By Lauren Dunlop
There’s a wide variety of reasons that a student may have interest in Greek life. Some want to get involved, some want to meet new people, and some have simply always been interested in the idea. However, a select few point out one of the greatest parts of joining a Greek organization: the volunteer work.
Since as long as sororities and fraternities have been around, they have come with a stigma. It’s no secret that Hollywood makes Greeks seem like crazy partiers who spend their days drinking and doing almost nothing else. This stigma may never completely go away, even as much as Greeks stand against it. However, instead of telling students what work really goes into it, brothers and sisters around campus are spending their time more wisely by making a difference in their communities and the philanthropies they’re so passionate about.
In simply the past two months, every Greek organization at Fitchburg State has been working for different causes. Whether they’re standing, walking, rocking, speaking, or playing video games, these organizations waste no time when it comes to philanthropy.
Within the first few weeks that classes were in session, sisters of Alpha Sigma Tau could be seen around campus holding up cardboard signs and looking solemn. This movement was called “Standing in Silence” and each sign had a statistic about sexual assault written on it. They did this to raise awareness to the horrifying reality of sexual assault. “Some people complained that it made them feel uncomfortable,” said Alpha Sigma Tau member Sukhman Matharu, “but that was the point! The topic is uncomfortable, yet very real.” Other members of Greek life even began standing beside the girls, showing their support.
Another cause where silence speaks volumes is Sigma Pi’s annual candlelight vigil held in honor of those lost on 9/11. The brothers start the day by reading the names of every victim in the amount of time the tragic events occurred years ago. This is followed by a moment of silence, and then later that evening the vigil is held. Having many brothers who have served in the U.S. military, this event is of great significance to Sigma Pi.
When these dark nights become early mornings, there are still more causes to fight for. Every year the sisters of Sigma Sigma Sigma leave for Boston in the early morning to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, a cause so many are affected by in some way. They invite everyone to join them and it turns into an all day event that turns an important cause into a memorable day for everyone!
In light of breast cancer awareness, Sigma Tau Gamma adopts pink as one of their official colors for the month of October. Also in October, the brothers hold a Game-A-Thon for twenty-four hours to raise money for Special Olympics. Like the Breast Cancer walk, the Game-A-Thon is meant to be a fun event, while still keeping the focus on an important cause. Special Olympics is held every spring at Fitchburg State University, an event Greek life always has a large presence in. A hundred percent of the proceeds Sigma Tau Gamma collects throughout their Game-A-Thon goes directly to Special Olympics.
Upcoming towards the end of October, Phi Sigma Sigma will hold their annual Rock-A-Thon for Kids in Need. For thirty-two hours the women of this sorority will be in rocking chairs on the quad to raise money and awareness for their philanthropy. While this event is going on, the members also participate in “Pie a Phi”. Taylor Deschenes, a sister of Phi Sigma Sigma says, “We will be selling baked goods during the event, but students can also pay one dollar to pie sisters in the face.” It’s an event students won’t want to miss!
It doesn’t end there – Greek life volunteers all year long! They host a children’s Halloween party where they provide crafts, candy, games, and a haunted house for children and families in the area. They also hold food drives, clothing drives, donate presents during Christmas, clean up the streets of Fitchburg, and at the end of the school year they participate in Special Olympics, making sure the children have the time of their lives – and the list goes on!
Members of Greek life may be different people, come from different places, or wear different letters, but they all come together for a greater cause.