The five-feet-tall Greek letters in the stands at Thon weekend are a reminder of the origins of the largest-run student philanthropy in the world. Thon and Greek life go hand in hand.
But what do Greek organizations contribute in terms of philanthropy and community service — beyond Thon?
“While Thon is an integral part of the Greek community, fraternities focus on fundraising for Thon, fundraising for other philanthropic efforts, as well as participating in community service,” Daniel Lee, Interfraternity Council vice president for communications, said in an email.
Genevieve Fishman, Panhellenic Council president, said in an email that while Thon is the main focus of fundraising for sororities, they also remain committed to their individual philanthropies and “excellence in civic engagement.”
In 2017, 2,324 brothers in 39 fraternities raised almost $223,000 for charitable causes — other than Thon — according to Penn State’s IFC scorecard. Seven fraternities raised no money for philanthropy beyond Thon. Others ranged in giving from $1.01 per member to $1,386.56 per member (Lambda Chi Alpha).
Average community service hours per member for the year ranged from 0 to 25.3.
Ten of Penn State’s fraternities were either suspended or had lost their recognition.
According to Penn State’s Panhellenic Council scorecard, 3,009 sisters in 22 sororities raised more than $82,000 in 2017. Giving ranged from $1.55 per member to $88.45 per member.
Community service hours per member ranged from 1.99 to 20.45.
Twelve Multicultural Greek Council chapters, with 72 members, raised more than $2,400 for philanthropy other than Thon, while two National Pan-Hellenic Council chapters, with eight members, raised no money for philanthropy beyond Thon, according to Penn State.
The top 10 Greek organizations that donated to Thon in 2017 were Alpha Tau Omega and Zeta Tau Alpha, $239,104.88; Alpha Sigma Alpha and Lambda Chi Alpha, $227,952.95; Phi Kappa Psi and Alpha Omicron Pi, $177,152.73; Sigma Delta Tau and Delta Sigma Phi, $173,361.05; and Sigma Chi and Alpha Phi, $153,295.56.