Student business frats raise money to help a Buffalo public school

Showcasing talent to make talent possible


Jamel Mcmullin and three UB fraternities want to help students in Buffalo live up to their “greatness.”

And do to that, poetry and education might be the answer.

“Too many people die with their greatness still in them,” Mcmullin, a senior communication major, said at the “poetry SLAM” event last Wednesday night in the Student Union.

This year Delta Sigma Pi, Alpha Kappa Psi and Pi Sigma Epsilon, three fraternities in the school of management, helped to organize and fundraise for a career fair at Buffalo Public School PS 45 International School: “College and Career: It is not just a dream. It’s a plan!” The fraternities teamed up to host the career fair for the school’s sixth graders on March 13 and the “poetry SLAM” on April 29. The fraternities hoped to raise money to keep PS 45’s career exploration program going to help students realize their dreams and how far an education can take them.

“[The School of Management] reached out to me seeing if I could raise a thousand dollars and I didn’t think it was possible for one sole fraternity to do it so I reached out to all the other professional business fraternities to help,” said Alisa Ho, a senior finance major and member of Delta Sigma Pi.

UB’s School of Management has been working with PS 45 on the career exploration program for three years, but this was the first time the three fraternities teamed up to raise funds for the school.
PS 45 on Buffalo’s West Side has 780 students from more than 70 countries, speaking more than 30 languages, according to the school’s website. With students hailing from Burma, Nepal, Iraq and speaking languages like Chin, Karenni, Somali and Vietnamese, the school is brimming with diversity.

And while nearly all of the Buffalo Public Schools – 45 out of 57 – are failing schools, according to a March Buffalo News article, PS 45 is not among them. The International School did not make Gov. Cuomo’s list of 177 failing schools in the 2015 report “The State of New York’s Failing Schools.”

The fraternities’ goal in hosting the poetry slam was to ensure students could keep reaching towards their dreams.

PS 45 first reached out to UB Career Resource Center in an effort to raise money for school supplies. Between the poetry SLAM, a donut sale and other fundraising events throughout the semester, the school of management reached their goal of $1000.

But “College and Career” took that even further – the program’s first step was to expose sixth grade students to various careers and opportunities.

The students took career surveys, researched what interested them and attended a career fair where professionals from twelve different fields came and interacted with the students.

The students then took everything they learned and put on their own career fair for younger students.

“The presentations were a huge success,” said Anna E. Kleyman, PS 45’s counselor and co-coordinator of the career exploration program. “Older students demonstrated maturity and enthusiasm. Younger students were attentive and engaged. The excitement in the rooms was incredible.”

Caitlin Rush, the undergraduate program manager for the School Of Management’s Frank L. Ciminelli Family Career Resource Center and co-coordinator of the exploration program along with Kleyman, said the program wouldn’t have happened without fundraising from the students in the School of Management.

“Each year we run this program, there are extensive costs associated with [it],” said Rush. “The work [the fraternities] have done is simply phenomenal and will have a tremendous impact on the students at BPS 45.”

The idea for “poetry SLAM” started when Rush reached out to Ho and asked if Delta Sigma Pi wanted to join the efforts.

Ho then met with members of Alpha Kappa Psi and Pi Sigma Epsilon and together they came up with the idea for a poetry slam.

Ho said the end result could not have been better.

“Everyone’s so on board and willing to help this cause,” Ho said. “I’m so grateful for their leadership in this and that together we were able to raise that money for BPS No. 45.”

The seven poets and speakers at the event said they felt connected to the cause because of what education had done for them, both as poets and as students.

Tom Dreitlein, a sophomore communication major, and Jeff Creed, a junior psychology major, were two of the poets at the event on Wednesday. They both spoke on the connection between education and reaching their full potential.

“Education has definitely had an effect on my poetry,” said Tom Dreitlein, a sophomore communication major and one of the event’s poets said. “It really connects to everything literary … it has helped me so much.”

Jeff Creed, a junior psychology major and poet at the event, emphasized how education not only helps when writing poetry, but in the self-discovery that is necessary to make it good.

“What I’ve been exposed to [at UB] has especially helped me in self-learning,” Creed said. “It has helped me articulate myself, and given me a great outlet to do so.”

“Poetry SLAM” showcased the talents of students who were given the opportunities necessary to strive toward their dreams – a hope that is at the center of PS 45’s career exploration program.

This article was updated on Sunday, May 3 for clarity and to include new information.

Sophia McKeone is a staff writer and can be reached at