The 2019 Executive Board sat down last January with a blaring problem – the chapter couldn’t tangibly measure positive community impact.
In fact, the chapter wasn’t even sure what it’s impact was.
Philanthropy efforts were pedestrian, participation was mediocre, and service hour requirements were an obligation. Clearly something had to change.
It was Vice President of Programming Gabe Brookshire who heeded the call with a then-controversial decision. He erased the traditional ‘Queen of Hearts’ philanthropy competition structure entirely. With his constituents, the event was reimagined from the ground up on a foundation that matters – a foundation of brotherhood and family.
They used to throw a football through a hanging tire and parallel park a truck. But now Queen of Hearts contestants compete in a week long fundraising event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – an organization that provided life-saving treatment to Brenna Messner, the younger sister of SigEp brother Will Messner.
“There’s a dozen things people could be doing on a Saturday, but Will’s family. Making the philanthropy personal to our chapter was an obvious way for everyone to participate and buy in,” Vice President of Recruitment Ryan Pettit said.
According to chapter meeting minutes, $2,000 was the intended benchmark of success. The new event doubled that.
It was a long time coming, but the philanthropy’s success didn’t fall out of thin air. It started last Spring with two successful events in Powderpuff Football and the Mom’s Weekend Auction. Those two events helped WA Alpha turn the corner and fully realize their potential to give back despite being locked in a rural campus.
“It was the first time in a while we were a top fraternity on campus in terms of philanthropy. The success sort of forced our hand into going all out the following semester. Apathy wasn’t an option anymore,” Brookshire said.
In the past month, SigEp has helped raised around $10,000 for those battling cancer that are connected with the Pullman community. And according to documentation on hand, that level of success goes unparalleled in recent chapter history.
It all stated with self reflection and an honest discussion. And as result, the actions of WA Alpha’s members are making a difference in the Pullman community.
The week of fundraising closes with a Color Run where all contestants have a chance to win points by order of their finish. Winning both the social media competition and the race on a home stretch kick, it was Kappa Alpha Theta’s Miranda’s Gooler named WA Alpha’s Queen of Hearts.
“There are few moments where I’ve been prouder of this fraternity,” Vice President of Communication Andrew Thomas said. “Moments like this are why we all joined SigEp in the first place.”