By Patricia Breakey
The 320 members of the fraternities and sororities at the State University College at Oneonta performed a record amount of community service during the fall 2008 semester.
The fraternities and sororities combined to perform more than 8,500 of service last semester, according to junior Jason Corrigan, Inter-Greek Council Community Service liaison, compared with about 3,000 hours during the 2007-08 academic year.
Corrigan said that when he was hired last year, he set out to repair the relationship between the community and the members of the 10 recognized Greek organizations, comprising three fraternities and seven sororities.
"Over the summer, I really wanted to focus on community service and take an active, positive approach," Corrigan said Monday. "The goal was to bring together the whole community and establish a permanent base between us."
One such effort raised more than $10,000 for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital through a letter-writing campaign in which all of the organizations participated.
Each fraternity and sorority also participated in Shoeboxes For Soldiers, assembling boxes of gifts that were sent to soldiers overseas.
"The weight of the boxes was limited to about five pounds," Corrigan said. "We put together 10 boxes that contained things like Raman noodles, snacks and various other things."
Through a Thanksgiving food drive, each organization collected canned goods that were donated to the United Methodist Church.
"We had collection tables outside the dining halls for an entire week," Corrigan said. "We collected enough cans to fill the equivalent of two giant refrigerator boxes."
The local National Kidney Foundation Kidney Walk, which was organized by the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, raised more than $17,000 for the foundation.
Lauren DeCabia, a senior who is Phi Sigma Sigma president, said the 55 women in the sorority organized the National Kidney Foundation walk. She said it was the first one the group had done, but it will most likely be done again this fall.
"I think it's nice to help the community and to be able to do things that will benefit local people," DeCabia said Monday.
The Chi Phi fraternity conducted a 9/11 candle ceremony that drew more than 300 participants from the college and the community. Corrigan said he hopes the 9/11 ceremony will become an annual event.
"9/11 was something we can all relate to," Corrigan said.
Corrigan added that "the 320 kids accomplished an amazing feat compiling more than 8,700 hours of community service.
"We want to disassociate ourselves from the unrecognized organizations," Corrigan said. "We have goals and means to achieve positive outcomes."
Corrigan said he is working on a 5K run for breast cancer in April, and the SUNY Oneonta Inter-Greek Council is seeking service opportunities to build a relationship with the local community.
More information is available at (518) 928-3006 or by e-mailing CorrJaso@live.com.
Patricia Breakey can be reached at 746-2894 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.