Service a core value of MU Greek life

Service days, canned food drive better MU, Columbia communities.
Service Committee Chairman Bruce Kasser stands near a box of canned goods during the Greek Week food drive at the Hearnes Center on April 9. The drive, which benefited the Central Missouri Food Bank, collected 9,000 pounds of food this year, up from last year's collection of 6,000 pounds.

Greek organizations are holding five service projects this month for the annual Greek Week.

Members of fraternities and sororities organized some events for the community while volunteering for others, such as the Special Olympics and Caring for Columbia.

Fraternities and sororities receive points for their Greek Week pairings for members who participate in the service projects, with various amounts of points adding up to a total of 1,000 possible points for service projects. Greek organizations can receive up to 6,000 points total for Greek Week.

"I think these service projects are a crucial part of Greek Week," said Katie Corwin Greek Week Service Committee member. "We are a large group of students who can help out the Columbia community in a big way. There are so many great organizations that do a lot for the community, but it takes a lot of money, supplies and time."

Greek Week's first service project was Caring for Columbia on April 4. Participants did yard work, painted and cleaned for organizations in Columbia.

There were 35 people from Greek organizations who traveled to six different locations to volunteer for Greek Week's Day of Service on Sunday April 5. The service committee organized the event.

"Some painted or helped clean up areas, but it was a great way for them to give back to the community and have some fun doing it," Greek Week Service Committee member Kaylin Krashesky said. "Service is one of the four core values of Greek Life and we are simply trying to live up to the expectations we set for ourselves."

Greek organizations also worked with the American Red Cross to hold a blood drive April 7-8. The blood donated by students went directly to hospitals in Missouri.

The canned food drive took place during the blood drive and benefited the Central Missouri Food Bank.

"We had great success with the canned food drive, raising 16,500 food items which ended up being about 9,000 pounds of food," Corwin said. "We were really excited because last year only 6,600 pounds of food were donated."

The necessity drive encouraged students to donate packages such as diapers, shampoo, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. Students donated almost 900 items total to be sent to Rainbow House and The Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

Greek Week's final service project is the Special Olympics held on April 18. Fraternity and sorority members will volunteer as buddies to participants and create games for the athletes.

"It is great for Greeks to be able to interact with these kids and be able to have a one on one experience with our beneficiaries," Krashesky said.

Greek Week Service Committee member Bruce Kasser helped plan the projects with the rest of the committee.

"My committee and I started planning all these events back in February," Kasser said.

The service projects are both a Greek Week tradition and an opportunity for students to volunteer. Krashesky said service projects are one of the most important parts of Greek Week.

"Service is not only a core value of Greek Life, but of Greek Week as well," Krashesky said. "We are so glad to help our community and we hope that Greeks will enjoy volunteering and continue to help our community in the future."

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