Members of Baker University fraternities and sororities gathered in Rice Auditorium on Sunday, April 2, to learn the results of the competitions between chapters held during Greek Week. And while each team won its fair share of events, the Jessie Rees Foundation, which supports children with cancer and their families, was the biggest winner. Baker fraternity and sorority chapters raised $2,422 for the foundation.

Jessie Rees was a courageous and compassionate 12-year-old girl who fought two brain tumors for 10 months before passing away in January of 2012. During her fight, she focused on helping other kids who were going through a similar experience. This led to the creation of the foundation, which has raised more than $5 million since March 2011 and promotes the message to never ever give up.

“I am very proud of the philanthropic effort at Baker University,” said Assistant Director of Student Life Josh Doak. “I think it’s great that they share their time and effort, knowing that they’re able to give to a good cause.”

Although Greek Week illustrates the strength of sororities and fraternities working together, each chapter also organizes events for its own philanthropy. Each has raised impressive amounts of money for people in need.

Last year, Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Spiking Out volleyball tournament raised funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County and the Shave-a-SigEp raised money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for children’s cancer research. During these events, Sigma Phi Epsilon raised over $2,000. Among Baker’s other fraternities, Delta Tau Delta raises money for JDRF diabetes research, Kappa Sigma supports Neighbors Helping Neighbors, and Zeta Chi raises money for the Special Olympics.

Sororities at Baker hold weeks throughout the school year that showcase their philanthropies and include events to raise awareness and donations. These events include Alpha Chi Omega’s Walk a Mile in Their Shoes to benefit the Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence, Kansas; Delta Delta Delta’s DHOP pancake dinner to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and Zeta Tau Alpha’s Cones for the Cure ice cream sale raises funds for breast cancer awareness and education. Zeta Phi Beta supports the March of Dimes and Stork’s Nest.

When freshman Aislynn Sanchez went through formal recruitment at Baker she saw how significant each philanthropy was to each chapter and, now as a member of Alpha Chi Omega, she is aware of just how capable each chapter is of giving.

“Giving back is always important and I think each chapter has so much potential,” Sanchez said. “We have so many members and so much giving power, and so it’s important to use that, and I think all chapters on campus have done that really well.”

Although it’s not mandatory, chapter members attend events hosted by other chapters to help support the philanthropies. All the profits from the events go straight to the philanthropies and never back to the chapter houses.

Both individually and collectively, Baker’s fraternities and sororities create a strong philanthropic community.

Student Bailey Conklin, a mass media major, contributed this story.

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