Relay recruits Greeks in fundraising initiative

| News Editor

In an effort to increase involvement and energize fundraising, this year’s Relay for Life is tapping into Greek Life and firing up some friendly competition for the cause.

The new initiative, which consists of a point-based system between chapters, was conceived by sophomore Katy Przybylski, who holds leadership positions in both the Women’s Panhellenic Association and Relay for Life. As part of her dual positions, Przybylski recognized that Greek Life’s philanthropic and social goals tied in well with Relay’s mission.

Relay for Life, one of the most-attended events on campus, is an organized, overnight community fundraising walk. The event, which is hosted in over 5,200 communities and 20 countries and raises more than $400 million annually for the American Cancer Society, will take place on campus on April 11 this year.

According to Przybylski, the Women’s Panhellenic Association vice president of campus and community outreach as well as Relay for Life’s team development Greek Life chair, the new initiative involving Greek Life consists of a point system through which points are earned for Greek organizations by signing up members and raising various increments of money. The winning chapter receives personalized tank tops.

“We always do some sort of Greek Life push, but I wanted to kind of revolutionize it this year so there is even more of an incentive,” Przybylski said. “Being in a chapter for a year now, I’ve seen how well philanthropy works. The idea behind this is that competition fosters a lot of involvement, I think, so I think it’s going pretty well and that it will go even better as the weeks go on.”

Przybylski noted, however, that disseminating information to the large volume of chapter members has been difficult.

“Our main point of contact is with philanthropy chairs, but they also have to deal with philanthropy week…It’s hard for me to make sure that they’re delivering messages to chapters and things like that,” Przybylski said.

To get around the problem, she said she has been relying on the Panhellenic delegates from each chapter to communicate the information.

According to Przybylski, historically, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Epsilon Phi have been the fraternity and sorority, respectively, most involved in Relay on campus, but this year, more chapters have been stepping up.

“We’ve seen this year a rise from [Tau Kappa Epsilon]; they’ve been really good about signing up for things. Kappa Kappa Gamma is doing well in the competition. Alpha Phi is doing really well and some other chapters as well,” Przybylski said.

More than half of Relay’s participants and funds come from Greek organizations, Przybylski added. Her estimates, which exclude Greek students that are registered for other non-Greek teams as well, indicate that the total amount raised from fraternities so far is over $8,000, with SAE contributing the most with 55 participants and over $5,000 raised. The total amount raised by sororities so far is over $15,000, with AEPhi leading in both participants and fundraising with 34 participants and $4,000 raised.

TKE Philanthropy Chair and sophomore Bradley Schlesinger said his chapter has been enjoying the unique and inventive fundraising events, such as Human Bowling, which took place last Saturday in the Danforth University Center.

“When they have cool programming like that, it’s not hard to get significant portions of our chapter to sign up for it,” Schlesinger said.

“We definitely as a chapter want to do something to support it because there’s not anyone that hasn’t been personally affected or has known someone affected by cancer. Just being able to contribute to this event that has so much meaning for so many people is something that’s really important to us,” he added.

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