The University of Minnesota’s FarmHouse fraternity chapter house is just three miles from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Minnesota chapter office. The close proximity has formed a tight partnership between the two “chapters.”

Chapter president Eric Olson (Minnesota 16) said, “A lot of times they’ll call us up and say, ‘hey, we need some more volunteers.’ That’s a cool way to get to know them and be important to them.”

The Minnesota Chapter recently presented a check for $8,140 to their local LLS chapter for their ongoing fundraising activities.

Along with serving at LLS events throughout the Twin Cities, Minnesota brothers serve at a local church’s food distribution center that provides over 30,000 pounds of food monthly to 350-plus families. They have helped monthly as a chapter for over 10 years. A recent root beer float fundraiser in October raised $600 for LLS.

“These guys are something special. Their attitude and how they go about serving is always positive. They help where we need help with these families in need. The men also see the need in their own community and want to help.”

Roland Peterson (Minnesota 77), the chapter’s long-time advisor. As Olson pointed out, building this robust culture of service starts at the top. “I think the biggest thing is really pushing the executive team to be the first ones to sign up to participate.”

Once the executive team sets the example, it becomes easier for lesser-involved brothers to want to sacrifice their own time, pleasures and comforts for the needs of others.

“It’s obviously really hard to say ‘hey, you need to get more service hours,’ but if you’re not doing it, you’re not setting the example.”

Their most successful philanthropy event is their annual date auction, where brothers sign up and provide unique date experiences to the highest bidder.

One chapter member is in flight school and must accrue a certain number of flying hours to become certified. He chose to have guests bid on a flight anywhere they wanted in the country, bringing in a substantial amount of money for LLS.

“It really puts perspective into what we do at college when we take some time out of our lives to help others,” said Olson. ★