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First ever service, philanthropy week held by U. greek life councils, organizations

The Rutgers Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA)'s Service and Philanthropy Week included events such as Elijah's Promise Day, which took place at The Yard @ College Avenue. – Photo by Matan Dubnikov

The Rutgers Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA) recently organized a Service and Philanthropy Week from November 14 to November 18, according to the office’s getINVOLVED page.

The week featured events such as Elijah’s Promise Day, O’Bagel Promo Day, Hype Knight and a greek life food drive, all of which occurred around the College Avenue campus and downtown New Brunswick.

Connor Genitempo, a Rutgers Business School senior and president of the University’s Interfraternity Council, said this year’s Service and Philanthropy Week was the first ever held, and he hopes it continues as a yearly tradition.

He said the week was a collaborative initiative managed by the Rutgers University Dance Marathon (RUDM) team and Rutgers greek life’s four governing councils.

The week’s events supported non-profit organizations such as the Embrace Kids Foundation, Elijah’s Promise Community Kitchen and the on-campus Rutgers Student Food Pantry.

Genitempo said participants in Elijah’s Promise Day assembled approximately 400 donation packages containing food and other necessities for the community kitchen.

O’Bagel Day, a fundraiser in which the local establishment donated a 10th of its sales that day to the Embrace Kids Foundation, resulted in more than $300 being raised.

He said the greek life food drive collected nearly 2,000 donations of various non-perishables for the Rutgers Student Food Pantry.

Genitempo said that these events sought not only to serve these aforementioned nonprofits but also to build a sense of solidarity among all participating organizations and drive engagement with RUDM.

For example, the week’s Hype Knight event brought together fraternities and sororities to compete in a creative showcase of film-inspired presentations while the week’s Instagram Liking Competition allowed greek life members to promote RUDM online, he said.

"Greek life has always been one of the largest proponents of the Dance Marathon, and we want to continue that tradition," he said.

In addition to driving up engagement with RUDM and other organizations through this event, Genitempo said that he had a personal goal of encouraging enthusiasm and desire to engage in community service amongst greek life organizations.

He took pride in being able to lay the groundwork for this year’s service week as well as those to come.

With respect to his role in Service and Philanthropy Week, Genitempo said that he was specifically responsible for brainstorming events and coordinating participation from within the Interfraternity Council.

He said OFSA spaced out the events to occur every day of the week in order to optimize involvement.

"(OFSA) and its interns have been in charge of arranging the events for the week," Genitempo said. "Our director Joann Arnholt, assistant director Lauren Gesualdi and OFSA intern Gillian Carmien were crucial to its success."

In total, more than 50 on-campus greek organizations and hundreds of their members collectively participated in the week's events, he said.

"Helping to set the foundation for this kind of event is something that I am super proud of, and I look forward to seeing how future Service and Philanthropy Weeks continue to grow," Genitempo said.

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