Greek Life lets their voices be heard at second annual Greek Speak

Courtesy / GVSU

Courtesy / GVSU

Amanda Rogers

On Tuesday, March 26, members of GVSU Greek Life filed into the Loutit Lecture Halls for the second annual Grand Valley State University Greek Speak. Greek Speak, which was hosted in partnership with GVSU’s Greek Life Board and the Speech Lab, took place between 8 and 10 p.m. 

The event is a speaking competition designed to inform the audience about participating Greek fraternities and sororities backgrounds, philanthropies and brotherhood/sisterhood.

The competition included three judges: Director of CLAS Communication and Advancement at GVSU Monica Johnstone, Adjunct Professor of Communication at GVSU Isaac Simon and recent GVSU alumnus and former Student Director of the Speech Lab Justin Sims. 

All speeches were restricted to no more than five minutes and there was a one-point deduction for every 15 seconds over the deadline.

The event, while educational to those in the audience, was largely a learning experience for competitors. It gave participants the opportunity to use their voices in a way they might not have before. 

“This event helps elevate peoples’ voices and inspires people to realize the importance of public speaking and just to learn how to use their voice to talk about what is important to them,” said Sigma Pi Vice President, Vice President of Programing for Greek Life Board and Speech Lab Consultant Dominic Cassisi. “That is a big thing that the speech lab prides itself on – empowering people to use their voices.”

Greek Speak was designed as a bracket that included five rounds. In the first round, each team picked a representative who gave a speech about their organization, their background and who they are. 

Judges then chose eight teams to move onto the second round, where they discussed their team’s philanthropy. The judges then narrowed the competition to six teams for the third round, where team representatives talked about what brotherhood or sisterhood means to their organization. 

For the semi-final and final round, teams received a mystery topic and were given only 10 minutes to prepare for their speeches. 

Cassisi said that Greek Life members’ passion for their organizations made them a perfect community for this type of event. An event that occurred early in the week, it was successful in bringing people out and kick-starting Greek Week.  

“Being in one organization yourself, you learn so much about yourself and all the values you have,” Cassisi said. “But there are so many other organizations on campus and around the nation, so learning the traditions they have like when they were founded and everything that goes into the makeup of their organization can be really interesting.” 

Greek Life Board President Mikaela Padgen said her favorite part was being able to hear more about everyone’s organizations and the roots that they had. She liked that attendees could see how beneficial each and every one of the Greek organizations is to the community.

“It was great for us to be able to partner with an academic resource, the Speech Lab, to form that event and help increase our participation in other areas and departments on campus,” Padgen said. 

Gamma Phi Beta left as the champion and was awarded 80 Greek Week points.