Friday, January 29, 2010

UNLV DZ's Raise Funds for Local Family

In wake of tragedy, Greek Life students help local family
by Maria Roncal

Students raise money with local Baja Bar and Grill

The Sarkisian family lost their mother Anoush and sister Miriam two weeks ago when they were murdered by Miriam’s boyfriend Gregg Thomas, who killed himself after shooting the victims.

Noy Shoshan, a freshman and friend of the Sarkisians, reached out to the UNLV community to earn support for them.

“I talked to my chapter and they helped me come up with ideas to raise money,” said Shoshan, who is a member of Delta Zeta.

To raise awareness and funds for the family, Shoshan and her sorority reached out to Greek Life members of the Inter-Fraternity and Panhellenic Councils. For the past week, they’ve set up water jugs in the Student Union and a Wells Fargo account to collect donations for the family.

With Randy Reichenfeld, friend and member of Lambda Chi Alpha, Shoshan organized a benefit dinner for the Sarkisian Family.

“I got a message from Noy [Shoshan] about the situation, brought it up to my chapter and we decided to donate $100 from Lambda Chi Alpha’s chapter fund,” Reichenfeld said.

Looking to further their support, Reichenfeld and his fellow fraternity members brainstormed ideas to give back. They decided to utilize their connections with Baja Bar & Grill’s owner to donate a portion of the restaurant’s sales to the family.

When Reichenfeld and Shoshan spoke to Art Jong, owner of Baja Bar & Grill to arrange the benefit, he originally agreed to donate 10 percent of sales to the Sarkisian Family Fund. After hearing the family’s story, Jong doubled the donation.

Sunday’s Baja Bar & Grill benefit raised approximately $450. In less than two weeks, Shoshan’s efforts have raised more than $3,000 in total.

“I can’t even name all the people that have helped. There have been so many. Every single fraternity and sorority has been so supportive,” Shoshan said.

Greek Life members have competed against each other in the past to see who can raise the most money to donate to a charity, but the Sarkisian initiative united them.

“Some people think [fraternities and sororities] are just [cliques], but Greek Life is really like a big family,” said Kyle Ross, who attended the Sunday’s benefit and is a member of Lambda Chi Alpha.

Fundraising efforts have even spread off campus. Alpha Gamma Delta member Chelsea Covington, also co-workers with one of the victims, collaborated with others at their job and in their sorority to help support the family.

“This means a lot to me that the community is trying so hard to help,” Covington said.

On or off campus, Greek or not, Shoshan is thankful to all who have donated to the Sarkisian family.

“The response is overwhelming. People have called me to get bank account information so their parents can donate from out-of-state,” he said, adding that she is also grateful for her friends in Greek Life for helping her cultivate the immense amount of support for the Sarkisian family. “This is my first year [in college] and my first semester as an active sorority member [and] I feel so good, so proud to be a part of this community and to be a part of Greek Life. I feel very lucky and blessed.”

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