She is one of nearly 50 children to whose Christmas list is hanging on a large tree in the first floor lobby of the Roaden University Center at Tennessee Tech University.
For the first time, TTU’s Inter-Fraternity Council is sponsoring an Angel Tree on campus and campus organizations, offices, groups and others from the community are being asked to sponsor a child through Cookeville’s Life Care Family Services.
“It’s such a great charity, we want to get the community involved. We want it to be a new tradition,” said Ben Toline, TTU mechanical engineering major. “It’s not a Greek thing; we’re just sponsoring it.”
Each of the 11 fraternities and several of the sororities will be picking a paper tag with a child’s name to buy items to give that child a Christmas. The council members originally considered working with Salvation Army of Chattanooga or Nashville, but then decided to keep their efforts in the area.
“We wanted something around here, so we searched around for some organizations and Life Care worked out,” said mental health counseling graduate student Emma Judd, who works in the Greek Life Office. “These are kids in the Upper Cumberland who, if they didn’t have the Angel Tree program, they wouldn’t be getting anything for Christmas.”
Charity work is nothing new to Greek organizations, but this is only the second time that the Greek Life office has sponsored a hands-on effort for all fraternities and sororities to participate in together. Each chapter does its own work individually and students have logged nearly 2,400 hours since August, according to Judd.
Last spring, organizations got hands-on working with community cleanups, tutoring and the TTU Blessings in a Backpack program, which gives free food to needy children in Jackson County.
Annually, the groups donate approximately $100,000 to their selected service organization, according to Katie Williams, Greek Life coordinator.
“The stereotype is that Greek organizations stick to ourselves a lot, but we don’t mean it to be that way,” said Toline. “That’s the stereotype we’re trying to break. We’re trying to get involved in the community and get the campus involved.”
Tags can be picked up from the tree in the RUC lobby. Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. during Late Night Tech Night in the RUC Tech Pride Room on the first floor, or anytime before the event in the Greek Life office next to the Campus Compass desk.