The Greek Life community at the University of Rhode Island is preparing for their annual Philanthropy Week, set to take place from Nov. 14 to 18. Through multiple on-campus activities, contributing service hours and collecting goods, Greek Life will raise money to donate to local Rhode Island charities.
This year, Ashly Brooks, vice president of programming for the Panhellenic Council, explained that Greek Life has introduced a new benefactor called “Greeks Give Back.” She added that members of the Greek community, as well as any undergraduate students at URI, can apply for a scholarship/grant which will be funded by Greek Life through the donations they receive from Philanthropy Week. Students can find an application online if they are in need of financial help. Donations will also go toward South Providence Neighborhood Matters (SPNM).
On Monday, Nov. 14, there will be a Jeopardy tournament, and each pairing will play against one another, according to Brooks. Next, Wednesday Nov. 16 is Greek Idol, which is a spinoff of the popular TV show “American Idol.” She said that something fun and interesting about this activity is that the participants get to make up their own lyrics and sing their own song for one of the rounds. There will also be a karaoke portion of the night, which Brooks said will help make the event interactive for everyone in the audience. Friday is focused on a new event, called “Minute to Win It.” Brooks said that participants have to complete a fun task in under the 60 seconds time limit. Each of these events will require a $5 bracelet for entry.
Throughout the week, there are free events as well. On Tuesday, there will be an activity called “Jail Break,” where two people from each pairing will be selected to be tied together at the wrist with a bandana. Brooks explained that the pair will have one hour to go around campus and raise at least $100. The person who raises this amount or anything higher before anyone else wins. On Thursday, each pairing will have to create a food pyramid. Brooks said that every fraternity/sorority has a select list of items to donate, like toiletries and canned goods, and when they trade in their donations, they will receive a certain amount of cups. With these plastic cups, the pairing must create a cup pyramid, and whoever has the tallest pyramid in fifteen minutes will be the winner.
Last year, Greek Life raised over $20,250 to go toward the “Harry Amaral Scholarship fund,” in honor of Vice President Thomas Dougan’s retirement, along with donations for “Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions” and ASSA Messer Elementary School in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
Brooks said that she understands it is difficult to raise money and get people to donate by going to the events, but she hopes that it’s easier for people to want to donate because they know the money is going to a good cause.
Each year, Greek Life does a “day of service” but Brooks said this year, pairings get to choose which organization they want to work at. She said that this year they had such a great turnout and students were more passionate about helping out since they had the chance to choose an organization they really care about.
Joe Farese, director of programming for the Interfraternity Council, said that he believes Philanthropy week will have a positive reinforcement on Greek Life. Greeks Give Back will not just go toward Greek students, but rather anyone at the university who is struggling financially. Farese and Brooks said that their goal is to raise as much money as they can.
“I think this will be a positive aspect [for the university],” Brooks said. “I know that there are some negatives against Greek Life but this is just one of the many examples of all the good that Greeks do.” She explained how as a college student, she understands the financial issues that come up, and believes that Greeks Give Back is a great cause.
Farese said that Philanthropy Week is almost like a “warm-up” for Greek Week. He added that Greek Week is based around Habitat for Humanity and Greek Life has an anonymous donor who matches the amount of money they raise during that week. Through these events, Farese and Brooks hope students will get hyped and continue to donate. After each activity, the winning pair will win Philanthropy Week points and the pairing with the most points at the end of the week will be announced as the winner.
Events on Monday, Wednesday and Friday are $5 and will be held in Keaney Gym, while events on Tuesday and Thursday are free and will be in the Memorial Union. All activities are open to the public. For more information about the pairings and events, visit the URI Greek Life Facebook page.