Back row, from left: Chelsea Singer ‘06, Gamma Phi Beta, Jason Kramer ‘06 Chi Phi, Jen Abbrecht ’06 Gamma Phi Beta, and Derek Bowen ’06 Chi Phi. Front, Mr. and Mrs. Pollinger.
Derek Bowen and his fraternity brothers from Chi Phi were looking for a way to contribute to the local community. The reason, says Bowen, a sophomore accounting and marketing major, is “because generosity is a legacy of Lehigh that is noticeable everywhere throughout campus.”
A fellow Chi Phi brother, Jason Kramer, a sophomore political science major, came up with the idea of having a kickball tournament to raise money for a local cause. In partnership with Gamma Phi Beta sorority, the group decided to give the money to Chris Pollinger, a man recently paralyzed in an auto accident.
The fraternity and sorority knew of Pollinger's struggle because he is a friend of the Gamma Phi Beta chef, Ed Cassel. A father of a 15-year-old son who is a freshman at Parkland High School, Pollinger is paralyzed from the neck down and has amassed considerable medical costs from medication, equipment and a specialized ambulance that must be used every time he chooses to leave his home.
More than 170 people attended the event, which had strong support from both participating and non-participating houses and raised about $4,000 -- $500 more than the goal. The money was raised by six teams, each made up of one fraternity and one sorority, who paid $500 per team. The IFC and Panhel Executive Boards collectively donated $500, and they entered the tournament as the seventh team. Friends and family of the Pollingers were also at the event.
An example of how generous the Greek community can be
“I think this event really captured the true meaning of community among our Greek chapters," says Michael Dick, a junior accounting major and president of the Interfraternity Council (IFC). “A big thanks to all participating houses, as the tournament brought together fourteen organizations in full support of the cause at hand and made for an exciting start to a successful Greek Week.”
Bowen attributed the success and drive for community and philanthropical service of Lehigh Greek students partially to the alumni, who support their alma mater with financial donations and time.
Bowen adds, “The tournament organization was nearly effortless because my fellow students were so interested in becoming involved. From the participation of other houses to the Chi Phi and Gamma Phi Beta members who set up and ran the event, it was a great example of how generous the Greek community can be.”
Chi Phi and Gamma Phi Beta are looking to build on this kickball charity event and they hope to set up a fund for the Pollingers under the guidance of Lehigh business professors. “We will be hosting more events in hope of providing the Pollingers with as much help as possible,” says Bowen.