Now Introducing … The Greek Songfest

I am convinced that there is a lot to be gained from nothing. To kick things off this week, I choose to support this statement by considering a monumental event that occurred last spring quarter, unbeknownst to at least 75 percent of the Irvine campus. Has your interest been piqued?

Over 200 undergraduates participated in a charity event known as the Greek Songfest. By charity event, I mean that not a dollar was made for the Greek system. In fact, as most chapter members would validate, it is safe to say that the average fraternity and sorority involved ‘lost’ a whole lot more than they had planned.

Consider further that the only awards from the evening came from a select group of drama professors who judged the show according to overall quality, vocal performance, set design and costumes. As a nonaffiliated member of the audience, I was thoroughly impressed by the surprising level of professionalism and maturity that was shown on stage.

Why would a Greek chapter do such a thing? Songfest, which began at UC Irvine in 1980, is a philanthropic event presented by all 40 chapters of the Greek community on campus in a unified effort to raise money for a chosen organization.

‘[Songfest is] recognized in the community for being one of the largest student-run events on the UCI campus,’ said Dean of Students’ Director of Greek Life Ashley Dye.

This year, the Greek Songfest has decided to offer its generous donation to the Mercy House of Orange County, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding temporary housing to assist homeless families in getting back on their feet.

According to a representative of the organization, the Mercy House concentrates on three main areas of aid: First, they work with the families to accept their burden as a homeless family with hope to better their situation. Second, the Mercy House aids the family in setting goals to overcome their challenge. Third, the Mercy House helps establish job skills for the adults within the family. As a link to community programs and services, the Mercy House has helped thousands of families within the county to support themselves in the rapidly evolving community.

Quite the charitable organization, right? So what is the Greek community going to get out of helping the Mercy House? Again, absolutely nothing is the expected return, although what the Mercy House doesn’t realize is that they create in the Greek community a challenge that has kept the Greek Songfest legacy alive for its 26th year.

Not to be redundant, but last year, after all of the dust had settled, sets were taken down, lights were dimmed and Ashley Dye hopped on a plane to New York. Dye represented the Greek community and presented last year’s charitable organization, Camp Footprints, with a check for $10,750. With this help, Camp Footprints was able to expand its facilities, greatly furthering its reach in the community. I would say that’s a pretty good return.

This year’s executive producer, Zabie Khorakiwala, a third-year psychology and social behavior major and member of Alpha Chi Omega, is looking forward to offering this year’s show to all of UCI. This is essentially an open invitation for UCI students to critique everything the Greek Beat will share in the next few months by attending this year’s Songfest and letting the Greek community literally show what its made of.

For more information about the Mercy House, go to http://www.themercyhouse.org/program.htm.