Senior fundraising campaign turns to Greek life for donations

Media Credit: Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Interfraternity Council President Keaton White said donations to Greek chapters, like those through the Senior Class Gift campaign, can be used to bring in speakers or fund scholarships.

Students in Greek life are being asked to donate to more than just chapter philanthropy events this year.

The Senior Class Gift campaign, which is hoping to raise money from 62 percent of seniors this year, has specifically called on seniors involved in Greek life to make contributions. And because most Greek life members are already committed to strengthening their chapters, they could be key in helping the campaign hit its highest-ever participation goal.

Juman Kekhia, the lead coordinator of the campaign, has tapped campus leaders in different organizations to get the seniors in their groups to make donations. She said that by personalizing the campaign, she’ll be able to get more students from different parts of the senior class to donate.

Kekhia said in an email that students involved in Greek life are “an important part of the GW community with strong ties to philanthropy” because Greeks members are already familiar with raising money for specific causes through their annual philanthropy events.

“By reaching out to students through the channel of Greek life and their connection to their chapter, it connects to them on a personal level,” she said.

Seniors can put their donations to any area on campus – like financial aid, the Alternative Breaks Program or a student organization. Last year, the campaign raised $128,000 from about 60 percent of the senior class.

Roughly 30 percent of students participate in Greek life, and a new fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, was added to campus this year after Greek leaders found that about half of students who signed up to rush a fraternity did not join one in 2014.

Keaton White, the president of the Interfraternity Council, said in an email that Greek chapters often use donations to bring in guest speakers and fund scholarships for students.

“Even small donations can make a huge difference to student organizations like ours at GW, especially when funding might be tight or when we want to keep our dues affordable for everyone,” White said.

White said he writes handwritten thank-you notes to all students who donate to Greek organizations “because their generous donations actually do make a difference, big or small.”

Mollie Bowman, the president of the Panhellenic Association, said Greek life members are willing to give back to support the organizations that supported them through their college years.

“For many students, Greek life is what shaped their college experience. And giving back to our organizations through Senior Class Gift means providing meaningful programming, potential scholarships and more to future members,” she said in an email.

Chapters already host major fundraising events on campus for other causes. Last year, the Delta Tau Delta fraternity raised $24,000 to support a member’s family. Sigma Chi also raked in a record-high $84,000 during its annual philanthropy last October. In April, Alpha Phi supported a student in the chapter with cancer and raised $3,000.

Last year, Greek life leaders planned the first-ever Greek Day of Service where all chapters take part in community service events like painting murals around D.C., participating in GW’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and organizing books at a public library.

“We always talk about Greeks giving back, and this is one great way to partner with the University to make our community stronger for our future brothers and sisters,” Bowman said.

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