Philanthropy a major part of Greek Life

Kate Bigam

Samantha Mittler knows doing charity work can be just as fun as it is beneficial. As president of the Panhellenic Council, which oversees the seven sororities on campus, Mittler said philanthropic work holds special meaning to individual chapters.

“It might seem like we’re just getting to have fun,” said Mittler, junior marketing major. “But as we’re having fun, we’re making a difference.”

Every sorority on campus has its own philanthropy – a charitable cause it raises money for through various events during the year. Although some critics of the Greek system write off these charitable events as nothing more than effective publicity stunts, many Greek students say they have deep-seated loyalties to their philanthropic causes.

“It gives you a chance to learn the history and become passionate about your philanthropy,” said Carissa Richardson, a sister of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and senior middle childhood education major.

Tri-Sigma’s national philanthropy, Sigma Serves Children, was established in 1951 after the sorority’s national president lost a son to polio, according to the sorority’s Web site. Richardson said she feels devoted to her sorority’s philanthropy because it was founded based on the needs of a fellow sister.

The Delta Zeta Foundation supports the speech impaired and hard-of-hearing with money raised at public events such as its annual DZ Lip Sync competition. Last year, money raised by the national Delta Zeta Foundation purchased a vibrating dance floor for hearing-impaired dance students at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., said Jillian Peterson, philanthropy internal chairperson of Kent State’s Delta Zeta chapter and junior speech pathology and audiology major.

This semester will be a busy one for sororities’ philanthropies; Delta Zeta, Alpha Phi and Sigma Sigma Sigma will all be hosting events to raise money for their respective philanthropic organizations, said Jessica Lentine, Panhellenic Council public relations chairperson. Chi Omega and Alpha Xi Delta held their philanthropy events in the fall.

In addition to individual philanthropies, the Greek community participates in charitable work as a whole. Mittler said the Greek community dedicates one week a year entirely to community service, during which Greeks sponsor a food drive and other events.

“People overlook how hard we work,” Mittler said. “As soon as it’s over one year, we’re starting on the next year.”

Lentine, junior journalism and mass communications major, said this year’s Greek Week festivities, held annually in April, will include a blood drive through the American Red Cross and will conclude with Relay for Life to support the American Cancer Society.

Contact Greek life reporter Kate Bigam at [email protected].