UNL stroll off competition promotes diversity, unity

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The members of Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Inc. competed in the stroll off competition.

Story and photos by Brianna Foster, NewsNetNebraska

Synchronized steps brought people of all backgrounds together this month at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

On Friday, Sept. 6, eight multicultural UNL fraternities and sororities stomped and strolled, competing in the annual OASIS (Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services) Multicultural Greek Stroll Off competition.

The event featured Greek letters and roll calls, while also shedding light on the multiculturalism that exists within those organizations. OASIS Scholars Counselor Sylvia Hall said it was important to highlight those different cultures and reach the entire campus.

“The main purpose is to showcase multicultural Greeks and what they’re doing to a very large crowd that they normally wouldn’t have access to,” she said.

According to the Cornell University Greek Life  website strolling is “the traditional dance or ‘party walk’ performed by culturally-based fraternities and/or sororities.”

Competing groups used steps, dances and a variety of music genres to mark their claim on the $500 prize and winning title, reserved for one fraternity and one sorority each year.

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Susie Brown, a panel judge, cheers on her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Audience response

The event was free and open to students, faculty and the public.

About 700 people attended, filling the Nebraska Union Centennial Room. Edge Dance Academy of Lincoln, Neb., opened the show with breakdancing, hip hop routines and tap dancing, offering diverse acts for everyone, Greek and non-Greek.

UNL senior Francisco Mora is not in a fraternity, but attended the event to show support. He said these events are ways to meet new people, learn more and have fun.

“Everyone was having fun, not just people that were up there performing,” he said.

23-year-old Fatima Alliyani said the cultural side of the performances reminded her of when she was a college student in California.

“It makes me miss my university in state and I thought it was cool seeing the diversity in the school,” she said.

Brittany Hunt, one of the five judges for the stroll off competition, said the event gave exposure to multiculturalism and included participation from a number of groups.

“All the organizations did really well … all around they had a lot of new things that came in this year,” she said.

“The fact that we had almost every group in the room was really, really good.”

Katie Kodad, a senior at UNL, spreads the word about multiculturalism through her involvements on campus.

“I’m a big fan of diversity and I think we need to pump it up here at UNL and get more of it,” she said.

Stroll off legacy

Stroll off performances have a history at the university and beyond the campus.

As a sorority member,Hall said strolling can communicate a lot of history about multicultural Greeks being established in the 20th century. She said it highlights tradition and a wide variety of identities.

“You just see how it kind of evolves, like how people retain their culture through different ways,” she said.

Hall also recounted the way multicultural stroll offs have evolved at the university in the past six years.

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The panel included five judges and two scorers.

“They were held at the old multicultural center, which was a converted church and they were in the parking lot behind the center,” she said.

“Since we’ve moved into the new multicultural center, they’ve really developed into something big and for all of campus.”

This year, the routines were different and unique to each team, but the objective was the same: to receive the 2013 winning title, which went to Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Inc., and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Clad in their signature colors, each returned to the stage for group pictures.

Moses Pacheco, the president of the UNL chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Inc., said that this event provided a bonding experience.

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Many organizations set up booths at the event.

“It feels great. You work for it so much and it comes down to this day and this six minutes that you have and even if you make a mistake, you gotta roll with it,” he said.

“We came out champs and it was well worth every hour and every minute that we were practicing.”

Other organizations that competed were Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Inc.

The UNL Office of Greek Affairs website says that at the university, there are 43 traditional sororities and fraternities combined. There are 11 multicultural sororities and fraternities combined.

The sponsor of the event, OASIS, is located in the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center.
Click on the video below for a feature report on the stroll off  competition by NewsNetNebraska’s Chelsea Eaton.

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