BY JULIANNE SAAD, Staff Writer
Between the days of Nov. 9-14, the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s fraternities and sororities teamed together with the Student Philanthropy Council and Student Government to present National Philanthropy Week.
By definition, philanthropy translated from the Greek language means “love of humanity.” With this mantra, all of the UM-Dearborn fraternities and sororities held events in order to celebrate the community, as well as recognize the philanthropic organizations that they are partnered with either nationally or locally, or organizations they are interested in helping.
Each chapter of Greek Life has pillars that its members strive to achieve, such as academic excellence, leadership, brotherhood and sisterhood, social excellence and philanthropy. UM-Dearborn also has an added a “unique” pillar to the campus, which celebrates the diversity not only found on the campus, but found within the community as well.
UM-Dearborn’s Greek Life uses Philanthropy Week to support the philanthropic pillar, but the good they do for the community is nowhere near limited to just this one week.
Kristin McDonough, the OSE’s Coordinator for Greek Life, spoke about what purpose these events are intended to serve, and how Philanthropy Week is an important way for the Greek organizations to reach out to other students on campus.
“Our different fraternities and sororities host different events in order to benefit different individuals, or different organizations. These events vary on the different aspects of philanthropy they intend to celebrate, whether it be raising awarness, raising money, or providing hands on service. We also encourage anyone else on campus to do something good for the week,” McDonough said.
This is Greek Life’s third year putting on events for National Philanthropy week. When McDonough entered her position as the Coordinator for Greek Life three years ago, she urged the presidents of the fraternities and sororities to brainstorm events that could represent Philanthropy Week.
Now, each year to prepare for Philanthropy Week, starting in the summer, McDonough and the Greek Life presidents meet to discuss events that would be beneficial to not only the students and the community, but the fraternities’ and sororities’ partner organizations as well.
This year’s events included Phi Mu and Tau Kappa Epsilon’s flag football with the kids, Phi Sigma Sigma’s Notes of Encouragement, as well as many others.
Academic success is one of the pillars of Greek philanthropy, so Phi Sigma Sigma’s event, Notes of Encouragement, held on Nov. 12 on the University Center stage, was geared towards encouraging elementary school children to strive for high academic standards. Students, faculty and staff walking through the UC were invited to create these notes of encouragement.
“We are signing notes of encouragement to send to elementary school children to encourage them to stay in school and eventually go to college. Children will receive these cards and hopefully they will motivate them to further their education as far as they can go,” Phi Sigma Sigma’s Erica Bacharan said.
On Nov. 14 between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., Phi Mu sorority and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity held their flag football with the kids event behind the Fieldhouse. Children from around the community were invited to play football with the sorority and fraternity members. The event was aimed to promote a fun and active event for the kids, and raise money to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Phi Mu and TKE chose flag football in order to engage everyone on campus in a philanthropic event.
Tomás Mauricio, TKE’s president, commented on the importance of the flag football for kids event, and why this week is important specifically to TKE.
“It’s all about giving back, Mauricio said. “We think life, and our main goal should be about giving back to the community. It’s about those small little things that you can do to brighten other people’s lives. This event here today brightens our participants’ lives, and it brightens our lives knowing that we can give back to the community, and that everyone is enjoying themselves.”
For McDonough, Philanthropy Week serves as a reminder of how service-driven the members of UM-Dearborn’s Greek Life truly are.
“I’m privileged to work with students that do so much around the community, and are actually very humble, and do not go out of their way to get recognition for the amazing things they do,” McDonough said. “Our Greek members genuinely want to make the world a better place. We want to be leaders on the campus, and leaders in the community, and one of the things we use Philanthropy Week for is to show how dedicated we are to making this happen, and show that we are so dedicated to helping others.”