TURLOCK — A few indignant ducks will share their normally unruffled pond at California State University, Stanislaus, with Theta Chi rowers until midnight tonight, raising money to combat asthma.
Next week, Tau Kappa Epsilon will set out trampolines to jump for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Later this month, Nu Alpha Kappa will hold a health fair, and Sigma Omega Phi will partner with Haven Women’s Center and other community groups for a symposium for women. In April, egg hunters will help Phi Sigma Sigma support college-readiness programs, Upsilon Kappa Delta will hold a multicultural night and Alpha Xi Delta will have a benefit concert for autism.
Greek good deeds are springing up on the Turlock campus as the days lengthen. Clouds over University Circle parted Monday after early morning showers, but Theta Chi President Broneil Ishaya said the fundraiser goes on, rain or shine.
“Last year, in the middle of the night it was pouring, but we still did it,” Ishaya said. “It’s all going to a good cause.” Behind him, first-hour rowers Luis Magana and James Nelson set a leisurely pace around the reflecting pond as Beach Boys hits played over loudspeakers.
Rowers started at noon Monday and will take turns on the water for 36 hours. Donations are being taken on the quad and at the red tent at the central campus end of the reflecting pond.
On a turn near the water’s edge, Magana said the annual fundraiser pulls in about $900 for California Breathing, an asthma advocacy nonprofit. An estimated 62,000 residents in Stanislaus County have asthma. But for the Theta Chis, this good cause is personal, Magana said, done in memory of a member who died from an asthma attack while a student years ago.
“This (rowing) is something he always wanted to do, so we do this for him,” Magana said.
On shore, a cluster of Alpha Pi Sigmas gathered to cheer the rowers on and make a donation. “We think it’s a different way to do philanthropy,” said Brittany Valadez.
“It’s so dangerous, too, because if they fall in, it’s so disgusting,” added Corina Sanchez. The water stands roughly one foot deep, as an oar pushed to the pond’s bottom showed.
Greek letters on kiosks and benches lined a walkway leading from the quad to the student center Monday. Stanislaus State has 10 sororities, seven fraternities, an interest group called Men of Vision and an umbrella group called the National Panhellenic Conference, said Nicole Turner, Greek life programs adviser for the university.
“I have an outstanding bunch of fraternities and sororities and am very proud of their constant accomplishments,” she said.
None of the fraternities or sororities offers housing. Some have specialties: Sigma Omega Phi focuses on multicultural unity; Sigma Alpha Iota is for female musicians; Alpha Pi Sigma is Latina based. Friday, the first invitations went out to join the latest campus Greek group, the Phi Mu sorority.
“Greek life on our campus promotes character and leadership development, academic success, diverse community involvement, equality and lifelong bonds,” Turner said.