It’s that time of year again.
Haunted by the sounds of clattering heels and anticipatory banter, Court Street braces itself for another week usually dominated by homecoming. Defined as one of the most awaited weekends of the year, even the atmosphere on the weekdays is heightened with homecoming hysteria.
But it’s not just the usual crowd this week. They come night after night, social after social. And they take Court Street by storm.
So, what’s the deal?
Homecoming week, in Greek terms, is similar to a mini Greek Week. The students put on competitions, commonly pairing one sorority with one or two fraternities (because sororities are generally larger). The teams compete, and the winner of the most events receives a trophy, prize money and bragging rights.
After the events each night, the fraternities and sororities have socials, which the members pay for in advance. Since they pay for the entire week of socials, a number of the members find themselves going out almost every night of the week.
“I have been going out every night, along with a lot of other girls in my sorority,” Maddie Ellis, a junior and member of Sigma Kappa, said.
Bids & Bars
Each night, the paired fraternities and sororities show their Greek life spirit by choosing a dress-up theme. The teams choose different ideas, and they dress in theme attire (some of the themes included “long johns and lace thongs,” favorite musicians” and “Risky Business”) and hoards of them bustle to the bars.
The Crystal, a bar notorious for attracting the Greek crowd, was swarmed this week by eager actives and bids ready to live up to the crazy homecoming week reputation.
However, the influx of Greek life at the bars did not have much of a positive impact on sales.
“I would say there are more guys going out, but it’s not a big change. I would say it’s the same way with the sororities,” Jake Meyer, senior and president of Phi Kappa Tau, said.
The students in Greek life who come to the bars during homecoming week don’t make up for the two weeks prior to homecoming week when sorority members can’t go out, stated Don Pepper, owner of The Crystal, 35 N. Court St., and The C.I., 32 N. Court St.
Despite this, though, The Crystal remained busy.
“We have a social every night this week,” Pepper said, referring to the top part of the bar being rented out by fraternities. “It’s fun. Their socials usually have a theme — they seem to have a good time.”
The Crystal was not the only bar being rented out by fraternities. A number of other bars on Court Street were rented out, including J-Bar, Courtside, Red Brick and Broney’s. The social money the members spend for homecoming week is sometimes spent on the tabs for an open bar at the rented facilities.
Other bars were not affected economically as much as The Crystal was by the (lack of and) influx of Greek life.
The C.I. is one of these bars.
“We have a mixture of people that come to the bar. We have a mixture of clientele three-fourths Greek life, athletes, run-of-the-mill students that come to The C.I.,” said Gavin Miller, the manager of The C.I.
Sales at The C.I. have remained steady in spite of the Greek Life take-over of Court Street.
“(Sales are) up, but it’s not up significantly. We aren’t labeled as a Greek bar. We always have loyal clientele that come in daily,” said Miller.
Fraternities rented the C.I. out every night this week, except for Thursday. Other than this specific week, however, the bar is commonly rented out by other organizations and individual people for events like birthday parties, project completions, etc.
Despite the intensity and hype of homecoming week for some Greek students, those who refrained from nightly socials enjoyed participating in other activities and socializing with alumni.
Meyer only went out on a couple of nights because he had tests on Wednesday and Friday, and a paper due Friday. But he still engaged in other daytime activities, such as participating in the games, going to Greek-run events such as their own Beautification day, attending guest speaker performances and bonding with Phi Tau alumni.
“It’s great being able to talk to people that are 50 and 60 years old that were in Phi Tau,” he said.
Despite negative opinions from people not in Greek organizations, the members continue to keep their traditions alive.
“A lot of people think it’s annoying how we go to the bars every night. I see people tweet about us and make negative comments, but it’s all in good fun,” said Ellis.
Meyers believes the homecoming week festivities effect the opinions of non-students more than the opinions of students who understand Greek members are not any different from themselves.
“Despite this, non-students tend to see a large group like this drinking as a negative reflection on the group. The fact that it’s one particular, very large student group allows them to put a label on it. In organizations that have often nearly 100 members, a relatively small percentage of students drinking on a particular night appears much larger than it actually is,” Meyers also asserted.
So despite the negativity, the stagnation of bar sales and the hung over mornings, nothing can stop the Greek life members from raiding Court Street all over again, night after night and social after social. The heels will be heard, the beers will be poured and the commotion of a week-long party will echo in the streets for weeks to come.