FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES SHINE IN THE FACE OF PANDEMIC; Kent State Division of Student Affairs; July 7, 2021

The philosophy of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Kent State University is that each strives to be the best community in the country by encompassing a nurturing and inclusive environment for everyone to call home.

You can add doing great things for the community to the list.

Even despite the presence of a pandemic, it did not deter members of Kent State fraternities and sororities from doing their part, helping raise funds and participating in community service efforts.

“I am very proud because our students still went out and did the work for the communities,” said Dennis Campbell, assistant director of Kent State’s Fraternity and Sorority Life. “They raised money, donated goods, gave their time, stocked our pantry on campus, and above all, raised critical awareness of the needs that are out there.”

A closer look revealed just how deep the need was around the community and on campus and the incredible generosity spread by the organizations. Many of the chapters participated in virtual and drive-by philanthropy efforts to raise awareness and money for philanthropy organizations on the sorority side. For example, according to Panhellenic Council President Tori Clement, its chapters donated 1,507 pounds of canned food to the Kent Pantry council.

That was only the beginning.

“We created ‘love boxes’ for a local organization that had different items for families, such as grocery gift cards, games, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products, and more,” Clement said.

Aside from incredible community service efforts, Tri Sigma raised $11,000 for March of Dimes. In addition, Delta Zeta raised just over $27,000 for the American Society for Deaf Children, and Alpha Phi’s efforts brought in $10,000 for women’s heart health.

“I think our students adapted great and figured out ways to create meaningful events and moments,” Campbell said. “They did not take the easy way out and give up; they said, ‘How can we still make an impact?’”

The Integrated Greek Council (IGC) was also hard at work, coming up with unique ways to execute their philanthropic plans.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. gave back to the community in many ways, working in conjunction with Noex Sports to help with concessions and temperature checks. They also participated in a local, community-wide cleanup effort in Ward 7, helped register kids to play flag football and check in with volunteers, along with creating Valentine’s Day cards for KentWay senior citizens.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. also spent the day working with Noex Sports, with members volunteering their time to coach and referee the NFL youth flag football event in April.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. made a difference in a big way, helping the Columbus community by serving meals to people while attending this year’s Province Council. They also teamed up with Haven of Rest Ministries to both serve and prep food to be given out to those in need, and last September, they attended the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and serviced more than 200 families in need of supplies. In addition, brothers helped package and ship personal products, like soap, deodorant and toothpaste, to those families who are less fortunate.

Jessica Roshak is the assistant director for Student Leadership Development. She said all of IGC’s efforts were truly remarkable despite a pandemic being present and limiting some opportunities that would otherwise be there.

"I was so proud to see the work of our IGC organizations in spite of the obstacles that the pandemic placed upon our community, [and] rather than remaining stagnant, they persevered and continued to make our community a better place for those in need,” she said. “Service is of the utmost importance to them, and it’s wonderful to see them truly living their values!”

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) was also hard at work, coming up with unique ways to raise money during a pandemic while at the same time making a significant impact in the surrounding area. While the focus in past years pre-pandemic was on citywide cleanups, large food drives, or attending important events, social distancing requirements halted that.

“Our fraternities had to adapt the kinds of community service they participate into smaller, more focused events,” said student and fraternity member Dylan Mace. “We went from the mindset of 30 guys at a time to how can we get two to four guys out there still doing meaningful work.”

Despite the challenge, members participated in community service cleanups, food bank trips, and a few members even lending a hand at Habitat for Humanity.

“Even during the pandemic, I still thought these things were essential to participate in while following all the necessary health guidelines,” Mace said. “It is essential for us, as fraternities, to live up to our defined values and fulfill our obligations; it was important for us to do as much as we could while, at the same time, keeping ourselves and others safe and healthy.

With the pandemic taking up much of the headlines during the 2020 school year, fraternities and sororities carved out their own newsworthy story, raising more than $100,000 while helping many in the process and making a real difference in the community.

“I was concerned [about the pandemic and the ramifications it had], but I knew our students,” Campbell said. “They are dedicated and wanted to make an impact, and they did just that.”

Mace said despite everything going on, being able to rise above it and continue to do good things was worth it in the long run.

“They [fraternities and sororities] were presented with a serious challenge with the efforts of the pandemic, and they responded admirably,” he said. “I am extremely proud of the members of the IFC (Interfraternity Council) community with their adaptability to continue community service efforts despite the pandemic.”

To learn more about Fraternity and Sorority Life at Kent State, please visit www.kentstatefsl.com

 WRITTEN BY: MATT LUPICA

POSTED: Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - 2:55pm