Greek-letter organizations promote community service

On campuses across the nation, philanthropy has become a keyword among fraternities and sororities.

Projects like the Interfraternity Council’s month-long clothing drive exemplify the energy Greek-letter organizations have put into community service on GW’s campus, said Brandon Moss, IFC vice president for programming.

Wednesday’s clothing drop-off on the Quad marked the finale of the IFC drive for Miriam’s Closet, a subsidiary of Miriam’s Kitchen soup kitchen on 24th and G streets.

Individual organizations have done their part to serve the community as well, requiring their members perform service in the neighborhood year-round.

While the work benefits the community, Theta Delta Chi philanthropy chair Wally Jumat and other members of the Greek-letter system said philanthropy creates a bond stronger than mere friendship – it enhances brotherhood and sisterhood.

Eskridge said she has fond memories of Christmas caroling at GW Hospital with her sisters because it gives them one last chance to bond before winter break.

Members of Kappa Sigma said they look forward to future opportunities like their work with Hands On D.C. because of the feelings of fraternity fostered during their service.

“Community service is an opportunity for brothers to get together and have fun,” said Zach Sisisky, Kappa Sigma’s community service chair. “And, at the same time we get results and improve our community together.”

Last year, brothers of Kappa Sigma gathered at the Capitol to participate in Hands On D.C., an effort to renovate local high schools. Beta Theta Pi brothers performed the same service Thursday.

Other members of the Greek-letter community are volunteering at Miriam’s Kitchen, tutoring D.C. youth and fundraising for charitable organizations.

The Panhellenic Association, the sorority counterpart of the Interfraternity Council, will hold its annual fashion show to support breast cancer research April 24 in the Marvin Center Ballroom.

The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, which began the tradition, plans to continue its support for breast cancer research, said Hannah Eskridge, president of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

One of the sorority’s pledge classes visited babies with AIDS at D.C. General Hospital a few years ago. The sorority has also participated in the AIDS Walk and Foggy Bottom Clean-up efforts, Eskridge said.

Adopt-a-School – a program originated at GW by the Theta Delta Chi fraternity and Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority – also has benefited from the organizations’ philanthropy, said Wally Jumat, philanthropy chair for Theta Delta Chi.

Previously run through the two Greek-letter organizations, the program now is open to the entire Greek-letter system, Jumat said.

Jumat ,who participated in the program his freshman year, said Adopt-a-School provides a link between college students and children who need tutors in Washington.

The experience of watching a child progress throughout the semester was astonishing, he said.

“You never actually think you can change someone’s life,” Jumat said. “A lot of the brothers learned they were helping themselves by helping others.”

Theta Delta Chi also plans one other major philanthropy project each semester, Jumat said.

In the fall, the fraternity also sponsored ParaRelays, an event that supports athletes with disabilities. The ParaRelays, which take place on the Quad and G Street, include blind soccer, sitting volleyball and wheelchair races.

To commemorate Theta Delta Chi’s philanthropic dedication, GW’s Office of Community Service awarded the fraternity’s Greek Charity Bowling Tournament the 1997 Official Greek Charity Event. The group donated participation fees from last year’s event to Hands On D.C. This year’s tournament will be held Thursday.

This year Kappa Sigma members have attended the 12th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet and they visit Miriam’s Kitchen on a weekly basis, Sisisky said.

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