NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. (WC) Westminster College’s fraternity and sorority councils have received the 2020 Hero of Hope Award from the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) for their charitable giving to the organization.
The College’s Panhellenic Council (PHC) and Interfraternity Council (IFC), which govern Westminster’s five sororities and four fraternities, were recognized for coordinating a virtual fundraising campaign last spring that brought in nearly $9,000 for the CFF.
For the past 16 years during the College’s annual Greek Week celebration, Westminster fraternities and sororities have collected more than $100,000 for the CFF through their Penny Wars battle. Although COVID forced students to vacate campus last spring and finish out the semester from home, that didn’t derail the Greek community’s annual fundraising efforts.
Francesca Manilla, assistant dean of student affairs at Westminster, said the fraternity and sorority community did not want to put the tradition on hold and instead developed social media fundraising campaign.
“Back in April, during the height of quarantine, our students had to move their entire academic careers online, abruptly return home and reimagine their fraternity or sorority chapter operations in order to make sure their members felt supported and connected by one another during such a confusing time,” said Manilla. “As many things were canceled during this time last year, our fraternity and sorority community was loud and clear that they still wanted to fundraise for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and continue their philanthropic efforts.”
The students were able to raise $8,821 last spring, which, Manilla said, “was more than we ever expected during a pandemic.”
“In a year where our world was turned upside down, our organization was challenged to think outside the box in order to advance our mission. The creativity, resilience and positive energy of several volunteer leaders helped keep our Chapter motivated and moving forward,” said Mary Pat Joseph, executive director of CFF’s Western Pennsylvania Chapter. “Our staff agreed that the efforts of the Panhellenic and Interfraternity councils were enormously successful via the 2020 virtual Greek Week project. Their efforts were so inspirational in raising awareness and funds, which was truly above and beyond, given pandemic conditions.”
“It is times like these that remind me why fraternity and sorority life holds so much value,” said Manilla. Westminster fraternities include Alpha Sigma Phi, Phi Kappa Tau, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Theta Chi. Sororities at Westminster are Alpha Gamma Delta, Kappa Delta, Phi Mu, Sigma Kappa and Zeta Tau Alpha.
Funds raised are used to support the development of new drugs to fight cystic fibrosis, improve the quality of life for people suffering from the disease, and ultimately, to find a cure. Cystic fibrosis, a progressive genetic disease that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs, is found in about 30,000 people in the United States.