FSL philanthropy through the pandemic

Sean Repuyan, Features Editor

The Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) community is bound together through every brotherhood and sisterhood on campus, and each chapter’s philanthropic efforts.
Ashland University currently has three active fraternity chapters including Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Psi and Kappa Sigma, as well as four active sororities: Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Phi, Theta Phi Alpha and Delta Zeta.
Each chapter on campus has its own values, traditions and ways of devoting time and effort to philanthropy and community service.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for active members to effectively plan, promote and participate in their chapter’s philanthropy, however these challenges allowed the FSL community to build stronger relationships between brotherhoods and sisterhoods and strive for Greek unity.
“Even just area volunteer work was difficult because interaction wasn’t really a possibility,” Cortney Carathers, vice president of philanthropy for Delta Zeta said. “The biggest struggle was navigating [through] workarounds.”
Delta Zeta partners with the Mansfield Sertoma Club, Serious Fun Children’s Network, Painted Turtle Camp and American Society of Deaf Children to support the Starkey Hearing Foundation and Institute.
According to Carathers, every other Tuesday, Delta Zeta meets with the Sertoma Club to help hearing-impaired children and give scholarships to students for college.
“I also get to work with them for my night class, so I get to do an extra thing on the side with them which has been a lot of fun,” she added.
Carathers said her passion for philanthropy still prevailed through the uncertainty of COVID-19 even though many events were only supported by chapter members or other chapters.
“For me, [philanthropy] was the only position I wanted,” Carathers continued. “My brother is hard of hearing so that has been a big part of my life… helping him learn, I’ve seen how it impacts him, and that’s why I love it. Starkey does a lot with providing hearing aids and sending students out to educate in a lot of places that don’t have a lot of resources on how to help.”
This semester, Carathers has tried to do some new things such as Paint a Turtle On the Quad.
Last spring, Delta Zeta partnered with Phi Delta Theta to host a Walk-a-Thon to help build the theme of Greek unity.
The Alpha Phi Foundation cares about improving women’s heart health and has supported education and research with the annual Heart to Heart Grant, with focus centered on improving women’s cardiac care.
As part of the We Believe… Campaign, the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation has established the Ronald McDonald House Charities Endowment, which allows the foundation to provide even more resources to RMHC worldwide.
Both philanthropy chairs for Alpha Phi and Alpha Delta Pi were unavailable for comments.
Similarly, Theta Phi Alpha has also dealt with the uncertainty of the pandemic.
Elizabeth Minut, philanthropy chair for Theta Phi Alpha, explained that the sisterhood has managed to keep up with its efforts, but has still experienced difficulties.
“It is hard during this time to ask people for donations,” Minut said. “Everyone is dealing with this [pandemic] in their own way. I do feel like we have still done our best to donate to those who need it.”
Theta Phi Alpha focuses its philanthropic efforts on Camp Friendship, hosted for children with disadvantaged and low-income homes, as well as The House That Theta Phi Alpha Built, which has the goal of improving the plight of homelessness, and Glenmary Home Missioners who serve the spiritual and material needs of those living in rural Appalachia.
Recently, the chapter held its Hope For the Homeless Week, where donations were made each day to a different homelessness organization.
“I just want to send out a big thank you to everyone who donated during Hope For the Homeless Week,” Minut added. “It made such a big impact.”
In January 2022, Theta Phi Alpha will be hosting their Sapphire Ball where raffle basket donations help support Camp Friendship.
On the fraternity side, Phi Delta Theta supports the LiveLikeLou Foundation, which focuses its efforts on helping families and patients who suffer from ALS, a disease made well-known by Lou Gehrig.
Due to the pandemic, LiveLikeLou adjusted its system to accommodate families and patients, limiting direct interaction with chapter members for the health and safety of the patients.
Traditionally, Phi Delta Theta holds a spring Lift-a-Thon, where active members lift weights and raise money through individual reps.
Phi Delta Theta also has an Iron Phi program which honors individual brothers for their commitment to raising money and awareness for ALS research.
Philanthropy Chair for Phi Delta Theta, Evan Smigel, became an Iron Phi in his first active semester in the chapter.
Similarly to Delta Zeta, Kappa Sigma partnered with Phi Delta Theta to host a joint philanthropy event.
“The ALS bucket challenge was great,” Ellison Morel, Kappa Sigma president and philanthropy chair, said. “We are hoping to do it again early this coming spring.”
Morel explained that the fraternity is “trying to stay busy.”
Kappa Sigma supports the Military Heroes Campaign which is committed to supporting ongoing care and financial support for military veterans and their families.
“With November being Military Heroes Month, we are anticipating a smaller event,” Morel added.
Traditionally, Kappa Sigma hosts “Mile in a Soldier’s Shoes,” where active members run around campus with backpacks full of sand to simulate the heavy weights soldiers carry.
“We haven’t done as much as we would have liked to this semester,” Morel continued. “It was tougher last year with restrictions both on and off campus. With our main event in the spring and being outside, we were able to manage what we could in terms of keeping outside.”
Finally, Phi Kappa Psi helps support Camp Nuhop, a camp that helps children and adults with learning disabilities by providing a space for them to have activities to learn and allowing them to be themselves.
Camp Nuhop was founded by Terrie and Jerry Dunlap, who is a brother of Phi Kappa Psi and is the reason their house in the Fraternity Circle is dedicated as the “Dunlap House.”
Active members visit Camp Nuhop to help out with park maintenance as well as assist with the camp’s Fuzzy Fandango Marathon.
“I feel we have done a good job at adapting,” John Miller, philanthropy chair for Phi Kappa Psi, said. “It was difficult during Covid with the guidelines and regulations restricting activity, and even with this semester.”
Last year, Phi Kappa Psi had to cancel or heavily modify some of its annual events in order for them to take place. The chapter’s Psilent Auction had to be moved online.
This semester, Phi Kappa Psi recently hosted Get Yolked where participants could purchase eggs to throw at active brothers with the proceeds going to Camp Nuhop.
The chapter is also in the works of collaborating on a few events with Order of Omega.
Phi Kappa Psi and every fraternity and sorority on campus care a lot about philanthropy and giving back to the community.
“[The pandemic] encouraged us to think outside of the box,” Miller concluded. “At the end of the day, it’s about helping other charities and people who really need it.”