Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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The world's largest human sunflower. Joie de vivre means the joy of life. Photo by:John Q The world's largest human sunflower. Joie de vivre means the joy of life. Photo by:John Q

Students Dedicate Greek Week to Chelsea King

SDSU’s Greek Week raised money and awareness for Chelsea’s Light Foundation.
By Samantha Afetian

This year, the San Diego State University Greek community dedicated Greek Week, their largest philanthropic event of the year, to raise funds for Chelsea’s Light Foundation.

The organization was founded in honor of Chelsea King, a Poway teen murdered in February 2010. It is dedicated to ending sexual violence against children.

While the cause is important, it was also personal for the university's Greek community.

“Many members of GLAB knew Chelsea King personally and the stories they shared inspired the rest of us to choose Chelsea’s Light Foundation,” said Ronel Dalisay, a member of the Greek Life Activities Board that organizes Greek Week and activities director of the SDSU United Sorority and Fraternity Council.

Making a difference

Each year, hundreds of fraternity and sorority members participate in Greek Week to raise money and awareness for a non-profit organization. Several events bring student organizations together to raise money and give back to the community, while including some friendly competition and a day of service.

“Many people have this stigma about Greek affiliates, that our only intent is to party,” Dalisay said. “The Service Day event is a great reminder that, as a whole, the main focus of the Greek community is to give back to the community.”

Community clean-up

On March 11, more than 500 SDSU fraternity and sorority members helped beautify Rancho Bernardo Community Park. Participants painted fences, restored the playground and placed plaques of King’s favorite inspirational quotes along the park’s trail where her body was discovered.

“The intent of the service day was to turn a place of darkness into a place of beauty, hope and reclamation,” said Matt Cecil, activities director of the SDSU Interfraternity Council and member of activities board. “Chelsea always believed if you are going to do something you must do it big and that was our motivation for the project.”

Joie de vivre

In following with King’s “do it big” ideal, participants in the day’s event came together to create the world’s largest human sunflower. In a gesture of unification, SDSU Greeks were joined by members of the community to create the record-breaking flower.

Displayed below the sunflower was King’s favorite quote “joie de vivre,” joy of life in French.

“The picture was something we wanted to have to reflect back on in the years to come as recognition of what the Greeks did during this year’s Greek Week,” said Heidi Stafford, SDSU Panhellenic Association activities director and Greek Week coordinator. 

“We will forever have this picture to remind us of our hard work and to commemorate Chelsea King’s life.”

While Greek Week has ended, fundraising for Chelsea’s Light Foundation continues.

With the help of the SDSU Greeks and donors from community businesses, more than $15,000 has been raised. Ultimately, students hope to raise a total of $25,000 for the foundation.  

To help end sexual violence against children, donations to Chelsea's Light Foundation can be sent to the attention of Caitlyn Zang, Student Life & Leadership, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-7440. Checks should be made out to "Greek Week."