|NY Omega Epsilon Helps Hurricane Sandy Victims|
NY Omega Epsilon Helps Hurricane Sandy Victims
By Dan Thompson, MN Kappa Chi
Philanthropy is a pillar of being a Pi Lambda Phi. Following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the brothers at NY Omega Epsilon Chapter at SUNY Buffalo found a way to make an impact by helping those hit hardest by the super-storm, even while being miles away.
“The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy really hit close to home for the Omega Epsilon chapter. Many of us are from Long Island and NYC and when we saw the devastation to the towns of friends, family, and our own we decided something needed to be done. Being in Buffalo put a huge distance between the Omega Epsilon chapter and our homes so we decided raising money somehow would be the best way to help.” Said Gregory McNulty, the chapter’s Rex.
As a means of raising funds, the chapter’s philanthropy committee came up with the idea of “Coffee and Cookies for a Cause” – a two day event during which the brothers set up a table in the Student Union to accept donations for Hurricane Sandy Victims. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., students who stopped by the table learned about the victims and devastation in Breezy Point, N.Y., and donated money to help the recovery effort.
“Students contributed whatever amount they wanted and were given cookies and coffee as a thank you gesture,” said Kasian Warenycia, a sophomore civil engineering major and the chapter’s philanthropy chair. The chapter decided to raise money for Breezy Point because they felt it was the hardest hit area. “None of us [here] live in Breezy Point, where the money is going, but we all live in Long Island,” Warenycia said. “We went back home and saw the destruction it caused. We know the magnitude of it.”
The brothers teamed up with MORE house, the university’s sophomore learning community, for the fundraiser, helping to drive donations. It worked. About 20-30% of people walking through the Student Union donated to the cause, the majority of which were faculty, staff and former students.
“Coffee and Cookies for a Cause” was the chapter’s first in what they hope to be a number of natural disaster fundraisers, looking to support a number of various charities in connection with the relief effort. The brothers raised $280 exceeding their original goal of $200. They were glad they were able to make a difference.
“Friends of mine and neighbors had lost their entire houses to the storm. The houses next door, across the street and diagonal have all been abandoned since the storm hit,” said Rich Burdish, a Senior Environmental Design major and Pi Lam brother. “Everything is slowly returning back to the way it was, at least for us, but I know there are families that are still in shambles, and my heart really goes out to them and their loved ones.”
Brother McNulty reflected on the experience, “After the event, we discussed the event at our chapter meeting. Everyone seemed to think it went over very well and seemed adamant about doing it again as another philanthropy event. As current Rex, I stressed the importance of giving back to the community. Although it isn't the most ‘fun’ thing to do, everyone is always happy they participated in the event and feels good about. “
Adapted from “Coffee and cookies for a cause” by Bethany Walton