There are rattling cans on Liacouras Walk, donation bins in the Student Center atrium, walks and banquets or drives clamoring for attention on bulletin boards and in email inboxes.
Greeks can be seen in the streets, halls and on the Internet trying to raise support for various organizations in attempts to use their network of individuals to positively impact another community.
Alpha Phi Alpha will hold its Black and Gold Pageant on Nov. 24, the proceeds from which will go entirely to the March of Dimes Foundation.
“It helps us,” APA brother and senior finance major Atiba Booker said of his organization’s philanthropic event. “It helps everyone around us.”
Each organization has different philanthropic goals based on whether it is a part of the National Panhellenic Council, the Multicultural Greek Council or the Interfraternity Council. Some organizations choose to do can shakes, such as the sorority Phi Sigma Sigma’s can shake for school and college readiness that occurred on Oct 14.
The sisters gathered at Alumni Circle to raise money to buy school supplies for underprivileged kids in the School District of Philadelphia. In addition, the sisters held their annual grilled cheese sale on Oct. 24, generating additional profits for local schools. This initiative will join the sorority’s past donations to the Twin Ideals Fund, which raises money for disaster victims, such as those affected by Hurricane Katrina or 9/11.
While Phi Sigma Sigma chooses to raise money for local schoolchildren, the brothers of Omega Psi Phi help in another way. The fraternity is part of the National Panhellenic Council, which often has ongoing philanthropic work dedicated to a few causes.
“All organizations have different missions and cultures regarding philanthropy,” said Kufere Laing, a junior African-American studies and economics double major and Omega Psi Phi brother. “Our philanthropy is year-long. We donate to the NAACP, the Red Cross and the [United] Negro College Fund.”
The fraternity raises money through benefits, banquets and interactive programs. Omegas nationwide support health initiatives with the Charles Drew Blood Drive and partnerships with the American Diabetes Association. The causes are directly linked to the organization’s mission of fostering community among its African American members and raising awareness for public health.
Greek philanthropy can often be tied to the nature of the organization. A mission statement on GreeksForGoodBlog.org reads, “The most effective philanthropists have a strong connection with the cause they support and are extremely educated about its mission.”
Alpha Kappa Alpha represented the motto with a “Forever 21” event on Oct. 15. The event taught students “the truth about being 21,” promoting alcohol safety awareness. This will join Alpha Kappa Alpha’s other events on social and professional development, such as Project Alpha, an outreach program providing sex education to Philadelphia school children and a women’s appreciation event in the coming months.
“Each chapter does what they want to uplift the Philly community,” Booker said.
Some chapters band together to make a difference. The sisters of Lambda Theta Alpha at Temple join with the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority at the University of Pennsylvania to hold events that empower the Latin community, including ongoing efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence.
“Our motto is Latin by tradition, not by definition,” said Camille Brugnara, vice president of LTA and junior construction management. “[Our principles] are unity, love and respect.”
The Temple University Greek Association also holds its own philanthropic events. This Halloween season, TUGA will be hosting Greek trick or treat, where Greek homes around campus will give out candy to local trick-or-treaters.
The most recent TUGA meeting also allowed organizations to get the word out for other charitable events, including Delta Phi Epsilon’s work raising money for cystic fibrosis research, the Delta Zeta’s “360 Degrees of Sisterhood” event that will support education for the impoverished and the Alpha Epsilon Phi’s “Phight Hunger” can drive during November.
Regardless of how an organization does it, members of Greek life say they see any form of philanthropy, as Brugnara puts it, as “giving back to the community.”
Lora Strum can be reached at email@example.com.