantations.
“We wanted to do something that would benefit the community, especially the children in the community,” said Kristen Gravani ’08, vice president of programming for the Panhellenic Association.
The race and other Greek Week events were organized by the InterFraternity Council, the Panhellenic Association and the Multicultural Greek Letter Council, groups that represent Cornell’s fraternities, sororities and culturally oriented fraternities and sororities, respectively. Together these three groups compose the Greek Tri-Council.
Greek Week is “the week for all the fraternities and sororities on campus to get together and compete in certain events and show off our spirit, and in this case our philanthropy, to the rest of the community,” said Ryan Lavin ’09, vice president of programming for the InterFraternity Council. In addition, Greek Week is an opportunity for members of the Greek community to get to know each other better, according to Lavin.
“Greeks get to know more Greeks,” he said.
According to Gavani, Greek Week also gives the Greek community a chance to showcase its good qualities. “It’s not just drinking,” she said.
“We can have a lot of fun with events and getting involved in the community.”
The Panhellenic Association had already raised over $3,000 for the Tompkins County Public Library prior to Saturday’s race, according to Suzanne Smith Jablonski, the executive director of the Tompkins County Public Library Foundation. In the past, the Library has used these funds to purchase books for the international section of their children’s department. New funds raised during the race may also go toward purchasing children’s books or funding educational programs for teens and adults, according to Smith Jablonski.
The first annual Greek Week 5K was open to non-Greek students, Cornell faculty and administration members and other members of the Ithaca community. Many of these group were underrepresented at the race, but Gavani and Lavin said that next year they hope for even more participation from outside the Greek community.[img_assist|nid=24294|title=Leading the way|desc=Members of the Greek community get in gear for Greek Week’s 5K walk/run at the Plantations.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Winners of Saturday’s 5K race were Shane Rothermel ’10 of Alpha Zeta and Cathleen Balantic ’09 of Kappa Delta. Balantic is also a member of the crew team.
“We had a pretty hard practice this morning,” Balantic said. “I was planning on just jogging [during the race], but then once I started the competitive juices kicked in.”
During this year’s Greek Week, 12 co-ed teams competed with the goal of earning the most points. Team members had the opportunity to earn points for their team through participation in Greek Week events, including a blood drive, and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
The Greek Week 2007 Champions, teams who have gained the most points at the end of weeklong competition, will be announced during the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic meetings this Wednesday.