In the second major event of the 2019 War of Roses competition, sorority teams participated in a Feb. 23 empathy dinner where they learned what it was like to live with a disability.
Fraternity members joined sorority participants in one of three disabilities – requiring them to eat using their non-dominant hand, eating without using their thumbs for utensils or eat while their middle three fingers were taped together. During the dinner, they got to experience what someone with a disability might face – a task most of us take for granted – to feed themselves.
The disability dinner was the second of three major events of the Pi Kappa Phi War of Roses competition that will culminate with a 6:30 pm., Feb. 27 talent show in Loeb Playhouse at Purdue’s Stewart Center. Last week there was a double-elimination dodgeball tournament.
Also, throughout the week the eight participating sororities were asked to put up sheet signs promoting the talent show on Feb. 27.
Guests at the Saturday night dinner heard from chapter members Jack Russell, Tyler Baumgartner, Jacob Moeller and Alex Tunney learning how the chapter interacts with people disabilities locally and nationally. Furthermore, they learned of the four major goals of The Ability Experience, Pi Kappa Phi’s national outreach program for people with disabilities. Those goals include: developing servant leadership among its members, disability awareness, fundraising and volunteerism.
Chapter advisor Pat Kuhnle described the chapter-level programming each school year including the David Feltner 72-Hour Memorial Bike a Thon, Arctoberfest, War of Roses, Lafayette Jefferson High School Special Needs Class Assistance, Pi Kapp/Best Buddies Prom and Pi Kapp 100. Furthermore, 76 chapter members have thus far participated in national events Journey of Hope and another eight in Gear Up Florida.
Kuhnle congratulated the participants and told them they should be proud of the recent statistics released by Purdue’s Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life Office. In that report, the Greek and cooperative community were credited for 57,138 volunteer hours and $491,083 in philanthropic donations for the Fall 2018 semester.
In the last five years, the local Pi Kappa Phi chapter has raised $79,300 for people with disabilities and since 1980 has raised $252,115. In the last nine years, $39,689 of the local fund raising has been given directly to the special needs classes at a local high school to assist with programming and supplies.