Fraternity and Sorority Life at DU work to defy stereotypes

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Chalk art promoting a Delta Zeta philanthropy event.

Fraternities and Sororities across the nation are often portrayed in media as partiers. There are incidents that support this stereotype, this is not always the case and members of Fraternity and Sorority life across the country work hard to change this stereotype.

At the University of Denver there are many different fraternities and sororities on campus. There are seven Interfraternity Council Chapters, seven Panhellenic Association Chapters, five Multicultural Greek Council Chapters, and three National Pan-Hellenic Council Chapters.

Each of these 22 chapters has a philanthropy that they support through fundraising events. Sigma Chi’s philanthropy is Huntsman Cancer Institute, Delta Zeta supports The Starkey Hearing Foundation, and Delta Delta Delta supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, just to name a few.

The Gamma Chi Chapter of Tri Delta at the University of Denver works to support St. Jude through various large and small events throughout the year.

Internal philanthropy chair, Sara Graham mentioned the different types of events that are held throughout the year, “Our two main events are Sincerely Yours, which takes place during winter quarter. This is where we raise a majority of our money. Then our other event is DHOP, which is in a few weeks, and we serve pancakes and bacon at all hours of the night.”

Sincerely Yours is an event where each member in the sorority sends out 50 letters to friends, family, and friends. So far, the Gamma Chi Chapter has raised $28,185 for St. Jude through this one event.

Tri Delta also holds small events throughout the year to keep fundraising year round to contribute to the goal made in 2014 of raising $60 million in 10 years. “We do a couple of small events, like with Illegal Petes, Snarfs, or Alex and Ani just to name a few” says Graham.

This campaign is the largest donation by a single partnership. In the past Tri Delta has made commitments to donate money. In 2002 Tri Delta pledged $1 million in four years, they did it in three. The pledge in 2006 was no different, the goal was $10 million in 10 years. They were done in four years. Last but not least $15 million in five years, that goal was met in three and a half years.

Since partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 1999, Tri Delta members have raised over $47 million to support St. Jude and their families.

Not only does Tri Delta work to raise money for their philanthropy, they also work to help the surrounding Denver community. This is the job of the external philanthropy chair to make sure that members of the sorority complete five required hours of community service organize events and to connect the women in the sorority to different organizations so they can meet the five hour requirement and to be further involved with the Denver community.

Freshman, Ellen Gee was recently slated into the external philanthropy position for the 17-18 school year and she’s already planning events for members, “I’m trying to work on events that are on or near campus or ones in the chapter room to really encourage people to build a community around, learning about these different things that you can do to help other people.”

Her first planned event, the Youth Uplift Challenge, was this past Friday, “The event we’re doing, the Youth Uplift Challenge, we’ve invited the whole DU community. For this event we’re cutting out and decorating hands. This is for an organization called Students Rebuild and they are partnered with the Bezos Family Foundation.”

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DU students hard at work to raise money for Students Rebuild.

“So, for every hand made during this event a $1.90 will be donated to the Save the Children’s programs which are going to benefit children in Nicaragua and Indonesia. We thought it would be a good event to invite people to because it’s not focused on St. Jude because it’s something everyone as a community can do together.”

At the end of the Youth Uplift Challenge members of Fraternity and Sorority Life and the DU community worked to make a total of 234 cut out and uniquely decorated hands for an overall amount of $444.60 that will go to the Save the Children’s programs in Nicaragua and Indonesia.

Freshman Angel Sheu was aware of the stereotypes of Fraternity and Sorority life coming into college but hopes that they could eventually change, “I definitely think the stereotypes would change if people knew how much they helped non-profit organizations and especially within the fraternities since I feel like fraternities get a worse rep than sororities and are known for partying.”

Vice President of Philanthropy at Delta Zeta Tory Baker believes that philanthropy is an integral part of being involved in Fraternity and Sorority Life.

“I think that philanthropy and service are important for fraternity and sorority life because, in my personal opinion, it is one of the main things that makes being in such an organization beneficial. The purpose of being in a Greek organization is to better yourself and the community and to have a group of close-knit sisters that empower you to be better. Yes, there is a social aspect to being in Greek life, but if that were the only thing that we build the organization on then we would be getting nothing more out of it than any other person would from another social organization. Philanthropy is a pillar of every Greek organization for a reason. Having our girls be involved in these events helps to set a tradition that the organization is something bigger than an individual, something bigger than the organization itself. The goal is to help members grow, and for them to ultimately use their growth to help the community grow”

One Response to Fraternity and Sorority Life at DU work to defy stereotypes

  • Carson Baer
    Carson Baer says:

    This is a super interesting article, as a member of Greek life myself I think that a lot of the organizations get a bad rep for the actions of a small group. Its so important for greek organizations to continue helping the community and making a difference!

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