The University of Memphis is home to 16 different chapters of fraternities (Interfraternity Council) and sororities (Panhellenic Council). Each of these chapters sponsors a charitable organization as their philanthropy.Â
Throughout each semester, Greek life organizations at the U of M host fundraising events to raise money for their philanthropy organization. These events range from sporting events like dodge ball tournaments to bake sales and even karaoke concerts.Â
Because Nov. 15 is National Philanthropy Day, The Daily Helmsman reached out to members from each of the eight fraternities and eight sororities for a little insight into their philanthropies and what kinds of things their Greek organization does to raise money for the charity they sponsor. The following descriptions were from the Greek organizations that responded to The Helmsmanâ€™s request, but it is not all the philanthropies represented at the U of M.
Jazmyne Mendez, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority vice president
"In 2010, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated, became the first individual Latino Greek organization to fully commit in supporting St. Judeâ€™s Childrenâ€™s Hospital and has raised over $330,000 to date. Lambda Theta Alpha is proud to be an annual National Silver team for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer."
"Epsilon Omega, the University of Memphis Chapter, declared St. Jude as our chapter philanthropy in 2015, and we enjoy performing semester service projects for the children of St. Jude. We currently have a team competing to raise the most funds in Up â€˜til Dawn, and on Dec.Â 2, we will be cheering on the marathon runners at the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend.â€
Marie Fong, Delta Gamma president
"Delta Gammaâ€™s philanthropy is Service for Sight, which aids those with visual impairments. It was founded in 1936 when a member suffering from blindness, Ruth Billow, petitioned to adopt this as our official philanthropy."
In addition to providing visual aid, Service For Sight also supports visually impaired veterans (Service for Sight: Joining Forces) and senior citizens (The Golden Anchor Program). Some of our events include Anchor Bowl and Milk and Cookies, but our largest event by far is â€œAnchor Splashâ€, a competition of aquatic activities featuring relays, synchronized swimming and more."
"In 2017 alone, our chapter has raised over $10,000 and contributed over 500 service hours for Service for Sight. Ultimately, our open motto, â€œdo good,â€ is a driving force in our passion for our philanthropy. Nearly 150 years ago, DG was founded with the purpose of being a helping club. Today, we continue to strive to uphold this purpose in every movement of life, especially for our philanthropy."
Matty Bailey, Phi Delta Theta president
"Phi Delta Theta national organizationâ€™s philanthropy raises awareness and money for ALS. ALS is a life-long, incurable disease that causes progressive muscle weakness. ALS is Phi Deltâ€™s philanthropy because Lou Gehrig, a Hall of Fame baseball player for the New York Yankees as well as a Phi Delt, was diagnosed with ALS in the 1930s."
"Tennessee Theta has held bake sales, a kickball tournament and a dodge ball tournament to raise money that goes towards ALS research. This philanthropy, and philanthropy in general, is important to all of us in Phi Delt. We want to be a part of an organization that helps create positive change.â€
Rachel Farrell, Alpha Gamma Delta president
"Alpha Gamma Deltaâ€™s philanthropy is Fighting Hunger. Alpha Gamma Delta realized that so many people all across America struggle with hunger. Alpha Gam works with local found pantries and soup kitchens. We host two main events during the school year: a barbecue dinner to raise and support and awareness for hunger and a new event called â€œAGD Warrior.â€Â This event is a spinoff of the America Ninja Warrior show."
"People from the community are invited to go through an obstacle course for a competition. I personally love contributing to the community by fighting hunger. So many people in the Memphis area struggle with hunger, so it is so awesome to see our sisters working together to stop hunger in our community."
McKell Ferguson, Sigma Kappa vice president of philanthropic services
"Sigma Kappa has five philanthropies. They actually spell out SIGMA (Sigma Kappa Foundation, Inherit the Earth, Gerontology, Maine Seacoast Mission and Alzheimerâ€™s Association). We primarily focus on the Alzheimerâ€™s Association. Through Alzheimerâ€™s disease and gerontology related research grants from the Sigma Kappa Foundation, Sigma Kappa has become one of the nationâ€™s leading private contributors to Alzheimerâ€™s disease prevention, research and treatment efforts."
"We volunteered at the â€œWalk to End Alzheimerâ€™sâ€ last weekend at Tiger Lane. As a chapter, we raised over $2,000 for the Alzheimerâ€™s Association at the walk. Personally, I love supporting such an amazing cause because it affects so many families around the world. Some of the families are the families of our own chapter members. There is currently no treatment or cure for Alzheimerâ€™s disease so our handwork is going to something that could change so many lives."
Ragan Coleman, Pi Beta Phi vice president of philanthropy
"Read > Lead > Achieve is Pi Beta Phiâ€™s philanthropic effort, which inspires a lifelong love of reading that can unlock true potential creating a more literate and productive society. Our charge is for each and every Pi Beta Phi to find a way they can participate, donate or advocate for Read > Lead > Achieve."
"In June 2017, Pi Beta Phiâ€™s celebrated the conclusion of our campaign to impact one million lives through Read > Lead > Achieve. Pi Beta Phi at the University of Memphis hosts Pi Phi Karaoke every spring to raise money for the Literacy Fund and Pi Beta Phi Foundation which goes to the Read > Lead > Achieve efforts we have in place."
"We also have an annual â€œLemonade for Literacyâ€ event in the fall to raise money. Other than the money support we give, our chapter goes to school for tutoring and to read to classes throughout the school year."