Members of sororities, fraternities, and even hotels around Charleston are getting ready for the return of Greek alumni to Eastern for Eastern’s annual Greek Week.
David Kirsch, general manager of Unique Suites Hotel, said it was not just the rooms that were being used for these kinds of events.
“There’s the lounge, sometimes the actual fraternity or sororities will book one of our banquet rooms,” Kirsch said.
During this week and the next two weeks, the rooms are sold out or at least close to sold out.
“For returning alumni, we have a wedding reception, golf outing on the second week,” he said.
The hotel has a discount for alumni and others who are affiliated with the university.
“There’s an EIU friends and family discount,” he said. “It’s a percentage off, and may depend on the time of year.”
When it comes to accommodating all the people coming in, Kirsch said it is just a matter of scheduling enough staff members.
“We increase the activity that’s going on,” he said.
The amount of time people stay usually depends on their work schedules.
“I would say on the weekends there’s a very good turnout,” he said. “They usually come down for Fridays and Saturdays.”
Jimmy Lera, front desk assistant for the Days Inn Hotel, said the hotel was sold out on Friday and Saturday before the first day of Greek Week.
“We usually do have a lot of alumni,” he said.
He said a lot of the work that had to be done was making sure everything was in the right place.
“There’s breakfast, keeping inventory up to date,” he said. “We don’t want to run out. We like to have everything organized, set out.”
Lera said next to graduation and family weekend are the only other events for which they are usually sold out.
Days Inn also works with fraternities and sororities with other events as well as Greek Week.
Lera said the Delta Delta Delta sorority had a breakfast there, and the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity had an event for alumni a few weeks ago.
The sororities and fraternities are busily anticipating the arrival of Greek alumni as well.
Mark Galvan, a sophomore exercise science major from Sigma Nu fraternity, said Greek Week probably attracts the most alumni.
“They come support, give money to the houses,” Galvan said.
A lot of alumni come out to support the current members because of the work put into Greek Week.
Galvan said he put in six days a week to prepare for the week.
“We have Airband, Greek Sing,” he said. “The alumni remember how hard they had to work. They love to remember, tell stories about when they were here.”
Galvan said though there is competition, everyone remains good sports.
A lot of alumni come back for the Greek Week activities to help out their old houses.
“They come watch us practice,” Galvan said. “They take us out to dinner, and really treat us with respect.”
Galvan said he hoped to be able to come back and impact members of his fraternity in the same way.
“I hope when I come back, I can see a kid practicing, and say ‘Let me take you out or something,’” he said.
Mike Hartung, vice president of Sigma Nu, said the relationship between alumni and current members was very good.
“Our alumni didn’t used to have a good relationship before, because not a lot of people were paying their alumni dues,” he said. “Now they’re about all paying their dues.”
Greek alumni will also oftentimes pay for things like TVs and couches when their houses do well.
“We won Homecoming, and got a new 70 inch TV,” he said. “We got a new couch for winning Homecoming, also for filling the house.”
The alumni that come back also help their houses by seeing how they could improve. Hartung said the alumni will meet with the executive board of their fraternity, and tell them how they could improve, while the executive board tells them some things they are doing well.
“We all hang out afterward,” he said. “It’s all about brotherhood.”
Membership in fraternities and sororities can help with life after college. Gallvan said he met a lot of people through networking.
“Alumni have contacted me about internships,” he said. “Guys before help them out.”
Although he is 20, he has made connections and talked to alumni who are 45 and who have offered to help him.
Hartung said it was like a chain reaction.
“They help us, we’ll help them out,” he said.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]