Sororities Give Back To The Community
When you pay an entry fee to participate in a volleyball game or participate in a 5k run, what does that entry fee mean to you? For sororities, your entry fee could mean providing research funding for heart disease, cancer, or even autism. Sororities conduct several philanthropy and community service events throughout the year to help improve the community they live in.
That Warm Fuzzy Feeling
On November 14, 2010 about 25 girls from Alpha Xi Delta Sorority at the University of Iowa car pooled to local nursing home to play bingo with the residents. The girls talked, laughed, and shared stories with the residents.
A lot of girls were as excited for bingo as the residents were. Cara Meyers and her partner were waging an all-out war with all the other bingo players.
“I remember I kept telling her we needed to get more cards. That way we would have a better chance at winning. Then she just turned around and started laughing,” Meyers said with a smile on her face.
Cara and her partner Dorothy did end up winning the last bingo round which happened to be blackout. Cara claimed they just had to win in honor of Dorothy’s 100th birthday the following week.
“It means a lot to them that Alpha Xi Deltas came out and played Bingo with them. The residents really enjoyed it and I know the girls did too,” said Andrea Anderson, a CNA at the nursing home.
The girls originally planned to only stay for two hours, but they were having so much fun they decided to stay an extra half an hour longer.
“I had so much fun playing. I didn’t even realize that it was time to leave,” said Natalie Tercheck.
Helen, a resident at the nursing home, approached the girls before they left and told them that she really appreciated the girls coming and playing bingo with them. She even asked them when they would be coming back.
The girls all agreed that they would definitely visit again sometime soon.
The Reason Why They Volunteer
Jordan Franklin, an Alpha Phi at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA, knows how rewarding of an experience it is to help someone in her community. She even admits that sometimes it can be hard to host a philanthropy or community event because of how much the events personally affects her.
“Last year a few girls and myself helped with a fundraiser for a little boy named Ollie who was dying of a brain tumor and only had a few months left to live. We helped set up a carnival for the fundraiser and got to play with children. But it was hard because we wanted to do more but there wasn’t really anything else we could do,” Franklin said.
The circumstances were sad, but the only thing they could do was live in the moment and hope that the fundraiser helped the little boy’s family.
Natalie Tercheck, an Alpha Xi Delta from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA, shares a similar experience. Last term Tercheck volunteered at the Johnson County Crisis Center bagging groceries for the people who came in. During her experience, she had an interesting run-in with a lady.
“I specifically remember one lady who yelled at me for not giving her “real soap”. She wanted one with a brand name, like Dove, but the only ones they had were generic brands. I realize how frustrated she probably was. A lot of the people coming into the Crisis Center aren’t used to asking for help because they never used to need it. But the economy has really taken a turn for the worst, and a lot of the middle class can’t afford the things they used to be able to afford. The experience I had with that lady made me realize this, and it’s really sad,” Tercheck said.
Unlike Franklin’s situation, Tercheck has the opportunity to do more for her community. Tercheck mentioned that after volunteering she feels that it is important for her to continue helping out at the Johnson County Crisis Center. There are more people there that need help and there will be even more as the months start to get colder. Tercheck hopes to get some of her sisters to also volunteer at the Johnson County Crisis Center this winter.
Although sororities are required to do volunteer work and host philanthropy events, giving back to the community means more to them than just fulfilling a sorority requirement.
Alpha Phi requires its girls to perform two hours of volunteer work a term in addition to the time they spend raising awareness about their philanthropy.
Jordan Franklin has already met her sorority’s quota for volunteer hours this term, but she has not stopped volunteering.
“So far this year I have done four hours of volunteering at Go Red for Women’s cardiac care. I volunteered for an hour at the chili cook off for Rett Syndrome. I also participated in another sorority’s philanthropy event. The sorority hosted a kickball tournament to raise money for breast cancer research,” said Franklin.
Franklin and her sorority sisters think that volunteer work seems more like fun than work, because they enjoy helping out the community.
Dede Six, a Nu Psi Tau at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, IA, said her sorority manages volunteer hours differently than other sororities. Nu Psi Tau does not require a minimal amount of volunteer hours but requires girls to volunteer for two events. These events can range from an all-day event to just a couple of hours.
“Nu Psi Tau this year has volunteered at the Clow’s Company picnic. We have also partnered with a lot of student organizations on campus for fund-raising events. This winter we are scheduled to do bell ringing so we are pretty excited,” said Six.
Nu Psi Tau Sorority has just recently become affiliated with Greek Life at William Penn University. Six said that the main mission for the sorority currently is to just volunteer throughout the community and let everyone know who they are.
By: Jessica Heemsbergen