UWF Greeks hope to make a difference
In between rushing to class, writing papers and conducting lab experiments, many UWF students also volunteer their time to worthy causes through their membership in one of the campus Greek organizations.
Along with lessons in leadership and friendship, fraternities and sororities make service in the community a priority for their members. Last year, the Greeks organizations logged in 5,546 hours of community service.
“Community service and philanthropy are the reasons I decided to go Greek,” said Christina Padron, a UWF senior, member of Phi Sigma Sigma and president of the Panhellenic Council. She joined her sorority as a freshman. “I believe that giving to a great cause just makes my life more complete. I think giving back to the community gives me a great feeling because I know that I am helping children or people who are in need.”
Her community work include participation in Spoons Full of Sugar, a program where she and her sorority sisters visit Sacred Heart Children Hospital in Pensacola to hand out tulle-wrapped gifts of candy while spending time with the children and their families. Once a semester, she can be found at The Hope Center for Teens cooking for the women and their children in the program.
The Greeks’ good works can be felt locally and even nationally. Some efforts are well known, such as Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society, but others are not as familiar. The Rock-A-Thon allowed Padron and her friends to rock away in rocking chairs to raise money for the Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation which benefits the National Kidney Foundation. During Sleep-Out for the Homeless, a national awareness campaign sponsored by Phi Beta Sigma fraternity held in April, UWF students collected needed items for local homeless shelters.
Senior Tiffany Wilbekin said her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, has bought winter coats for needy local children and raised money for cancer research and other charities. “My organization is based on giving back to the urban community and to see the Nu Kappa Chapter carrying the torch that their founders left behind made me want to join.”
Athletics, not volunteering, prompted Matt Taylor’s initial interest in Greek organizations. “I wanted to be a part of a group so that I would always have a team to play on for all intramural sports,” said the senior marketing major. He knew fraternities were involved in community service, but didn’t realize to what extent until he joined Tau Kappa Epsilon. As a member, he has since participated in a variety of activities, from beach cleanups and nursing home visits to officiating at church sporting events and painting a library at Warrington Middle School.
These students agree membership in a fraternity or sorority has many benefits. “I am a part of something that is bigger than me,” said Wilbekin. “My organization has 220 chapters throughout the world. We do so much for others and this is something bigger than a friendship. This a lifetime commitment with my organization, so I will be making a difference for a lifetime.”
For more information about Greek life at UWF, http://uwf.edu/greekaff/.
Written by Susie Forrester, University Marketing Communications