By Parker Havis, Class of 2016
Annually, chapters of Pi Kappa Phi are encouraged to engage in one philanthropic week that raises both funds and awareness for people with disabilities. Last week, Pi Kappa Phi brought the War of the Roses philanthropy week to Furman’s campus in order to raise money for PUSH America. As PUSH is Pi Kappa Phi’s independently owned and operated philanthropy, brothers gathered to not only fund the actions of PUSH but to spread its message of people-first language. This message of viewing everyone as a unique individual who may be limited but not defined by their disabilities was the underlying theme of many of the week’s activities.
To kick off the week on Tuesday, nearly every sorority fielded a team to compete in games that highlighted difficulties that people face every day. The winners of the wheelchair races (Delta Gamma), three-legged race (Kappa Kappa Gamma), wheelchair basketball (Alpha Delta Pi), and other competing sororities worked through fun activities to promote empathy for those who need help in their daily lives. Earlier in the day, sororities also hung banners that promoted and endorsed the messages of PUSH America while raising awareness for the remaining events.
Wednesday, Furman’s campus helped raise money by participating in Pie-A-Pi Kapp, which, combined with the other events, raised over $2,200 for PUSH. As the week ended, Pi Kappa Phi invited Furman’s campus to an empathy dinner catered by Olive Garden. At this all-you-can-eat meal, diners were given a temporary disability such as blindness or deafness. In combination with this dinner, a counselor and camper from Camp Spearhead — a local organization that provides programs for people with disabilities — came to speak to the importance of people-first language when describing those with disabilities.
Because of the week’s activities, Pi Kappa Phi was able to donate more than $2,000 to PUSH, with a portion of the proceeds going to Camp Spearhead as part of the Circle of Giving program. Additionally, Kappa Kappa Gamma, the sorority that won the War of the Roses, will be receiving a portion of the week’s profit as a donation to Reading is Fundamental, Kappa’s philanthropy. The money and support for PUSH America has provided many with summer opportunities while emphasizing the importance of people-first language.