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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

URI fraternity brushes up on community service
Alpha Tau Omega paints Wakefield Elementary

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 31, 2003 -- If you think fraternities and Animal House are synonymous, the University of Rhode Island’s chapter of Alpha Tau Omega is about to change your stereotype.

The fraternity, formed 10 years ago, has never been in trouble or on probation. So what have they been doing in their spare time? Volunteering their time and talents to help a local elementary school.

In fact, the brothers spent a weekend this month, painting three classrooms, the teacher’s room, and the entrance doors of the Wakefield Elementary School. Actually, the men were picking up their paintbrushes from where they left off last year when they painted the school’s corridors.

"It looks like a new building and it saved the School Department a great deal of money," enthused Dr. Raymond Dancy, principal of Wakefield Elementary for the past three years.

Dancy noted that staff members couldn’t remember the last time the building was painted, estimating that it had been at least 10 to 15 years ago. "There just hasn’t been the money."

Enter URI marketing student Brandon Hood of East Sandwich, Mass. chair of Alpha Tau Omega’s community service program. "When Dr. Dancy told me that the school hadn’t been painted in years, I realized that’s where we could help out."

"Most of us are painters in the summertime to help fund our education," said Scott Zide of Framingham, Mass. who has been president of Alpha Tau Omega for the past two years.

Zide and Hood noted that some of Alpha Tau Omega’s brothers have also been helping out in the "Homework Center" at Wakefield Elementary Monday through Thursday afternoons since October. "It’s really exciting to see the students learn," said Zide, a studio art student. "Since most of us aren’t training to be

teachers, it’s great to experience some of that first-hand."

Last year, URI’s Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils presented the fraternity with its "Community Service Award." The chapter was also a finalist for the national Alpha Tau Omega’s "Good Samaritan’s Award." This year, they’re hoping to snatch top prize.

"The young men were exhausted by the time they were done painting for two days," said Principal Dancy who noted that Arnold Lumber, Damien Hardware, and Wakefield Paint and Wallpaper donated the paint. "But they wouldn’t leave until we took a walking tour after they had cleaned up. ‘Is there anything else?’ they asked."

"Alpha Tau Omega is really reaching out and giving something to the community," said Dancy, an obviously satisfied customer.

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