Greek Week Organized Cheer

Brothers and sisters for change

Fraternities and sororities compete during Greek Week's o-cheer event to raise money for the YES Institute and the Trevor Project.
By Genesis Cosme

Fraternities and sororities compete during Greek Week's o-cheer event to raise money for the YES Institute and the Trevor Project.

Brothers and sisters for change

By Genesis Cosme
Twenty four fraternities and sororities put their letters aside during Greek Week to give back to their communities on campus and beyond.

Recognizable Greek letters and distinct color combinations on t-shirts, bookbags, and stickers remind the University of Miami campus of its devoted and active Greek life. Making up more than 20 percent of the student body, Greek letter organizations offer members opportunities for mentorship, networking, and effecting change in their communities.

Greek Week NGLA
Bhavnani, pictured second from left in second row, attended the annual Northeast Greek Letter Association (NGLA) Conference along with Dean Dayle Wilson, Dean Christina Luna, and other Greek student leaders during Greek Week.

"I started at UM in the spring and I knew no one," said Anika Bhavnani, a junior majoring in public relations and a member of Chi Omega. "Joining a sorority helped me find my best friends and provided me ways to get involved right away. I was also able to meet alumna from my chapter who helped me acclimate to Greek life and Miami culture.”

As president of the Panhellenic Association, the umbrella organization that encompasses six sororities and oversees recruitment, Bhavnani has also found an opportunity for personal and professional growth, finding herself in a community of supportive peers. Along with other executive board members and assistant deans of students Dayle Wilson and Cristina Luna, Bhavnani represented University of Miami Greek life at the 2020 Northeast Greek Leadership Association conference.

"I'm surrounded by women who have more faith and confidence in me than I have ever had in myself," she adds. "The Panhellenic community pushes me to be the best I can be and I can confidently say that I have grown in so many ways."

Another key characteristic of Greek-letter organizations is their philanthropic work. With philanthropies such as the Global Women's Empowerment Fund, Make-A-Wish, Canine Companions for Independence, and UNICEF, Greek life organizations take pride in their far-reaching impact on campus and beyond while focusing on the issues that matter most to them.

During the annual Greek Week fundraiser, 24 fraternities and sororities put their letters, colors, and interests aside to benefit a common cause. This year's week of events took place Feb. 24 - 28 and with proceeds benefitting the YES Institute, a local organization providing research-based education on gender and orientation, and the Trevor Project, a 24-hour confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth.

"Greek Week bridges all Greek life organizations together," said Emily Gossett, senior, member of Zeta Tau Alpha, and Greek Week chair. "You often are focused on your own chapter's members and philanthropy. It's not as often you get to actually work with one another and come together for something like this."

"For someone who doesn't know much about Greek life, I'd want them to know that our community looks out for one another and strives to help, not only those in their chapter, but the rest of the community," adds Kelly Ajello, senior Delta Phi Epsilon member and Greek Week co-chair. "There are so many different people you can learn from. It's not at all what you see on movies and TV."

Through their dedication to their love of alma mater, one another, and their communities, Greek brothers and sisters are able to tie the University closer together through their work year after year.

“I am very proud of the commitment student leaders give to host a successful week of events,” said Cristina Luna, assistant dean of students. “Our students unite under a philanthropic cause to raise funds and that also provides educational awareness. The competition and new friendships that develop are a bonus to the experience that our students look forward to each year.”