Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 13:10
It’s sad that as president of my sorority, I often have to beg people to participate in philanthropy events. Not because I’m in a group of apathetic and uncaring girls, but because, unfortunately, most people forget the feeling.
They forget the feeling of unity. The togetherness that comes with walking just a few miles, surrounded by thousands of people who are all passionate about fighting for a cause.
They forget the fulfillment that comes when a target monetary goal is reached and a group is able to donate thousands of dollars toward research and awareness for something they feel passionate about.
What’s often forgotten is the sense of pride one feels after realizing his or her philanthropic efforts are paying off and actually affecting others.
Finally, people forget the love that lingers in people’s eyes, actions and hearts when they are working together to make a change for the better of humanity.
This past Saturday, I watched my sorority remember that feeling again.
Three days before the breast cancer walk in Niagara Square, I told my sorority the event would be mandatory. I knew this would not be followed by positive responses, but I had hoped that, after all of the complaints, people would realize that philanthropic events should not be dreaded.
I received endless text messages from people trying to get out of attending.
Some asked if they could pay their way out of it. Others claimed it “wasn’t fair” to make them go. Many thought they had better places to be at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
It puzzled me that people were so unwilling to attend a walk that affects almost everybody.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, no matter what race or ethnicity, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 39,620 women will die from breast cancer annually, according to American Cancer Society.
At least 10 girls in my sorority are related to someone who has battled breast cancer, yet not everyone was enthusiastic about attending Saturday’s event.
Regardless, everyone changed their profile picture on Facebook to promote the walk and shared the link to our team’s donation site.
Within 48 hours, we raised $990.
I was beyond ecstatic and finally saw the girls in my group working toward raising money and spreading awareness.
On the morning of the event, I was worried that people would not show up. I had hoped their efforts in raising money would translate into attending the walk, but I did not want to have my hopes too high.
Upon waiting in the traffic surrounding Niagara Square and finding a parking spot nearby, I anticipated having to yell at girls who wouldn’t show their faces.
I realized I was not giving my sorority enough credit. With just a little bit of a push, I saw the unity in my sorority; everyone was marching in pink through the streets of downtown Buffalo.
I saw the smiles and excitement; everyone felt like they were a part of something greater than themselves. As they wore Alpha Phi letters while singing and dancing to the music from the stage nearby, I saw my sisters finally start to remember the feeling.
The girls in Alpha Phi, waiting in line for the food trucks to open and proudly wearing the stickers that were handed out to registered walkers, were having fun while spreading awareness for a cause so close to their hearts.
It’s difficult for some to be college students while having to participate in out-of-class events. We all have work to do, we all have social gatherings to attend and many of us have jobs.
I suggest, however, that every organization makes at least four philanthropy events each semester mandatory. Nobody can deny that they get the feeling upon helping others. It’s the steps toward raising the money and getting to the event that many struggle with. But there is nothing more powerful than the feeling that comes upon completion of a walk, Zumbathon or other philanthropic events.
Nobody can say that they don’t feel the power that comes from standing in the midst of thousands of other people cheering to end society’s fight with breast cancer and raising enough money for research so we can finally conquer the disease.
The love is too strong to deny and, sometimes, it just takes one little push to help people remember it. Give your organization, friends and family members that push – for the better of humanity and for the better of themselves.