1. Sororities make strides in accepting a diverse variety women, and move to “break the stereotype.”
Two different chapters made national headlines this past year as they changed society’s view of what a “sorority girl” is. Alpha Sigma Alpha at Murray State University in Kentucky shook the internet when they accepted “the first college woman with the genetic disorder [Down Syndrome] to receive a bid from a sorority at Murray State.” The new sister, a senior named Alexis, was thrilled, and made an amazing addition to the chapter. Following the awesome move from Murray State, Alpha Omicron Pi at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio went on proving that there isn’t one “type” of sorority girl. They accepted a freshman named Lauren who has cerebral palsy. Her new sisters said that they “knew that she was just a beautiful soul, she had so much love for life.”
To read the full story about Lauren, click here.
Tired of all the negativity usually posted to Yik Yak, the Kappa Delta chapter at High Point University decided to do something about it. They “nice-bombed” the app, posting tons of positive uplifting messages to the boards. For hours, there were literally no negative posts on the school’s page, which has to be some sort of record. Weeks later the hate was still low on the High Point’s page, thanks to the great movement from KD.
Kappa Sigma at USF hosted a fraternity auction unlike any other. They had a choreographed, “Magic Mike” dance number, hot AF must-watch promo videos, and they really dressed down. Like way, way down. They sold more than five hundred tickets and raised $2,740 for Fisher House, which aids wounded veterans and their families in recovering as they come home from war. The prizes were out of the world, but being at the event was a gift in itself.
The brothers of SAE at UCLA went above and beyond when they found out a little girl had cancer. It all started when her mom put a sign up in their hospital window, asking for pizza (as a joke). The fraternity saw and immediately came to visit with pizza, roses, and a guitar. The chapter has constantly visited 12-year-old Lexi, bringing gifts, raising money, scheduling other groups to hang out with her. Every day, they had someone checking in on her and dropping off goodies. They raised close to $27,000 to help her family in their time of need.
With the transgender community making strides this year, the Greek community didn’t hesitate for a second to join the movement. With a local chapter at Missouri State and all of Sigma Phi Epsilon nationally moving to accept trans members, it’s obvious that we’re becoming more inclusive every day. Few stories are more inspiring than that of Daniel Ginn, a transgender man, and the president of the Alpha Sigma Phi chapter at Northern Kentucky. Since 2004, the fraternity has been accepting of transgender students, and Daniel’s rise to the top is nothing short of amazing — not to mention the perfect representation of what it means to be Greek: to be yourself.
When the Sigma Kappa chapter at the University of Arizona found out that their sister, Riley, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer, they were devastated. They were so devastated, in fact, that they did everything they could to help with the situation. They chose not only to support her and her family emotionally but also financially. They raised over $13,000 for their sister in need, and surprised her at the house with her family and the check in a truly heart-wrenching video. They continue to demonstrate what it means to be a Panhellenic woman.
Two outstanding chapters came forward to love and support elderly members this past year. First, the Sigma Chi chapter at the University of Utah serenaded a dying woman with the song “Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.” Both active and alumni members got dressed up, and gave her a private performance, complete with dozens of roses, the video of which will bring a tear to your eye. If that isn’t enough to make you sob, then Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Utah should do the trick. When the sorority found out that one of their own sisters, GG, who had joined in the ’40s, was in the hospital, they immediately went to visit. They talked, shared stories, and brought gifts to her. One gift, in particular, was a lavaliere. Then, the sisters invited the Beta Theta Pi chapter to serenade GG in yet another tear-jerking video. Since GG has always loved Betas, and even married one, it was truly special to the life-long member.
To read KKG and GG’s full story and watch their videos, click here.
When Ashlee, an ASA and former exec member, found out that her brother needed a new kidney, she immediately stepped up. In an amazing display of love, she chose to give her kidney to her brother when all hope seemed lost. The Greek community stood beside her, and the whole internet rallied to raise close to $9,500 for medical expenses.
When Analisa, a KD from USC, spent her spring break in the Dominican Republic, she chose to get involved with the Sister Island Project. While she was there she met a little girl, Melissa, and fell instantly in love. The only concern? Melissa had cancer. So Analisa made it her goal to raise as much money as possible to help the little girl. While Melissa as since passed on, Analisa is still determined to keep raising money to help the little girl’s family, community, and home. She started the hashtag #VivaMelissa, and continues to work hard to honor such a wonderful child.
10. Sig Ep at Quinnipiac University carried their wheelchair bound brother up a mountain to complete one of his college dreams
Joey, a Sig Ep at Quinnipiac University was born with Friedreich’s Ataxia, which has left him handicapped and with a shorter life expectancy. But that has never stopped him from accomplishing his dreams. Except for one. Joey always wanted to climb the Sleeping Giant Mountain, a tradition all undergrads complete at his university. So his fraternity brothers made it happen. They woke up early, told Joey they were going to breakfast, and surprised with him a trip up the mountain. All of the brothers took turns carrying Joey up the Sleeping Giant. They went on the raise $30,000 in a bike ride to raise awareness for Joey’s condition. To say they have each others backs would be an understatement.
This past year, the conversation around sexual assault has exploded. More and more Greeks are stepping forward and doing their part in eliminating and standing up to any and all potential assault. There were so many great stories on the topic over the year. With so many people involved, Greeks knew that they had the voice, and potential, to change the world.
To read about Kappa Sigma at Marquette University, click here.
To read about Sigma Phi Epsilon at the University of Northern Iowa, click here.
To read about Greeks at the University of Texas at Austin, click here.
To read about Sigma Chi at the University of Waterloo, click here.
After 23 years of dedicated service to the chapter, Gamma Phi Beta at USC decided to do something nice for their housekeeper. She was working paycheck to paycheck, and was driving an unsafe vehicle. After caring for the chapter for generations, Gamma Phi figured it was their turn to take care of her. So they came together and with support of alumna, raised over $20,000 in one month to get a car for the woman who does so much for them. If that isn’t philanthropy, I don’t know what is.
The sisters of Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Maryland decided to do something special for girls in foster care this past year. When they all went home for break, they agreed to bring back their prom dresses. As a chapter, they decided to donate them so that girls who couldn’t afford the expensive gowns would have the chance to feel like a princess for the night. They collected over 200 dresses, and made prom possible for a lot of girls who never thought they’d be able to go.
14. Greeks at the University of Maryland host the largest “out of darkness” walk for suicide prevention.
The Greek community at the University of Maryland came together this past year to support and gain understanding about suicide prevention. Considering that suicide is the third leading cause of death on college campuses, they wanted to raise awareness, and figured they have the strength, willpower, and people to do it. They raised over $21,000 for suicide prevention research, and have continued to take down the stigma of mental illness.
When Iota Phi Theta at Kean University came across a promotion where people could purchase a plot of land for a reduced price, they immediately jumped aboard. But not for themselves. They bought the plot of land for a homeless family. They set up a GoFundMe dedicated to raising money for a family in the Sierra House Homeless Shelter, who would finally be able to call a place home. All it took was a group of brothers, a lot of support, and the desire to do good to change the world for a family.
Well done guys. More of this in 2016. Let’s keep changing the world..