Individuals, Organizations Benefit From Greek Week 2005

APE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 16, 2005 – A number of charitable organizations and individuals in need in the Southeast Missouri region are benefiting as the result of the highly successful Greek Week 2005 held April 9-16 at Southeast Missouri State University.

Greek Week is held each year in the spring at Southeast to celebrate membership in the Greek community. Greek Week consists of seven days of community service, social interaction and friendly competition.

Members of Southeast’s fraternities and sororities volunteered at the Special Olympics, collected food and money to be donated to community organizations and individuals, cleaned parks around Cape Girardeau, and conducted a blood drive to assist in the ongoing need to save lives. Together, members of Southeast fraternities and sororities donated more than 1,500 hours of community service during the week.

“Campus and community involvement is a vital part of the Greek experience at Southeast,” said Gretchen Weber, assistant director of the University Center at Southeast. “It enables our students to learn valuable skills and practice what will hopefully be lifelong involved citizenship.

“Greek Week gives students the opportunity to give back to the community,” Weber said. “The Southeast Greek community proves year after year that giving is more fun than receiving. The results of Greek Week are a sign of our Greek students’ enthusiasm and their true understanding of philanthropy. They truly understand the positive impact they can have on the community.”

The Greek Week Blood Drive, held March 6-9, produced 511 pints of useable blood for the American Red Cross.

“Donating blood earns points towards being Greek Week champions, but we stress to people to only give if they meet the guidelines. We encourage those who cannot give themselves or who are afraid of needles to find a replacement,” says Sheri Tibbs, blood drive co-chair.

As a result of “Greek God and Goddess” fund-raising, $42,350 will be distributed in donations to the United Way of Southeast Missouri, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics of Southeast Missouri, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society.  Each Greek chapter is responsible for raising money through fund-raising activities or by accepting donations.  The Greek Week Steering Committee votes each year on the organizations to which the funds should be donated. 

“Our students appreciate the good work done each year by the United Way and their willingness to partner with the University, chapters and individuals on philanthropy and service projects,” said Weber. “Because of our long-term partnership, students recognize the impact that the United Way has on our community and are pleased to help achieve their goals.” 

The Southeast Missouri United Way received $16,940 April 16 at the All Greek Chapter Meeting.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been a partner since 2002. 

“The touching stories of the wishes that were granted because of our donation last year, made them a natural choice again this year,” said Elisa Goetz, co-chair of the Greek Week Steering Committee. 

The Greek students were able to donate $8,470 that will be evenly split between the Springfield, Mo., chapter, covering the Southeast Missouri region, and the Metro St. Louis chapter. 

“The majority of Southeast students come from all over Missouri and Southern Illinois and because we ask family and friends to contribute to our goal, we felt it was important to make an impact in as many communities as possible,” said Jake Risk, co-chair of the Greek Week Steering Committee. 

Southeast Greek officials say Make-A-Wish continues to be a great organization with which to work.

An $8,470 donation went to the Special Olympics of Southeast Missouri, a new donation partner in 2003; however, Greek students have been volunteering at the area track meet for many years. 

“Last year was our first year to give money as well as time,” said Dustin Schnable, co-chair for the Greek Week Special Olympics event. “They were so excited by our donation and the Southeast Regional Special Olympics staff has gone out of their way to make us feel special all year long.”

The fourth donation of $4,235 was made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  The final 2005 donation of $4,235l was made to the American Cancer Society.  The last two organizations were selected in honor of students and their family members who bravely battle with both diseases.

In addition to the blood units and funds, more than 22,100 cans of food were donated to the Salvation Army as part of the week. 

“It was exciting to see how grateful the staff at the Salvation Army was for our donation,” said Erin Sides and Matt Willett, co-chairs of the Greek God and Goddess committee who coordinated all donations.

Greek Week is also the time of year when the Greek community and the University recognizes outstanding chapter and individual achievements. A number of awards and honors were presented to Greek students at the All Greek Chapter meeting. Jake Risk of St. Louis, of Sigma Nu was named Greek Man of the Year, and Megan Baudendistel of Hannibal, Mo., of Alpha Delta Pi, was named Greek Woman of the Year for their leadership and service to the Greek system and University over the past four years. The Advisor of the Year Award went to James McCausland of Delta Chi for his dedication to chapter and individual development that includes the redevelopment of the Alumni Board and opening his home to members of the chapter on a regular basis.

The women of Alpha Chi Omega and Alpha Delta Pi, along with the men of Sigma Phi Epsilon were presented the President’s Award for Fraternal Excellence by Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University.  The award is the highest honor given to a fraternity or sorority on the Southeast campus and recognizes extensive achievement in the following seven areas: academic achievement, chapter management, membership development, new member recruitment and education, philanthropy and community service, community relations and risk management.  

Academic excellence among Southeast Greek students also was highlighted during Greek Week with 313 Greek students recognized for achieving a grade point average greater than 3.5 during the past year, and 108 for achieving a perfect 4.0 during that period.

“The grade point averages of members of Southeast’s fraternities and sororities consistently are among the highest grade point averages of all Greek organizations at universities in the Ohio Valley Conference,” Weber said.  Stewart Swope, Southeast professor of mathematics, was awarded the Professor of the Year Award for his outstanding teaching practices, and dedication toward students.  The women of Alpha Xi Delta nominated Swope for the award.

For additional information, please contact: co-chairs Elisa Goetz, Jake Risk, or Peter Allen; Gretchen Weber, assistant director for student involvement, or Michele Irby, director of the University Center at (573) 651-2280.