Monday, August 22, 2011

Alabama Greeks Applauded for their Storm Response

EDITORIAL: UA fraternities’ storm response brings acclaim

The mere mention of fraternities, the sort that populate college campuses, 
can conjure up images straight out of “National Lampoon’s Animal House” - toga parties, beer kegs, misguided road trips, John Belushi skulking across a sorority lawn.

The reality is a bit different. We have no doubt that Greek organizations 
have their share of fun, more than their share in some cases, but they also have standards grounded in responsible behavior, scholarship and community service, and most take them seriously.

For evidence, look no further than the University of Alabama, where the Psi 
chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon and the Delta Theta chapter of Beta Theta Pi recently earned their respective fraternities’ top annual award.

The Psi chapter was named the best DKE chapter in North America for the 
2010-2011 academic year and will receive the Lion Trophy, signifying the honor, on Oct. 7 during homecoming weekend.

And at the Betas’ convention in Seattle three weeks ago, the Delta Thetas 
received the John Reily Knox Chapter Excellence Award.

Community service is a criterion for the awards, and evaluators cited both 
chapters’ response to the April 27 tornado as an important factor in choosing them.

When UA opted to end the school year early in the aftermath of the tornado, 
DKE members realized they had a stockpile of food for events that would go to waste. So the fraternity began cooking meals and delivering them to storm victims and volunteers. The Betas quickly joined in, making their kitchen
available and turning their house into the packaging and distribution center for the effort that grew as more fraternities and sororities followed suit.

In the week from April 29 to May 6, UA fraternities and sororities 
registered more than 600 volunteers, who cooked more than 50,000 meals and distributed hundreds of thousands of pounds of canned goods, clothes and hygiene products.

After May 6, the group switched its focus to fundraising, and the UA Greek 
Relief Fund, as of Friday, had collected more than $200,000 to distribute within the Tuscaloosa community.

The tornado was an unprecedented tragedy in Tuscaloosa, but earning their 
fraternities’ top award was not a first for UA’s Betas and Dekes. The Delta Theta chapter has won the Knox Award four of the past five years, and the Psi chapter, the oldest Greek fraternity on the UA campus, has won the Lion Trophy nine times, the most of any DKE chapter.

In addition to community service, the awards are based on scholarship and 
other factors, and the application process is demanding. So don’t assume it took an historic event for them to win.

Congratulations are in order, of course, but so are our thanks, awards or 
no.

“It was cool to see fraternities come together with sororities to donate 
their food and organize and help out for a cause greater than ourselves,” said Delta Theta president Cameron Lewis Hood.

Indeed, it was.

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