Aaron Ochoa and Jessica Marrello were named Greek Man and Woman of the Year at the conclusion of last week’s Greek Week.
Each year, the University of New Mexico’s fraternities and sororities on campus join together for the contests, events and fundraising for a local charitable cause during Greek Week.
During the annual Greek Banquet at the end of the week, the philanthropy is presented with a check. This year, over $18,000 was raised for Locker 505, an organization that helps provide school clothing for children in Bernalillo County.
Several awards are also presented at the Greek Banquet, including the Greek Man of the Year and Greek Woman of the Year awards. Each fraternity and sorority can nominate one person from their own chapter for this award, as well as two other individuals from either the Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council or Multicultural Greek Council.
This year, the awards went to Aaron Ochoa of Alpha Tau Omega and Jessica Marrello of Chi Omega.
“This award was definitely an honor,” Ochoa said. “There were a lot of people nominated, and it’s humbling that I was the one they picked.”
This award was also special because this is the fourth year in a row it has gone to somebody in Alpha Tau Omega, according to Ochoa.
“It was an incredible moment to experience during my senior year at UNM,” Marrello said. “It felt amazing being surrounded by the support of my Greek sisters and all of the Greek community.”
Both Ochoa and Marrello are actively involved in Greek Life, as well as several other organizations on campus.
They both hold executive roles in LoboTHON, an organization that raises awareness and funds for the UNM Children’s Hospital. LoboTHON’s biggest event, a 13.1 hour dance marathon, is happening this Saturday.
Marello is currently a statistics and chemistry tutor for CAPS, as well as an intern at the UNM Exercise Physiology Lab. After graduating in May, she plans to attend physical therapy school at Northern Arizona University.
Ochoa is a chairman for IFC and is also involved with the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico. He will graduate from UNM within the next year and is hoping to pursue a career in business, management and marketing.
Marrello said Greek life has opened many doors and opportunities for her, and she encourages everyone to join.
“If you are even the slightest bit interested in joining Greek life, I would say take a leap of faith,” Marrello said. “Put yourself out there and go through recruitment, whether it is the formal recruitment process for Panhellenic in August or an event hosted by any of our IFC and MGC organizations.”
Ochoa echoed many of Marrello’s sentiments about Greek life.
“The Greek community (tries) to maintain the highest level of accountability and uphold our values of scholarship, service, friendship and personal development,” he said.
“Greek Life has given me invaluable connections, cherished memories and lifelong friendships. I couldn’t imagine my college experience without it,” Marrello said.
Anyone interested in learning more about Greek life can go to .
Catherine Stringam is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cathey_stringam.