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Greek organizations volunteer more than 3,500 hours in community

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (May 30, 2014) – Indiana University Southeast’s eight Greek chapters doubled volunteer efforts this year, contributing a combined total of 3,643 hours of community service in the 2013-14 academic year.

A member of Alpha Phi volunteers at "Week of Welcome," an event designed to incorporate incoming freshmen into campus life at IU Southeast.

A member of Alpha Phi volunteers at “Week of Welcome,” an event designed to incorporate incoming freshmen into campus life at IU Southeast.

In previous years, the Greek community at IU Southeast averaged around 1,500 hours volunteered annually, but this year, the self-described close-knit community stepped up their involvement with both local and national organizations.

Jedidiah Thomas, a junior accounting major at IU Southeast, and Chapter Educator and former Vice President of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE), was pleased to hear his organization donated an impressive 1,748 hours of service to the community.

“Community service plays a huge role in TKE,” Thomas said. “Not only does it help others and better the overall community, it instills within our members a sense of responsibility to help others in need and serve our community as productive and responsible members.”

The 33 members of the Omicron Sigma chapter of TKE at IU Southeast regularly volunteer with and raise money for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, founded by TKE alumni Danny Thomas, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Animal Protection Association and breast cancer awareness.

“Seeing our community improve by our hands influences my chapter by reaffirming our mission and values, and by knowing that what we are doing is making a difference,” Thomas said. “It is truly incredible motivation.”

At IU Southeast, TKE is not alone when it comes to having members with a service-oriented attitude.

Sara Nieves, a member of the graduating Class of 2014 at IU Southeast, and past President of Alpha Phi (AP), the sorority on campus boasting the highest grade point average and most community service hours, said Greek life is about much more than the stereotypes would suggest. Her personal goal, and the goal of her fellow members, is to rise above.

“A lot of people have a bad stereotype when it comes to Greek life, so it’s awesome that people are noticing that we are making a difference,” Nieves said. “We want to get our name out there and want to help.”

To Nieves and her AP sisters, a day of volunteering is not work. Instead, it is what they do for fun, and thus, how they are able to make such an impact in the community around them, by donating 840 hours of service this academic year.

“We just have a great time when we’re together, so we try to turn sisterhood events into volunteer events,” Nieves said. “This semester we worked with Choices for Women Resource Center, a local non-profit organization here in New Albany. We cleaned up the center for about five hours one afternoon, and didn’t even realize we were there so long because we were having such a good time talking to the ladies and spending time together.”

In addition, the 37 members of the Zeta Epsilon chapter of AP, support cardiac healthcare, AP’s national philanthropy, through campus events like the “Move your Phi’t” heart walk and the Red Dress Luncheon.

Though many Greek chapters on campus offer rewards and incentives for member involvement in the community, they are minimal. Nieves and Thomas credit the service of Greeks at IU Southeast to the character of the members, and the values of the organizations they are charged to uphold.

While accumulating more than 3,500 hours of service to the community, IU Southeast Greek women were able to achieve a grade point average higher than that of the female student body, while Greek men maintained a grade point average comparable to their non-Greek counterparts.

This growing community, with its focus on academics, community and service, truly is, as Nieves describes, “a family on its own.”

For more information about Greek life at IU Southeast, contact Channell Barbour, Associate Director of Campus Life, at 812-941-2317.

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