Playing Hard, Working Harder: Best Greek Philanthropy Events at UMD

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Whether you’re the president of your fraternity or a proud independent, as a student at the University of Maryland, you can’t ignore the wide variety of Greek philanthropy events constantly occurring on campus. Every week, there’s a different group proudly sporting their brand new fundraising T-shirts and encouraging everyone to come show their support. These events are hardly just your average bake sale. Take a look at some of the most fun (and profitable) Greek philanthropy events at UMD.

“Delta Dogs” (Delta Sigma Phi and Delta Delta Delta)

Photo Courtesy of Tyler Troise

Photo Courtesy of Tyler Troise

UMD students might have been feeling stress out the wazoo from their first round of midterms this semester, but luckily, Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and Delta Delta Delta sorority were there to help. Their second annual “Delta Dogs” event involved setting up camp on McKeldin Mall with over 40 puppies to help relieve stress. Students are able to come play with the dogs to support the Prince George’s County Animal Shelter. Delta Sigma Phi’s co-philanthropy chairs, juniors Sahil Desai and Luke Harley, both put lots of work into making sure the 2015 event was profitable and fun for everyone. “Making engaging events with a lot of moving parts and detail, and that clearly show planning, show the organization you’re supporting that you care,” Harley said.

“Derby Days” (Sigma Chi)

Photo Courtesy of Taylor Stull

Photo Courtesy of Taylor Stull

A literal week of just fun and games, Sigma Chi fraternity’s “Derby Days” event is certainly one of the most well-known and beloved amongst sorority girls at UMD. Sororities compete against each other in activities like Zorb Soccer and the Derby Darling pageant throughout the week, all while fundraising along with the fraternity brothers. Derby Days happens at every Sigma Chi chapter, but at UMD, they not only raise money for their national philanthropy, but also for the Children’s Miracle Network right in D.C. It’s as exhausting to participate in the games as it is to plan them; Derby Days marketing director Alex Davidson said the fraternity tries to mix some new activities into the event each year to keep it fresh. At the end of the day though, the payoff is worth it. This year, the chapter raised approximately $40,000. “You’re not going to get that kind of care and involvement from a simple bake sale,” Davidson said.

“Wingman” (Alpha Epsilon Phi)

Photo Courtesy of Jessie Cohen

Photo Courtesy of Jessie Cohen

Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority’s fall philanthropy event draws on the one interest all college students have in common: a love of all-you-can-eat food. At Wingman, fraternities, sororities and parents face off against each other in a wing-eating competition to support the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. “It’s something that people can get dirty and messy and not be embarrassed because that’s what the event is,” said vice president of philanthropy Jessie Cohen. This year, Wingman raised around $5,300: twice as much as it has in the past. “We had freshmen who have never even been to Wingman who said, ‘I heard about the event, I heard it was awesome and I wanted to come,’” Cohen said.

“Striking Out Alzheimer’s” (Sigma Kappa)

Photo Courtesy of Katie Silk

Photo Courtesy of Katie Silk

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and Sigma Kappa sorority is more than ready to help support the Alzheimer’s Association with a brand new event called “Striking Out Alzheimer’s.” Taking place this year on November 15, the event involves a variety of mini baseball-themed games as well as a guest speaker from the Alzheimer’s Association. Plan to bring your best baseball skills, as UMD’s Club Baseball is co-sponsoring the event. Junior Alexandra Kramer, Sigma Kappa’s vice president of philanthropic service, said, “We hope that people understand why Alzheimer’s awareness is important not only to us, but to the future of our generation, our parents and our children because no one is without risk of this terrible disease.”

“Car Smash” (Sigma Phi Epsilon)

Every year on the day of a big game, the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon get an old, beat-up car, paint it with the rival school colors and for just a small fee, anyone walking down Fraternity Row can come help beat it up even more. “What better way to get hyped over college athletics than to smash a car with a sledgehammer?” said Sigma Phi Epsilon’s president Ryan Mortman. The event raises money for the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and of course, raises school spirit. Hundreds of students come down to take a few swings at the car, including the Maryland basketball team last year, which helped the event get coverage during ESPN Gameday. This year’s event will take place right before the Maryland vs. Georgetown game on November 16, kicking off basketball season with a bang—and a crash, and the sound of shattering glass.

