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Sep 29 2016
by Jade Miller

Greek Life: Philanthropies and What they Mean

By Jade Miller - Sep 29 2016

When I first mentioned joining a sorority to my parents, they were in shock that I would even bother with that part of college life. I mean, yes, I had a set group of friends (kind of) going into college, and I'm pretty outgoing without connections for the future, so I could see their confusion. But their confusion wasn't the worst part; there was concern that once I joined, my social life would become more important than my schoolwork. Little did they know, that while my social life has become important, that's not what sororities focus on most of the time. 

A philanthropy is defined by the Webster Dictionary as, "The practice of giving money and time to help make life better for people." What do you know, Webster hit it right on the head, because that is what we focus on as a whole. So, why not look into some of the Greek organizations that really showcase those skills, because if you're going to party hard, you can bet that the work is harder. 

Chi Omega

Chi Omega was founded in 1895 at the University of Arkansas. Their mission statement is as follows: 

Sisters inspired by our values who serve the world while keeping Chi Omega forever at heart. 

Doesn't that just sound philanthropic? Their national philanthropy is Make-A-Wish, which, if you don't know what they do, they grant "wishes" to children who are battling life-threatening illnesses. More often than not, their events on campus relate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The event itself could be any type of fundraiser, but all the profits go to the foundation itself. For more information on the foundation, see below! 

Alpha Omicron Pi

Alpha Omicron Pi was founded in 1889 at Barnard College. Their vision statement itself speaks to their philanthropy:

Living our Values. 
Changing the Future.

How cute is that?! Their national philanthropy is the Arthritis Foundation, which was chosen specifically because it was seen as the leading cause of disability in women. Adopted in 1967, Alpha Omicron Pi has raised over $2 million for grants and research. Interested? Here's a video talking about the philanthropy itself!

Gamma Phi Beta

Gamma Phi was founded in 1874 at Syracuse University. The first group to use the term, "sorority," their mission statement resonates with their philanthropy of choice as well: 

To inspire the highest type of womanhood.

Gamma Phi Beta is the exclusive National Panhellenic Conference National Sponsor of Girls on The Run. A huge part of Girls on the Run is to inspire and motivate girls to compete in a 5k, which may sound painful, but being with a group of girls and training together can be one of the best things to inspire the highest type of womanhood. They've even created a video about building strong girls!

Pi Kappa Alpha

Switching to looking at fraternities, there are plenty of them as well to look at when looking at philanthropies! We'll start with Pi Kappa Alpha, which was founded in 1868 at the University of Virginia. Now, when looking at their site, they had a lot of mission statements, but we'll look closely at their vision statement for some insight into what they do: 

Pi Kappa Alpha will set the standard of integrity, intellect, and achievement for our members, host institutions, and the communities in which we live.

The preferred philanthropic partner is The Taylor Trudeau Cycle for Life. This philanthropy was created in memory of a fallen brother, who passed away after a year-long battle with leukemia. Since introducing this partner, they've raised over $250,000 for the MD Anderson Cancer Center. That's pretty impressive. Here's an example of their philanthropy event, from Florida Golf Coast University!

Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Founded in 1856 at the University of Alabama, their roots go way back. Their mission statement is pretty long, but here's a snippet of what it looks like: 

Advancing the highest standards of friendship, scholarship, leadership and service for our members throughout life.

Pretty good for a summary, if you ask me. Their preferred partnership currently is the Children's Miracle Network. Starting the partnership in 2001, they've raised more than $800,000. While this is not directly connected with the Children's Miracle Network, this is just an example of what a philanthropy event is like! The foundation in the video is The Beauty Campaign, which helps with cancer care. 

Delta Chi

Delta Chi started in 1889 at Cornell. Just like the other fraternities mentioned, their statements are excruciatingly long. To sum it up, this is what you get from their Constitution: 

We, the members of The Delta Chi Fraternity, believing that great advantages are to be derived from a brotherhood of college and university men, appreciating that close association may promote friendship, develop character, advance justice, and assist in the acquisition of a sound education, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Very interesting. Now, their philanthropy, since 2001, has been The V Foundation for Cancer Research. If you're confused, it's a foundation for cancer research. Here's an example of what the V Foundation for Cancer Research is involved in!

This is just a small list of some of the philanthropies that Greek organizations have. Yes, there are plenty of others out there and there are plenty other concepts of philanthropy in-between. So, next time someone says that there's nothing but social life in Greek Life, feel free to butt in and shed a little light on the subject. Who knows, they might just show up to the next philanthropy event on your campus! 

Lead Image Credit: University of Rochester Gamma Phi Beta 

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Jade Miller - University of Rochester

Jade Miller is a sophomore at the University of Rochester double majoring in Business and English Literature. She is a Junior Editor for the Fresh U national site. She is a member of the sorority Gamma Phi Beta and also a coxswain for UR Rowing. She loves dogs, reading, and having a single this year in her res hall. Follow her on Twitter @jade_miller_

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