Challenging greek life stereotypes on campus: Kappa Alpha blood drive

In a freshly born, new annual partnership, the Beta Gamma chapter of Kappa Alpha teamed up with the American Red Cross to host the fraternity’s first annual blood drive. The event took place March 3 in Stern Center Ballroom, with nurses, hospital beds and Sprites available for all in attendance. The Kappa Alpha order hosts an annual nationwide “Operation Crimson Gift” for their official philanthropy, Muscular Dystrophy of America, however the chapter at the College felt they could do more for the cause.

Chris Croteau giving blood at Kappa Alpha's newly annual American Red Cross Blood Drive. (Photo courtesy of Frank Covino)

Sophomore Kappa Alpha member Chris Croteau gives blood at Kappa Alpha’s newly annual American Red Cross Blood Drive. (Photo courtesy of Frank Covino)

“It’s important to us because we believe that a fraternity man should try to impact his community as positively as he can around him,” said sophomore Philanthropy Chair Daniel Skala. “So we’re trying to do as best we can to try to make Charleston and the College a better place.”

Skala takes his role as Philanthropy Chair seriously; he has been planning this blood drive with the American Red Cross since October. The process of organizing the drive involved months of planning, phone calls, consulting and circulating the word. Skala speaks for the entire chapter as he notes what this cause means to the community, especially relevant to the floods that struck South Carolina earlier this school year.

“We saw it happen in Columbia this year, with the hurricane, and there was a huge need for blood after that,” Skala said. “So I think people always forget [that] this is a very big thing. People are very reliant on blood donors.”

The Beta Gamma chapter’s philanthropic efforts do not stop at this blood drive: their annual Riverdogs Stadium muscle walk raises money for Muscular Dystrophy of America each year. The chapter hosted this blood drive on top of the walk.

Kappa Alpha’s philanthropic efforts do more than just raise donations, they jumpstart the momentum needed to change Greek life stereotypes on campus.

“This is just another example of breaking the stereotypes of Greek Life that people don’t care, [that] they’re self-centered, and that kind of thing,” Skala said. “I think it really continues to show that the greek community at the College of Charleston is a very giving community and is always willing to do what it takes to help the people in this community and the people associated with our chapters.”

The proof is in the turnout, of whom a great percentage were members of different fraternities and sororities on campus. Kappa Alpha used Facebook and word-of-mouth to spread the word, resulting in many members of the Greek community going to donate. Among them was freshman Alpha Delta Pi member MacKenna Stahlman, an American Red Cross regular.

“Giving blood is such a simple and easy way to save lives, so I try to donate every chance I get,” Stahlman said. “I think this blood drive just goes to show how Greek Life tries to give back in any way, shape or form that they can.”

Following the lead of Kappa Alpha, Greek organizations and campus community members came together Thursday afternoon. They may have lost some pints of blood, but helping those in need made the shakiness and needles worth it.

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Sydney Moreano is a Feature Writer for CisternYard News. She is a double major in International Studies and English. The freshman hails from Lawrence, Kansas and is in the Honors College, William Aiken Fellows Society, International Scholars Program. Outside of CisternYard, she is a member of the Charleston 40 and Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. She spends her free time running, reading, spending too much money and taste tasting all the restaurants that Charleston has to offer.

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