Greek Oscars: Community celebrates in more intimate setting

Hollywood mavericks are not the only ones receiving a certain award every year. The 2013 Greek Oscars were hosted in the Illini Union Ballroom Monday night, recognizing chapters and individual members who have proven to go above and beyond in their commitment to Greek life.

Roughly 350 Greek members at the University attended the Greek Oscars, said Kristen Koniewicz, Panhellenic Council manager of the event, member of Kappa Delta sorority and sophomore in LAS. Koniewicz added that the Oscars is one of the few events during the school year where all Greek councils have the chance to collaborate with each other.

“I’ve managed the Greek Oscars with other members from Black Greek Council, Interfraternity Council and the United Greek Council, and it’s been great to work with everyone,” Koniewicz said. “We’re able to have around 90 of the University’s chapters come together for the event.”

Greek attendees entered the ballroom and were met by dozens of tables with desserts and drinks prepared. Filtered lights hung over the podium, perched near two large screens to display the winners’ names. Nearly all attendees dressed in a style that Koniewicz described as cocktail attire, unlike previous years.

Koniewicz said this year’s Oscars stood out in other ways as well.

“We held last year’s event at Foellinger Auditorium with over 800 attendees, and this year we limited it to six members per chapter,” Koniewicz said. “This year hopefully feels more intimate and will offer a better gathering of all of the councils, rather than just putting on a show for them.”

Monday night’s winners were certainly proud, like Marivel Vargas, member of Lambda Theta Alpha sorority and winner of the Outstanding President Award for her service to the United Greek Council.

“I think I’m in shock,” said Vargas, senior in FAA. “Many organizations that are here are much larger than my own, so I didn’t expect this. All the hard work must have paid off.”

Greek participants were treated to several surprises throughout the night. Raffles took place during two breaks, and all members wrote postcards to soldiers to honor their service for America. Monday night also served as the Greek Oscars first year utilizing video display. Video highlights included special events, such as philanthropy work, that happened throughout the academic year.

Numerous chapters took home several awards, and many said they were grateful for the Greek Oscars recognition — Gamma Phi Omega in particular. The sorority took home five awards, including Most Improved GPA, Highest Chapter GPA, Outstanding Founder’s Week, Living Your Values and Greek Woman of the Year. Several Gamma Phi Omega sisters struggled to remember all of the awards they won, but they all agreed to cherish moments like those at award ceremonies.

“It feels really good to see our hard work over the year pay off,” said Anna Urbina, member of Gamma Phi Omega and senior in AHS. “It’s such an achievement to be awarded for our activities because we now have something to show for our hard work.”

Phi Gamma Delta, or Fiji, took home Greek Man of the Year, won by Tyler Sendt, senior in LAS. The chapter also won third place for Outstanding Risk Management. 

“(When you’re) trying to stay on campus, risk management’s huge,” said Kurt Zellner, president of Fiji and sophomore in LAS. “It’s what protects you to stay on campus and it makes the process of donating easier for grads since they can say, ‘I’m not putting money toward an organization that’s going to get sued and be a liability.’”

Adlai can be reached at aesteve2@dailyillini.com.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated that Marivel Vargas is in Gamma Phi Omega, and that Gamma Phi Omega took home six awards, the most of any chapter. Vargas is in Lambda Theta Alpha, and Gamma Phi Omega took home five awards. Sigma Phi Epsilon won seven awards, the most of any chapter. The Daily Illini regrets these errors.