Cal Poly kicked off its annual weeklong competition between teams of fraternities and sororities with a Beach Day on Saturday at Pismo State Beach.
Beach Day Committee head Zachary Gates said the event was a success, with an estimated 300 people in attendance.
“Beach Day was a great way to kick off Greek Week because it brings a lot of the greek community out,” Gates said. “I really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun (Saturday), and from what I heard a lot of other people had fun as well.”
The day involved a number of competitions, including beach volleyball, limbo, hamster ball races, tug-of-war and an obstacle course. Greek Week Executive Board head Laina Ruzic said Beach Day is traditionally one of the most loved traditions of Greek Week because of its plethora of opportunities.
“Generally people are very excited and it’s a very high-energy day,” Ruzic said. “It has the most competitions in one day, and we were out in beautiful Pismo Beach.”
Participants said the benefit of Beach Day was spending time with members of all greek life rather than solely their own houses.
“It’s really fun because all the teams get to hang out on the beach and bond,” biological sciences senior Madison Walter said. “And then, of course, you get to cheer on your own team while they are competing in all the different events.”
The second Greek Week event was an inter-fraternity football competition Sunday evening. Further events include dodgeball and basketball competitions, blood drives and bowling competitions until Greek Week closes with a choreographed performance from each team next Saturday.
“It’s basically the grand finale of Greek Week,” Gates said. “It’s a great way to end it because it brings everyone together and it’s very entertaining.”
One of the reasons Greek Week holds importance, according to Ruzic, is its inclusive nature. The competitions are held between eight teams made up of fraternities and sororities from the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council and the United Sorority and Fraternity Council.
“I believe it’s an important tradition because it has our sportsmanship and our community service values as well as a competitive nature,” Ruzic said.
Greek Week’s purpose is, in part, to promote unity throughout the Cal Poly greek system.
“I think it’s a great time, as well as being a time that we all come together and unify,” Ruzic said.
All activities are planned by the students with the activity officers from the three greek councils on campus coming together to lead the charge.
“It is a time to think outside of box and serve the community as an entire greek system, not as an individual fraternity or sorority,” Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life Diego Silva said.
The whole week culminates in a lip sync event that will be held Saturday at Chumash Auditorium, which gives Greek members the opportunity to showcase their performance to the rest of their peers.
In addition, students will speak to middle school students of the Lucia Mar Unified School District about attending college and becoming active members in the community, Silva said.
“I think it’s mainly about getting to meet new people, but we’re also pretty competitive and really want to win this year,” business administration junior and Theta Chi brother Cameron Randa said. “Certain events like the blood drive are by their nature the ones that allow us to give back.”
Last year, a total of $6,000 was raised and Silva said it is a goal to surpass that this year.
Part of the way Greek Week spurs its competitive nature is through a weeklong competition involving a point system — in each event, one gains points for the specific team, and the team with the most points at the end of the week is the champion of Greek Week.
“It’s basically about winning bragging rights,” Gates said.
Gates said his perception of Greek Week’s importance is that it aids in changing the stereotypes surrounding greek life.
“It allows the greek community to share and basically break the stereotypes that a lot of people have about the greek community,” Gates said.
In addition to benefits within the greek system, Greek Week also takes on the task of contributing to various service-based goals. Ruzic said there are multiple ways that the greek system is contributing to charity through Greek Week.
“We send out members from teams, and they volunteer to go to specific community service events throughout the week,” Ruzic said. “We also do school presentations about going to college as well as anti-bullying.”
In addition, an online competition Ruzic calls the “Like Wars” is being held throughout the week to contribute to multiple organizations, including the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum, United Way, Safer and several other nonprofit organizations.
“Based on the amount of ‘likes’ on the Greek Week 2013 Facebook page, the organization will get money from the ‘Like Wars’ competition,” Ruzic said.
Ruzic said though the winner of the “Like Wars” competition will receive the largest amount of money, the others will receive 5 percent of the contributions.
Some members of greek life questioned why the kickoff of Greek Week fell on the same weekend as the Wildflower Triathlon, an event which Cal Poly greek life has a tradition of contributing to through volunteer work. Ruzic said this was entirely incidental because of the fact that Chumash Auditorium had been reserved for the closing event next Saturday before anyone realized the events would coincide.
“It was not intentional that it would overlap with Wildflower,” Ruzic said.
Gates said though Beach Day was not tied with a specific philanthropy event, participants kept in the philanthropic spirit by maintaining clean beaches.
“The plan was to leave the beach as clean as it was originally, if not better,” Gates said.
According to Gates, Beach Day was just the start to a week of events that brings together not only the greek organizations themselves, but also coordinates Cal Poly greek life with the outside community.
“Greek Week allows us to really get out in the community and have fun and show that we’re more than what people think we are,” Gates said.
Hillary Kaiser contributed to this article.