The holiday season has arrived, and Binghamton University Greek life organizations are hoping to spread the holiday cheer around the community.
Various fraternities and sororities are engaging in charitable work to ensure that families around Binghamton have a joyful holiday season. According to Christopher Lee, a brother of Kappa Sigma and a junior majoring in economics, his fraternity already volunteers each week of the semester at a local soup kitchen and engages with members of the Binghamton community.
“Kappa Sigma is always looking to help out the local Binghamton community. We send a minimum of five brothers to at least one soup kitchen a week,” Lee said. “You can find us every Wednesday at 5 p.m. volunteering at the Tabernacle Church soup kitchen and every other Saturday night usually around 6 p.m. volunteering at Chef Mike’s soup kitchen at the Boulevard United Methodist Church.”
Sigma Delta Tau (SDT) sorority and Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity also team up with Chabad at Binghamton to run the “Light up a Life” charity toy drive. The toy drive, which has raised over $9,000 so far, donates all of its proceeds to children suffering from cancer. All money raised through donations from tabling in the Marketplace and from campus organizations will be used to buy toys for these children to receive and enjoy during Hanukkah.
According to Cole Tobias, a brother of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and a sophomore majoring in political science, the fraternity has been striving to increase their philanthropic involvement.
“It is important for Greek organizations to get involved in charitable events this holiday season because of the wide range of resources each organization can bring to the table,” Tobias said. “Year after year, SAE has strived to be a driving force behind philanthropic events on Binghamton’s campus. The Toy Drive is an event we can all stand behind because we know the joy it brings to children and their families.”
SDT, SAE and Chabad hope to raise $14,000 this holiday season for the drive. Money can be donated through the Light Up a Life charity toy drive website.
Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity is also making their mark on the community during this holiday season. PIKE teamed up Wishmakers for their second annual Letters to Santa-Thon last Thursday in the Mandela room. All campus organizations were invited to compete to see who can write the most letters to Santa. As a part of Macy’s Believe campaign, for each letter written, Macy’s will donate one dollar to the Make a Wish foundation. This year, PIKE raised $45,119.
According to Michael Kotowski, a junior double-majoring in history and politics, philosophy and law, and the president of PIKE fraternity, brothers encouraged involvement around campus all last week, and Santa-Thon was a success.
“Nearly 300 people were in the Mandela room at any give point and Alpha Phi Omega won the grand prize wish over 4000 letters written,” Kotowski said. “Malik, Hoop Troop and the Rhythm Method [had] awesome performances, and a great time was had by all.”
According to Lee, the charitable event and frequent visits by his fraternity to the soup kitchen have not gone unnoticed by the community.
“Just last week while I was walking back to my apartment a stranger came up to me and told me he had recognized me from the local soup kitchen and that he appreciates what our organization is trying to do,” Lee said. “It’s moments like those that help you understand the value of community service and why it’s vital for Greek organizations such as Kappa Sigma to do their part and help out the Binghamton community.”