Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 17, 2003 - A number of the region's charitable organizations and individuals in need will benefit as a result of the highly successful Greek Week 2003, held April 5-12, at Southeast Missouri State University.

Greek Week is held each spring at Southeast to celebrate membership in the Greek community. Greek Week consists of eight 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, interacted with residents of Fontainebleau, conducted a blood drive to assist in the ongoing need to save lives and hosted their first annual service day. Together, members of Southeast fraternities and sororities donated more than 2,500 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," she said.

The Greek Week Blood Drive, held March 9-12, produced 593 pints of useable blood for the American Red Cross. Over 750 potential donors volunteered, a new record for the campus community.

As a result of "Greek God and Goddess" fund raising, $34,171 was split between donations to the United Way, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Cape Girardeau Fire Department, Southeast Missouri Special Olympics and a newly created Student Emergency Foundation. Each Greek chapter is responsible for raising money through fund-raising activities or by accepting donations. The Greek Week steering committee votes each year to decide which charitable organizations will receive the funds.

"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 Make-A-Wish Foundation was a new recipient in 2002, but the "touching stories of the wishes that were granted because of our donation last year made them a natural choice this year," said Amy Grass, co-chair of the Greek Week steering committee. The Greek students were able to donate $6,407 to both 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 Kurt Bliggenstorfer, graduate assistant for Greek Life. "Make-A-Wish was a great organization to work with, having volunteers and wish recipients from both chapters present at the All Greek chapter meeting to receive the donations and to share how the funds make a difference."

The Special Olympics of Southeast Missouri was a new donation partner this year; however, Greek students have been volunteering at the area track meet for many years. "We decided that while our volunteering is important, we wanted to support the Special Olympics program year-round," said Lee Schlitt and Stephanie Carter, co-chairs for Greek Week Special Olympics event. "We are now one of their primary annual sponsors."

A donation of $2,050 was given to the Cape Girardeau Fire Department to be used toward the purchase of new heat seeking equipment.

"The fire department has often assisted the Greek community and, just this February, conducted a fire safety program for all chapters," said Mardy Leathers, Interfraternity Council (IFC) vice president of internal affairs. "Coming on the heels of a fire in a campus Greek housing unit, and the fire on Dunklin Street where several fraternity members lived, we wanted to help them," he added.

The final donation will be used to create an account through the University Foundation that will assist Southeast students who experience tragedies or emergencies, such as a house fire.

"The foundation will be a great way to address an immediate and unexpected need in the community, and we will contribute a percentage of our total funds each year from Greek Week so that we can help immediately, rather than having to rush around raising funds to help out victims," said Sean Morgan, Greek Week co-chair.

In addition to the blood units and funds, more than 17,000 cans of food were donated to the Salvation Army. "It was exciting to see how grateful the staff at the Salvation Army was for our donation," said Christine Hartke, co-chair of the spirit 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 Lohse, of St. Louis, Mo., and a Sigma Phi Epsilon was named Greek Man of the Year and Erin Hensley of St. Louis, Mo., and an Alpha Xi Delta was named Greek Woman of the Year for their leadership and service to the Greek system and the University over the past four years. The Advisor of the Year Award went to John Vincent of Sigma Phi Epsilon for his dedication to chapter and individual development that included the acquisition of the Graystone Greek housing facility and increased alumni relations.

The women of the Alpha Delta Pi and Alpha Chi Omega sororities won the Chapter Community Service Award. Alpha Delta Pi completed over 500 hours of community service and donated more than $10,000 to charitable organizations in 2002. The women of Alpha Chi Omega sorority completed over 500 hours of service and donated over $3,500 in 2002. The men of Lambda Chi Alpha also received this award, completing over 700 hours of community service and collecting 14,000 pounds of food.

The Individual Community Service Award recipient was Andrea Recker of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, who volunteers extensively with the Girls Scouts of America.

Academic excellence among Southeast Greek students also was highlighted during Greek Week, with 291 Greek students recognized for achieving a grade point average greater than 3.5 during the past year, and 126 recognized for achieving a perfect 4.0 during that period.

"Members of Southeast fraternities and sororities consistently receive the highest grade point averages among all Greek organizations at universities in the Ohio Valley Conference," Weber said.

Dr. Bruce Hathaway, Southeast professor of chemistry, was awarded the Professor of the Year Award for his outstanding teaching practices and dedication to students. The women of Alpha Chi Omega nominated Hathaway for the award.


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