Greek life raises awareness about organizations
By BY MOLLY FESER, ALPHA XI DELTA
While common depictions of sororities and fraternities on campus include partying and controversial actions, one aspect of Greek life that many overlook is the philanthropic side. Through philanthropic events and service events, the Greek community on campus gives back to their community by raising money for important causes through fun events that bring people together.
Every Greek chapter has their own philanthropic organization that they are partnered with. Each year, the chapters raise thousands of dollars for their cause. If sororities or fraternities are ever on the news, it is usually about something negative and is rarely about the impact Greek organizations have on charities and their community. Every year, chapters hold many fundraisers and events for philanthropic causes, from Chipotle fundraisers to galas.
On April 8, Alpha Phi sorority held their ninth annual Red Dress Gala on campus for the Alpha Phi Foundation in support of women’s heart health, raising $18,000. They also held a teddy bear drive for Heart Health Month, which takes place in February. Many members of other Greek organizations donated teddy bears in support of the chapter’s cause.
Every chapter has a week devoted to their respective causes where they throw events every day to raise money and awareness. The purpose of these charity weeks is to emphasize the importance of a sense of community and leadership.
From April 9 to 15, the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi hosted their annual philanthropy week, War of the Roses, to raise money for their charity, the Ability Experience, which benefits people with disabilities.
Throughout the week, the fraternity held a friendly competition where sororities gained points by donating to the cause and participating in the events, which only pushed everyone to raise more money. The competition included “Pie a Pi Kapp,” where people could pay money to pie a brother to raise money.
The rest of the week included a Chipotle fundraiser, a 12 hour Bike-a-Thon and a date auction where brothers were bid on by people who wanted to spend the day with them.
A new addition to Pi Kappa Phi’s philanthropy week this year is that some of the proceeds will go towards Mason alumnus and fraternity brother Matt Lopez and, who is diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma.
Lopez’s GoFundMe goal was to raise $40,000 for his treatments, but within 18 hours he raised almost $50,000. He received donations from friends, family and not only the Greek community from Mason but the national Greek community, once they were informed of Lopez’s goal.
Gamma Phi Beta sorority is partnered with Girls on the Run for their cause, Building Strong Girls, which is about building confidence for young girls through activities and mentoring. They raise money through a 5k, where the sisters become coaches and empower a group of young girls. The sisters can mentor girls by helping them with homework or guiding them through challenging situations.
Sophomore Sofia Herring-Dolin appreciates the opportunity she gets to build girls up and inspire them to be healthy and happy.
“Our philanthropy is important to me because, through the coaching and the mentoring, we give younger girls perspectives from someone other than their parents, which is something that would have helped me when I was younger,” Herring-Dolin said. “Being surrounded by my sisters who are on the same mission and want to empower women is really amazing and I love that our philanthropy promotes that.”
The sorority also raises money through their biggest event, Moonball, which can either be a kickball, volleyball or basketball tournament. This year, the chapter hosted a kickball tournament on campus and all of the funds raised were donated to Girls on the Run.
The sisters of Alpha Xi Delta raise money for Autism Speaks. Starting April 2, the sorority held their annual Autism Awareness Week, which takes place during Autism Awareness Month in April.
The chapter held Light It Up Blue, an event where they decorated the dining halls blue with facts about Autism Speaks. Senior and former Philanthropy Chair for the chapter Tara Kelbaugh likes being able to raise awareness on campus.
“I love having Light it up Blue on campus because we are able to reach such a large audience,” Kelbaugh said. “It makes me happy to hear from students who come up to me and my sisters to express their appreciation for raising awareness for something that affects many families, including our own students at Mason.”
The chapter also lobbied on Capitol Hill last week to raise awareness for autism. Every year in the fall, the chapter hosts Walk Now for Autism Speaks in D.C. to generate funds for research and to generate support for the autism community. To finish off their philanthropy week, the chapter hosted their annual 5k April 8.
“The Step It Up 5k is a fun run/walk event for the Greek community and other organizations, as well as family and friends,” Philanthropy Chair Monica Seabo said. “It was our first time doing the 5k on campus in a long time, and it was pretty successful.”
Perhaps the biggest and most successful way the Greek community raises money for a good cause is by coming together for the annual Greek Week.
Greek Week unites the Greek community through a variety of events that raise money for charity. Every year, fraternities and sororities team up to compete in events such as Aquatics Night, Field Day, food drives and Greek Sing, where each team puts on a 13-minute skit, written and performed by the students.
This year, Greek Week ran from March 26 to April 2 and featured the annual “Shackathon” event, one of the biggest and most popular events of the week. Teams work to build a makeshift shack out of cardboard to raise money for Habitat for Humanity on campus.
The shacks are meant to be a fun and creative way for the Greek community to come together and raise money and awareness of the homeless. The winning shack was picked based on the best design and how much money that organization raised for Habitat.
Greek Week has a theme every year, and this year’s theme was movie genres. From fantasy movies to superhero movies to children’s movies, shack and Greek Sing performances were based on this theme.
Junior Sophie Rizzo, a sister of Alpha Omicron Pi, enjoys the positive values Greek Week instills upon Greek life.
“I think a lot of the good things that Greek life does are kind of swept under the rug because of stereotypes of fraternities and sororities,” Rizzo said. “That’s why Greek Week is such a great chance to show the service aspect of our community.”
This year, Mason Greek Life raised $4,500 and donated 32,000 pounds of cans for the food drive.
Philanthropy is one of the many reasons why people choose to go Greek. Each philanthropic cause is special and unique to their respective chapter. The Greek community gives back every year to show the importance of charity and putting others before themselves.
Feser is a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority.