Vespers award greek leaders

Melissa Berg

More than 2,500 members of the greek community gathered Sunday night to celebrate their accomplishments throughout the past year with the Vespers program, which kicked off the Greek Week celebration.

Numerous awards were presented, including chapter recognition for outstanding accomplishments in the areas of scholarship, leadership, community service and involvement, said Lisa Strehlow, Greek Week special events coordinator and senior in meteorology.

The President’s Award for Fraternal Excellence was awarded to Alpha Gamma Delta, Gamma Phi Beta, and Kappa Kappa Gamma sororities and Alpha Gamma Rho and also to Phi Delta Theta fraternities. These chapters met 95 percent or more of the award criteria.

Thomas Duncan of Lambda Chi Alpha was named Greek Man of the Year and Jennifer Peyser of Pi Beta Phi received the Greek Woman of the Year title.

The highest chapter GPA awards for spring 2000 went to Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. and Gamma Phi Beta, sororities and FarmHouse fraternity. For fall 2000, the highest chapter GPA awards were given to Omega Psi Phi, Inc. and FarmHouse fraternity and Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

The word “vesper” means the evening or the evening star. The plural name “vespers” refers to the evening service or worship commonly found in churches, said Brian Tenclinger, assistant dean of students for greek affairs.

“Our Vespers service is just that – an evening of service where we reflect on the past year and recognize outstanding contributions to our Greek Community,” he said.

The featured speaker was Eric Saperston, filmmaker, author and storyteller.

Saperston traveled across the United States interviewing some of the most influential people in the country.

He interviewed numerous politicians, including former President Jimmy Carter. He met with the Jamaican bobsled team, Jerry Garcia, Edwin McCain, the Indigo Girls, Billy Crystal, Henry Winkler “the Fonz” and many other phenomenal people, said Megan Rank, Greek Week marketing and media coordinator and junior in marketing.

“Eric Saperston is truly an amazing man,” Tenclinger said.

Saperston went to college and became president of his fraternity and, eventually, president of the student body.

After graduation, he was still unsure what he wanted to do with his life, so he decided to take some time to follow the Grateful Dead and try to figure out what he was supposed to do.

As it turned out, what he was supposed to do found him, and he began his journey that took him all over the country, Tenclinger said.

Saperston filmed his journey, which was just released last week at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, he said.