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Columbia Spectator Staff

Sorority recognition isn't the only way Barnard is going Greek. An email sent to students last Wednesday confirmed that the Greek Games, the Barnard tradition that has been alternately celebrated and forgotten for over a century, will take place this April. "A bunch of people have really wanted to bring it back," said Jessica Blank, BC '12, co-chair of the Greek Games Committee and an executive officer on the McIntosh Activities Council. "This year, enough people said, 'This is something we want to do, and we're going to make it happen.' It really snowballed." The return of the Games began as a discussion last fall between Barnard's Student Government Association and McAC, which together established the Greek Games Committee as an independent organization. "It was really natural marriage between the two. Both have a vested interest in the games," said Diana Rastegayeva, BC '11, who is co-chair of the Greek Games Committee and vice president of communications for SGA. Several SGA members—including sophomore class president Jung Hee Hyun, BC '13—listed the reintroduction of the Games in their campaign platforms, and many alumnae expressed interest as well, according to Rastegayeva. Rastegayeva said that it's still unclear how the Games will be funded, though she added that SGA and student life fees typically help cover the cost of large events. Though the co-chairs claim that the applicant pool for organizing the Games was large and enthusiastic, some Barnard students are less optimistic. "It won't be popular with the seniors. We all kind of have a 'we're out of here' mentality, and we have our traditions: Midnight Breakfast, Orgo Night," said Ester Traydman, BC '11. Laura Hopwood, BC '11, shared Traydman's concern about student disinterest. "I have a feeling it's going to be really small, and not that many people are going to go because it's new," she said. "I think it will definitely be popular with the freshmen, but the upperclassmen won't be as interested." The Games began in 1903 and were discontinued in 1968, with Barnard officials citing the ongoing political turmoil at the University. However, the protests were not the only problem. "In '68, there was a lack of interest, a lack of funding," Blank said. Since then, the Games have been revived several times, notably in 1989 as a part of Barnard's centennial celebration, and again in 2000 and 2001. However, Blank said that those incarnations of the Games weren't quite the same because they didn't include all of the original events. In the original Games, students made robes, recited Greek poetry, and, most famously, competed in a chariot race in which teams of four women pulled a chariot and a charioteer around the gymnasium. Historically, only first-years and sophomores competed, while juniors and seniors cheered on the underclassmen. "Obviously, we'll change it a little, but we want to keep with the traditions and history of the Games," Rastegayeva said. No decisions have been made yet about what events will be included in this year's Games. Despite her concerns about turnout, Hopwood said she sees the Games as an important Barnard tradition. "I went to the class of 1960 reunion, and one alum talked about how much of a strong tradition the Greek Games were, and how her sophomore class won her year and how proud they were," Hopwood said. Other students said they're excited to experience the Games, though many know little about them. "The Greek Games have definitely not been a reality in my life at Barnard," said Annabelle Anderson, BC '11. "But I like the concept. I think the Games have good historical value." "We walk past that statue of the Greek woman every day outside Barnard Hall, and people ask, 'What is this, and what are the Games? Why are they gone?'" Rastegayeva said. "This is something that could be great for the community and a revival of one of the greatest Barnard traditions." Amanda Evans contributed reporting. abby.mitchell@columbiaspectator.com

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