About 400 members of the Greek community went out to participate in the Alzheimer’s Walk to the End, work at a home build site, restore a watershed and ecosystem, feed horses and clean up trash on Greek Row Saturday as part of Day of Service. This event addresses community needs in and around Pullman.
“I hope it lays the groundwork for some people and sparks their interest in lifelong community investment,” said Katie Potasky, the Panhellenic vice-president of finance and philanthropy. “Community service is more than just going out. It should be a commitment to improving your community, and your little bit of work should have a long-term effect.”
The Greek community partnered with the Palouse Habitat for Humanity, Orphan Acres, Avalon Care Center, Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, Palouse Science Discovery Center, Whitman Senior Living Center, the Hope Center and the Villas at Bishop Place, Potasky said.
Potasky said she and Jordan Proaño, the Interfraternity Council director of finance and philanthropy, worked together with the Center for Civic Engagement to help the chapter members earn their community service requirements. Each project took between two and three hours.
“We are trying to find more ways for students to participate in something they like,” Potasky said. “We want them to find something they’re passionate about and then find a way to give back to that.”
Lindsey Gilmore, a certified nursing assistant at the Avalon Care Center, said the group that came to their organization to help did everything from cleaning up the yard to washing the wheel chairs and transport vans. She said they were hardworking and did an amazing job.
“It was a wonderful, very positive experience because they went above and beyond the job description by coming up with more projects to fill the time,” Gilmore said. “The event really creates a sense of community and the good intentions within.”
Freshman Jourden Makinen, a participant in Day of Service, said he chose to take part because it is for the community. He said it is something that holds up the standards of the Greek community.
“If you’re Greek, there is a stereotype that we just party all of the time, but no, we don’t just party all of the time,” Makinen said. “We go out and pick up the streets, and we try to do our best to help the community.”
Sophomore Dane Baird said the important aspect of the day is the large group working together to help the community. He said this way they get a lot more work accomplished.
“It’s always fun to do it with your brothers and sisters,” Baird said. “The day works to really bring everyone together.”
Potasky said all WSU students, including Residence Life students, student organizations and Greek-letter chapters, could participate, but by registration only Greek members had applied.
“We intend to make Day of Service an annual event and find more effective ways of incorporating an even wider variety of students in the future,” Potasky said. “Day of Service hopes to encourage students to make an active investment in the welfare and care of their community.”
Potasky said the long-term goal of the project is to develop a reciprocal relationship with the community to let them know the WSU community is there to help. She said she wants participants to learn something about the organization they assisted and go back to help again.
The event marked the end of National Hazing Prevention week, an effort to actively promote positive interactions and bonding between students and other organizations, according to National Hazing Prevention's website. Panhellenic, the Interfraternity Council, UREC, SEB, the CUB, ASWSU and other student and resident organizations co-sponsored National Hazing Prevention week at WSU.
“We thought (Day of Service) would be a perfect opportunity to include in the week because it is a great way to build a community through camaraderie instead of hazing,” Potasky said. “The day was a two-fold approach to promote volunteering and bonding with the chapter or group students are associated with.”