Fraternities, sororities participate in stroll competition

Brandon Hunter and Alandis Phillips of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity Inc. strolling at the stroll competition in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium hosted by the women of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority Inc. The winners of the stroll competition were the women of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

By Brian Singer

Music, lights and screaming fans filled the Carl Sandburg Auditorium for the stroll competition Friday.

Participants from eight fraternities and sororities threw themselves onto the stage and performed dance routines to impress the judges and the crowd. Several times during a semester at NIU, black Greek organizations come together to compete and continue the tradition of strolling.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” said Carolyn Eastlin, graduate adviser for the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority. “There could be costumes, videos, slide shows, and a lot of groups want to keep it secret.”

Strolling involves a group of people packing rhythmic, precise dancing and music into one performance. They bring their performances to crowds to gain bragging rights and cash prizes.

The roots of strolling date back hundreds of years.

“All strolling started in Africa, with native dances incorporating rhythm and music together,” said senior sociology major Alex Harper.

Harper belongs to Phi Beta Sigma. The fraternity practiced their routine for days and won the strolling competition at NIU in 2011.

Each stroller in Phi Beta Sigma had a family member involved with strolling in the past.

“My father played a big role getting me into it,” said Darius Bell, senior exercise science major and Phi Beta Sigma member.

The cash prize is split from half the earnings made from ticket sales and goes to the stroll competition winners. The rest of the ticket sale funds are used for fundraising for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). The Council sponsors Sigma Gamma Rho, as well as other black sororities and fraternities at NIU.

The NPHC use those earning to buy bricks for their Yard Project, located at the north side of the Stevenson Towers. The yard has been used to host barbecues, new member shows and other Greek events.

Eastlin said strolling was a way to unify the black Greek community on campus and demonstrate their talents.