Brothers at South Dakota Mines Encourage Each Other to Serve, Resulting in a Big Award from the Board of Regents
It gets cold in Rapid City, S.D., especially in the fall and winter, and even more so once the sun goes down. But a lot of times, especially during those colder months, area shelters fill to capacity leaving a lot of people to sleep on the streets.
So to raise money for the local homeless population, brothers of the Pi-Mu chapter at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology spent a night last semester outdoors to raise money and awareness.
“We thought in October it wouldn’t be too bad,” High Theta Neil Leyda said. “But it ended up being below freezing that night, so we definitely got to experience what it’s really like.”
With the help of the mayor and City Council, they raised nearly $1,000 in one night.
But that’s just one example of the community service they have done. They volunteer with Feeding South Dakota at least once a week. They helped organize a Trick-or-Treat for Canned Goods food drive, which raised more than $22,000. They host tailgates at several sporting events throughout the year where they give away free food — Rowdy Rocker and Brothers Feeding Others, they call them. They participated in their community’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event. And several of them take turns volunteering at the local Humane Society.
“It’s not only about the amount of service hours, but the quality of service,” Former High Theta Trevor Nicholas said.
The chapter will receive a community service award this weekend from the South Dakota Board of Regents. Only one organization from each university in the state receives the award, making Lambda Chi the organization that is doing the most at South Dakota Mines.
“For me, it’s about Service and Stewardship,” Leyda said. “We have a lot of good men in our chapter. But if our members aren’t applying any free time they have to service to the community and advancing the fraternity, then we are wasting our time.”
Nicholas says if they can find time to volunteer, as engineering majors, then all college students can find time to do it.
“We all enjoy the blessings we’ve been given as college students, obviously. So it’s important we give some of those blessings back to other people,” he said. “I was pushed to do it as a freshman, but now it’s my favorite thing to do. I feel like it’s just a part of life.”
They see the award as a benchmark for service. Next year, they plan to do even more.
“We don’t want recognition for anything. That’s not the point of volunteering,” Leyda said. “But what we do appreciate is that the chapter as a whole is receiving its due diligence. It’s a testament to how far we push each other.”
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