Hygiene in the house is of the upmost importance for Brothers of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater chapter. It quickly turned into creating the quality products themselves as a philanthropy effort for the chapter Brothers. The Brother are creating that access by making the hygiene products themselves. By creating custom bars of soap inside the garage of their chapter house, individuals in Whitewater, WI can receive free bars of soap each week.
In an effort to expand their philanthropy efforts, Will Hinz (Lambda-Iota, ‘19) wanted to do something that would help the community in a tangible way. A project he’d participated in high school seemed to be the perfect fit to partner with local food pantries in the area. Understanding that the food pantry’s in Whitewater, WI largely operate on a point system, Hinz was determined to ensure that his soap project wouldn’t be included in that point system.
“If you walk into a food pantry, you are given points that you can use for food and beverages. The highest points are the cleaning products, so it makes it difficult for you to obtain enough food because you have to use the points for cleaning products. This is really troubling to me because I don’t think we should be forcing our community members to choose hygiene over hunger. By doing this project, they don’t have to make the choice of hygiene over hunger because they have the soap available for them to take for zero points” explains Hinz.
Luckily for Hinz, a hotel in the area donates their used soap that would otherwise be thrown away. Those used bars are then grinded into a powder and dumped into various crockpots to melt. A blend of water and tea tree oil sanitize and clean the soap for an hour before it is ready to be poured into a mold. Ten hours later, the bars are cut and ready to be dropped off to the Warhawk Food Pantry.
“We package it in bars of three so that, when community members pick up a package, they get three bars. That roughly lasts them three to four weeks on average” says Hinz.
The men have created over 500 bars of soap to date and are working on getting more hotels in the area involved. Currently, the most difficult part is encouraging hotels in the area to donate their used soap. With more franchises switching to liquid soap, the materials for this project are slim. Hinz explains that many hotel owners and managers are hesitant to participate because it adds a second step to the staffs’ duties.
Hinz was able to obtain soap with old branding on it and another has agreed to be a consistent contributor to the project. After contacting 56 hotels, Hinz’ spirit is not dampened in the least. His mission for doing this project is to, ultimately, educate others about the passion their chapter has for helping one another and those around them.
“The reason I joined Lambda Chi Alpha was because of the things we do for others. We were able to see the things that Lambda Chi Alpha does for the community and campus, and it drew me into joining the chapter. This project can change minds about what exactly a Fraternity looks like. It shakes the stigma to the core and allows for more of an understanding and supporting environment for Fraternities everywhere” says Hinz.
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