“ΣΔΤ Your Way Through College Park” (Sigma Delta Tau)

Photo Courtesy of Alanna Schloss

Photo Courtesy of Alanna Schloss

That’s right, UMD, for one day only, you can come support Prevent Child Abuse America at an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring all your favorite restaurants around College Park. Pulling together so many restaurants for one afternoon can be difficult, but philanthropy chair Jessica Berman said, “Watching all the hard work come together is amazing. It’s like a puzzle. Trying to get each piece aligned correctly isn’t easy but when you do, the masterpiece is incredible.” ΣΔΤ’s effort has certainly paid off in the past; last year was their tenth annual event and they managed to raise $11,000 for PCAA. This year’s buffet will be on November 14, and hopefully their hard work will continue to benefit this great cause.

“ΦΚΤoberfest Volleyball Tournament” (Phi Kappa Tau)

Photo Courtesy of Ali Kazemipour

Photo Courtesy of Ali Kazemipour

What’s better than huge fundraisers for one cause? How about huge fundraiser that benefits multiple causes? That’s exactly what the brothers of Phi Kappa Tau aim to do with their yearly ΦΚΤoberfest Volleyball Tournament, co-sponsored by the UMD Women’s Volleyball team. The top three winners of the sorority and fraternity brackets win cash prizes for the charity of their choice. With the help of sponsoring companies and other Greek chapters, Phi Kappa Tau raised $7,000 this year for its own philanthropy: the SeriousFun Children’s Network, a nonprofit that runs summer camps for children with life-threatening illnesses. ΦΚΤoberfest chair Michael Okwali, knows firsthand from volunteering at a SeriousFun camp how much the donations help. “Kids who go to the camps haven’t exactly had the easiest of lives to say the least,” Okwali said. “To see the smiles that these camps bring to them helps motivate us.”

“Casino Night” (Phi Delta Theta)

Photo Courtesy of Patrick Prommel

Photo Courtesy of Patrick Prommel

Every spring semester, for one weekend only, College Park’s only casino opens at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity chapter house. The brothers transform their house with dozens of games that guests can play for fake money. The guests transform themselves, too, dressing to the nines to attend the fundraiser. “It lets everyone play the part,” said senior and fundraising co-chair Patrick Prommel. Whoever wins the most fake money can get a real cash prize donated to the charity of his choice. Proceeds from the event go to a different charity partnering with the fraternity each year, including Terps Against Hunger and the ALS Foundation in the past. Last year, they upped the scale of the event by making it two nights: one just for students and one for their parents to come participate, too.

“Deepher Dude” (Delta Phi Epsilon)

Photo Courtesy of Kerrie Prestipino

Photo Courtesy of Kerrie Prestipino

Thanks to Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, fraternity brothers and men’s club sports players don’t have to wait until the weekend to bust out their funky moves. Like many Delta Phi Epsilon chapters across the nation, the UMD chapter hosts its signature all-male dance competition “Deepher Dude” every fall to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Getting to watch teams of college guys try to master choreography taught by their coach, a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon, is always entertaining. The sisters also enjoy coming up with creative themes as a basis for the routines, such as the 2015 theme, “Middle School Dance.” But of course, vice president of programming Katarina Pisini said the best part by far is seeing how much they help the cause. “Every year, we have a woman who comes in and speaks about her fight with cystic fibrosis,” Pisini said. “I love hearing her story.”

“Run For Love” (Alpha Chi Omega)

From “These Hands Don’t Hurt” banners proudly hanging on every Greek house to its Run For Love 5K, the sisters of Alpha Chi Omega have UMD’s full support for their domestic violence awareness philanthropy. This year’s Run For Love raised over $2,000 for the One Love Foundation in honor of Yeardley Love, a women’s lacrosse player from the University of Virginia who was killed by her ex-boyfriend. Alpha Chi Omega teamed up with the UMD women’s lacrosse team for the event this year. “My favorite part about the fundraiser was right before the race started when everyone was lined up,” said vice president of philanthropy Anna Levendusky. “Seeing everyone there running for such a important cause gave me chills.”

“Bids for Kids” (Delta Delta Delta)

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Thomas

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Thomas

The sisters of Tri Delta know how complex the issue of childhood cancer is, which is why they put so much energy into their silent auction “Bids for Kids” to aid St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event draws hundreds of students, parents, alumni and professors to the Tri Delta chapter house for a variety of fun baskets to bid on, as well as live music, food and guest speakers from St. Jude. “It is a terrible disease, and all too common, so everyone wants to support the cause,” philanthropy chair Rachel Thomas said. Last year’s 10th annual event raised $18,000. The sisters hope to be able to beat their numbers at this year’s event, which will be held on November 13.

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Natalie is a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major and Women’s Studies minor at the University of Maryland. If she’s not at the dance studio, she can most likely be found watching comedy shows on Netflix, eating ice cream, or jamming way too hard to showtunes.

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