Give back. Greek-style.

Students in a yoga class

Whether bringing it to the mat, the stage, or the local community, URI‘s 25 fraternities and sororities know how to team up and have fun while making a difference in some very creative ways.

“I like being part of something greater than myself,” says Sarah Marchand ’16, vice president of programming for the URI Panhellenic Council and one of several coordinators of Greek Life Philanthropy Week. “In numbers you have a bigger impact on the community.”

And those numbers are big. In just one week, URI’s Greek Life community of 2,600 students came together and raised more than $22,000 for charity. Fraternities and sororities were matched up for a week of fun and friendly competition—vying for first, second, and third place honors. The team of Sigma Kappa, FIJI, and Sigma Phi Epsilon took top honors this year.

Established in 2003, this year’s Greek Philanthropy Week included a Greek Idol singing competition, Jeopardy and Family Feud games, a food drive, and a giant yogathon. In a massive Day of Service event, students also volunteered at a Habitat for Humanity build, campus clean-up, Oxfam hunger banquet, and helped cub scouts earn fitness badges.

In just one week, URI’s Greek Life community of 2,600 students came together and raised more than $22,000 for charity.

“It’s rewarding to give back,” says Jacob Routhier ’16, vice president of philanthropy and programming for the URI Interfraternity Council. “Greek Life gave me so much. The relationships I’ve created are a big part of what’s made me love this school. Putting in the extra time and effort to help plan something big that we can have fun doing together is like a thank-you for all the hard work our chapters do throughout the year,” says Jacob, who credits Greek life with preparing him to go out into the world after graduation. 

The majority of monies raised this year went to the Harry Amaral Memorial Scholarship Fund, supporting Rhode Island students in the state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families Secondary Tuition Assistance Program. Proceeds also paid for books for the Asa Messer Elementary School in Providence, R.I., and a “Quad Collection” of donations of toiletries and non-perishable food stocked the Rhody Outpost Emergency Food Pantry, which serves the campus community.

The Flow to Feed Yogathon, an event that packed the ballroom of the Memorial Union to support Rhode Island nonprofit Edesia, was the brainchild of senior Kerry Donovan of Chi Omega, and former chapter member and Rhode Island Yoga Center owner Lauren Torancinta ’06. “It’s so satisfying to help tackle an important health issue—childhood malnutrition,” says Kerry. “We’re thrilled to contribute to Edesia’s global mission.”

Giving back, Greek-style also includes Greek Week each spring, a series of athletic and entertainment events that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for national and local charities over 75 years. Events throughout the year also focus on the core values of fellowship, leadership, scholarship and community service.

Next:

Sure, we’ve got modern classrooms and high-tech laboratories and engaging lecture halls where students can learn about just about any topic imaginable. But learning about some subjects, like marine science, can be enhanced when taught in a floating classroom with access to the latest oceanographic instruments and the capability to traverse the world’s oceans. And we’ve got that, too.