By definition, community service is “voluntary work intended to help people in a particular area”. As the past director of community service, and current chapter president of the Delta Upsilon chapter at Baldwin Wallace University, I have learned that community service is much more than the dictionary can put into words. It’s not about the “voluntary work” as much as the feeling of completeness when you see a little girl’s face knowing she thinks you’re a real princess. Or the moment when you take time to reflect and realize that the small effort it takes you to walk a mile or pack a box of supplies is going to make the world of difference to someone else.
Creating a legacy of service has been a priority for the Delta Upsilon chapter at Baldwin Wallace University since I joined in 2011. Just this past year, we completed 1,800 hours of community service earning the Excellence in Service award for the Upper Midwest Region. In 2011, we competed with four other sororities on BW’s campus for the Dorothy Marks McKelvey Award for Community Service. I take pride in earning these awards as an individual, as an Alpha Phi and as a member of the Greek community.
While I do love winning, the time spent completing the service is much more meaningful to my sisters and I. An inspirational sister once enlightened me by saying, “Alpha Phi has provided me with opportunities for service that have allowed me to think of others before myself. These experiences have helped me to serve others to become more of a well-rounded person. I will be forever grateful for these amazing opportunities.” The opportunities we provide our members helps them grow into the women they want to be.
A favorite service project of the Delta Upsilon chapter is Princess Ball. The Lorain Country “Princess Ball” is put on by Lorain County Children Services, and this past October marked the third year of the event. Our chapter got involved the very first year through an Delta Upsilon alumna and former employee of Children Services, and we have continued to volunteer each year. The day consists of us dressing up as Disney princesses and putting on a special day for young girls who dress up as princesses themselves. We sign autographs, take a lot of pictures and dance for hours! The event is open to anyone in the area, but most of the girls who attend are currently living in foster homes. We have so much fun during the day that we often forget how grateful the families are for the service we provide. One father wrote a thank you to us commenting on how “all the character actresses they kept all the little girl's fascinated and engaged each of them in discussions and questions about themselves and what they liked”, and said his little girls “loved every minute and on the ride home were already asking when they could go to another Princess Ball.” At the end of day, when we are all exhausted and tired of smiling, it’s those families and little girls that remind us why we reach out to the community. Personally, being able to spend the entire day with my sisters is a reward in itself, but when you get to share the special moment of making a young girl’s dream come true there is no greater feeling.
Our role as Greek women is to challenge one another to make a difference in our communities, on our campuses and within ourselves. Highlighting our value of service is the ideal avenue to communicate to the community who we are and what we stand for. I hope that you take your pledge to strive for higher standards as seriously now as you did when you first made them at Initiation. At BW, we do.