W&J Greek Life Brightens Holidays with Angel Tree Donations

Created: December 23, 2014
Last Updated: January 17, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Dec. 17, 2014) – The holiday season will be brighter for children in the City of Washington this year, thanks to a massive donation effort by Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) fraternities and sororities.

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, in a joint effort with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, sponsored an Angel Tree project this holiday season, providing more than $3,000 worth of donations for parents and children within a two-mile radius of the W&J campus.

“This was a huge success,” said Emil Ihnat, a sophomore from Indiana, Pa. who serves as the Philanthropy Chairman for Phi Kappa Psi. “We heard that some of the organizations in town were scared they wouldn’t get enough donors and we said, ‘Give us more angels and we’ll get more people involved.’”

The Phi Psi fraternity first participated in an angel tree project last year, helping about 40 local families fill their needs at the holidays. That project was organized by Zeke Stroupe ’16, now Phi Psi’s chapter vice president, who passed the torch to Ihnat this year.

“We really want to expand this every year,” he said. “We like to focus on philanthropy, and we like to be involved and help people who are in need,” he said. “We’re the alpha chapter of Phi Psi, so we want to show a level of leadership that other [Phi Psi] chapters can look up to.”

Ihnat said expanding the project this year was a group effort, and that although Phi Psi primarily organized the project, members of all ten of W&J’s Greek Life organizations contributed to make it a success. Angels were provided by The Bible Chapel Church and by The Washington Hospital Outreach Center, both located in Washington, Pa.

Ashley Broskey, director of fraternity and sorority life at W&J, said she is encouraged and impressed by students who take the initiative to manage philanthropy projects on campus. Each of W&J’s Greek organizations supports a specific philanthropy, and she said she was pleased to see organizations working together for the Angel Tree project.

“The Phi Psi’s partnership with Kappa helps improve Greek unity on campus,” she said. “Their donations can go a long way. It allows the community and campus to see that Greek life continues to be about what it was founded for: brotherhood, sisterhood and service to the community and the school.”

Ihnat said this effort shows that at their core, Greek organizations are philanthropy-focused, and strive to be involved in their communities.

“It really does make us feel good, and not just because we’re giving at Christmas, but because we actually got to help kids out,” he said. “If we didn’t give these presents, a lot of these kids weren’t going to open a present on Christmas. It feels like you’re Santa Claus.”

Greek organizations at W&J have a history of charitable work. Each supports a specific charity or organization with events throughout the year: Boys and Girls Clubs of America (Phi Kappa Psi); Washington Women’s Shelter (Alpha Tau Omega); Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA) (Phi Delta Theta); Literacy Foundations and Pi Beta Phi Foundation (Pi Beta Phi); Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (Delta Tau Delta); Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) (Kappa Alpha Theta); Reading is Fundamental and Susan G Koman Foundation (Kappa Kappa Gamma); Service for Sight (Delta Gamma); United Service Organization (USO) (FIJI); America Cancer Society (Beta Theta Pi).

Broskey also spearheaded a new program this year, Greeks Organized Around Leadership and Service (GOALS), an eight-week leadership course with service components including food and clothing drives, and volunteer work at Washington City Mission.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work.

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