Spring Jam will be a big affair for the multicultural greek chapters this year as they seek to expand their impact in the community.
Nine chapters will participate in the event — a record high at the University of Minnesota.
Spring Jam is the greek-sponsored, week- long event featuring competitions with a music festival during the weekend. Pairings determine which greek chapters will work together throughout the week.
Historically, only one multicultural fraternity, Beta Chi Theta, has participated. But with the creation of the Multicultural Greek Council last spring, more chapters are ready to get involved.
Last year, the council established a base for communication among its own chapters, before reaching out to the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils, who are in charge of planning Spring Jam and other greek campus events, said Beh Gaye, incoming MGC president.
“We want the campus to recognize us like other greeks,” Gaye said. “The first step is to be involved with what every other greek does on campus.”
Gaye said the MGC is not changing its impact on campus this year, but rather expanding its scope by being more involved in greek events.
“We want the campus to know what we do and what it means to be a multicultural greek,” he said.
Profit Idowu, MGC’s head of programming, said Spring Jam shows the first major collaboration between the three councils –– an action he wants to see for years to come.
“For this level of involvement to last, there needs to be good leadership and a mind set to learn about others and new cultures,” he said.
The MGC, along with the IFC and PHC, said a lack of communication hampered full participation for the multicultural chapters in the past.
“Prior to the creation of the MGC, there was nothing in place to foster a relationship with the IFC or PHC,” Idowu said. “But with the MGC we are making the framework. We are building a foundation that will set the bar of expectations and standards.”
Idowu said that the councils received them “with open arms.”
“I had never met [IFC and PFC leaders], but I was surprised that they shared the same thoughts as I did,” he said.
PHC President Angela Ugorets said both sides want to strengthen the connection. She feels the MGC is going to bring “cool new ideas” to Spring Jam.
Idowu said this is just the beginning of exposure and involvement on campus. He has been working with Matt Levine, program director for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and the incoming MGC board to make sure that next year the group is even more involved.
Gaye said that he wants to invite the IFC and PHC to multicultural events as well.
Time commitment initially posed a slight hesitation for some of the multicultural chapters to join the festivities, said Abdul Abdirahman, a member of the Sigma Lambda Beta multicultural fraternity.
“We saw the level of benefit it would provide but didn’t want to be in a situation where we put in less effort than was required,” he said.
The chapters have since changed their perspective and are excited to participate.
“At the core, we all share a commonality that our goal is to do better for the community, to be scholars and to advance our leaders for tomorrow,” Gaye said.