Greek life prepares for service


Courtesy of Colin Richards

Domonique Tolliver, Life and Times Assistant

Loyola Greek Life organizations said they are excited to return to in person philanthropy events this spring to give back to the community of New Orleans as a whole.

Pi Kappa Phi fraternity President Colin Richards said in person philanthropy allows members to help others while creating the personal connections we are lacking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richards said Pi Kappa Phi’s philanthropy is to support kids with disabilities in the community. He said one way they fulfill their philanthropy is through Miracle League, an organization that allows kids with disabilities to play baseball in the community.

“I feel like a lot of people can feel left out and we get to set aside a time on a Saturday morning to go make people feel included. It’s really rewarding,” Richards said.

Assistant Vice President of Student Life and Ministry Dale O’Neill said there are currently 13 active Greek Life chapters on Loyola campus. She said Loyola’s Greek Life will expand by three additional organizations within the next year – Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and Delta Chi Fraternity.

“Fraternity and sorority chapters through their service give back to the Loyola community by representing the Loyola students consistently out in the community,” O’Neill said.

Delta Gamma sorority President Margaret Whitton said her sorority’s philanthropy is giving back to the Loyola community in a large way by focusing on helping visually impared people.

“It seems so small, but there’s people that are visually impaired on our campus and no one ever thinks about it,” Whitton said. “It’s very niche, but it does help a lot of people.”

Whitton said there are five schools across the country created by the Delta Gamma foundation for people who are visually impaired. She said one of her favorite past philanthropy events was Delta Jamma and Dunk a DG which both raised money for the Delta Gamma foundation.

Alpha Chi Omega President Josi Guidry said their philanthropy of domestic violence awareness is also addressing a need in the Loyola community. The group said they raise money for the New Orleans Family Justice Center, which services women who come from families of domestic abuse or interpartner violence.

Sophomore Stephanie Oblena and junior Riley Marelli are members of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and both said philanthropy is the foundation of Greek Life organizations.

“Our philanthropy touches close to everyone. It’s so prevalent on our college campuses,” Marelli said. “I really wanted to be a part of a group that was actively educating our community on how to be better and how to look for the signs and these sorts of things.”

Guidry said Alpha Chi Omega raises awareness for women’s sexual assault awareness month in April and Healthy Relationships week in February that spreads awareness about what a healthy relationship looks like. Alpha Chi Omega also hosts the Mr. Alpha Chi pageant where contestants are trained about domestic violence awareness and sexual assault awareness.

“Domestic violence awareness is one social issue that I feel like can easily be swept under the rug or not spoken about,” Guidry said. “Philanthropy in Greek Life is the cornerstone and the tie that makes the connection is deeper than just having something in common,” she said.

Marelli said Alpha Chi Omega’s work with the Family Justice Center of New Orleans makes her feel like their organization’s impact stretches farther than Loyola’s campus.

“It makes me feel like we are making an impact and we’re trying to actually reach out to the women that are facing this in our community, not just our students,” she said.

Richards said one of the main values of his fraternity is common loyalty. He said that value is a way they can live out their philanthropy of working with disabled children.

“We’re not just here to be a bunch of guys partying and having fun. We have true purpose behind what we do, and we care about it a lot,” Richards said. “The philanthropy aspect is what gives us so much meaning because without it, we would kind of just be a group of guys, but it ties it all together and so I think it’s the cornerstone of fraternity and sorority.”

Gamma Phi Beta sorority President Isabella Rupiper has been a member since fall of 2019 and said supporting young girls through their Girls on the Run philanthropy has been meaningful to her. Girls on the Run provides an afterschool outlet for elementary age girls to run a 5k.

“Our philanthropy is building strong girls, and in partnering with Girls on the Run we’re able to do so,” Rupiper said. “When I go and stand on the sidelines, every time a girl would run past there would be the biggest smile on their face.”

While Rupiper said Gamma Phi Beta has donated in food drives, personal protective equipment drives, and drives to collect feminine hygiene products during the pandemic, she said their sorority is excited to return to in person philanthropy events for the spring semester.

Gamma Phi Beta will also be hosting their Moonball event on March 19. The Moonball kickball tournament on campus where teams buy in to compete and donate to the Girls on the Run program.

Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority President Carrie Smith said that members of Greek organizations try to do as much as they can for Loyola.

Smith said Alpha Kappa Alpha’s philanthropy is organized by community impact targets. These impact targets are named: HBCU for life – a call for action, women’s healthcare and wellness, building your economic legacy, the arts and global impact.

Through their events, Alpha Kappa Alpha strives to educate the community about women’s health and financial literacy, and give back to the community in creative ways.

Smith said Alpha Kappa Alpha has worked on multiple philanthropy events in the past including an event named Girl Code which focused on the physical and mental health of black women. She said they also partnered with Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity to help students learn how to budget and they worked with Green Light New Orleans to paint rain barrels that will collect excess rain water.

According to Smith, Alpha Kappa Alpha will be volunteering with the Edible Schoolyard, an organization that plants gardens at charter schools, this semester.

“I know for us mentorship is super important,” Smith said. “We’re looking to volunteer with local schools here in New Orleans, and I’m hoping to personally just be a better mentor, positive representation for students on campus.”

Richards said Pi Kappa Phi is also working to give back to students on campus with their upcoming food drive for Iggy’s Cupboard in March in partnership with Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He said his fraternity will also be doing a trash clean up in Audubon Park.

Greek Life members said they encourage students who are interested in philanthropy to get involved.

“We love the work we’re doing but in all honesty, we only have so many numbers. There’s only so much we could do so we love when other people help us and contribute, because we can’t do it alone. It’s a big thing for each of our philanthropies,” Guidry said.

Smith said Alpha Kappa Alpha is always looking for ways to get other students involved in their philanthropy and promotes open events as much as they can on their social media.

Whitton said raising awareness of different causes is something the Loyola community can do to support philanthropy.

“Raising awareness that there is a need for the service that we’re doing and spreading the knowledge of these are the places that we volunteer is important. We plan on soon revisiting the veterans hospitals and going to nursing homes,” Whitton said. “Anyone can do those things and if this is something that touches your heart, this is how you can help out.”