Greek life provides philanthropic outlet
By Kathleen Jacobs
The Parthenon. Gyros. Baklava. All are Greek staples. But when Sneha Jogi thinks Greek, she thinks of philanthropy, a sense of family, and being part of something larger. To her, Greek means sororities and fraternities.
“I think even before Purdue I knew I wanted to be involved in Greek life, I wanted to be a part of something that made 40,000 (students) feel like 100,” said Jogi, a sophomore agricultural communication major from Fishers, Indiana.
Fraternities and sororities see themselves as more than just social organizations. Many of these Greek organizations (as they call themselves) also engage in philanthropic events. Jogi likes working on these projects because she feels that she can make a difference in others’ lives.
“If you go through life serving only yourself, . . . what’s the point?” Jogi asked.
One of her philanthropies is Autism Speaks, a program that advocates for and supports those with autism and their families. In her role, she helps raise money and awareness. The ability to make a tangible difference has made its mark on her.
“Lots of people are uncomfortable with people with disabilities, but serving Autism Speaks gives me the chance to broaden my perspective and understand all spectrums of people,” Jogi said. “It’s really a beautiful thing to see people with disabilities being more positive and open minded than those without.”
Her sorority and its philanthropies have had such a positive effect on Jogi that she has volunteered to serve on the Purdue Panhellenic Association board of directors. This is the governing council for Purdue’s sororities.
In the association, her goal is to make sure each sorority can express its own values. One of the most important is helping others. By serving on the board, Jogi said that she can immerse herself in campus life while also having the ability to plan and promote philanthropic work.
“My goal is to make people love philanthropy because they want to, not because they’re expected to,” Jogi said. “It’s the one thing where you spend a couple hours not focusing on bettering yourself. You’re focusing on making a difference for someone else.”
For Jogi, the importance of this work is seen in the resulting smiles of others. It’s seen in advocating for autism awareness every year. It’s seen in the thank-you cards she receives after events. She focuses on making the difference for someone else by engaging those around her and getting them excited for the event at hand.
Recently, Jogi has turned her attention to establishing an organization called Circle of Sisterhood on campus. The organization’s mission is to help women in developing countries attend school and receive an education. The mission resonated with Jogi, because she has seen how her own education empowered her.
“I’m so grateful for the supportive women I have in my life like my sister and my mom,” Jogi said. “I can’t imagine where I would be without those women or without my education.”
Of course, Jogi has learned that it takes a lot of effort to get a project like this off the ground. Her first challenge is to bring this philanthropy to Purdue. It isn’t as easy as just inviting the group to campus. She has to make sure a host of student organizations build a structure so the association can do its work.
“I want the people who come after me to have a foundation to build off of when I leave,” Jogi said.
When Jogi spoke about Circle of Sisterhood, her hands became animated as she stenciled in the air her plans to bring this philanthropy to life on campus.
“There’s so much good that can be done,” said Jogi. “I want to be one of the people that makes that good happen.”