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I’m all for the satirical articles, Fail Friday, and hilarious one-liners that drive thousands of Greeks to this site on a daily basis. However, in the past week, I’ve seen too many articles about racist chants, nudes, and try-hard mirror pics. I watched the video of Bacon’s interview on CNN where he talked about all the good fraternities actually do — higher grades, philanthropy, and the usual statistics we rattle off when convincing recruits to join — then get completely cut off by the host. That got me heated, and I felt compelled to put Greek Life back in the spotlight, but this time for the right reason.
Beta Theta Pi has no national ties to any philanthropy, so each chapter is left to partner with whomever. Because of that, our chapter has probably the most unique philanthropy at UT-Arlington — so much so that other fraternities have told us it’s the best philanthropy effort on our campus.
We call it Heroes For Hope, and it’s the reason a lot of my brothers actually joined the chapter. In 1992, two alumni, Kris Folmar and Roger Hancock, visited a sick kid they knew in the hospital dressed as super heroes to bring a smile to this child’s face. Afterwards, they decided to bring it to the chapter to make it our own philanthropy. It’s been our philanthropy ever since, and I asked our chapter why they like doing it, and our Spider Man from this semester said, “It’s an indescribable experience to bring happiness to a child’s heart just by doing something so small.”
So, for the past 20 or so years, instead of the normal debauchery college students get into for spring break, our members and girls who support us go to hospitals in the North Texas area, dressed as super heroes, to pass out toys to children in these hospitals that really need to smile. I saw a post on Facebook after our 2015 tour from a lady whose child we had the privilege of hanging out with for the day. She said, “Thank you, guys! It has been a rough day and my son needed to get some lab work done and was grumpy. Then he saw the heroes in the Child Life Center at Cooks. You guys made his day!” It’s posts like that which make all the fundraising we do to put on this event worth it. Every dollar we raise through donations, cookout sales, shirts, and sponsors goes toward putting on this event. We couldn’t be more grateful for all the support we’ve received from the school, local businesses, and whomever gave even just one dollar.
— UTA Beta (@UTA_Beta) March 16, 2015
This is what being in a fraternity should be about. It begs the question: What kind of legacy are we, as fraternity men and sorority women, leaving when we finally graduate? Is it being the best big ever, or the house that threw the best parties, or the black mark that got your chapter on the news? I want to be able to say that I left a lasting impression on my campus in a positive way. I want people to see what we’ve done and say, “That’s a brotherhood that will get you somewhere.” One of my biggest regrets was that I was in PCB talking about Heroes For Hope with other Betas, instead of being back home in Texas making it happen..