February 28, 2024

The Chance for ACE to Become the Hero

ACE looks to expand participation past just Greek Life and incorporate the rest of the student body.

With the end of the school year coming to a close, a lot of fun events here on Rocky Top are beginning to die down.

One event that most recently wrapped up was Carnicus, which is a competition featuring skits often accompanied by music and dance routines. Carnicus is put on by the university’s All Campus Events Board or ACE. Though the event is open to all, it has been primarily dominated by the University’s Greek Life, especially the IFC and Panhellenic communities.

This is no surprise considering that Greek Life has really shaped a lot of events on campus. However, according to the Office of Sorority and Fraternity, Greek Life on UT’s campus is only 24% of the student body. Still, events put on by ACE are seemingly geared toward organizations in the Greek Community due to the amount of effort and participation needed for ACE’s various events.

Every year ACE puts on three different events: Homecoming, All-Sing and Carnicus. That, according to them, completes the so-called “ACE Cup”. This year’s ACE cup winner was Beta Upsilon Chi Fraternity. They participated in all three ACE Events winning both Homecoming with Delta Gamma and most recently Carnicus with Chi Omega.

Looking back, the ACE Cup has primarily been won by the Greek Community. Since 2002 the only non-Greek organization that has won is the Baptist Collegiate Ministry winning in 2004 and in 2010 along with Chi Omega.

As a member of a Panhellenic sorority, I love being involved and watching the different events. As I participate, I can’t help but think about all the other campus organizations that would be thrilled to participate in ACE events.

Organizations such as service-based or academic major-based organizations would love to participate just to be more bonded. Plus it would definitely bring more competition and stakes to the different events.

“I hadn’t ever had any of these things until just now, and I’m sure everybody could make some new friends and have good times,” said freshman member of Alpha Sigma Kappa, Mary Wilfong.

Alpha Sigma Kappa is a Social Sorority for those in Tech Studies here at UT. Though they are new to UTK, participating in events could definitely help spread their sorority to a lot of different people on campus.

Outside of Carnicus, there is All-Sing. All-Sing is a singing competition that took place earlier this semester. Both Carnicus and All-Sing do take practice and dedication, but more than anything it is a fun bonding experience and a way to get to know people. If we put other organizations up on stage for Carnicus and All-Sing, it would definitely become something the whole campus could rally around. I would love to see participation from the UT Ambassadors in Carnicus or the people involved in The Cross use their voices in All-Sing.

The Greek Community wants to share the fun with other campus organizations. A freshman in Chi Omega, Lauren Smith spoke about how awesome it would be to have more organizations participate.

“I think if they catered to all large group organizations then more of the whole student body would get involved,” said Smith. “…It would build a competitive spirit on campus/in the student body and also bring more people together that aren’t always together for a lot of events.”

This can go beyond the spring events Carnicus and All-Sing, but also more participation in the fall with Homecoming.

During Homecoming on Banner drop day, the University had a first-generation banner hanging, but that was it for non-Greek banners. So many communities that make Tennessee what it is were grossly underrepresented. Neyland Stadium is certainly big enough to hang up banners for all the organizations and communities that make this university so special.

Even those who serve on ACE see that there needs to be more participation outside of Greek life. A member of the ACE Board, Sydney Hillman, who currently serves as Alumni Chair Person, has also served as Recruitment Chair for the past two years.

“One of our goals is trying to reach out to the broader campus community,” said Hillman. “For the past homecoming event, some organizations might be discouraged from participating because they might see it as only a Greek Life thing.”

Hillman went on to share that due to this desire, they have made an option where organizations can participate in a smaller capacity and not try for the coveted ACE Cup.

Though ACE is trying to showcase that its events are open to all, it is a very hard ceiling to break when these events have historically been dominated by Greek Organizations. As the University of Tennessee grows, it is only fitting for ACE events to expand with that, and make their coveted ACE Cup trophy something that every UT student wants to hold in their hands.

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