Saturday, August 28, 2010

BGSU Greeks Serve Their Community!

Greek students jump into action with GreekSERVE
Fifty individuals from Greek organizations visited locations throughout the community to log service

By Alissa Widman, General Reporter

Representatives from more than half of the University's Greek chapters jumpstarted a school year of volunteering before most students had even returned for the fall semester.

The one-day project, Greek Students Engaging in Reflective Volunteer Experiences, or GreekSERVE, was a collaboration including volunteers from United Way AmeriCorps and the Office of Service Learning. Fifty individuals visited eight locations throughout Bowling Green Aug. 19 and logged 150 service hours for the Centennial Service Challenge.

"The fraternities and sororities saw this as a great opportunity to tie into the Centennial and give back to the local community," said Jeff Kegolis, assistant director of fraternity and sorority life.

The GreekSERVE projects were very diverse, Kegolis said, and ranged from building birdhouses at Habitat for Humanity to coaching individuals with developmental disabilities at a carnival at Wood Lane. Other projects, like painting Sorority Row's recycling shed, occurred on campus.

"Following the three hour volunteer time, we had group conversations about what occurred that day, and many leaders asked for a day-long experience," he said. "It was definitely well-received on both sides."

According to Kegolis, the inaugural GreekSERVE was so successful that he hopes it can become a regular event occurring at least twice a semester for the Greek community.

"Based on the feedback and success from students who participated, we're planning on offering other programs throughout the year for fraternities and sororities that are service-focused," he said. "Nothing is concrete yet, but we would like to connect with students who participated and see what type of service they would like to see in the local community."

Greg Bunn, junior and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity president, volunteered at Trinity Methodist Church and built flower pot holders for families who received homes through Habitat for Humanity.

"Another fraternity member painted a walk-in closet, pulled weeds and washed windows at the American Red Cross," he said. "We knew this would be a great resource to take back to our chapters at the beginning of the semester."

The event was restricted to presidents and their proxies, Bunn said, whose role was to return to their organization and promote community service based on their experiences.

For Bunn, she said those experiences were very enjoyable.

"I got to do something that I don't normally get to do," Bunn said. "While I couldn't see the recipients' reaction to the project, I know in some way I helped them out, and that made my time worthwhile."

According to Denny Bubrig, director of Greek Affairs, students involved in GreekSERVE reap benefits across the board while serving others.

"Through volunteering, these organizations live up to what they stand for," he said. "Students learn the value of being a good member of a sorority or fraternity, become a contributing member of society and build interpersonal relationships while bonding through these activities."

Bubrig also said GreekSERVE's success created possibilities for its expansion in the future, because service is one of the four pillars of Greek life and is a significant focus throughout the University's Centennial.

"It was a quality event and a good way to get the year started off," he said. "It's very much a building step for the future and shows the positive things that fraternities and sororities are doing at this University."

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