Greeks `can' party image

by Laura Martz

News Reporter

The two fraternity traditions of beer and philanthropy went hand in hand March 28 at Sigma Phi Epsilon's benefit party for the Houston Food Bank.

Students started straggling up about 10 p.m. after Greek Week's Lip Sync to enjoy DJ dance music

and beer for those 21 and over.

The fraternity took $1 off of the admission fee for anyone bringing a canned good. Asparagus and pinto beans were the first items pitched into the food bank's cardboard bins.

The party netted about 270 cans from about 450 attendees, said member Robert Schadler, a

senior finance and accounting major.

The fraternity plans to take the food to the food bank this week.

About $300 in profits from the party will also go to the food bank, said senior political science and Sig Ep member David Harrison.

Sigma Phi Epsilon also plans to help the food bank collect leftovers from institutional grocer Sysco's promotional "food show" April 3, Harrison said.

The Food Bank always needs volunteers, said Jacqueline Pontello, director of public affairs for the organization.

Canned meats like tuna, baby formula, baby food and powdered baby milk are also always in demand, she said.

"We're the grocery store for charity," Pontello said.

Representatives of homeless shelters, church food pantries and

Meals-on-Wheels programs come to the food bank with grocery lists and are given what they need, she said.

The organization serves Harris County and 35 other counties surrounding Houston. The food bank distributed 20 million pounds of food last year, she said.

"There's been some negative press in The Daily Cougar about

fraternities and sororities, like all we do is drink and have parties,"

Schadler said. "We also do a lot of good things for the community, and that's what we want people to be aware of."

Sigma Phi Epsilon also raised $600 for the American Heart

Association last fall with its haunted house, and the fraternity cleans a stretch of Interstate 45 near Clear Lake every month, Schadler said.

His fraternity planned its food bank benefit to coincide

unofficially with Greek Week, a series of competitive events for

fraternities and sororities.

Canned goods were collected

at all official Greek Week events. The donated food will go to the Star of Hope Homeless Women and Family Shelter, said Doug Miller, UH campus activities director and the adviser to UH fraternities.

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