Brothers band together for Buffalo’s community
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 00:03
Four years ago when Kyle McJury was pledging to his fraternity, the freshman would fill his free time cleaning out yards and shoveling driveways for the elderly and disabled residents who couldn’t do it themselves.
Today, McJury, a senior finance major and vice president of community service for UB’s Delta Sigma Pi, Alpha Kappa chapter participates in various community service projects with the fraternity.
Founded in 1925, Delta Sigma Pi, a national fraternity, is the university’s largest professional business fraternity that prides itself on its involvement in the community. UB’s chapter is one of 200 on college campuses around the country.
Last fall, UB’s Delta Sigma Pi was nationally recognized for its community service efforts and was awarded Outstanding Community Service in the northeast region, according to Alisa Ho, a sophomore finance and computer science major and vice president of chapter operations. She said this award goes to one chapter from each region.
“We go above and beyond every standard that we need to adhere to and basically just try to set the example for our peers and other fraternities or chapters,” Ho said.
Ho said every chapter is required to complete eight community service events per year but UB’s chapter has already completed 16 events since the fall semester.
Aside from helping the public, the downstate native has gained a sense of community in Buffalo.
“You really get a sense of what the Buffalo community is like,” Ho said. “And then just to give back to something that I didn’t grow up around was really rewarding. Just being exposed to a different environment and seeing not everything in the world is perfect.”
Ho said the fraternity brings something different to the School of Management as it has corporate sponsorships from companies like Jim’s Steakout. She said the fraternity is leading by example because a lot of the other business fraternities at UB do not receive such sponsorships.
Delta Sigma Pi supports a number of causes and has had experience working with external organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity and Relay for Life. McJury said the chapter is most dedicated to and works closely with the American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society holds more meaning for McJury than for any other fraternity members. When he was in high school, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“When you find out someone has cancer, you learn to appreciate more about that person,” McJury said. “And I think once you start that, it doesn’t stop but instead builds up from there.”
He believes the more appreciative a person is and the more active he or she is in community service, the greater the chance of realizing there is a lot more that can be done to help others.
Another community service event that Delta Sigma Pi has worked with is Dreams from the Heart, which was created in 1994 for children with severe congenital heart disease, according to the organization’s official website.
Ray Orrange, a professor in the School of Management, worked very closely with this organization and the fraternity because he lost his son to heart disease, according to McGee.
Ho said doing community service, especially with Dreams from the Heart, gives her an unexplainable feeling that everyone should experience. She had done community service in high school, but nothing felt as good as working with these organizations, she said.
“Just seeing people so excited and willing to donate made me feel really good … I feel like I’m helping out with the community and my time’s being appreciated,” Ho said. “There’s people out there who really do need help and especially in elderly homes there’s people whose families don’t even visit them that much so that just resonates well with me.”
One of the community services the chapter is more familiar with is Project Naomi, whose goal is to assist low-income, disabled seniors with property maintenance in the Buffalo area. Both McJury and McGee helped with its start when they took their pledges as freshmen.
“We kind of helped take it off ground and with this project, we were really going around the Buffalo area to help elderly people clean up their yards and shovel snow during winter,” McGee said.
Gwendolyn Brown, the project’s founder, approached one of the pledge brothers and asked if they had people who could help, McJury said.
“We had 28 people at the time and it was nothing major … we kind of got used to the Buffalo area through this and we’ve been helping out every year since then,” McJury said.
The brothers helped out with Buffalo’s Habitat for Humanity two years ago and will be joining the organization again this year.
“We basically go to old houses and knock them down and help out with construction and clean-ups,” McGee said. “We help turn these rundown houses into something that people can actually move into … so that’s kind of fulfilling.”
McGee emphasized it is important for UB students to get involved outside of the classroom. She believes doing community service will help a person develop.