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For the vast majority of the student population not involved in Greek life, Greek Week may invoke images of endless parties and silly rivalries between the CU sororities and fraternities participating in the event.
Screaming girls and macho boys are disregarded as prejudice though when one realizes the philanthropic benefits that are derived from this week of Greek community, provided in part by the Miss Greek Pageant and the Buffalo Can Challenge.
Held on 7 p.m. on April 16 at the Coors Events Center, the Miss Greek pageant is an annual tradition coinciding with Greek Week and sponsored by the fraternity Sigma Pi. The largest philanthropic event associated with the University of Colorado, Miss Greek has raised over $300,000 for Clinica Family Health Services, which provides health care to low-income or uninsured people in the greater Denver area.
Eleven contestants, each representing a different sorority, participated in the pageant this year. Each participant was in charge of collecting donations for Clinica in the weeks prior to the competition. The three contestants with the most donations were then considered for the crown of Miss Greek, with the scores from their talent and question-and-answer rounds helping to decide a winner.
Senior contestant Kara Vosburgh from Delta Delta Delta stated that the girls in her sorority helped a lot with her fundraising process.
“Obviously we are all poor college students, so we can’t donate too much, but everyone is expected to donate a little bit because Clinica is such a great cause,” she said.
Sophomore contestant Olivia Perry, a Boulder native from Pi Beta Phi sorority, had a lot of support from local businesses and fellow Pi Beta Phi sisters.
“One of the biggest things that helped the most was that I reached out to Pi Phi chapters across the country to help donate, and a ton of them responded with support,” Perry said.
These donations, along with a $10 donation and entrance fee collected at the door for the event, helped Sigma Pi raise $83,127 for Clinica Health Services this year. According to head chairman of the Sigma Pi Miss Greek Pageant, Russell Roeber, this is the highest amount of donations collected for Clinica over the event’s last seven years.
The crown of Miss Greek went to freshman Alasyn Zimmerman from Gamma Phi Beta sorority, who raised a total of $10,022 for Clinica Health Services.
Transitioning from the land of pageants to that of model building, the Buffalo Can Challenge was an opportunity for both men and women involved in Greek Life to contribute to Boulder’s disadvantaged community.
Held on Wednesday, April 18 and presented by the Volunteer Resource Center and CU Environmental Center, the Buffalo Can Challenge was part of the CU Environmental Center’s Food and Environmental Justice Week.
“We try to make sure that Food and Environmental Justice Week matches up to Greek Week because Greeks are such a big part of it,” senior Danielle Sandoval from the Volunteer Resource Center said.
Teams comprised of volunteers from CU sororities and fraternities competed in the challenge. Each team collected non-perishable food, which will be donated to Community Food Share, in the weeks leading up to the event. The teams arranged the food in fun and creative sculptures pertaining to Greek Week’s theme of TV Channels.
In the end, the leaning tower of Pisa sculpture constructed by participants from Delta Gamma and Pi Kappa Phi won the Buffalo Can Challenge, a fun and impressive way to illustrate their team’s theme of the Travel Channel.
From pageants to canned food, 2012’s Greek Week thoroughly demonstrated just how big a role philanthropy plays in CU Greek life, illustrating many Greeks’ commitment to service and the greater Boulder community.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kelsey Anne Lindsey at Kelsey.firstname.lastname@example.org.