Bonae Barrs, Correspondent
Fraternities and sororities at Jacksonville State University collectively volunteered 25,983 hours in the community and raised $191,144 for charitable organizations in 2019, an 86% increase in both categories compared to 2018.
The Dean of Students office denoted 2019 as “the most philanthropic year in JSU history” for fraternities and sororities.
“I think this accomplishment reflects the values of fraternities and sororities,” said Joshua Robinson, the assistant dean of students for fraternity and sorority life. “I am proud of our fraternities and sororities for increasing their service hours and philanthropic dollars by 86% in 2019.”
The chapter that raised the highest amount of money is Zeta Tau Alpha, totaling $51,055 in 2019. Alpha Omicron Pi accumulated the most service hours, earning a total of 17,472 hours.
“As the leader of a service-oriented organization, it is Alpha Omicron Pi’s top priority to volunteer and serve the community,” said Cassidy Russell, the president of Alpha Omicron Pi.
Russell said that her organization hosts events throughout the year to help the community. Last year, the organization hosted its second annual Mardi Gras for a Cure, an event to highlight the Mardi Gras celebration and raised almost 13,000 for arthritis research.
The organization had its biggest turn out yet and hosted a parade in celebration for the community to participate in.
“We host events throughout the year to help the community the best we can,” said Cassidy Russell.
Alpha Omicron Pi also hosts an annual charity event known as “Give Back-Pack”, which Russell said is to ensure that “no child in our county will go back to school without the supplies they need to be successful.”
For the event, Alpha Omicron Pi sets up a drop off station at the public square in Jacksonville, where the supplies are gathered, packed into backpacks and sent to the surrounding schools, where they are gifted to students. Russell said that over 250 backpacks were donated to the community last year.
“All of our members take pride in serving the community and participating in service projects all year long,” she said. “We are thrilled that we have volunteered the most service hours on campus … our greatest purpose is to love and serve others.”
Harlin Hodges, the president of Zeta Tau Alpha said that she is thankful to be a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha for many reasons, one being their philanthropy.
“We take pride in supporting Breast Cancer Education and Awareness and those who are impacted by this disease,” said Hodges. “Each sister works diligently to raise money for this cause through t-shirt sales, donation efforts and ad sponsorships.”
Zeta Tau Alpha hosts two main philanthropy events, a Think Pink game in the fall and Big Man on Campus in the spring.
At the Think Pink game, sisters hand out pink ribbons, pink shakers and early breast cancer detection pamphlets. Zeta also sells pink bows that they hang around Jacksonville during the month of October to help support their philanthropy.
Big Man on Campus, a male talent show, is held each spring semester. Many students enjoy coming to support the men participating in the event. Prior to the event, sisters sell t-shirts and accept donations for the cause.
“Our chapter hosts smaller philanthropic events throughout the semester like spirit nights at local restaurants, as well as supporting other organizations and their philanthropic platforms,” said Hodges. “I am so proud to be a part of an organization that has such a meaningful impact.”