January 8, 2019

Finding Philanthropy—and Friends for Life—in the Greek Community

When psychology major Julia Lafferty transferred to Adelphi in the second semester of her first year, she was worried about making such a big change. But she quickly found a home in Sigma Delta Tau sorority. Less than two years later, she was elected president of the organization.

“Greek life is the reason my experience at Adelphi is so strong and special to me,” says Lafferty, who is now a junior. “I have truly found a place that I can be myself, and 60 women who are always there for me, at school or even off campus, and that is what a home is to me now.”

More than 600 Adelphi students have also found a home in the Greek community, which comprises 19 campus organizations.

“At the heart of all fraternities and sororities are leadership and service-related opportunities, scholarship, and brotherhood and sisterhood,” says Elizabeth D’Orsa, assistant director of the Center for Student Involvement. “Each organization has a philanthropic organization and raises money for it through campus events.”

In the past semester alone, Adelphi’s Greek community raised more than $27,600 for charities. Tri Delta sorority raised $14,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in just half a year, almost reaching its annual goal of $15,000. And Delta Phi Epsilon sorority raised $6,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at its annual 65 Roses Gala.

Greek life also helps students build their own deep-rooted communities on campus.

“Being a brother of Pi Lambda Phi has allowed me to be in a safe space and express myself with no judgment,” says Zachary Hopkins, a psychology major in the Class of 2020. “My organization has national policies that protect its queer and trans members, and, being a queer man, I found a place that is very accepting of me on this campus.”

Pi Lambda Phi raises money for the Elimination of Prejudice Foundation, which was founded by a member of the fraternity to nurture civil discourse and create inclusive programming. To that end, Hopkins recently worked with Adelphi’s culturally based fraternities, sororities and social fellowships, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc., to create an open dialogue about cultural appropriation.

“Community service opportunities are very fulfilling, especially when they are available to all of the Greek organizations, because they allow us to bond and give back to the community that supports us,” Hopkins says. “I am most proud of how we try to incorporate all forms of education on prejudices since we are a diverse campus.”

In fact, sorority and fraternity members are so involved in their organizations and campus life that D’Orsa can’t tell which students live on campus and which are commuters.

“They meet weekly to go over chapter business, host brotherhood/sisterhood events, attend other organizations’ events, and grab lunch together,” she says. “They find a place where they’re with people who share the same values and are working towards the same purpose.”

Going forward, D’Orsa hopes to see Adelphi’s Greek community continue to grow and thrive.

“I’m really proud of the community here,” she says. “I see them continuing to make an impact both on and off campus with charitable organizations, and I believe that new groups will be established here for even more students to join.”


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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

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