Angeli: Philanthropy, From the Greek “Philanthrōpos”

When I first got to BU, I had no intention of getting involved with Greek life. My older brother had been in a fraternity and for years had recommended that I “at least try it” when my time as an undergrad rolled around. Despite his persistent recommendations, I just didn’t see myself having that kind of college experience. My plan was instead to become as active as I could on campus mainly by pursuing communication-related extracurriculars, so that my free time could be spent in ways that were both enjoyable and advantageous to my professional soul searching. I certainly didn’t foresee finding myself on the brink of hypothermia on the coldest night of Fall 2017, wholeheartedly committed to ensuring a flag football tournament benefitting a childhood cancer nonprofit would go on.  

But first let me retrace my steps a bit. By the end of freshman year, I had followed my initial plan quite nicely. I was in just about everything COM, from BUTV10 to WTBU, and had still gotten to try my hand at a few just-for-fun activities as well, like BU On Broadway. I was never bored (if anything, much too tired.) I’d met a lot of great people along the way. And I felt more than acclimated to my new environment. Nonetheless, something was missing and I just wasn’t completely satisfied.

Throughout my childhood and well into my high school years, I had done a lot of community service. Philanthropy was a value my parents had instilled in my siblings and me from an early age and eventually grew to be something I loved to do without any sort of urging. I had always planned to stay committed to service during college and even began my BU career with FYSOP, but I’d be kidding myself if I said it remained a top priority of mine for the rest of that year. It wasn’t until I returned to campus as a sophomore that I really realized how much I had missed it.

Around the same time, I made another important self-realization, if not confession. I had many things in common with the friends I had become closest to, but they had just one commonality amongst each other that I did not share: all of them had gone through recruitment. More importantly, they each ended up in a sorority where they truly felt at home. At first, I didn’t regret my decision to remain anti-Greek life. I was happy for my friends, and they never made me feel like an outsider. On the contrary, they tried to include me in their new community as much as possible. As time went on, however, I couldn’t help but wonder what I had really missed out on (translation: I couldn’t help but feel the occasional FOMO.) If several people that I related to were in Greek life, was it really as antonymous to my interests as I had always assumed?

That spring was my chance to get an answer once and for all. And sure enough, it was as pleasantly surprising as I had secretly hoped it would be. I went through recruitment with an open mind and found my way to a sorority I am now incredibly grateful to be a part of because, in doing so, I also found that piece of my college puzzle that had been missing. I can definitely only speak to my own experience here at BU, but Greek life has proven to surpass all of the stereotypical expectations I once held for it. I know longer believe there is a “sorority type” or that Greek organizations are purely about socializing. Philanthropy is a large portion of what this community stands for and by far my favorite part of being a member of it. In just two semesters, I have been able to participate in a variety of events supporting important causes like an end to juvenile diabetes and breast cancer research. Above all, I’ve gained a newfound commitment to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, the focus of my own sorority’s efforts, that I aim to maintain beyond my undergraduate career. From volunteering at a local RM house to serving as Event Chair for our annual Friday Night Lights fundraiser, it’s been truly rewarding to be able to contribute to this organization’s immense impact in my own small way.

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