Students rebuild Old Centre with…canned food?
May 13, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
Photos by Doug Strickland
the fraternities, having built a miniature Old Centre with their
Kappa Kappa Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta, who built a Roman
amphitheatre around the Centre seal, won for the sororities.
Centre’s Greek community collected 4,042 cans and 596 boxed
food items for the can-struction competition.
Centre College’s Greek Week is about more than tug-of-war contests and singing competitions. It’s a week that reminds students that philanthropy is an integral part of Greek life at the College, and service projects are often included as Greek Week activities. This year, students involved in Greek life at Centre took part in the first-ever “can-struction” competition, a service event that raised food for the local Danville Food Bank.
Katy Meyer ’12, who participated in a similar philanthropy event in high school, proposed the idea for the competition. After the activity was added to the Greek Week schedule, John Rivers ’11, Julie Baer ’10, Jordan Ellis ’12 and Trinity Hochstetler ’12 organized the event.
The Greek community was assisted by Centre’s Rotaract Club, a service organization that Baer leads as president. Affiliated with Rotary, the club “works to enhance the knowledge and skills that will assist members in personal development, to address the physical and social needs of their communities and to promote better relations between all people worldwide through a framework of friendship and service,” Baer says.
Although the Rotaract Club has organized canned food drives in the past, members struggled to collect the quantities they hoped for. “This is why I approached the Greek community,” Baer says. “Many people don’t realize it, but the Greek community on Centre’s campus really gets involved in philanthropic events through a number of organizations. So I figured if we could make collecting cans into a fun activity, we’d hopefully get people inspired to bring in cans for the Danville Community. Thus, the idea for can-struction was created!”
Rather than vying against all other sororities or fraternities on campus, each Greek organization joined forces with one other chapter to construct artwork with the canned goods they collected.
“This event was a great addition to Greek Week,” Rivers says. “Many of the other events during the week are about chapters trying to win the competition. This event is about collaboration and helping others. The true winners are the people we help with the food that we've collected.”
He adds that “this kind of togetherness and philanthropy isn't something you see during other parts of Greek Week. The fraternities and sororities came together for a great cause, and the chapters worked really well together to help the local community. I believe that this event will have a real impact in the lives of many local citizens who are in need.”
Meyer says that she “loved the way John paired sororities and fraternities. This increased the amount of available cans—meaning bigger and better can-structions than I could’ve ever imagined—and really fit in with the idea of inter-Greek cooperation that the Greek Week Steering Committee was striving for this year.”
The Greek community collected 4,042 cans and 596 boxed food items for the competition. “Because of the outpouring of support from all of the fraternities and sororities, the can-struction was a huge success,” Baer says. “And everybody worked together during the competition to create amazing structures within a 30-minute time limit.”
Having created a replica of Old Centre with the cans, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Phi Kappa Tau won the competition for the fraternities. Kappa Kappa Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta, using their cans to build a Roman amphitheatre around the seal in front of Old Centre, won for the women.
And, as Baer says, “While for many the can-struction ended when the competition was over, this is not the end of the story. The next day we delivered the cans to the Danville Food Bank, where we soon discovered that we had many more cans than they were expecting. The rest of the cans—about half—we donated to the Salvation Army. The entire project was truly a group success.”