ASU ‘FIJI’ frat members take time to lend helping hand to Salvation Army

By Lawn Griffiths, for | June 13, 2021

Braeden Belnap, Nolan Goldsmith, Nick Nauser and Ari Kahn, “Fiji” fraternity brother at Arizona State, along with Tempe Mayor Corey Woods (second from left), meet at Tempe Salvation Army center. —Salvation Army photo

Eighty men strong, the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at Arizona State University is a volunteerism force on the Valley landscape.

Ask the Tempe Salvation Army Corps, where a dozen “Fijis,” as they call themselves, have created a 350-square-foot shaded patio where homeless people may find respite and gather. For two days, they removed dirt and vegetation, deposited sand and then put down pavers. They wrapped the weekend with 50 service hours under 93-degree heat.

The renovation was the pinnacle of the Fijis’ service projects throughout the just-completed spring semester. Bob Glenn, a contractor and owner of CAJ builders, provided construction oversight.

The secured space is between the Social Services Building and the Worship Building and coffee shop on the Salvation Army campus at 714 S. Myrtle Ave.

Tempe Mayor Corey Woods, who has a long relationship with the Tempe Salvation Army, stopped by to see the impact of the chapter’s service firsthand and express his gratitude for time giving back to the community.

“I had a wonderful time meeting the members of the ‘Fiji’ fraternity,” Woods said. “It was great to see students partnering with the Salvation Army to make physical improvements to the facility, put together food CARE packages, and assist our unsheltered population. So many people have faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID -19 pandemic, and it’s wonderful to see our ASU students stepping up to help.”

Every hour of community service is tracked by the fraternity. Since December, 393 hours have been logged. During the past five months, Fijis have been provided to a diverse array of 20 community organizations and projects.

Fraternity president Taylor Dintzner, a junior majoring in finance, says service is an expectation that comes with belonging to Phi Gamma Delta, which was established at ASU in 1965 and has more than 850 alums.

“We all strive to get in as many hours of service as we can, and organizations that positively impact the communities surrounding us are prioritized,” Dintzner said.

Bob Kawa, chairman of the Tempe Salvation Advisory Board, is among those alums. He was a Fiji from 1969 to 1972 and fondly looks back on Greek life a half-century ago.

“I needed volunteers and these guys came through,” Kawa said. “A lot of people in the community weren’t volunteering because of COVID.”