Almost 400 members of the Cornell’s Greek community traveled around Ithaca to participate in volunteer work on Saturday as part of the ‘Greeks Give Back’ event, according to Shelby Holland ’18, vice president of community service for the Multicultural Greek Letter Council.
“The main goal for Greeks Give Back was to give Greek students the opportunity to give back to our local community while bonding with students from different organizations and councils,” she said.
Holland ’18 said volunteers — who were sent to organizations from Habitat for Humanity to the YMCA — interacted with Ithacans and Cornellians throughout the day.
The event was previously named ‘Day of Demeter,’ but organizers changed it to ‘Greeks Give Back’ this year to encourage a more focused message, according to Madeline Ling ’17, vice president of University and community relations for the Panhellenic Council.
“Our rebranding of the name … really caught on,” Ling said. “We’re looking forward to it being a household name in the Greek community and hopefully the Ithaca community.”
Participation in the event was 20 percent greater than in the fall semester, according to Holland.
Ling added that the influx of signups led to organizational problems that she hopes event planners will address in future years.
“Because we had a record number of signups, we didn’t have enough Ithaca agencies to hold all the volunteers that signed up,” she said. “We sent teams to clean up Collegetown and the Cornell campus … and we are looking to the future to explore new local organizations.”
The event saw participation from almost every chapter, according to Ling, and had its own hashtag, #CornellGreeksGiveBack, to spread the word.
“We definitely feel like it was a great success, both in participation … and also in the re-creation or rebranding of the event,” Ling said.
Both Holland and Ling said the event achieved its goal of highlighting one of the Greek community’s core principles.
“The most important aspect of Greek life to me is service,” Holland said. “Greeks Give Back, at its core, was about various organizations uniting together over a common goal — to care for our surrounding community.”