By Jenna Zhang | – The Chronicle
The Duke chapter of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity has joined the state-wide Fraternities4Family campaign to increase domestic violence awareness.
During the month of April, five North Carolina fraternity chapters will each be fundraising for a domestic violence agency. Duke’s Phi Delt will be raising money for Families Living Violence Free, a domestic violence and rape crisis center in Granville County. The goal is to broaden awareness on Duke’s campus as well as the local community, said junior Edgar Baldridge, president of Phi Delt.
“It’s fine and dandy that you get [Prevent. Act. Challenge. Teach.] training,” Baldridge said. “It teaches you a lot of good stuff, but if you don’t take what you learn and put it in the community—it’s kind of for nothing. We saw it as a way to continue that education, to put it into practical use.”
The chapter will be fundraising on the Bryan Center Plaza between April 14 and April 20, accepting both cash and FLEX donations, said Phi Delt member Sam Coons, a freshman. Additionally, members of the fraternity will be speaking to students in the Granville County School District about sexual and child abuse awareness and response.
Both Baldridge and Adam Burke, president of the participating Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at North Carolina State University, noted that fundraising efforts have been somewhat dispersed due to time constraints.
“Our chapter’s been very busy at the end of the year, so it’s not like we’ve been able to approach this with a great plan,” Burke said. “We’re just doing what we can to help. Next year, we’ll have a better idea of what we want to do.”
The Duke Phi Delt chapter was contacted by the Fraternities4Family campaign in late March and did not have the time to coordinate with other non-Greek groups on campus, Baldrige added.
Phi Delt will be competing with other fraternities to raise the most money. The winning fraternity will receive game tickets or signed merchandise from the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team. Although Fraternities4Family has not set a fundraising target, campaign coordinator Marjorie Marr noted that it would be “phenomenal” if the participating groups fundraised $2,000 in total.
The idea for Fraternities4Family came from years of experience working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the local community, said divorce attorney Charles Ullman, who spearheaded the campaign.
“Over the years, there have been a lot of things I’ve learned and witnessed,” Ullman said. “Women come in and say ‘But it didn’t send me to the emergency room.’ To get it out that that is domestic violence and to do it with fraternities—that’s not something that’s done often.”
Ullman noted that it is particularly important for men to begin engaging in dialogues about domestic violence.
“I don’t think men talk about domestic violence a lot,” Ullman said. “They are not always aware of what domestic violence is and what to do when it happens. The goal is to get everyone involved and start a conversation.”
Baldridge added that fraternity men often have the reputation of being disinterested in issues of violence against women.
“Particularly being fraternity men, we do recognize that, for better or worse, we can get that kind of reputation of being least willing to help with a program like that,” Baldridge said. “Whether that’s true or not, people think of us like that. It just kind of made sense for us.”
Although fundraising yields were unlikely to be significant in the campaign’s first year, there is potential for growth in the future, Ullman said.
“I wanted to go with what we had, instead of waiting for it to be perfect,” Ullman said. “If you can just help a couple people, that’s worthwhile. Domestic violence happens everywhere. It goes across income, culture, educational cultures, and gender lines. We just want to make people aware of what it is.”