Photo by Sarah Vinci | Students perform in Greek Idol, a singing competition that was part of Philanthropy Week.

Last week the University of Rhode Island’s Greek life organizations raised $74,224 for Circle of Sisterhood and Camp Eureka during their annual Philanthropy Week.

This is the first year that URI Greek Life worked with Circle of Sisterhood and Camp Eureka. In past years, the proceeds from Philanthropy Week went to Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that builds affordable homes for those in need. However, after being approached by representatives of Circle of Sisterhood, a nonprofit that works to raise financial resources to build schools and homes for young women who live in poverty and oppression, the switch was made. The other philanthropy supported by the proceeds of the week was Camp Eureka, a nonprofit day camp for children that have lived in homes where they witnessed domestic violence.

For Philanthropy Week, the fraternities and sororities are paired together as a team to raise money. The pairings for the week were Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) and Kappa Delta (KD), Sigma Delta Tau (SDT) and Lambda Chi Alpha/Delta Chi, Alpha Xi Delta and Kappa Sigma, Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) and Tau Kappa Epsilon, Chi Omega and Tau Epsilon Phi/Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Kappa and Theta Chi, Delta Phi Epsilon (DPhiE) and Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji), Delta Zeta and Sigma Chi and Zeta Tau Alpha and Pi Kappa Alpha.

Throughout the week, the pairings participate in four different events in which they compete to win. Outside of the events, the pairings spend time talking to people and trying to persuade others to donate on their behalf. At the end of the week, the pairing who raised the most money won Philanthropy Week as a whole. This year’s winners were SAE and KD. SDT and Lambda/Delta Chi came in second place and DPhiE and Fiji came in third place.

Philanthropy Week’s events started off with Minute To Win It on Monday, Bingo on Tuesday, Greek Idol on Wednesday and So You Think You Can Dance on Thursday. All of the events took place in Edwards Hall.

Seniors John Sacala and Nina Toscano were in charge of planning all the different events as well as booking the locations and making sure there are supplies. Sacala, a brother of Fiji was very impressed with the efficiency of Philanthropy Week this year. The planning process for this year was different with the switch in how the proceeds were going to.

“This year, we wanted to have a year for the kids and have one local philanthropy (Camp Eureka) and one global philanthropy (Circle of Sisterhood),” Sacala said. When asked what Philanthropy means to him, he said, “Philanthropy, to me, means using our platform to help people.”

Toscano, a sister of SDT, is very pleased with the work of IFC and Panhel and that she gets to give to someone else who has less than her. “I have the ability, as a 22-year-old female, to graduate from college and get a job,” Toscano said. “That’s a privilege that’s special to me. Being able to share that privilege with people who don’t have that [is a great thing.]”

The consensus among the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Panhellenic Council (Panhel) is that Philanthropy Week went extremely well and that the programming teams did a good job. “I’m extremely satisfied,” Sean Sutherland, President of IFC, said. “Our boards have been working well together and our communication has been prime.” Sutherland was eager to help his teams out in any way possible to ensure the week went as smooth as possible.

President of Panhel Laura Creese also expressed how proud of the programming teams she was for the work they did to make Philanthropy Week successful. Creese, a sister of Chi Omega, expressed how important philanthropy work is to URI Greek Life as a whole.

“It’s extremely important,“ Creese said. “Philanthropy is something that’s important to every chapter. Every chapter has their own individual philanthropy so they raise money throughout the year for that too. It’s nice when, as a community, we everyone can all come together to raise money for one.”

Director of Service and Involvement for IFC, Sean Miller, is a Sophomore brother of SAE who served as their Philanthropy Chair last semester. He’s very happy with how Philanthropy Week has turned out as Philanthropy is something that means a lot to Miller.

“[Philanthropy] is something I’m very passionate about,” Miller said. “The Greek community is in a very unique situation to be fortunate enough to raise money and donate to those that are less fortunate and being able to lead those efforts is amazing.”

Senior Julia Broccoli, president of KD, was thrilled to have won Philanthropy Week but is more excited about the impact she was able to make for someone else.

“We wanted to make a huge impact,” Broccoli said. “We were most excited to make the biggest impact that we could. Obviously, we wanted to win but it was mostly about helping as many people as we could. To me, Philanthropy is ingrained in everything I do. We love Phil Week and Greek Week and Rhodython because we get to help charities and different organizations on a bigger scale.”

Junior Aaron A’Vant, president of SAE, was very happy with his fraternity after raising the money for the second year in a row. A’Vant spoke on how positive working with KD was, saying that they have amazing energy and competitive that he and his brothers were able to feed off of. A’Vant was also very proud of his brothers, crediting them for being so dedicated to philanthropy before talking about what it means to him.

“That’s an amazing feeling knowing that my guys are dedicated to the great cause of philanthropy,” A’Vant said. “To me, philanthropy is more than raising money and giving back to the community. You might be better off in the world than somebody else. Instead of using that to your own advantage, help out. Share the wealth. That’s the way I see philanthropy. It’s all about making sure that everyone has the right of life that they deserve.”