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Greek students build alumni relationships during calling challenge

As part of Greek Week festivities held on the Lehigh University campus from September 9 -12, almost 60 Lehigh students volunteered to participate in the Second Annual Greek Week Calling Challenge on September 10. The phonathon, geared toward Greek affiliated alumni and parents, raised $12,805.

Funds raised at the phonathon go to each chapters’ programming and education accounts, used for conference attendance, chapter development programs, or scholarships. The Delta Phi fraternity raised the most, followed by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, Alpha Phi sorority, and Sigma Chi fraternity.

“The turnout and excitement for this year’s phonathon was terrific. The students did an excellent job asking questions and engaging with alumni and parents over the phone. I’m also excited because they were able to learn about philanthropy to Lehigh, and how giving back makes an immediate impact on their own experience here,” said Chad Davis, director of the Lehigh Fund.

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA) worked with the Lehigh Fund to help increase involvement from within the Greek community.

“The Calling Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for chapters to not just raise funds, but ensure that alumni are kept up to date as to what’s going on in the organization. It is a terrific collaboration,” said Tim Wilkinson, senior assistant dean of Students and director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

The Lehigh Fund and OFSA staffs briefed the students at the beginning of the Calling Challenge before giving them lists of alumni and parents to call. Each student called only a parent or alum that was a member of his or her fraternity or sorority while at Lehigh.

Davis said that alumni and parents are excited to hear from students because of the immediate connection to the University.

Lauren Boller ’16, Pi Beta Phi, said, “The Calling Challenge was really different because it required us to reach out to former students. It took us out of our comfort zone having to ask people we did not personally know to donate money and support us.”

Elizabeth Durkin ’16, Pi Beta Phi, added, “Greek chapters should use events like this to not only ask for funds, but also to connect on a deeper level.”

The majority of the funds raised went directly to the different chapters on campus, while donors were still given the opportunity to make gifts toward other organizations, financial aid and scholarships.

It is one of the Lehigh Fund’s goals to provide a foundation for giving through building the student-alumni relationship.

The Greek members who participated in the Calling Challenge were able to experience how building relationships with alumni, parents, and friends will maximize support for university priorities.

"I think it is clear to all the students at Lehigh that the school functions fundamentally due to the support of our alumni. It is critical for fraternities and sororities to ask their alumni for help in just the same way,” said Jordan Levy ’14, Phi Kappa Theta. “Calling alumni to let them know how my chapter was doing was a mere pleasure. With this communication, we were able to raise a significant amount of funds for our Annual Philanthropic Dominican Republic Service Trip."

Events like the phonathon are helping to forge student-alumni relationships and instill in students the importance of giving back after they graduate so they can provide other students with similar opportunities.

Davis was excited that so many students volunteered, and looking forward, said, “I hope that this was a springboard for engaging students for future phonathons and other philanthropic opportunities.”

For more information about giving to your fraternity or sorority, please visit or

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2013
--Samantha Orlan '13