WesGreeks Change the Meaning of Greek Life on Campus
If you talk to members of the newly formed Wesleyan Hellenic Society, also known as WesGreeks, their excitement about all things Greek is palpable. Even though they are only about a month old, WesGreeks have ambitious plans to change the Greek life on campus—and they’re not talking about fraternities.
Georgios Malliaros ’12, an international student from Greece, formed the Hellenic Society earlier this year. He had contemplated starting a Greek society last year but was unsure of how many people would be interested in joining. While as a freshman he was the only student from Greece at the University, this year another Greek international student arrived, and Malliaros felt more confident.
“This year one more Greek came, so I felt more secure,” Malliaros said. “I felt that as a sophomore maybe now I could create [a Greek society]. So I started it by e-mailing five people, and then the thread just continued to grow.”
Now the thread has more than a hundred e-mails, as more and more students with Greek backgrounds found out about the proposed society. After Malliaros saw that there was enough interest in the group, he filled out an application for a new student group, and the Hellenic Society was born.
There are about fifteen members in the group, and they usually hold informal meetings every Friday at Earth House. Over authentic Greek food, members discuss their plans for promoting Greek culture.
Even though many of the members are only partly Greek, they still feel strongly connected to Greek culture.
“If you’re Greek, you’re going to have strong cultural ties—it overwhelms everything and you can’t ignore it,” said Eliana Theodorou ’12, a member of the Hellenic Society.
Next semester they are planning on running a student forum, taught by Malliaros, to teach students the Modern Greek language. The only Greek classes available now are on ancient Greece, but the Hellenic Society hopes to change that.
“One of my main goals is to promote the academia of Greek culture,” said Malliaros. “Greece is not just ancient Greece—Greece still exists as a country. We want to focus more on Modern Greek history and language.”
They are also planning on holding seminars on Greek cooking, showing Greek movies, and inviting Greek professors to give lectures.
The Greek Easter, one of the most important celebrations for Greeks, will likely be their biggest event of the year. The goal of the event is twofold: not only to promote the holiday, but also to encourgae new students to join the Society. The event will include Church services and lots of homemade food, and promises to be a celebration that will make any Greek students stranded on campus during the holiday feel like they’re at home.
“The worst thing that can happen to a Greek person is not having enough food,” said Theodorou. “I usually cook so that if we have ten unexpected guests show up, they’ll still be more than enough.”
Though the WesGreeks plan on throwing big celebrations, they don’t want to be confused with the fraternities on campus.
“We want to show that there’s something else between Aristotle and Psi U—not to say that Psi U isn’t great, but we’re great in a different way,” said Chris Kaltsas ’11, a member of the Hellenic Society.
The Society is open to any students interested in Greek culture, regardless of their backgrounds. Members say they hope to contribute to campus diversity.
“[Greek culture] is very consuming, and it’s kind of like a support group in a way—we’re all in this together, and we all love it,” said Kaltsas.