Valparaiso University was able to continue the Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) Week traditions this year.
“FSL week is an annual week where the fraternity and sorority community likes to exhibit their connection with one another and celebrate the year and some of those pieces,” said Carrie Whittier, Associate Dean of Students.
FSL week was held from April 18-25 with FSL Awards happening on April 25. The theme of this year’s FSL Week is “stronger together.”
On April 18 there was window painting on the windows of the Union facing Founders. Monday April 19 featured a bags tournament. On Tuesday April 20 the winners of the window painting competition were announced. Kappa Kappa Gamma got first place.
The social media contest was held on Wednesday April 21.
“Wednesday is the social media contest and the contest is everybody is invited to wear their letters to wear it Wednesday and then take pictures in unity so maybe there’s five people in a picture but they’re all from different groups. So trying to show the connections that sororities and fraternities have with one another in a more visible way so that’s Wednesday,” Whittier said.
The blood drive was held on April 22.
“So any student on campus can participate in the blood drive not just fraternities and sororities. They receive points for participating and then fraternity and sorority members who are not eligible to donate blood so this would be like student athletes or anybody who doesn’t meet the criteria they can volunteer for points to help staff the blood drive,” Whittier said.
Friday April 23 was Sigma Chi’s Derby Day while April 24 was FSL Olympics followed by a cookout.
Derby Day included increased sanitation practices.
“Everything will be outside primarily on the west lawn but we’re also doing tricycle races out at the East Quad. One person touches whatever the object is and then we were sanitizing it down and everything will be spaced out,” Whittier said.
Due to university gathering restrictions the cookout looked a little different this year. The event was grab and go as there is currently no food allowed at events.
“So normally the FSL cook out is down at Sigma Pi Epsilon after SongFest but obviously. But they are part of our guidelines where sororities and fraternities do not allow nonmembers in fraternity and sorority houses right now,” Whittier said.
There was also a smaller FSL Olympics this year.
“Also you can have more than 100 people so normally FSL Olympics. There’s probably four or 500 people out there but this year you can only bring your six people for FSL Olympics so there will be a much smaller crowd for that,” Whittier said.
Sunday was supposed to be SongFest before UPC moved it back a week to May 2. The FSL Awards were still held.
“It’s not very intense. It’s fun activities for the community to be together but there is a winner and there’s a trophy for winning FSL week. That is presented at the fraternity and sorority awards ceremony which is on April 27 so while not part of FSL all week it’s just two days after and we will award the FSL week winner at that program,” Whittier said.
The awards will be live streamed as not all members could attend due to gathering restrictions.
There was no educational event held during FSL Week due to the small indoor gathering size.
“We do normally have an educational program during FSL Wek, but they opted not to do that because there’s not a way for people to really gather because the indoor gathering size is only 30. And so there wasn’t really way to do that,” Whittier said.
Whittier was happy that the FSL Week could take place in person.
“In some ways there’s increased interest because in some ways I think the chapters are itching to do something that isn’t virtual to do something that feels normal to do something where they can see one another,” Whittier said.
This is because FSL members haven’t really gotten a chance to interact with one another as much virtually.
“So the fraternity and sorority community genuinely hasn’t really had the opportunity to see one another outside of class since October because there were chapter philanthropy events all throughout the fall but really since the middle part of October and Dance Marathon there are really no community events that weren’t virtual that weren’t chapter specific,” Whittier said.
FSL Week also gives members a chance to experience the event for the first time either as a newly inducted freshman or as a sophomore who missed out on it when the event was canceled last spring.
“And for freshman members who just started this January to understand that while they joined a specific fraternity or sorority they’re part of a broader community and a broader family and that family really cares about one another. And so there has not been an opportunity for sophomore members and freshmen members to experience that at all because of COVID,” Whittier said.
Whittier predicts that more FSL events will occur as the school year ends.
“So there is a lot of sorority and fraternity activity that’s going to happen because it’s like wait we can have all these people together we can have all 90 members together at the same time outside. So there’s a flurry of activity now that the gathering size it’s 100 outside,” Whittier said.