Activities during the University of San Diego’s Greek Week often pit sororities and fraternities in a friendly competition for campus organization supremacy. But last week, there was one event that demonstrated the power of having everyone pull together for a single cause.
Nearly 370 students, alumni and staff members traveled off campus to the nearby Feeding America San Diego facility on March 26 and participated in a Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack event. This hands-on service project has groups perform assembly-line packing of formula-based meals that get shipped to more than 70 countries to feed malnourished children.
The goal of USD student leaders Sloane Smith, Rachel Lincoln and Katie Modesitt (pictured, left to right) and this large contingent of Toreros was to pack 100,000 meals. Splitting the group into a pair of two-hour work shift teams, USD packed 101,088 meals. Furthermore, more than $22,000 was raised from online donations and another $6,000 came through other fundraising events to cover costs and to put some money aside for a future packing event.
“It was a great, meaningful event,” said Modesitt, vice president for philanthropy and community service for USD’s Panhellenic Council and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. “It gave me even more faith in our campus community, the Greek community at USD, that we did it. It was great to see people show they care and that they had fun with it.”
Lincoln planted the initial seed for having such an event. Since last summer she felt this type of event would be a great activity on campus. She knew, too, about the importance and effectiveness of the Feed My Starving Children, which has been in operation since 1987. Lincoln said she and her family had participated in this activity while she grew up in Arizona.
“I’ve done this before with my family and I thought it would be a cool idea to bring here so we as a campus community could make a big difference together,” said Lincoln, a member of USD’s Alpha Chi Omega. “USD is a Changemaker campus, a do-good campus. If any campus can do it, we can.”
Lincoln shared her idea with Modesitt, who then recommended the hands-on service project idea to Panhellenic Council as a Greek Week activity. Smith, a Kappa Delta (Zeta Rho) member, vice president of programming for the Panhellenic Council and who served as the director of Greek Week, agreed that it would be a worthwhile event.
By working together on this project, buy-in from sororities, fraternities and critical support from USD administration, it became a reality. Judging by the results, Modesitt said she believes packing meals could be “a signature event” during Greek Week. Even better, all three student leaders will return for their senior year in 2014-15.
Modesitt and Lincoln said they’d like to have the event occur on campus and they’d like to increase campus participation, including reaching out to freshmen students at orientation, USD’s Living-Learning Communities, USD student-athletes and more. Everyone can play a part in providing hungry children with nourishing meals. It’s also quite alright for volunteers to have fun as they do it.
“People really got into it,” Modesitt said. “One fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, their members were dancing during it. They were stoked to pack meals, but they also incorporated the social and fun aspects that we want to bring out. It was a great thing to see.”
— Ryan T. Blystone
Photos courtesy of Sara Pielsticker and Rachel Lincoln