East Carolina University’s Multicultural Greek Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council came together for a team building retreat, which was held at the Health Science Campus Student Center this past Saturday.
According to Dorothea Mack, associate director of Greek life, this retreat was the first of its kind, hosting more than 90 student Greek life members. Thirteen Greek chapters were marked present for the retreat, with seven representing the MGC and six representing the NPHC, according to Mack.
Mack said the objective of this initial event was to provide unity among the MGC and NPHC organizations and encourage new members to join their organizations this coming fall semester.
The organizations present at the retreat include Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Sigma Omicron Epsilon, Delta Phi Omega Sorority, Sigma Sigma Rho Sorority, Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Iota Nu Delta Fraternity, Epsilon Chi Nu, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Mack said she wanted to use the retreat as a way to get the Greek life members excited to make their upcoming academic year a success and to teach them important skills such as organizing meetings. Mack also placed emphasis on the importance of unity among the Greek community.
“This is to promote unity in the Greek community,” Mack said. “We have Latino groups, Native American, predominately African American groups, Southeast Asian sororities and fraternities and we want to make sure we’re working together to prepare them for the new year.”
MGC President and member of the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority, Carolina Juanico-Cela, has been helping to plan the event since this summer. Juanio-Cela said her goal was to collaborate with others’ organizations instead of having “several OK programs,” the two organizations could come together and combine those same programs to produce a better effect.
“We wanted to do something a little more collaborative rather than just have two separate retreats because this year we’re trying to emphasize community,” Juanico-Cela said.
For senior public health major and member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Xavier Unanka, the retreat was “a chance to be unified with everyone.”
According to Unanka, the ability to interact with organizations other than just his own was a big advantage to this retreat. Unanka said being able to interact with these other organizations was a main reason for him attending the retreat.
“It brings people together. It’s a brotherhood, a sisterhood, it gives you history of your roots and it matures you mentally and physically,” Unanka said.
At the retreat, Juanico-Cela said Greek members participated in several presentations from a collaboration of different speakers while also participating in team building and personalities exercises which helped people from other organizations get to know each other.
According to Juanico-Cela, one of the exercises she had the most fun participating in was the True Colors exercise, which involved taking a set of personality questions and being assigned a color which best fits their personality.
With the True Colors exercise, Juanico-Cela said participants are presented with four different colors: blue, gold, orange and green which represent different personalities. Juanico-Cela said she felt this was important because it helped to see the different traits her peers had that she may not have known about.
“I know some of us had done the activity before, but for those who hadn’t, it gave them a chance to discover what their main personality is and how that affects their role in the chapter when they take on leadership roles,” Juanico-Cela said.
According to Juanico-Cela, Greek life is not only a positive thing for the ECU community, but it also provides a sense of belonging and continues to create life-long bonds among its members.
“Because MGC and NPHC are a minority and we do attend a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), it’s critical to us because a lot of the time that’s where we find our homes away from home,” Juanico-Cela said. “We find friends that eventually become our brothers and sisters. It helps to keep us motivated in school because there are requirements to be a part of these communities.”