Members of Sigma Phi Epsilon, a social fraternity at the University, share a common brotherhood with the award-winning children’s author Dr. Seuss. On Tuesday, the chapter spent time reading Dr. Seuss’ books to elementary school students to honor the author’s birthday.
“We wanted to start giving back to the community,” said Matt Matuszewski, the fraternity’s philanthropy chairman.
For the first time in the fraternity’s history, 24 brothers went into 14 classrooms at Barrow Elementary to follow Dr. Seuss’ humanitarian footsteps.
The fraternity aspires to become more centered on serving the Athens community, Matuszewski said. The University’s chapter already raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network, but the group is now adding this annual service project to serve on a more local level. The fraternity hopes to one day expand the event to raise money for the local schools’ book funds.
“We love having University students here,” said Tad MacMillan, Barrow Elementary principal. “It is a great opportunity for us to learn together. They bring great energy and the latest ideas.”
The idea came to the fraternity’s philanthropy board after the group was influenced by another chapter’s involvement in its local elementary schools.
The group saw March 2 — which marks the National Read for America Day organized by the National Education Association in honor of Dr. Seuss — as a perfect opportunity to get involved with literacy.
And Dr. Seuss has set the bar high for his fraternity brothers.
Through his concern for illiteracy, the author was inspired to write “The Cat in the Hat,” using 236 words that first graders should recognize.
Caleb Penn, a member of the fraternity, expressed a sense of connection with the children’s author.
“The best thing about being brothers with Dr. Seuss is learning how much he impacted several generations of children,” he said.