Virginia Tech’s Panhellenic Council is offering its sororities new ways to donate time and effort to important campus and community causes.
The 365 Community Service program, which seeks to inspire students to be involved in the community year round, is a competition to see which of the 12 sororities governed by the university’s Panhellenic Council can volunteer the most group time to various community service projects.
The chapter with the most group hours logged will receive the Excellence in Community Service Award at the Greek Awards in the spring.
The council’s Director of Community Outreach Kelsey Borchers of Virginia Beach, Va., a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, said the program, which was first instituted in 2010, is a way of appreciating the volunteer work of the 12 chapters while encouraging them to continue giving.
“It was created to serve as positive encouragement in the Panhellenic Greek community and to recognize chapters for the involvement they have in the community already,” she said. “It goes along with Virginia Tech’s motto, Ut Prosim [(That I May Serve)], and it’s important that we live up to that as students on the Virginia Tech campus.”
Borchers said the council splits 365 hours between the 12 chapters. Each chapter is then responsible for donating that many hours of time to a group community service project between January and December. Borchers said that either 25 percent or 20 members must participate in each event for the time spent to be included in their chapter hours, although there are exceptions for projects that allow a limited number of participants at one time. Fundraising events are excluded.
“We define it as hands-on community service volunteered by individuals or their organizations to benefit a community or its institutions,” Borchers said. “We don’t count fundraising because it’s a monetary activity.”
Each chapter is encouraged to donate as many group hours as possible. Should a chapter not meet the required hours, which average out to 30.5 between 12 groups, they are charged $10 for each hour they did not meet. The money is then donated from the chapter directly to a charity of the council’s choosing.
Borchers said participation in some campus events, such as the Big Event and Greeks Giving Back, count towards a chapter’s hours. The chapters can also include hours devoted to projects they work on independently of the chapter or the university, which Borchers said include cleaning up highways and rivers or planting flowers.
“There are so many things you can do around the community and on campus,” she said. “We left it up to the individual chapters to figure out what they want to do because a lot of them already do so much.”
Volunteer work is a large part of belonging to one of Virginia Tech’s many fraternities and sororities. Formal sorority recruitment is currently underway for those interested in becoming a member of one of the university’s chapters. For more information on joining a Panhellenic sorority, visit the council’s recruitment website.
“This is something that should be fun, something that people should want to come out to,” Borchers said of the program. “It’s still a work in progress, but people have caught on pretty well.”
Visit the Fraternity and Sorority Life office's website for general information or to learn more about other fraternity and sorority opportunities.
Written by Jennifer Gibson.