Sorority 101: Philanthropy Comes First!


Throughout the month of August, will be offering tips, tricks (and the REAL 411) about what you can expect when rushing a sorority. Each of the articles you see here are written by actual current and former sorority sisters, so the information provided is from an insider's perspective.

By Ali Straka, University of Missouri

If you think being a sorority woman is just about partying, you’ve got it all wrong –sororities were established to encourage academic excellence, friendship, and morey importantly, giving back to the community. Philanthropy, both in terms of donating money to charity and spending time volunteering, is a virtue upon which each and every sorority prides themselves.

Each national sorority has a philanthropic cause that all its chapters work to help. Each collegiate chapter then creates their own philanthropic event to raise money (like a campus basketball tournament, a charity kickball game, or a male beauty pageant).  

The chapter sisters typically work months in advance to plan and execute the events, donating tons of their time and motivating campus Greeks and students to join in on the action. Greek life makes community service fun! Greeks come together – regardless of their affiliation – to participate and help raise money and awareness.  

Throughout the year, sororities also do smaller projects, like canning, volunteering at a local hospital, or having charity dinners. Also, at most schools, philanthropy is the backbone of all the big Greek events. Homecoming, Greek Week, and other campus competitions typically benefit local charities.  

Before you begin recruitment, do your research! Visit the website of each sorority at your school and find out which event they host for charity. Then as you visit each chapter, you can feel confident asking about the sorority’s philanthropy and engaging in an easy conversation about it. Show the sisters you’re talking to that you have a sincere interest in charity. It will really impress them that you already understand there’s more to Greek life than just boys, beer, and girl bonding.  

Start here! Check out this list to learn the national philanthropies of each National Panhellenic Conference sorority:

Alpha Chi Omega: Domestic violence awareness and The MacDowell Colony

Alpha Delta Pi: Ronald McDonald House Charities

Alpha Epsilon Phi: The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Sharsheret: Linking young Jewish women in their fight against breast cancer

Alpha Gamma Delta: Diabetes awareness and education

Alpha Omicron Pi: Arthritis Foundation and the American Juvenile Arthritis Organization (AJAO)

Alpha Phi: Women’s heart health and research

Alpha Sigma Alpha: Special Olympics and the S. June Smith Center

Alpha Sigma Tau: Pine Mountain Settlement School and Habitat for Humanity

Alpha Xi Delta: Choose Children, First Book, and Build A Bear Workshop

Chi Omega: Make-A-Wish Foundation

Delta Delta Delta: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Delta Gamma: Service for Sight

Delta Phi Epsilon: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, and the Delta Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation

Delta Zeta: Speech and Hearing and the Painted Turtle Camp

Gamma Phi Beta: Camp Fire USA, Girl Guides of Canada, and the Gamma Phi Beta Foundation

Kappa Alpha Theta: CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)

Kappa Delta: Girl Scouts of the USA, Prevent Child Abuse America, Children’s Hospital in Richmond, VA, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons – Orthopaedic Research Awards

Kappa Kappa Gamma: Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

Phi Mu: Children’s Miracle Network

Phi Sigma Sigma: National Kidney Foundation and the Twin Ideals Fund

Pi Beta Phi: Literarcy initiatives and First Book

Sigma Delta Tau: Prevent Child Abuse America, Jewish Women International, and Women for Women International

Sigma Kappa: Gerontology, Alzheimer’s disease, and Inherit the Earth

Sigma Sigma Sigma: Hospital “play therapy” programs

Theta Phi Alpha: Glenmary Home Missioners and the House That Theta Phi Alpha Built

Zeta Tau Alpha: Breast cancer education and awareness

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