Arizona State University and Valley of the Sun United Way joined together in the spirit of philanthropy, education and service during Sun Devils Unite from April 6 to 14.
Hundreds of volunteers from student organizations gathered on all four ASU campuses and throughout the community for the weeklong series of charity and service events that raised thousands of dollars for Valley children, families and individuals in need.
The slate of events during Sun Devils Unite included musical performances, community service opportunities, professional development workshops, fitness challenges and more.
Devils in Disguise, ASU’s largest student-led day of service, took place on April 6. Presented by Changemaker Central, the event featured 939 volunteers contributing more than 3,000 combined hours to more that 30 community partners. The participating organizations included food banks, assisted living facilities, parks, schools, homeless shelters and community centers.
Students helped with cleaning and planting at outdoor spaces like the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Rio Salado Restoration Area and Escalante Community Garden. At organizations like A New Leaf and UMOM New Day Center, students helped clean and organize facilities. They also helped distribute food and essential supplies for St. Vincent de Paul, Tempe Community Council and others.
Alyssa Tong, a senior at ASU studying biology, volunteered with the Amanda Hope Project designing covers for chemo bags for children.
“I love finding new organizations to volunteer with, so I saw this as a really good opportunity to do that,” Tong said.
The value of their combined volunteer hours was equivalent to $76,290, representing a significant community impact within the span of a single day.
Greek Week 2019, which promotes pride and service within ASU’s Greek community, was also part of Sun Devils Unite. Over 40 of ASU’s fraternity and sorority chapters worked as teams to organize events focused on raising money and awareness for United Way.
In total, Sun Devils raised more than $40,000 for the United Way, according to Gary Ballinger, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at ASU. This amount contributes to ASU’s overall United Way fundraising goal for the 2018-19 academic year of $800,000. In addition to the financial contribution, the community donated more than 3,000 school supply items for local students.
Sarah Balis, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and a junior studying human communication, participated as the chair for Trivia Day, a new event this year that featured questions about ASU, FSL and United Way. She said Greek Week is one of her favorite events because of its impact.
“This is my third year serving on the FSL committee for Greek Week so it has been an honor seeing all of the impact from thousands of dollars to hundreds of books, school supplies and snack packs. I am so passionate about spreading the incredible message of United Way with the ASU Greek community!” Balis said.