Taking the stage
Greek community danced the night away to raise money for Relay for Life
The philanthropy-based celebration brings sororities and fraternities together annually to raise money for a charity of their choice. This year’s proceeds will benefit Relay For Life.
MSU football coach Mark Dantonio made a surprise guest appearance to fill the place of a judge who dropped out last minute. Although Lacey Holsworth, an eight-year-old cancer patient and a close friend of the MSU basketball senior forward Adreian Payne, was expected to judge the competition on Wednesday, her current condition kept her from attending, advertising junior Elizabeth O’Malley said.
“We would love to have her as a judge for Songfest, but we’ve heard that she wasn’t doing too well, so we didn’t want to put that extra stress on her,” O’Malley said.
Months before Greek Week even begins, the names of one sorority and two fraternities are pulled out of a hat by Greek Week coordinators.
Fourteen teams of three are created, and each raises money for a charity and achieves points throughout the week. The team with the most points gets bragging rights for the rest of the year.
This year’s theme focused on the concept of good versus evil. Some performances included in the program were based on Space Jam, James Bond and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
Zeta Tau Alpha, Fiji and Phi Delta Theta ended up taking the win at Tuesday’s event.
Most of the female dancers for MTV Night have been dancing for 10 to 15 years, primary education junior Lindsay Parker said. She said team members begin intensely practicing weeks in advance.
“We started practicing in January, and we practice three to four times a week, and we all choreographed it together,” Parker said.
Parker’s team performed a jazzy hip-hop routine.
She said one of her favorite parts of Greek Week is checking out the competition and gauging their preparedness for the event.
Although many are given the chance to participate in Songfest, which will take place Wednesday night, Parker said MTV Night generally ups the ante for participants.
“It’s more competitive and intense. Songfest is 20 to 40 people, and its definitely still difficult, but MTV Night is much more competitive,” she said.
O’Malley danced in Songfest her sophomore year and came in second place.
But most importantly, the competition has brought O’Malley closer to other members in the greek community.
“You really get to know people on your team better than you would have otherwise,” O’Malley said. “It lets them become leaders within their chapter that they hadn’t been before.”
Each of the dancers has a personal goal to raise at least $100, so they’re both fundraising and performing, O’Malley said.
Since girls typically become more involved in the dances, she said it’s great to see fraternity brothers get excited about it as well.
“Normally, girls are the ones who get really into this, but when everyones up there and they look really put together, you can tell the work they put in, and when you can tell they’re so psyched to be up there, it shows,” O’Malley said.
Hospitality business senior Samantha Sant’s team performed a Rocky-themed dance that incorporated jazz and hip-hop. She said they tried to incorporate references from the movies as much as they could.
“As far as choreography goes, we do a lot of punch and throwing, like boxing moves, and we also do some kind of humorous things, like wearing American flag shorts,” she said.
Criminal justice junior Nicholas Fisk said the experience was worth the long hours of practice.
During the last two weeks before the event, he and his team practiced for several hours every day, Fisk said.
“It felt great,” he said. “After I did my little jump, I heard everyone go nuts and that was really cool.”
MTV Night is also known to students as Bar Night because of rumors that the event took place in bars when G reek Week started in the 80s, advertising senior and Greek Week Director Anna Richards said.
“My father and aunt were part of Greek Life when they went here, and they said it used to be more about ‘who’s the top house on campus,’” she said. “Our Greek Week is more phila nthropy-driven: who does the most events and raises the most money.”
Since January, the greek community has been putting on fundraisers and other philanthropy events, Richards said.
“It’s Greek Week, but it kind of morphs into Greek semester,” he said.
The Greek community held the largest blood drive in Michigan in March, beating their own record from last year, with 221 units of blood and 663 lives saved, Richards said.
Last month’s Relay for Life event raised approximately $173,000, which was about 70 percent of MSU’s total contributions to the charity overall.
Richards said that being part of such a huge effort to raise money to fight cancer is the best part about Greek Week.
“As for the dancing, its kind of a way to get people to get excited to be on stage and get engaged,” she said.
Neuroscience sophomore Lauren Turner said MTV Night gets everyone pumped because it’s the culmination of the fundraising for Relay for Life.
Marketing sophomore Joyce Zellin said this is her second year dancing in MTV Night.
“I danced in high school, so this is a good way to keep dancing and raise money for charity,” she said.