Dear Union College Faculty and Administration,
We believe that it is important to keep you updated on the actions of Greeks on campus and in the community. The main goal of these newsletters is to inform the college community of what Greeks are doing in an attempt to change the current mindset that Greek life is simply a weekend social structure. It is our intention to underscore the Greek commitment to both community service in Schenectady and promoting an intellectual environment here at Union. From this, we hope to build a stronger relationship with the college. I hope that you read this letter and take it seriously; it is our sincere desire to be an integral and helpful part of the Union community… more so than we may have been in the past. This is a real commitment on our part, and we appreciate your support. If you have any questions, comments or concerns for us, or would like to be involved in an event sponsored by a Greek organization, please contact me, William Fitzsimons, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now, on to the Fraternities:
The brothers of Alpha Delta Phi this year sponsored a campus-wide clean up of Jackson’s Gardens to coincide with a presentation by brothers on the problems associated from consumerism and America’s “throwaway” culture. For John Calvin Toll’s Day, they focused on local parks and cemeteries, and a large number of brothers have worked on Union’s Habitat for Humanity house. On the intellectual side, AD has started the Union chess club, open to the whole school, to help people develop their playing strategies and to talk about the unique cultural importance of the game. Next term they will be recruiting, so watch out for that. Lastly, the brothers hosted Professor Zwicker from Mathematics to present on “Voting Theory,” which by all accounts was a very interesting night.
The brothers of Delta Kappa Epsilon had a good term for philanthropy. They hosted a discussion with Las Hermanas de Lambda Pi Chi, which was open to the campus as a forum to discuss myths vs. realities in Greek life. 24 brothers were up at 9 AM on a Saturday to clean up the GE triangle (off of 890) for John Calvin Toll’s Day. DKE brothers took it upon themselves to clean up Jackson’s Gardens and the local bike path. DKE and Sig Phi co-sponsored the fourth annual Monopoly tournament at College Park Hall to benefit Family and Child Services of Schenectady, which raised $11,000.
The brothers of Psi Upsilon participated in numerous philanthropy events this fall. For John Calvin Toll’s day, they helped to clean up and redecorate the traffic triangle near the GE plant. Psi U brothers are the campus representatives for the Gordie Foundation, which is a foundation that promotes anti-hazing and alcohol awareness to college students. These individuals worked closely with the Tri Delta Sorority to organize the fundraiser Mr. Union in which all proceeds were donated to the Gordie Foundation. Psi Upsilon has been involved with Habitat for Humanity for two years now and has taken a lead on renovating Union’s Habitat house. They volunteered on two Saturdays; taking down old rotting drywall, pipes, and other hazardous materials. The Psi Upsilon fraternity is proud that it is the first student group to be involved with Habitat and will remain an integral part to the renovation of the house donated by Union College.
The brothers of Phi Delta Theta focused on community service this term. They went to the Schenectady City Mission to clean up and help staff the soup kitchen, twice this term. For John Calvin Toll’s day, they cleaned up Vale Cemetery.
The brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi had a huge term for philanthropy in their first term with on-campus housing. Every Tuesday through Thursday, 3-5 brothers would make their way to the Kenney Center to help tutor local elementary school students. Early in the fall, they partnered with the Schenectady Chamber of Commerce to clean up the Stockade district in anticipation of the “Stockade Walkabout” tour. Then, they spent a day on the farm to help out the Regional Food Bank of New York, which collects food from different local sources to provide it to needy families in the area. AEPi, Hillel and Wold House co-sponsored a talk by two Israeli soldiers who spoke about their time in the IDF, and the soldiers were put up in the AEPi house during their stay. Lastly, as they do every year, AEPi brothers made the area a little greener when they planted new trees in Schenectady through the “Re-Tree Schenectady” program.
The Sigma Phi Society organized several excellent philanthropy events. They hosted a wine and cheese discussion with Professor David Baum about national tragedies such as 9/11 and the future of our nation in the war on terror. Sigma Phi also organized and led a lock cleanup at Erie Canal Lock 23 in cooperation with “Friends of Lock 23” and Union Professor Andrew Morris. Along with Delta Kappa Epsilon, it sponsored the 4th annual Capital Region Monopoly Tournament, raising over $11,000 for Schenectady Family and Child Services. Sigma Phi also helped hospice organize and prepare their annual banquet in Saratoga Springs. This year the event raised over $100,000. Lastly, the brothers up help set up, run and clean up Oktoberfest, an event that aims to educate the campus community about the traditional Bavarian festival, and is, admittedly, a lot of fun for everyone.
The brothers of Theta Delta Chi spent 8 hours cleaning up Vale Cemetery twice during the term. They also continued to take advantage of the popular social events to raise food for local needy families by having can-drives during the weekend events that were open to the campus. All in all, this resulted in about 100 lbs worth of food, which was greatly appreciated by the local shelters.
The brothers of Sigma Chi coordinated with the American Red Cross for a campus-wide blood drive, and as always, the Red Cross was very impressed by Sig Chi’s organizational ability and by the giving spirit of the Union student body.
All in all, this was a term focused on improving the local community. Every house participated in John Calvin Toll’s day, and Greeks led the charge working on Union’s Habitat for Humanity house. Next term will have a focus on philanthropy activities for developing countries, and we have a BIG program planned to kick off the term. I will be stepping down from my IFC position midway through winter term, so I want to thank you for reading the newsletters I sent out and for all the helpful responses I’ve received. I feel like I’ve learned (and done) a lot through a Greek leadership position, and I know my successor will build upon the foundations we already have. The Greek system has potential to be a huge positive influence on campus, both academically and socially, and outside the campus through philanthropy activities. I think that the future is bright for ever-increasing Greek participation with faculty and the administration, and I thank everyone who works to make that happen. Again, please contact me with any questions, comments or concerns, or if you are interested in having a fraternity organize an event, provide a forum for discussion, or if there is anything else we can help you with.
Thanks for reading!
Will Fitzsimons, ’08
VP of Philanthropy, Inter-Fraternity Council