Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Hannah Myer of the Tulane Hullabaloo. View the original here.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Orleans is suffering both financially and spiritually. The magic of the city that has captured the hearts of many Tulane students has faded along with the typical tourism that finances it. Students have taken this opportunity to give back to a city that has given them so much.
One of the major contributors to Tulane fundraising efforts has been students representing Greek life. The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapter [Louisiana Tau-Upsilon] organized a fundraiser titled “SAE’s Spring Break Fundraiser Challenge,” which came to be a competition between all of the sororities.
The nine sororities in the Tulane Panhellenic Council were given one week to raise as much money as possible for the University Medical Center New Orleans Employee Wellness Fund. The fund is used to promote employee wellness, such as providing fresh meals or psychological support, for employees of UMCNO who are working on the front lines in combatting the pandemic. At the end of each day, SAE posted an update of the standings of the nine sororities.
At the end of the challenge, Chi Omega raised the most money at $18,880 and Kappa Kappa Gamma raised the second-highest amount at $16,179. Between Instagram stories asking friends for a Venmo donation and posting videos of sisters getting pied in the face for donations, the sororities raised a cumulative $53,052.
“Frankly, we were astonished at how much support we got, and it was terrific to be able to give that much-needed funding to the workers at the University Medical Center New Orleans,” SAE chapter president [Eminent Archon] Julian Paulay sad. “Subsequent to ours, other campus-wide efforts were launched, and if we played a part in getting those started that makes us feel all the better.”
The sorority competition was only one part of SAE’s fundraising effort. In addition to sorority fundraising, SAE raised over $25,000 from chapter alumni and from friends and families of current members.
“We wanted to show the community of New Orleans that Tulane students appreciate everything that is being done by the frontline workers fighting coronavirus,” Paulay said.
Paulay and the entire SAE fraternity worked closely with Dean Howard, director of philanthropy for the Spirit of Charity Foundation. The foundation is the nonprofit affiliate of UMCNO.
“Julian and the entire Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity have been an unexpected highpoint during this tough time,” Howard said. “All of them along with the nine Panhellenic sororities should be commended for their incredible actions … Our staff is truly on the frontlines of the pandemic working with one of the worst-hit communities. SAE’s hard work enables our team to stay motivated and healthy so that they can be there for us all when we need them the most.”