By Charley Pride – Past President of the General Council
As we finish the school year here at Western Kentucky University, we start looking back at what we have accomplished. Our students have had an amazing amount of service projects and opportunities to give back. Sometimes during the course of community service we do not know or feel the impact that we have on others. We, in the Greek community, are fortunate to be blessed with opportunities in particular, opportunities to give back to others. My hope is that we take to the opportunities to give back and enjoy the chances to help others.
During this school year, I have had the good fortune of working with Up’ til Dawn for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Watching our students develop a plan to raise money, implement the plan, and celebrate their success is truly exciting. During the journey, they met children and families that were impacted by St. Jude. Hearing the stories of the patients and seeing what this simple project does is amazing in itself. Our students do the same with a Relay for Life the American Cancer Society. Hearing the stories of how our students have been affected and how they affected others is truly the most amazing part of this process.
Another example of our students giving back is the WKU Greek Week Blood Drive, one of the largest blood drives in our area. Many students give for the first time and do not realize the effect it has on others. For every pint of blood donated, three people can be helped. One of our former students is working for the American Red Cross and said that she has a deep appreciation for what our students do, even though many do not realize the tremendous effect it has on others.
Service leads to many examples of what we say the Fraternity is about. It leads to brotherhood. When we band to together to do projects we learn more about ourselves and others in our chapter. Service leads to leadership opportunities whether it is organizing small group projects or big campus-wide events. In essence, service leads to a sense of belonging for our Fraternity and within our community.
The message of service is a strong one. Whether you take it from your fraternity, your school, or your faith, service can and should have a place within your life. Each person’s passion is different. But developing a passion can lead to many opportunities and open many doors that one may not realize at the time. It is like the six degrees of separation – you may never know who you may be helping and the effect that you may have on others.