This is an article from a brother from Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity at Southeast Missouri State University. A donation to his chapter was made on his behalf for this submission. Go here to learn more about this program.
As Greeks, we all love to boast about how much we donate to our national philanthropy each year. If your school is anything like mine, your chapter has some kind of event (probably a sports tournament) where fraternities (or sororities if you’re a girl) all compete in it and pay some kind of entry fee. There may even be a pageant or something similar the night before that creates the seeding for the tournament. This would be ok except for the fact that every chapter does it with every other chapter. This means that we are essentially just trading money.
My chapter had 7 teams compete in our event (the 6 Panhellenic sororities and 1 service sorority). This helped us to raise $350 for our national philanthropy which sounds pretty commendable. However, later in the year we will compete in each of these chapters’s own philanthropy event meaning that we will probably spend more than the $350 that we raised for our own. If we chose not to compete in anyone else’s, we could write an even bigger check.
I would say that this is OK to distribute the money out to different organizations especially since the events are fun to participate in. But what about the money and time we invest into these events? My chapter spent $100 for the facility we had our pageant in, about $30 for the facility we had our actual tournament at, $140 to get each chapter a very small breakfast the morning of, and about $50 on trophies. If you are not very good at math, this equals $320 that we spent on the event, meaning that we could have saved ourselves a big headache, just written a check for the philanthropy out of our own pocket and only lost about $30.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t have events for our philanthropy because that is one of the awesome things that our organizations do. What we do need to do however is stop settling for tournaments where we just trade money. On my campus the only ones who compete in these are the single sexed Greek organizations (some were even mad that the service sorority competed).
Perhaps we need to make a small change in the way we have these tournaments so that all campus organizations are able to compete, or maybe a chapter could even be more radical and open it to the entire community. Not only will this get us away from trading money, but will also work to change us from being exclusive to each other. So challenge your chapters to try something new and if you don’t want to try something new, save yourself a headache and just write one big check out of your pocket.